East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The return of Armless O’Neil

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InterludeAccording to his obituary

Mr. [Dan] Cushman wrote books set in the South Pacific, the Congo and the Yukon, and he drew on his colorful life for much of his fiction. He worked as a cowboy, a printer, a prospector, a geologist’s assistant, an advertising writer and a radio announcer.

One of Dan Cushman characters was called Armless O’Neil, and was a guy with a hook for a hand, that plied his trade – as mercenary and an adventurer – in Dark Africa.

Armless O’Neil is not a nice guy – and he can be at times outright unsavory – but his stories are ripping good yarns of action and adventure, violence and betrayal.
Altus Press published two volumes collecting the complete run of stories from the mid ’40s, from magazines like Action Stories and Jungle Stories.

AON Ebook CoverBut if Dan Cushman ended his career at the age of 92, in 2001, they still have to bury Armless O’Neil – and I had lots of fun reading the collection of all-new originals featuring the hook-handed tough guy published by Pro Se Press, and elegantly titled Blood-price of the Missionary’s Gold.
New authors, new adventures, the same old gritty and cynical bastard trying to do his job against terrible odds.
Compared to the originals, the new stories show how much more diverse the field of pulp has become.
Which does not mean that Armless O’Neil has been cleaned up and given a politically correct makeover – quite simply, modern taste and sensibilities have opened up new routes for adventure.
And a damn good read it is.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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