October is Black Speculative Fiction Month! To celebrate, each Friday in October will be Pulp Fiction Friday. Authors will contribute a post discussing pulp, mystery, spies, and whodunits in the realms of science fiction and speculative. Welcome to Balogun Ojetade!
Q: What is pulp? What makes it different from other genres?
Answer: Some of you are saying “If not the movie by Quentin Tarantino, then what in the hell is Pulp?”
Is it that nasty, fibrous stuff I hate in my orange juice, but my wife always buys, because – for some odd reason – she loves it?
Q: What is Pulp?
Is it that early 80s British alternative rock band who sounded like a hybrid of David Bowie and The Human League?
Q: What is Pulp?
Think adventure, exotic settings, femme fatales and non-stop action. Think larger-than-life heroes, such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, Marv, from Sin City and Indiana Jones.
Pulp includes Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Western, Fight Fiction and other genres, but what sets pulp apart are its aforementioned fast-pace, exotic locales, linear – but layered – plots, its two-fisted action….and those characters! Larger than life, loud, bombastic, often arrogant, sexy, outrageous and oh so violent…
Q: Why do you write pulp? What do you enjoy about it? Love about it?
The first pulps were published in the late 1800s and enjoyed a golden age in the 1930s and 1940s. And – like most genre fiction of the day…and today – Black heroes were absent. Like most genre fiction of the day, if a Black person was found in pulp fiction at all, they were the noble savage…or just the savage.
I enjoy the aforementioned two-fisted, layered plots and larger-than-life characters and I knew I would enjoy Pulp more if I could read about heroes who look like me, so I write it because I want to see heroes in pulp who look like I look; think like I think; feel like I feel.
Q: Who inspired you to write?
My love of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Thriller films and fiction inspired me to write. I wanted to tell the kinds of stories that kept me turning pages, sitting on the floor before our television screen, or standing in line at a theater for two hours, in the dead of Chicago Winter, just to see the next big Christmas Blockbuster.
Q: What’s next in terms of pulp fiction? Where does the genre go from here?
You are going to see a lot more diversity. Much more pulp from Black writers. That’s not really new, though. Pulp magazines, created by, and about, African heroes were highly popular across the continent of Africa in the 1960s through the 1980s.
Sold under the brand names African Film and Boom, these magazines – called photo comics, or “look books” – were illustrated with stunning photographs instead of drawings, giving them the uniqueness, creative flair and do-it-yourself spirit common throughout Africa.
With heroes like the Tarzan-esque Fearless Fang (Boom) and the “African Superman”, Son of Samson, children and adults alike waited eagerly every month for latest edition to hit the newsstands.
Q: Who is your favorite pulp character? Why?
My favorite pulp character is actually one of my own creation – Ezekiel Cross. Ezekiel Cross, the retired master assassin and man out of time, first appeared in Redeemer (2012) and returned in 2015 in a big way in Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles. Ezekiel Cross is handsome, strong, intelligent…and a cold blooded killer. For most of his life, Ezekiel has been a professional assassin, trained from a young age by the world’s masters of dealing death to enforce the whims of his boss.
But Ezekiel is tired – tired of the lies to his wife, Mali; tired of not having the normal life he craves. He longs for the day that he can hang up his guns and live a normal life with Mali. So he decides to end his career as a professional assassin; to hang up his guns and raise a family.
But the life of a killer is never his own. Ezekiel is called to do one last hit, but instead of closing the deal he finds himself a target. He’s sent back in time in what is meant as an experiment as well as punishment.
Initially distraught, he decides to change his fate by saving himself and his family from the events that led him to a lifetime of crime. Along the way, he meets some of the coolest, sexiest, deadliest and craziest characters to ever grace the pages of a book and ultimately finds himself in a situation that could change his life forever…or end it.
Ezekiel is driven by a need for family; for peace and he will commit terrible acts of violence to attain and maintain it.
Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles includes the alternate story, Redeemer: Glitch, in which Ezekiel’s actions bring him into direct conflict with the Grandfather Paradox, a powerful, brutal entity that exists to set time right when it has been thrown out of balance.
Ezekiel combines his exceptional skills with his knowledge of the present, which is his past, to save himself and those he loves. I love this character because he’s cool, deadly and won’t hesitate to kill, but he is all about the building, maintaining and protection of family.
Q: How can readers get in touch with you? Social media shout outs?
I happen to be one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and I write about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.
All of my books are available on Amazon on my Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/Balogun-Ojetade/e/B00AVEA7SU and on my book and film website, http://www.roaringlionsproductions.com/.