Serials defined my childhood.
I have George Lucas to thank for that: his love of classic movie serials led him to create Star Wars and Indiana Jones, two series that molded my fiction sensibilities, locking me in to a love of the classic serial style long before I even knew there was such a thing.
So when David Cranmer, crack editor of Beat to a Pulp (and kick-ass author in his own right) dropped me a line to ask if I'd be interested in contributing the first chapter in a serial he was cooking up, I didn't even have to hear his pitch. I was in.
Lucky for me, then, his pitch was awesome. A rough-and-tumble time cop named Simon Rip, who along with his enigmatic partner, Ludwig, is tasked with hunting rogue genius Dr. Berlin across time. David's plan was to recruit writers from a wide spectrum of genres -- pulp practitioners all -- and just let 'em loose. I mean, who wouldn't want to play in that sandbox? A schlocky sci-fi premise. Larger than life characters. Limitless possibilities. One day, Rip might find himself the unwitting star of a Western. The next, an old-school mob tale. Sword and sandal? Check. Victorian Gothic? Why the hell not?
David called his serial A Rip Through Time, and I was lucky enough to kick it off. My installment's titled The Dame, The Doctor, and the Device, a rollicking adventure that kicks off in the 24th century, takes a little jaunt into prehistory, and then winds up with a good, old-fashioned Prohibition-era gunfight. And oh yeah, ends on a big fat cliffhanger. (It's a serial, after all; did you even have to ask?)
So, who takes the reins for chapter two? I'm not telling. (Seriously, copper, you'll never get me to sing!) I will say this, though; the folks David's brought on board can write. I'm giddy at the thought of seeing where the story goes from here.
As to where you can read about Rip's exploits, go bug David. Seriously -- call him up. Write him letters. (You could even use these stamps.) Right now, it looks like Rip's set to appear first at Beat to a Pulp in serial form, and when the whole shebang draws to a close, he'll get his own snazzy little e-book for your downloading pleasure. The question is when.
But then, with Rip, the question is always when.
(Oh, and if you'd like a little tease as to what's in store, pop over to David's blog for a quote excerpted from Dr. Berlin's 2342 MIT Commencement address...)