Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Zombies From the Pulps!: The Forbidden Trail - Jane Rice

ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS! comes to a close with "The Forbidden Trail" by Jane Rice, which appeared originally in the April 1941 issue of the legendary pulp UNKNOWN. I'm not sure I've read anything else by Jane Rice, but this is an excellent story and one of my favorites in the anthology.

Unlike any of the other stories that came before it, this tale of an explorer and his wife in Africa is told in a light, breezy, bantering style that seems more appropriate for one of the slicks, rather than a pulp. But then, when they're asked to look into the disappearance of a minor government official on an isolated rubber plantation, things wind up taking a turn that, if anything, is more creepy and gruesome than most of the other stories. Yet despite all the grotesque goings-on and the violent death, Rice still manages to spin her yarn in the same lightweight tone and somehow makes it work beautifully. I've got to seek out more stories by Jane Rice, who also wrote under the name Mary Austin.

This wraps up my survey of ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS! I've really enjoyed reading a story from it every week or so and might just tackle another anthology in the same manner. Jeffrey Shanks did a great job of editing this one. There's not a bad story in the bunch. All of them are entertaining and some are outstanding. I think this volume is sure to appear on my Top Ten list at the end of the year, and if you haven't picked it up yet, I give it my highest recommendation. I can't help but hope that sooner or later we'll see MORE ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS!


Walker Martin said...

I recently reread this story also. Jane Rice had 10 stories in UNKNOWN and just about stopped writing when the magazine ceased publication. She wrote a few more stories during a long life(1913-2003) for the slicks and digests but for the most part she was one of UNKNOWN'S major writers and was a victim of the paper shortage in WW II.

She had a short novel named "Lucy" that was lost when UNKNOWN went under. Most of her work has been published in a collection called THE IDOL OF THE FLIES AND OTHER STORIES.

Rich Harvey said...

In PULP ADVENTURES #15 (on sale in November) there's a reprint from Spicy Mystery, "The Garden of Evil" by E. Hoffman Price. The suggestion/hint/promise of zombies ... but that striving to maintain realism. Y'know?

m said...

Take you so much for this series of reviews. Great stuff.