Monday, April 30, 2012


Cover by Rob Davis & Shane Evans
Writing, let alone reading, pulp can take one to many wondrous places at various times within history and fiction; and one of the more frequent writing travelers is Erwin K. Roberts.

His latest solo exploit is Doctor Watson's American Adventure, recently released from Airship 27, which helps to cover what happened in John Watson's life while Sherlock Holmes' was missing after that fateful trip over the Reichenbach Falls.

Watson and his new wife Mary travel to America to look into her side of the family tree. As the mystery unfolds, they are helped by the very first masked rider of the plains, future President of the United States Teddy Roosevelt, and others.

The Free Choice E-zine recently had an opportunity to chat further with the author.

Erwin K. Roberts
The Free Choice E-zine: How did this book come about?

Erwin K. Roberts: I pitched the idea of a Watson anthology before I knew Airship-27 already had Aaron Smith's A Season of Madness headed for publication. So while technically mine's their second Doctor Watson book, I had a great deal of fun writing about him; about three times more than I planned for.

TFCE: This book is the latest effort in a growing movement called New Pulp. What is New Pulp to you?

Erwin: New Pulp turned out to be what I was writing long before anybody used that term. Pulp, Old & New, is about adventure fiction. Solid fast paced stories that, since before World War One, have been transferred into media other than magazines. Classic Pulp remembers the originals. New Pulp gives them and characters inspired by them new adventures. For instance, Mack Bolan has been New Pulp since 1969.

TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
Erwin: I've wanted to write most of my life. But my interests have mostly been in niches traditional publishers don't do much with. Today's technology and do-it-yourself methods for both printing and electronic distribution make it possible for me to find an audience for the sort of things I like to write.

TFCE: What inspires you to write?
Erwin: I constantly have ideas popping into my head. Something I noticed today suddenly meshes with an event I saw on the news, or decades ago in real life. And, what if this other gizmo got tossed in? And this happens to a cop? newsman? masked avenger? poor schmo-on-the-street? And away the story goes.

TFCE: What has influenced your style and technique?
Erwin: Way too many to give a complete listing. Carl Barks, for one. Arthur C. Clarke, E. E. 'Doc' Smith, Ed Hamilton, Andre Norton, to name just a few science fiction writers. Edgar Rice Burroughs fits in various categories. And a bunch of comic book pros and fans.

TFCE: What would be your dream project?
Erwin: Aside from getting my own characters out there? I think I've done at least part of it. The first two hero pulps I picked up were late issues of The Phantom Detective and The Masked Rider. I've written new stories for both of them. My version of the Phantom Detective (along with some other heroes) should be appearing in a major story called "The Sons of Thor", to be published by Pro Se Press between two consecutive issues of their monthly Pro Se Presents magazine in the near future. This is basically a villain pulp. But none of the pulp villains ever lasted very long. In my opinion, part of that was because they always seemed to fight the same hero every time. The Sons of Thor are Germanic Nationalists who've been around for centuries. To them, the Nazis are Johnny-come lately wimps. First I threw them up against a green-as-grass 2nd LT Richard Curtis van Loan in the deadly skies of the Great War. Then, in the classic "pulp-era", who stands between them and conquest? Singly and together, the Phantom Detective, Jim Anthony, and the Black Bat.
Airship-27 has my Masked Rider story lined up for their next MR anthology.
There are other classic characters I'd like a crack at. And not just from pulps. One that always comes to mind as begging for a prose exploit is DC Comics' Dr. Mid-Nite from the original Justice Society of America.

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
Erwin: Retired! I will probably retire from my day job around the end of 2012. But in addition to writing, I plan to take some of the art classes I should have taken in college, instead of the now obsolete paper drafting courses on my transcript.

TFCE: Any other projects you'd like to promote?
Cover by Rob Davis & Rich Woodall
Erwin: Out recently from Airship-27 was a new anthology of The Moon Man vol. 1. This fellow with the one-way Argus glass globe on his head was the Robin Hood of the pulps. I wrote one of the stories in the anthology. I wondered why he emulated Robin so, as a kid, I sent him to Sherwood Forest. The Moon Man robs the rich and/or crooked of Midwestern Great City to help those made poor by the Great Depression. And gets into a ton of trouble along the way.

Pro Se should also soon be releasing The Pulptress vol. 1. I have a story in that anthology where, as a tween, she crosses paths with my second generation hero The Voice.

Finally, I'm putting the finishing touches on the second volume of my own hero in Casebook of The Voice.

TFCE: Sounds like "retirement" is actually going to be a misnomer in your case.
Erwin: Maybe.
TFCE: Well, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to grant us this interview.
Erwin: Your welcome.

Dr. Watson's American Adventure is available electronically at
The print version will also soon be available at

The Moon Man and all other books mentioned in this interview are also available from

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