Paul Malmont is a New York City based Copy Directory of an ad agency at his day job, but in his creative life is a filmmaker and author. In his debut novel The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, he explores the world of pulp magazines and the men who created them. Set in the the Manhattan of the 1930's, the novel is a portrait of a time when the newsstand, radio drama and moving pictures had a symbiotic relationship around the most popular pulp characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage.
Malmont uses the interesting tactic of populating his novel with famous pulp writers as protagonists. Walter Gibson, Lester Dent, H. P. Lovecraft and L. Ron Hubbard all make appearances as major viewpoint characters. The careful reader will be able to spot many cameos by recognizable characters from the world of the pulps, science fiction and the nascent comic book industry to say nothing of the world of Chinese history and politics. The central character in many ways, though, is the late depression New York City itself.
In this interview, Paul discusses with host Dave Slusher such subjects as his motivations for writing this book, how to write in styles that reflect other authors without becoming mere pastiche, the moral lessons that can be learned from pulp fiction, the lasting effects of the pulp era on science fiction and pop culture, the division between irony and sincerity, high and low culture and much more.
Paul Malmont is a Copy Director at an interactive advertising agency in New York. He has written for the Cartoon Network, VH1.com, Pfizer, Ricoh, Microsoft and a host of other corporate clients. His work has also won awards from Communication Arts and The One Show, and has been included in Time Magazine's "Best of..." He has been hailed by aintitcool.com as one of 5 filmmakers "so cool we don't know why they haven't been discovered yet."
Paul's short film, The King of the Magicians, was a commendation winner at the UK Festival of Fantastic Films and premiered at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. He has been privileged to work on such legendary cinematic bombs as Bonfire of the Vanities, Hudson Hawk and The Last Action Hero, but he also worked on The Fisher King and Honeymoon in Vegas.
Paul grew up in Washington D.C., Virginia, Taiwan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and counts among his ancestors an adjutant to Gen. Washington and the founders of Taunton, Massachusetts. His first pulp memories are of sneaking backstage during the Chinese operas performing near his parents' army base home in Taiwan. The actors would amuse themselves by painting his face in traditional Chinese theatrical fashion; thereafter as a dog, or a demon, or a wizened old man, he would terrorize the rest of his family. After returning to the United States, Paul studied opera singing and became an apprentice at a local summer stock theater. He attended Interlochen Arts Academy, and is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of Film & Television.
Paul has lived in New York for over 20 years and currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and sons. The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril is his first novel.
This free podcast is from our Voices in Your Head series.