Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rick Lai and the Secret Histories of Pulp Fiction

Some readers find the literary game of treating fictional characters and their worlds as real to be off-putting. It has certainly delighted, confounded, and divided Sherlockians for decades. The Wold Newton approach merely added a new wrinkle by suggesting a fabric woven between various works could form a patchwork that is more fascinating than the individual pieces. From my own perspective, I have always been less concerned with the conclusions drawn than I am by the value of the scholarship involved. Rick Lai has done more than I could ever hope to repay by inspiring my own fiction and provoking thoughts on literary titles I thought I knew inside out or had initially disregarded as trivial. The more one delves into Lai’s speculative studies, the more one finds avenues missed and new paths down familiar roads. Unsurprisingly, Lai’s research sparked his own creativity. Reading the two Secret Histories volumes from Altus Press inevitably suggests that someone could or should take Lai’s theories and present them in story form. Appropriately enough, Lai has begun to do just that with the Shadows of the Opera trilogy and its companion trilogy, Sisters of the Shadows. Wild Cat Books published the first volume, The Mark of the Revenant in 2011 with Black Coat Press picking up the second installment, Retribution in Blood and the first companion volume, The Cagliostro Curse for publication this year. TO ENJOY THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.

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