These books are appropriate for ages 12 and older. Savvy younger readers may also enjoy it.
Begin the saga with
The Last Star Warden:
Tales of Adventure and Mystery from Frontier Space, Volume I
A star devouring ship bears down on an unsuspecting colony, and only the Last Star Warden
and his alien companion, Quantum, can stop it!
An abandoned space station is terrorized by unearthly forces, and the Last Star Warden and Quantum
must stop the forces before they destroy the galaxy!
A frantic call for help leads to the Last Star Warden and his friend Quantum to a city of debauchery and secrets
where madness threatens to overtake them!
Held captive on the worst prison ship in the galaxy, the Last Star Warden must find a way to escape before Quantum is killed!
An intended vacation plunges the Last Star Warden and Quantum into the internecine warfare of corporate corruption!
Herein are five tales full of thrills and uncertainty that give us a fantastic new look at classic sci-fi pulp - the same themes
are there, but with modern sensibilities thrown in, complete with McCuiston's own illustrations.
So if you're looking for stories reminiscent of the days when heroes of all kinds stood for justice and the common good,
you'll love this collection of adventures!
The mythos continues with
The Last Star Warden, Volume II:
The Un Quan Saga
Three novellas, collected from a jungle world with two suns!
COMING NOVEMBER 1, 2021
The Ghost of the Frontier is lost in Uncharted Space!
A desperate battle with space pirates cuts the Last Star Warden off from Quantum, the Ranger VII,
and even the explored galaxy!
The Forbidden City of Un Quan
Stranded on the deadly jungle world of Un Quan in an unfamiliar binary system, the Warden finds himself embroiled in a generational war between two rival factions. Though the primitive tribes each see themselves as unique, the Warden can't help but see their similarities. The answer to the mystery of this age-old rift as well as any hope of returning to the Frontier lines in the Forbidden City, and the Warden must work with the scions of the two tribes to find it.
The First Star Warden
Meanwhile, the architect of the rogue bridge that facilitated the Warden's unexpected sojourn puts his plans of invasion into action. The Warden soon finds himself standing between his newfound friends on Un Quan and the man he most idolized in his youth. A man who has brought an army of cybernetically enhanced super soldiers to colonize the Bronze Age world.
The Fate of Un Quan
As diplomats from the United Planetary Council arrive on Un Quan to negotiate with the natives, a powerful force from Uncharted Space moves to intercede. Reunited with Quantum, the Warden must juggle political responsibilities with an apocalyptic interstellar threat while dealing with his own profound personal loss.
Action! Adventure! Mystery! Intrigue! Romance!
All to be found in this second volume of the Last Star Warden's daring tales!
"...Jason J. McCuiston's The Last Star Warden is about an actual hero... the titular Star Warden. The stories have everything that one could want in science fiction action/adventure. There's dastardly villains, shootouts, space battles, mysterious space stations, and an indomitable sense of right and wrong... The Star Warden is a straightforward hero - no deconstruction, no metanarrative, no satirization. He's an unapologetic Good Guy. He's a rarity in his world, and in this one as well..."
~ Carl R. Jennings,
Reviewer for Phantasmagoria Magazine and author of Just About Anyone
"The Last Star Warden is exactly what it looks like: a rollicking collection of space western stories.
McCuiston delivers big with plenty of imagination and thrills. He pays homage to a western classic formula
while injecting enough delightful alien weirdness to justify the intergalactic setting.
The Warden and Quantum are unashamedly heroic heroes doing what's right in an unforgiving universe.
~ Bryce Beattie,
Editor of StoryHack Action & Adventure and author of Swordcrossed Frostbite
"The Last Star Warden - a.k.a. 'The Phantom Lawman' or 'The Ghost of the Frontier' - finds himself displaced a hundred years into his future and facing off against numerous foes and dangers he never dreamed possible:
a derelict space station haunted by vengeful ghosts, a behemoth corporate-built machine that feasts on entire stars,
and a merciless prison ship among them. Armed only with his twin Comet pistols and his former-enemy-turned-sidekick
Quantum for backup, the Last Star Warden meets all with steely grace and nobility - and a rare and refreshing
level of pure, pulpy fun. Jason McCuiston's excellent book of adventures reads like a time warp back to
boyhood Saturdays where classic Science Fiction played all afternoon on UHF. A fantastic experience!"
~ Gregory L. Norris,
Author of the Gerry Anderson's Into Infinity novels by Anderson Entertainment
"McCuiston has delivered a fast-paced and
richly-textured debut novel..."
~ Tom English,
Editor of Black Infinity Magazine
...McCuiston delivers an unforgettable page-turner.
Moody, gorgeously written..."
~ Gregory L. Norris,
author of the Gerry Anderson Into Infinity novels
"There's an emotional core to proceedings--McCuiston knows his characters and cares about them... Jason J. McCuiston is an author of exceptional talent..."
~ Trevor Kennedy,
Editor of Phantasmagoria Magazine
About the Author
Jason J. McCuiston was born in the wilds of southeast Tennessee, where he was raised on a carnivorous diet of old monster movies, westerns, comic books, horror magazines, sci-fi and fantasy novels, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons. Publishing his first story about zombies, kung fu, and family ties in Parsec Ink's 2017 Triangulation: Appetites anthology, Jason became a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest and has studied under the tutelage of best-selling author Philip Athans. His stories of fantasy, horror, and science fiction (and even a few crime dramas) have appeared in numerous anthologies, periodicals, websites, and podcasts.
Jason lives in South Carolina, USA with his college-professor wife (making him a Doctor's Companion) and their two four-legged children, Grendel* and Winky (pictured). Jason can be found here on Facebook, and he occasionally tweets about his dogs, his stories, his likes, and his gripes here on Twitter.
You can meet the Last Star Warden in our anthology A Celebration of Storytelling. It's Jason's first story about his intrepid space hero and his loyal companion, Quantum. He also has a short crime drama in the anthology as well.
*Grendel has since passed, but his spirit lives on in the Warden's faithful companion, Quantum. R.I.P. to one of the goodest boys ever.
The Origins of The Last Star Warden
from Jason J. McCuiston
The Lone Ranger. My dad has always been a big Western buff, and, like most of my tastes in fiction, I inherited that from him. As a child of the 1970s, my favorite toys were the Lone Ranger and Tonto action figures from Gabriel. I watched the old reruns of the Clayton Moore TV show and was ecstatic when the Saturday-morning cartoon finally came along. Even more so when I found out about the live-action movie in 1981, which I saw at the local drive-in theater when I was eight years old. I remember begging for the film novelization, and then having my dad go through and mark out all the "bad words" so I could read it.
But what was it about the Lone Ranger that so captivated me? Was it the blue suit, the twin six-guns, the mask? Probably. But I think it was also the fact that he was the Good Guy, so much so that he wouldn't even kill the Bad Guys. No matter how hard it made his life, the Lone Ranger always did the right thing.
Captain America. I've always loved medieval knights even more than Old West cowboys. With his shield and shirt, Captain America seemed like the Marvel Universe's version of a modern-day knight in shining armor. As I got older and began reading his comics, I found that the comparison extended to his ethos as well. Cap, like the Lone Ranger, is the quintessential Good Guy. He's also a soldier, like my father and my grandfather, so I appreciated the military aspect of his character--the rigorous training and discipline, the drive to exceed one's personal limits.
And though Buck Rogers had done it decades before, Captain America is also a man out of time. He's a Greatest-Generation character living first among the Baby Boomers, and now adjusting to the Gen-Xers and Millennials. Yet, in his mind and in mine, The Right Thing doesn't have an expiration date.
The Phantom. One of--if not the very first--costumed crime-fighters. Another two-gun hero in a mask on a white horse. A man with a mysterious origin and a legacy of immortality. A legendary man who fights pirates and corrupt governments. But a living, breathing man all the same. The fact that the character's mystique is built on family and lineage makes the Phantom a believable human being. We know that the man in the mask will die someday, but the Phantom and what he stands for, what he fights for, what he believes in will live on. And the Bad Guys secretly tremble in that knowledge.
So, where to take this amalgamation of Wild West lawman, urban crime-fighter, super soldier, and jungle legend? Why, SPAAAAAACE of course! (Yes, Space Ghost was another obvious influence.)
Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers are Sam Jones and Gil Gerard in my mind, not Larry "Buster" Crabbe and, well, Larry "Buster" Crabbe... though I have watched some of the serials. But the proto/subgenre of the ray gun and rocket ship has its fingerprints on everything from Forbidden Planet through Star Trek and Star Wars, all the way to Farscape, Firefly, and The Expanse. We, as human beings, love the notion of exploration, of reaching out to see what's "beyond". Infinite space will always be that, the carrot forever out of our reach. And that is why space adventures will always appeal to us in one form or another.
The Last Star Warden is a Good Guy. He is a lawman dedicated to doing The Right Thing, even if the modern worlds around him don't necessarily know what that is. He's a mortal man, alone in this quest save for his friend and one-time enemy, Quantum. The Lone Ranger had Tonto, Batman had Robin, Captain America had Bucky (and later the Falcon), and the Phantom had Guran. The Last Star Warden has Quantum, an inter-dimensional alien with a mind like a supercomputer.
Together, they battle the Bad Guys, wherever they find them. They're soldiers fighting The Good Fight.
Here's some information on the history of and facts about pulp fiction.
Pulp's Big Moment from The New Yorker
What is Pulp Fiction? from The Vintage Library
The Golden Age of Pulp Fiction from The Pulp Magazines Project
Pulp Science Fiction from BestScienceFictionBooks.com
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Pulp from Science Fiction Encyclopedia, Ltd
Pulp Fiction genre section from The Vintage Library
Hero Pulps from The Vintage Library
Badass Women of the Pulp Era from Gizmodo
Pulp Fiction by Women with Protofeminist Roots from The New York Times
Women of the Pulps: Spicy Covers and Startling Stories from The Ultimate History Project
Black Writers for the Pulps: The Case of Wallace Thurman and Harlem Stories from Boozehounds and Bookleggers
Pulp Illustration: Pulp Magazines from Norman Rockwell Museum
Images (top to bottom):
Book cover image by Melrose Dowdy.
The Sun Smasher title card illustration by Jason J. McCuiston.
City of the Mad God title card illustration by Jason J. McCuiston.
Author Jason J. McCuiston and his puppers.
The Haunted Station title card illustration by Jason J. McCuiston.
Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger riding Silver, and Jay Silverheels as Tonto riding Scout. February 3, 1956. From Wikimedia Commons.
Batman from a model cel for the Super Friends cartoon, 1973-1978. From Worthpoint.
Captain America from Marvel Directory. Unknown date.
The Phantom from The Ghost Who Walks Fandom. Unknown date.
The Last Star Warden's ship illustration by Jason J. McCuiston.
Captain Future cover from Pinterest--unknown origin
Future cover from book sales website