cover image The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown

The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown

Paul Malmont. Simon & Schuster, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4391-6893-6

Malmont returns to the pulp magazine-inspired territory of The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, this time assembling a clutch of science fiction writers to defeat the Germans in WWII. Based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the crew's task is to use their science backgrounds and lively imaginations to tackle such projects as weather control, force fields, and invisibility. Under the leadership of Robert Heinlein and counting Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp among its members, the Kamikaze Group has few results to show its Navy hosts—until a German spy washes ashore near Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, prompting the government to suspect Nazi interest in Tesla's research. Heinlein and company head out to investigate, picking up L. Ron Hubbard on the way, and what they find leads them on a wild trip toward what might be the ultimate weapon needed to win the war. Malmont lovingly embraces the fact-fiction synthesis employed by the writers he brings to life, and while the narrative is erratically paced and overstuffed with digressions about which character wrote what, it's all lovingly done, and fans of the original pulps will surely enjoy the ride. (July)