TITLE: The Sacred Book of the Werewolf AUTHOR: Victor Pelevin
There are a lot of books about Werewolves, however Victor Pelevin’s novel isn’t really one of them. There is a werewolf in the book, actually a few but the story spends most of its time focusing on the life and times of a werefox, and probably with good reason, as a werefox is the main character and the entire story is shown through her eyes. I also am not quite sure how sacred of a book it is. The title has to refer to the book one is reading as it begins by telling you that you are reading a literary version of found footage. However aside from explaining to you the main character’s theory its not very religious or spiritual. Instead its closer to a love story than anything.
The book itself takes place mostly in a near-modern Moscow, with a feeling of the late 90’s firmly in place. It is heavy on the politics of Russia at the turn of the century, heavily mixed with Chinese culture whether on accidental or the author’s intention. There is also heavy emphasis on entertainment and pop culture that really gives the book a time and place. All of these elements give the book’s setting a feeling of both familiar and foreign at the same time.
But will you enjoy your time in Hu-Li’s seedy Moscow, with blood, sex, fur and claws? Well its definitely a possibility, of course you could also hate it. Yeah its really one of those type of stories. But werefoxes are known for their casting of illusions, so its right on point. But whether its something up your alley you will need to read on to find out.
I’ve read a decent amount of New Pulp in the last year and a half. This has greatly been the bi-product of wanting to support writing fellows. Of course it is also the genre that many anthologies my own writing has been included in for the last six to eight months or so. And if there is one thing I’ve noticed is that New Pulp feels less protean than Classic (OG, Real, the original, etc) Pulp in the types of stories that fall under its banner. Most of what you get with New Pulp Novels is The ‘Man of Action’ type of stories. And where this surely can be debated, as I’ve not read even close to the tremendous bulk of New Pulp Novels that seem to flow in a never ending stream; it’s not rare for me to feel déjà vu when I read something in the genre. I often ask myself, where are the Psychotropic stories of creatures from other planes, where are the planet shuffling captains of space, Where are the gun slinging outlaws, Where are the soldiers cracking wise, and most importantly where are the steamy noir detectives?
When I opened up Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston Jr and saw the cover art I instantly knew at least two of my favourite tropes of largely ignored subject matter was going to ready for me. But surprisingly I got a bit more than that. I got stories filled with real people, I loved and loathed. Despite being set in a Philip K Dick-isque vision of life on another planet.
Hugh Monn is a collection of old Noir style Detective stories that have heart and human warmth that has been missing in just about any story in the genre I’ve read thus far. An emotional transparency that lets you get past the flaws it does have and enjoy some good stories. Read on if you’re interest is perked.