on June 27, 2011 :
Mythik Imagination #1 is a set of whimsical shorts that are as far removed as possible from hard sci-fi. It’s best described as “pulp sci-fi” with its use of psychic powers and futuristic settings… including a story set during WWII, of course.
The stories are easy to get into, and they launch into their concepts right from the first paragraph. Here’s the beginning of “Yesterday’s Eyes”:
[The blight of Prison made a whole world untouchable. It was a cesspool of nightmares; the one place the criminals and undesirables of two worlds feared like the bogeyman of a child’s fairy tale. It was much more than any common detention facility and had an entire world all to itself, isolated on the smallest of three moons circling a dead planet.]
A planet called Prison where the other prisoners can kill you by channeling psychic powers of pure hate? Hard to get more pulp than that. These are concept-driven stories much in the style of The Twilight Zone. There’s not much in the way of interesting characters or action scenes and such, but I really enjoyed the novel concepts they explored and I felt satisfied with their length. The author skillfully conveys their distinct settings with the minimal use of detail, and I loved the overall tone as it authentically channels the pulp spirit. The “Ghosts of the Future” is the most enjoyable story in this collection.
On the other hand, “The Figment of Doom” is rather weak. I liked the premise, but instead of being whimsical, it just comes off as plain silly. It could have been a cute mind screw, but the amnesiac protagonist spends too much time making light of his situation before the reader could feel concern for him. I felt distant from him and never felt like he was in genuine danger, and that took away the ending’s punch. The protagonist’s self-conscious commentary could have worked in smaller doses, but instead it removed the suspense from the piece. I didn’t find this story witty or had any other reaction to it. I could give this story a miss, but the other two are still worthwhile.
While I didn’t appreciate all the stories in this collection, they’re unique and memorable. The author is adept at writing stories with wildly different settings structured around some really interesting and unusual ideas. Even though I’m giving this particular issue 3 stars for “good, but could have been more engaging”, I’m looking forward to the rest of the Mythik Imagination releases. Up next is a Weird West issue, and after that is Strange Sea Stories. Anyone who likes pulp would find this “Mythik” line of stories very intriguing and worth a look.
If you’re looking for hard sci-fi or pulp-action adventures, this isn’t the book. But if you want quirky high concept stories with pulp charm, this is a neat read.
Note: a free review copy was provided by the author.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)