Review: The Blood Red Sphere by Lawrence Barker

The Blood Red Sphere by Lawrence Barker
The Blood Red Sphere by Lawrence Barker

The Blood Red Sphere
Lawrence Barker
Swimming Kangaroo Books, 2009

I’m not quite sure where or when I came across The Blood Red Sphere in Publisher’s Weekly of all places (I’ve noticed that PW loves to toss in some small press reviews amongst the typical dross, particularly in the genre sections).  Regardless, I’m glad I did since this small press pulp sci-fi adventure was a treat to read.  The plot is fairly simple: Helios, a recovering addict of a hallucinogenic drug and a man with a haunted past, makes his way by recovering and selling Martian artifacts.  The seedy, down-on-his-luck vibe lends a sort of Indiana Jones come Phillip Marlowe vibe to the character; though Helios comes off a bit more straight faced than either of those characters.  Anyway, as any good pulp story should, The Blood Red Sphere kicks off with a beautiful and mysterious woman who is more than she appears at first glance.  She hires Helios and his “equalshare” (i.e. partner) to recover some artifacts supposedly stolen from her late husband.  This seemingly innocuous request spirals outward into a rather complex and expertly woven web of mystery, betrayal, and adventure.  Barker, whose only other work I could find is a horror novel called Renfield, has created an exciting tale that hearkens back to classic pulp sci-fi while also managing to create a fascinating world rife with vibrant characters and a surprisingly deep history. Continue reading “Review: The Blood Red Sphere by Lawrence Barker”