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Williams is a longtime fan of all things sci-fi and pulp fiction and was recently introduced to these two characters, Ravenwood and Moon Man, brought to life in the writings of author Frederick C. Davis in the 1930s. The best of classic pulp fiction lives on with these two science fiction short stories written by author Marlin Williams: Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery in Trum Williams is a longtime fan of all things sci-fi and pulp fiction and was recently introduced to these two characters, Ravenwood and Moon Man, brought to life in the writings of author Frederick C. Davis in the 1930s. The best of classic pulp fiction lives on with these two science fiction short stories written by author Marlin Williams: Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery in Trumpet of Triton and The Moon Man in Mesmerized. Ravenwood was one of the first characters, during the pulp fiction era, to possess psychic abilities. Orphaned after a plague claimed the lives of his mother and father, Ravenwood was raised by a Tibetan mystic known only as the Nameless One. As an unparalleled occult detective he was often called upon by Inspector Horatio Stagg when challenged by supernatural mysteries. In Trumpet of Triton, Ravenwood is unwillingly forced to team up with one of the cities detectives, Leonard Kolchak, to investigate claims by city workers of being terrorized by a sea serpent. The clues lead them to explore the ancient storm sewers below the streets of Manhattan where they make a horrifying discovery and realize they have only a short time to stop the cataclysmic destruction of the entire city. The second tale features the Moon Man character who was the Robin Hood of the 1930s and the alter ego of Detective Stephen Thatcher. Assisted by his sidekick, Ned "Angel" Dargan, an ex-prizefighter they steal from the rich and distribute the loot to the city's destitute during the Great Depression. In the mind of Lieutenant McEwen, Detective Thatcher's boss, a thief is a thief. That puts the Moon Man high on the most wanted list. In this saga of The Moon Man in Mesmerized, during the light of day, Detective Stephen Thatcher works to solve the mysterious suicides and the major crime spree plaguing the city perpetrated by good law-abiding citizens while in trancelike state. In the dark of night, the Moon Man plots to drain crime lord Big Nick Martini's coffer of ill gotten money. But his plans may be foiled by other forces and lead the Moon Man into a trap. Will this be McEwen's chance to catch the elusive Moon Man? Excerpt from The Moon Man Time: 1930s Place: Great City Fourteen floors up, Henry Thomas stood on the narrow ledge of the Frost Hotel. Terror filled his heart as he looked down onto the bone-crushing pavement. Across the street stood the clock tower. It was one minute until midnight, the hour he was going to jump. He didn't want to, but he couldn't help himself. A gust of wind whipped around the corner and almost ripped him off the ledge. His gaze flew back to the tower as the clock began to chime. Nervously, he fumbled inside his coat pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper. He found a pencil in the same pocket and quickly scrawled across it. Another gust plucked it from his fingers and sailed it away into the night like a startled bird. On the tenth stroke, Henry twisted around and quickly scribbled onto the wall. On the twelfth stroke, he turned back around and jumped.


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Williams is a longtime fan of all things sci-fi and pulp fiction and was recently introduced to these two characters, Ravenwood and Moon Man, brought to life in the writings of author Frederick C. Davis in the 1930s. The best of classic pulp fiction lives on with these two science fiction short stories written by author Marlin Williams: Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery in Trum Williams is a longtime fan of all things sci-fi and pulp fiction and was recently introduced to these two characters, Ravenwood and Moon Man, brought to life in the writings of author Frederick C. Davis in the 1930s. The best of classic pulp fiction lives on with these two science fiction short stories written by author Marlin Williams: Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery in Trumpet of Triton and The Moon Man in Mesmerized. Ravenwood was one of the first characters, during the pulp fiction era, to possess psychic abilities. Orphaned after a plague claimed the lives of his mother and father, Ravenwood was raised by a Tibetan mystic known only as the Nameless One. As an unparalleled occult detective he was often called upon by Inspector Horatio Stagg when challenged by supernatural mysteries. In Trumpet of Triton, Ravenwood is unwillingly forced to team up with one of the cities detectives, Leonard Kolchak, to investigate claims by city workers of being terrorized by a sea serpent. The clues lead them to explore the ancient storm sewers below the streets of Manhattan where they make a horrifying discovery and realize they have only a short time to stop the cataclysmic destruction of the entire city. The second tale features the Moon Man character who was the Robin Hood of the 1930s and the alter ego of Detective Stephen Thatcher. Assisted by his sidekick, Ned "Angel" Dargan, an ex-prizefighter they steal from the rich and distribute the loot to the city's destitute during the Great Depression. In the mind of Lieutenant McEwen, Detective Thatcher's boss, a thief is a thief. That puts the Moon Man high on the most wanted list. In this saga of The Moon Man in Mesmerized, during the light of day, Detective Stephen Thatcher works to solve the mysterious suicides and the major crime spree plaguing the city perpetrated by good law-abiding citizens while in trancelike state. In the dark of night, the Moon Man plots to drain crime lord Big Nick Martini's coffer of ill gotten money. But his plans may be foiled by other forces and lead the Moon Man into a trap. Will this be McEwen's chance to catch the elusive Moon Man? Excerpt from The Moon Man Time: 1930s Place: Great City Fourteen floors up, Henry Thomas stood on the narrow ledge of the Frost Hotel. Terror filled his heart as he looked down onto the bone-crushing pavement. Across the street stood the clock tower. It was one minute until midnight, the hour he was going to jump. He didn't want to, but he couldn't help himself. A gust of wind whipped around the corner and almost ripped him off the ledge. His gaze flew back to the tower as the clock began to chime. Nervously, he fumbled inside his coat pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper. He found a pencil in the same pocket and quickly scrawled across it. Another gust plucked it from his fingers and sailed it away into the night like a startled bird. On the tenth stroke, Henry twisted around and quickly scribbled onto the wall. On the twelfth stroke, he turned back around and jumped.

7 review for Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery in Trumpet of Triton: Pulp Science Fiction Short Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    L. Shosty

    If I had a single gripe about Marlin Williams' previous book, the excellent Road Games and Other Weird Tales, it was that the more substantive stories took so long to get moving. If I was worried heading into his newest offering, a pulp fiction two-fer featuring a couple of obscure pulp-era heroes, my fears were allayed on the very first page. Trumpet of Triton kicks off the book. It features Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery, a creation of the famous (in pulp fandom circles, anyway) Frederick C. Dav If I had a single gripe about Marlin Williams' previous book, the excellent Road Games and Other Weird Tales, it was that the more substantive stories took so long to get moving. If I was worried heading into his newest offering, a pulp fiction two-fer featuring a couple of obscure pulp-era heroes, my fears were allayed on the very first page. Trumpet of Triton kicks off the book. It features Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery, a creation of the famous (in pulp fandom circles, anyway) Frederick C. Davis. Ravenwood is an occult detective, a la Carnacki or John Silence, who works cases involving supernatural elements. He's accompanied by his servant, Sterling, and a Tibetan mystic called The Nameless One. Sounds a bit like Dr. Strange, right? Having done a little research prior to writing this review, I discovered I wasn't the first person to make this connection. This point is really irrelevant, for the Ravenwood stories otherwise bear little resemblance to Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme. In fact, it unsurprisingly reads more like the pulp heroes and mystery men of the time period, most notably figures like The Shadow and Robert E. Howard's Steve Harrison. In this adventure Williams has Ravenwood square off against a shadow organization bent on using an artifact called The Trumpet of Triton to raise the sunken continent of Atlantis from the depths of the sea. Following a few strange encounters and an attack on the city itself, Ravenwood teams with the NYPD to stop the conspiracy in its tracks. Williams keeps the story lean and the plot laser-focused throughout. He doesn't even bother with chapter breaks, moving from one plot point to the next with no time for the reader to catch his breath. But of course the most exciting addition he makes has to be Kolchak. That Kolchak, you ask? Maybe, and if it is, it's definitely an alternate universe version of the character. But more likely, since it takes place in 1936, this is Carl Kolchak's father. This character mentions a young son at home, and that would make the son the correct age when we first see him in The Night Stalker in 1972. Whatever the case, he's a dead ringer for the famous investigative reporter, down to his abrasive personality and desire to get at the truth. And let's not forget about the abysmal fashion tastes! It makes for a wonderful surprise twist to the story, and he also makes a fine companion to the rather straight-laced Ravenwood. In fact, I'd much rather see a whole series about him than I would another Ravenwood story. That's nothing against the latter character, it's just that, from the moment Kolchak enters the story, he steals the show in every scene he's in. The next story is called Mesmerized, featuring another Davis-created character, The Moon Man. Take one look at the silhouette of his character on the cover, and you can see those rip-off artists over at Marvel clearly styled Spider-Man villain, Mysterio, after him. While the supernatural elements were clear from the jump in Trumpet of Triton, the Moon Man more comfortably fits the mystery man category of hero. He has no real powers, save for his anonymity and bullet-proof helmet, and he uses his detective skills and hand-to-hand skills to save the day. The villains here better resemble those you'd find in an Allistair MacClean novel, and the seemingly supernatural wonders are of a scientific nature rather than something occult as Moon Man and his team try to solve a mysterious suicide while at the same time putting the kibosh on a crooked mayoral campaign. As stated above, both stories are cover to cover thrillers, with absolutely no fat on them at all. Though I enjoyed the Moon Man story more, that's really my preference for science fictional elements to supernatural ones. The action scenes, though sparse in both, are well-written and tense, and there is always a feeling of the plot moving forward. The dialogue zings, and Williams captures the essence of the era, while not appearing to work too hard in doing it. That's the mark of a real craftsman. In fact, these stories are exact replicas, in both tone and break-neck pacing, of the kinds of magazine stories you'd see back in the pulp era. The feeling of both stories is that they're part of the old novel-a-month output some of the old pulpsters exhibited, and as such there is virtually no character development or attention to worldbuilding like you see in modern product. These stories rely on already-established characters, and are entirely plot-based. Definitely not the kind of fare most modern-day fiction fans tolerate, which makes it all the more precious. Another word on the style and quality. Most of the time, a writer gets hold of source material like this, and he'll try to put his own stamp on it. But aside from adding Kolchak to the Ravenwood story, you could place these books in between the pages of 10 Ace Detectives, and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's not mere pastiche, either. Williams has painstakingly made these adventures fit the old mold, both as a love letter to the pulps and as a means of possibly continuing both series as he envisions they might have gone, had the magazines not folded. This is a big deal for fans of pulp. It could mean there's a new sheriff in Pulpville, and he's a fitness enthusiast from a small Texas town. That's some big shoes to fill, seeing as how the last guy who fit that description changed popular fiction forever.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Terry Ludwig

    Do you remember reading pulp fiction magazines when you were a child? The five-and-dime stores used to sell them, and they featured some old-time heroes such as Doc Savage, Buck Rogers, Tarzan, Zorro, and The Shadow. Yeah, me neither. Mostly because their heyday was way back in the 1920’s-30’s, and that’s a bit before my time. I do remember spending my 25-cents-a-week allowance on Tarzan and Zorro comic books as a kid though, in the late 50’s, but by then the pulp magazines, and most of their her Do you remember reading pulp fiction magazines when you were a child? The five-and-dime stores used to sell them, and they featured some old-time heroes such as Doc Savage, Buck Rogers, Tarzan, Zorro, and The Shadow. Yeah, me neither. Mostly because their heyday was way back in the 1920’s-30’s, and that’s a bit before my time. I do remember spending my 25-cents-a-week allowance on Tarzan and Zorro comic books as a kid though, in the late 50’s, but by then the pulp magazines, and most of their heroes, had pretty much faded into oblivion. Which is kinda sad, given how popular they once were. Fortunately, Marlin Williams is both a longtime fan of pulp fiction and a veteran author of bizarre tales. He’s taken a pair of long-forgotten pulp heroes, Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery and the Moon Man, and given them new life in the two stories in this book. This means you can now journey back in time and discover what your father (or grandfather, or great-grandfather) used to read for entertainment when he was just a young ‘un. And that's kind of magical. The characters Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery and the Moon Man are creations of Frederick C. Davis (1902-1977), who doesn’t even rate a Wikipedia page, even though Moon Man does. I like that their “super powers” aren’t very super. Ravenwood gets some occasional psychic advice from his guru, “The Nameless One”, while the only “special” thing the Moon Man has going for him is a spiffy costume with a bulletproof helmet that conceals his identity. Trumpet of Triton/Mesmerized is a duology (shouldn’t we call it a "bilogy"?) with the heroes getting separate storylines set in different US locations (New York City and ‘The Great City’) in the 1930’s. Despite both being Pulp Fiction, the subgenres are different. The Trumpet of Triton has fantasy and mythological tones (and I’m very partial to anything with Mythology in it), while Mesmerized can be best described as a “Caped Crusader Robin Hood” tale, and I also enjoy those immensely. Each story is about 80-90 pages in length, so I’d call them novellas. The action in both starts immediately, the pacing is brisk, and Marlin Williams gets the characters introduced to you in short order. At their core, both tales have a mystery to solve, and there's lots of suspense and intrigue to keep our heroes on their toes. I liked the literary nod to the old TV show, Kolchak, in Trumpet of Triton. I was intrigued by The Nameless One, and I fell for the red herring in the plotline, but so will most readers. Mesmerized surprised me with its clever plot twist and introduced me to the word “catawampus”. I also liked the interactions among the Moon Man and his teammates. Both tales are standalone stories. Oh yeah, there's a neat epilogue in the Trumpet of Triton. I'll leave it to you to figure out its significance. Many thanks to Marlin Williams for reviving Ravenwood Stepson of Mystery and the Moon Man. I’d never heard of either of these characters before, now I’m familiar with both of them. Somewhere in the anthropomorphic reaches of our universe, two pulp heroes are smiling. I just don’t know whether to hope that Marlin finds other long-forgotten pulp heroes to revitalize, or that he develops extended series for these two. Maybe I should hope for both?!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theodore Kneeland

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danny

  5. 4 out of 5

    João

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bobby J McDaniel Jr

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

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