Monday, April 7, 2014

Pulp of the Week - The Return of Foster Fade

The New Adventures of Foster Fade - Pro Se Press - Digital and Print

I picked up this volume of pulp tales featuring one of Lester Dent's lesser known characters for a few reasons. One, I like Dent, and two, it features a couple of stories by Adam Lance Garcia. Garcia is one of the best of the New Pulp writers out there and his main story in this anthology doesn't disappoint.

For those not familiar with Foster Fade, he was featured in a number of stories by Lester Dent prior to Dent's work on Doc Savage. Foster Fade is a sort of Sherlock Holmes with gadgets. The love of gadgets is the source of any similarity to Doc Savage. Otherwise, Fade is quite different. He's tall, lanky and a bit of a prankster. He has little time for figures of authority. And he knows just how good he is.

Part of me wonders if Adam Garcia has modeled his Fade a bit after the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock, but regardless, the character is fun and smart.

Foster Fade occupies a large space in Planet Tower, the skyscraper in Manhattan that houses The Planet, a very popular Manhattan daily newspaper. (Perhaps yet another debt that the Superman creators owe Dent.) Fade has an office, living quarters, and the laboratory where he creates his outlandish crime solving gadgets.

The Planet gives away this prime real estate to Fade in exchange for having exclusive access to the Spectacularist (great word, isn't it?) and his exploits. Also included in the deal is that writer Dinamenta Stevens has full access to Fade and is the official writer of his tales. The relationship and banter between Din Stevens and Foster Fade is the most fun part of these tales, and the stories are indeed fun. Pro Se Press should be proud of this volume.

The collection opens with Adam Garcia's mystery as Fade and Din track a cop killer that is sending Fade the murder weapons. Pro Se has put its best foot forward and Garcia's tale is the best in this collection. The other tales are good, but don't match the level of Garcia's prose. The second tale, by Derrick Ferguson is the other standout.

After reading this book of original tales, I will be seeking out the collection of original Lester Dent stories (available from Altus Press) as well.

I'll give The New Adventures of Foster Fade a 7 out of 10, but Garcia's first tale scores a 9, and finally, the cover by the Spectacular Mike Fyles scores a 10. Great work with dynamic characters. One of his best.

1 comment:

Adam L. Garcia said...

Holy cow, thank you, Pete! And just for the record, Fade was "played" by Tom Hiddleston emulating Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch in my head