Advice

What Makes A Story Dark?

‘Dark’ is an oft-seen descriptor for books, comics, movies, games and television shows these days. These media are usually packed with violence, swearing, sex scenes and the like. But does that really make a story dark? As I made my way through old runs of the Punisher — specifically the MAX runs, the runs filled […]

Worldbuilding with Real World Martial Arts

The average author treats martial arts simply as a collection of techniques to be displayed in fight scenes. But martial arts is more than just techniques: it is a way of life, one that resonates throughout the individual and society. The superior writer recognizes that, and sees opportunities for worldbuilding and characterisation. Sigmund Ringeck’s Knightly Arts […]

Writing the Prepared Professional

One of the reasons I love thrillers is the genre’s dedication to authenticity. Cops talk and act like cops, spec ops guys see the world much differently from ordinary people, and so on. The genre provides a dramatised window into the lifestyles and activities of these professionals, and how they see the world. Key to […]

Designing for Games vs Designing for Stories

A week ago, PulpRev author Jon Mollison wrote a Twitter thread about the role of clerics in Dungeons and Dragons. Among the key insights was this: Wrong. Clerics are a great #dnd class because they fill a proper function within the game – secondary brick with defensive tac support. Designing the class to reflect a literary archetype puts the […]

SHOT GIRL and the Perils of Going Full Political

The best stories tell truths disguised as entertaining lies. But when a story starts with a lie, there is little truth in it left. J. A. Konrath’s latest novel, SHOT GIRL, is the twelfth installment in his Jack Daniels series. Daniels, a retired cop confined to a wheelchair, spends her days in a rehabilitation facility […]

Book Unreview: 9th of August

One of the signatures of PulpRev is our cheerful disdain of conventional genre boundaries. Where traditional publishers see a dividing line between fantasy, science fiction, romance and other genres, we draw on the older traditions that blended various aesthetics to create exciting tales. We do not box ourselves in by arbitrary genre distinctions; we embrace […]

Isekai is not Japanese Europe in a Video Game

Isekai stories are a staple of modern Japanese fiction. Featuring humans from modern-day Japan transported to another world, it seems there’s a new isekai story published every month. Today, isekai stories are extremely popular. And they are becoming extremely ridiculous. The discerning reader will find much to complain about. Fanservice in place of character development. […]

Mechanical Versus Mythical Magic

Corey McCleery, Alexander Hellene, Xavier Lastra, Rawle Nyanzi and Misha Barnett recently opined on the de-mythologicisation of magic in contemporary fantasy. All five pieces are worth a read, but the thesis running through the heart of the conversation is that de-mythologicisation robs the mystery from magic in contemporary fantasy, making it feel empty. Comparing the works of the pulp-era grandmasters and […]

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