Pulp review: Foes of the North

Foes of the North, by prolific pulpeteer William Merriam Rouse, combines fast action writing, an isolated setting, and a shoestring plot. It’s a terrific example of the form.

Rot Gut Pulp
Jul 22, 2020 · 3 min read

Foes of the North
🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
By William Merriam Rouse
4,500 Words.
Thrilling Advenures, May, 1937.

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William Merriam Rouse was a pulp writer whose works appeared in Argosy, Astounding Stories of Super-Science, Popular Detective, and All-Story Weekly. Thrilling Adventures published Foes of the North in 1937, the year of Rouse’s death at age 53.

His step-daughter, Miriam DuBois Babcock, wrote this of him:

He was a prolific freelance author in the heyday of the pulp magazine era. He wrote hundreds of short stories, novelettes, serials of adventure, mystery, comedy, detective, romance and horror as well as his favorite colonial and Quebec stories for various pulp and slick magazines. Among Bill Rouse’s manuscripts, unpublished at his death, were many blood and thunder French-Canadian stories. Residing for some time in Quebec, he grew familiar with the lifestyle and earthy language of a bucheron, or woodsman chopper. He wrote of the turn of the century lives of the French Canadians; mansions and dungeons, gallant horses pulling sleds or traineaus on snowy streets, hand to hand battles with knives and guns, often on snowshoes, always with suspense, mystery and usually a beautiful girl.

For those interested in writing, Babcock’s book Tales of Old Quebec contains copies of letters he received from the famous editors of the pulp magazines of his day.

Summary

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Commentary

Rouse writes clear, economical, fast-paced fight sequences that convey a good deal of action in a few brief sentences. A fight may only last a paragraph, but in the mind it plays out over several minutes. Skill, indeed. The setting is claustrophobic, as any cabin requiring snowshoes to access might be.

The plot? Shoestring. The twist? Obvious. But who cares? This is a pulp you read for steel flashing toward a balcony and a knife quivering in a man’s arm before he reels, stumbles, and falls over.

We can’t wait to read more from Rouse moving forward.

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Foes of the North

Rot Gut Pulp

Rot Gut Pulp: It’s not meant to be good. It’s meant to be read.™

Rot Gut Pulp

Written by

A high-end outfit publishing neo-pulp e-rags from a Potemkin village in Ha Long Bay. Rot Gut Pulp: Entertainment, not Genius.™

Rot Gut Pulp

A high-end outfit publishing neo-pulp e-rags from a Potemkin village in Ha Long Bay. We’d throw our grandmother into a jet turbine for a nickel and some cheap thrills. In life and dice, sometimes you throw a ten, but most of the time you seven out.

Rot Gut Pulp

Written by

A high-end outfit publishing neo-pulp e-rags from a Potemkin village in Ha Long Bay. Rot Gut Pulp: Entertainment, not Genius.™

Rot Gut Pulp

A high-end outfit publishing neo-pulp e-rags from a Potemkin village in Ha Long Bay. We’d throw our grandmother into a jet turbine for a nickel and some cheap thrills. In life and dice, sometimes you throw a ten, but most of the time you seven out.

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