Part of the fun of archiving older material is discovering horrible mistakes and getting the chance to fix them. For instance, THIS book review, until I did this edit, said that the book I'm looking at here was published in 2005---but it occurred to me, as I was rereading it, that the date didn't seem quite right. I contacted the writer for the book (who is a friend of mine) and he said I was off just a bit---only about ten years. The book came out in 2015, not 2005! (Dang...) BUT, as I said, it's always good when you catch an error and fix it! Personally, I'd rather admit a mistake and repair it than have inaccurate information forever representing my ability to do research---but maybe you're not interested in the mechanics of writing reviews... Maybe you just want to know what this book is about! In that case, here's my review of a TRULY independent work, created and self-published by two guys from the Pacific Northwest. (This review was originally published 23 Mar. 2017 at The Primitive Entertainment Workshop!)
“Read a Damn Book – 015: Martian-American War”
Full disclosure: the book that I’m about to review was written and drawn by friends of mine. Hopefully, I have enough integrity to be objective. We’ll see if that’s the case…
[This is a photograph that I took of the actual book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]
Daniel T. Foster & Michael J. King – Martian-American War (2015)
Martian-American War is an illustrated short story in the “dime novel” style (text with illustrations). The book is very nicely printed by a local print shop, with 20 pages of story and a brilliantly designed card-stock cover. Dan Foster spins this yarn, which reminds me of a classic pulp adventure in the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ vein. Meanwhile, Michael King, who drew the line art, seems to be channeling the detail work of John Tenniel (most famous for his Alice in Wonderland work) or maybe (the sadly, recently deceased) Bernie Wrightson.
The tale takes place in an alternate timeline in which Thomas Edison is president, Tesla has designed weapons for the military, and space is full of ether, upon which flotilla ships travel to other planets. When an Earth ship is mysteriously destroyed, and Martian weapons are discovered in the wreckage, Teddy Roosevelt heads to Mars with the troops to protect the human way of life. Dan Foster’s writing is strong, and the adventure is fun, while King’s artwork fleshes the tale out, giving life to the characters—and his cover for the book is a true masterpiece.
One knit-picky bit: the version that I have suffers from a couple of typos, including one repeated paragraph, but I’ve read a great many independently published books (not to mention some books made by the BIG BOYS) and most of them have had a few typos and glitches. (I have been assured that the newer editions of Martian-American War have corrected the errors, but I haven’t seen them to be certain.) With that one minor complaint, I really did enjoy the book and would recommend it for fans of “Golden Age” science-fiction, pulp adventures, and “alternate history” stories. I am also looking forward to reading the sequel (already available), which stars Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, and supposedly has more of a Lovecraftian mood!
—Richard F. Yates
P.S. – Unfortunately for most folks, finding this book in a store will be difficult unless you live in the Pacific Northwest (USA). If you attend the Rose City Comicon (Portland, OR) or Jet City Comicon (Tacoma, WA), you can grab a copy from the Art-Horse Studios booth. Or, you can check out their Faceboot page by going HERE!
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
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