The (Triumphant!) Return of the Dime Novel with THE GRENDEL'S SHADOW
May 23, 2011
In days gone by, even the most voracious reader could have his appetite whetted by the dime novel. These were often produced quickly -- and relatively cheaply, as one can surmise by the name -- so as to provide a growing literary audience with the staples of a down-and-dirty read: razor sharp fast characterization backed by plenty of action & adventure with a healthy dose of intrigue thrown in for good measure. Dime novels were the kind of taut experiences to be soaked up one after the other, and, thankfully, author Andrew Mayne has reproduced the feel of this era with his space-faring THE GRENDEL'S SHADOW.
Like a good dime novel, the story is kept simple: the people of a frontier planet are being terrorized by a menacing creature, and only the galaxy's greatest mind and adventurerer, T.R. Westwood, and his unlikely sidekick -- a journalist named Allan -- can answer the call-to-duty, solve the mystery of this new predator, and return the town to its peace ... but not without confronting the vengeful beast head-on! THE GRENDEL'S SHADOW is told in this quick, narrative style ... light on nuance but heavy on pulp as these two men are joined by a beautiful doctor-turned-protector in the race to save their very lives!
In all seriousness, this is the kind of book that folks would've scarfed up in a lazy afternoon of reading, then they'd rush on to the next dime novel. THE GRENDEL'S SHADOW captures this essence perfectly. Told sparsely, Mayne manages to capture the derring-do of light sci-fi adventure told against the backdrop of a new world. He's produced -- at it's heart -- a monster story ... the great beast terrorizes the countryside until the great hunter can save the day. It's a welcome throwback -- both in style and in setting as this frontier world feels equally like the bone-chilling worlds of Alan Dean Foster if not reminescent of Edgar Rice Burroughs -- and I immediately searched for the next 'dime novel' only to learn sadly that Mayne hasn't yet told it, at least not here in Amazon's hallowed cyberhalls.
Rest assured, Mr. Mayne ... I'll be watching. And waiting. Oh, yes, I will.
THE GRENDEL'S SHADOW is a young boy's delight that deserves to be discovered by all.
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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more
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When an unknown animal starts killing off settlers on a backwater planet run on coal and steam power, there's only person who can help stop the slaughter; T.R. Westwood. A distinguished professor of biology and the galaxy's greatest hunter, he's the man to go to when the local wildlife needs to be reminded who is the galaxy's top predator.
In a galaxy filled with millions of worlds, his specialty is evening the odds for the ones with technological restrictions. Rocks and spears or shotguns and canons, he'll use whatever is allowed to get the job done.
The Grendel's Shadow is 35,000 word novella mixing elements of post singularity science fiction, steampunk, horror and western.