The pulps are making a comeback. From grand adventure in the tradition of The Shadow and Doc Savage to weird fiction inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, the “thrills and chills” genre is getting a rewrite by a new generation of authors for a new generation of readers. I haven’t had a lot of reading time lately (three-year-old + three-month-old), but Don Gates’ Challenger Storm novels are at the top of my list. I dig what I’ve read so far, and illustration legend Michael Kaluta—who, with writer Dennis O’Neil, delivered a canonical comic book adaptation of The Shadow in the 1970s—provided cover and interior art. Yes, please.
Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
When several cargo ships begin disappearing on the waters of the Aegean Sea rumors begin to spread about black-armored demons rising up out of the deep. For Challenger Storm and his MARDL team, these events hold no particular interest until one of Storm’s troubleshooters, Diana St. Clair, informs him that her former lover, and one-time MARDL scientist, Herbert Chambers is among the missing. Later, a freakish wave wipes out a small Greek fishing village leaving only a handful of survivors. Is it possible someone has learned how to control the seas to do their bidding? When Storm and his companions arrive at a mid-ocean refueling station, they are attacked by saboteurs wielding bizarre rifles that fire sea-water.
Who is the mysterious figure calling himself Poseidon and what is the secret of his ability to create monstrous tidal waves? Can Challenger Storm find his underwater base in time to stop this mad genius before he rains down more watery destruction upon unsuspecting coastal populations? Is mankind doomed to be ruled by a new King of the Seas?
Read a few pages of Challenger Storm: The Curse of Poseidon below. You’ll also find a couple of Kaluta’s illustrations. The book is available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.