‘Where Stories Dwell’ Book Review by Ron Fortier

Where Stories Dwell review by Ron FortierWHERE STORIES DWELL
By I.A. Watson
Pro Se Press
204 pages

If you haven’t been paying close attention over the past few years, then it might have escaped you that one of the leading voices in New Pulp Fiction these days is British writer, I.A. Watson. We can confirm that easily enough by telling you in the past ten years he’s won two of the coveted Pulp Factory Awards for Best Short Story. The first was for a Sherlock Holmes story and the second for frontier adventure featuring the characters from James Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.”

Now that bit of information leads us into this particular volume which is a pure reading light. You see those Pulp Factory Awards I just mentioned are given out by the internet group on Yahoo called the Pulp Factory; an informal group of New Pulp writers, artists, editors, publisher and fans with a membership numbering 128. Watson has been a member since its inception nearly ten years ago and he has used this particular internet board to regale his fellow members with entertaining essays covering such a wide range of topics it sometimes boggles the mind. Let anyone even hint at an odd tidbit found on-line and instantly Watson is putting forth a two page dissertation on the subject, filled with insightful commentary, humor and the most outlandish historical notes once could ever imagine.

Watson’s Pulp Factory essays have rambled freely over such topics as the birth of heroic fantasy and fairy tales; the legend of King Arthur, heroes, the most powerful female monarch in history, how bad guys die, the purpose of using chapters, the dead World War II hero, Hollywood’s misunderstanding of pulps, etc. etc. etc. Just to name a few of the dozens between these pages. There’s even an essay explaining the genealogy of British Kings which I confess still confuses me to no end. But what was crystal clear from the first page to the last was just how much fun this book truly is.

And this is where, as a fellow publisher in the New Pulp field, I humbly tip my hat to Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Press. While the rest of us were reading Watson’s essays and enjoying them, it was Tommy who had the oh-so brilliant idea of publishing them and producing this remarkable book. Oh, and if you are wise enough to pick up a copy, there’s a challenge for you in the very cover by Jeff Hayes, which includes an item related to every single essay in the book itself. Can you pick them all out?

“Where Stories Dwell,” is that rarest of books; on that both amuses and informs at the same time by a writer I’ve come to believe is truly the World’s Last Renaissance Man.
Read it and then tell me I’m wrong. That’s a safe bet on my part.

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