Wednesday 3 May 2017

Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend - Barry Lyga - A Short Story

Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend:
A Short Story
Barry Lyga
Barry Lyga LLC

Sometimes when authors share about works that might have been or should have been it leads to great disappointment. It might have been stories that were written and because of writes never published. Or trilogies that were originally planned for 4 books and the publisher truncates the series. Ideas that have been sold that never saw the light of day.  After reading this story and the back story about it; it is one of those times. This story seems like it would fit in Wild Card's world by George R.R. Martin nicely. But it was the beginning of a series by Lyga that never materialized. But I am getting ahead of myself. First about we get to see this story as part of Barry Lyga's 2017 Year of Short Stories series. He is releasing a new short story around the first of each month and the story will only be available for the month. He is publishing these stories and all the proceeds are going to the ACLU, for after the November 2016 election as an author, as a man who makes his living from words he wanted to do something and these stories are a result of that desire to do something. As a writer, a crafter of words and worlds he decided to use his voice, his words to draw attention. We his fans benefit with a new story every month. You can read about why he is doing this here. This story was to be part of a very different project, but it stands very well on its own as a great little short story. 

Barry states about this specific story:

"Many years ago, a small comic book company asked me to create a universe. 

As I'm sure you've already guessed, said universe creation did not involve the conjuring of a Primal Atom or anything like that. They wanted a super-hero universe of their own, and they wanted me to make it. At the time, it seemed as though every comic book publisher either had or was about to launch an entire universe of its own, whether people wanted it or not. This in flagrant, ignorant denial of an obvious fact: The Marvel and DC Universes exist not because someone said, "Let's make a super-hero universe!" but rather because they grew organically over the years. You can't mimic the success of the Big Two - built over decades - with something sui generis. 

That didn't stop publishers, though. And it didn't stop the one talking to me.

Now, look: I can honestly say that this project wasn't about the money because, well, there was none. I was still toiling away with short stories and comic books, and basically I was asked to invent this universe gratis, on spec, with the understanding that I would get my reward on the back-end.

Turns out I missed the mark. The publisher wasn't interested in what I'd put together and the comics never happened. 

But I always loved the story, the backstory, the characters, and the universe. One day, I decided I would try to turn that particular universe into a series of short stories. And the first one I wrote was the one you're about to read."

And he is justified in liking this story. It is an interesting story; it is part police detective story, part super hero story and a whole lot of fun. Our main character is a Captain Fannon, and at one point reflecting to himself he things "I have to admit I like that. You see news footage of Zenith or Kid Chaos or Devil's Advocate, and they look like they're stuck halfway between Superman and Zeus. I get shivers when I see them, color-spangled and unearthly. It doesn't always feel like they're here to protect us. Sometimes it feels more like they're all involved in some kind of celestial chess match and we're… 
We're less than pawns. We're the board. And no one cares what happens to the board. 
Not Pulse, though. He seems like he could be an ordinary guy."

But things are not always as they appear and sometimes being a detective you cannot let things go. This story is about one of those times and one of those guys.

I read this story through when I first got it and again more slowly over coffee the next morning. After reading it I desperately want to read some of the other stories set in this universe that Lyga has created. In the note about the story Lyga says: 

"One thing that would have really made Pulse's story pop, though, is a context that of course is missing from this standalone story. Had my super-hero universe become a series of comics, there would have been one about Pulse (with this story serving as its first issue, most likely) and another about the super-team called the Defense Union. Of which Pulse is a member." 

I would love to read more of those stories. 

This short story is only available for a limited time. The proceeds go to a good cause. If enjoy short stories or are a fan of Lyga's work you should really pick it up and give it a read. I highly recommend it! But be warned you might be left wanting more.

Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Down Time (2018)
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

The Flash Series:
Hocus Pocus (2017)
Johnny Quick (2018)
Tornado Twins (2018)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)
Thanos Titan Consumed (2018)
The Hive (2019)


Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
The Life Cycle of Stars (Ignition)
Trading Worlds
When I Die
The Autopsying of Michael Edward Morgan
Meet Me Tonight

Contributed to:

Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner

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