Have a seat and get comfortable as we’re going to talk in detail about a project that’s been nothing but extraordinary for me to have a part in. So let’s take a few minutes and delve into how THE VRIL AGENDA came about.
It got into my melon of a head a particular obsession to have Dillon be trained in various disciplines by the great pulp champions of the past. Since Dillon is a spiritual son of those heroes, I always thought it would be a gas for him to seek out some of these men and women to learn what they know. Particularly in the early years of his career when he was fresh in the world and still learning his way around.
Of course I knew I couldn’t use The Big Three by name. I’m talking about Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger. But I could allude to them and in fact, in my portion of THE VRIL AGENDA that is written (patience, children…I’m getting to that) I do mention Doc, The Shadow, The Avenger and The Spider. Not directly by name, of course. But even if you’re only a casual pulp fan you’ll know who I’m talking about. But I did want to have Dillon meet up with actual classic pulp heroes and maybe even share an adventure with them. I didn’t want to create my own analogues or pastiche character. I wanted the actual guys.
Enter Jim Anthony, Super-Detective “Half-Indian, half-Irish and All-American” he started out in 1940 as a Doc Savage clone. But in recent years he’s been resurrected by Airship 27 in some really good stories. My favorites have been written by my friend and partner Joshua Reynolds
Josh and I have known each other for a goodish number of years. We’ve not only got a love of movies, comic books, pulp adventure, horror and writing in common we also share a common ancestry in that he’s from South Carolina which is where both of my parents as well as most of my uncles and aunts were born and raised. Josh and I have for years talked about writing something together and when I got this idea of having a Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Dillon seeking out a retired Jim Anthony for some post-graduate training in nemesising evil it was natural that I reach out to Josh.
Josh was all for the idea and before I knew what I had gotten myself into, he threw a blizzard of ideas and concepts at me, building on my initial idea so that we could incorporate Nazi super-technology, Hollow Earth theory and The Vril-Ya. And if that wasn’t enough, Josh suggested that we put Jim Anthony and Dillon up against Sun Koh. Josh’s idea was that since both Jim and Dillon were inspired by Doc Savage why not put them up against yet renowned pulp character also inspired by Doc.
I’d have been crazy to say no to any of Josh’s idea and so a plot was quickly whacked into shape and we hatched an even more inspired idea. Since Josh was writing Jim Anthony for Airship 27 we went to Captain Ron Fortier and asked him about doing the proposed book as a joint Airship 27/Pulpwork Press project. Before we could even finish the pitch, Ron said yes.
THE VRIL AGENDA breaks down into three parts: “The Power” takes place in present day written by Yours Truly. Then it goes back in time to 1937 where Josh recounts the first encounter between Jim Anthony and Sun Koh in “The Coming Race.” Then the story returns to modern day in “Vril-Ya!” There are some surprising revelations along the way about the lives of both Dillon and Jim Anthony as well as cameo appearances by Dan Fowler and Otis ‘Alcatraz’ Brown aka The Magician.
Co-writing THE VRIL AGENDA proved to be challenging in a lot of ways I thought it would be and even more importantly in ways I never thought it would be. The main challenge, of course is that it’s as much a Jim Anthony story as it is a Dillon story. I’m really conscious at all times that one doesn’t overshadow the other but it’s difficult as because at this point in his career, Dillon simply isn’t the character we’ve gotten to know through his previous adventures. Josh Reynolds calls him ‘Not Ready For Primetime Dillon’ and that’s a very good description of him at this time in his life. In fact, there are a lot of scenes where he’s simply standing back and observing or reacting to things that other characters are doing. He doesn’t have the experience to know what to do or say in some situations so he says and does nothing. And those are the scenes that Jim Anthony has to carry.
But on the opposing appendage, it’s a lot of fun writing a Dillon who doesn’t have his guns, gadgets or network of friends and assistants backing him up. This is a Dillon who relies almost totally on his physical abilities and his wits. And so there’s a different dynamic as to how he handles situations. I’m really pleased that even after all this time of living with this guy in my head, there are still new things I’m finding out about him.
I’m also kinda concerned that there isn’t a lot of the humor that I think readers enjoy in a Dillon story. A lot of the humor in a Dillon adventure comes from his reactions to the crazy stuff that’s happening around him and again, he just isn’t that character yet and as another character points out, he doesn’t even seem to have much of a sense of humor. But that’ll be up to you to judge when you finally do get to read it.
What I am pleased about is how the story just keeps moving even though there’s a lot of plot exposition and characterizations. The whole key to writing a pulp adventure is to not let the plot slow down for anything. Now this turns some writers off because they want to be able to do characterization and get into the heads of their characters and that’s all well and good. You can do a considerable amount of that in a pulp adventure story. Just don’t stop the plot while you’re doing it, is all.
But I’ll let you judge for yourself. Here’s the obligatory press release of THE VRIL AGENDA to get your pump going and at the bottom is the info as to where to get your hands on a copy. Enjoy!
TWO LEGENDARY HEREOS
COME TOGETHER TO DEFEAT
THE VRIL AGENDA
Airship 27 Productions & Pulp Work Press join forces for the very first time to announce the release of THE VRIL AGENDA, a fantastic, action packed pulp adventure by two of the finest writers in the New Pulp field, Joshua Reynolds and Derrick Ferguson.
Upon completing his training with the Warmasters of Shamballah, Dillon journeys back to America to begin the next phase of his training under tutelage of one of the greatest adventurers of all time, Jim Anthony – The Super Detective. But no sooner do they meet then one of Anthony’s most dangerous villains resurface from his past to once again threaten mankind, the superhuman Sun Koh – Prince of Atlantis.
Now the old warrior and his young student, aided by Anthony’s loyal family and allies, will take on this new threat, pitting their lives against powerful adversaries. From New York to Berlin and then on to a hidden civilization at the bottom of the world, the Super Detective and his two-fisted protégé must stop the fiendish Sun Koh before he can unlock the ages old secret of the Vril power.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Derrick’s Dillon from day one,” reports Airship 27 Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “And of course Josh has don several Jim Anthony projects for us including a full length novel. So when they first proposed this team-up book, I was thrilled beyond words.”
Noted fantasy author, Charles Saunders, creator of the Imaro series, calls The Vril Agenda, “…a remarkable achievement.”
The book features interior illustrations by award winning artist Rob Davis, with a stunning, dynamic cover painting by Adam Shaw; his first work for Airship 27 Productions.
Writers Josh Reynold and Derrick Ferguson have whipped up a frenetically paced tale that never lets up for second, masterfully delivering old fashion pulp action in what is sure to become a New Pulp Classic!
AN AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP WORK PRESS EVENT!
Available now from Amazon and soon on Kindle.