Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Did pulps die a natural death or were they murdered to make room for something else? I don't know the answer, I just don't believe the explanation that's out there, i.e., that the War provided so many real horrors that the pulps just couldn't compete. If that were true how come noirs were so popular after the war? How come horror films were so popular after WWI?

Milt claims that humorous 50s rock (like the kind of thing The Coasters did) never died a natural death...it was killed by radio execs while it was still exhuberant and healthy. The public loved it. He says the radio people were so certain that funny music wouldn't last long that they decided to kill it off near the height of its popularity and phase in something new to replace it.

Could something like this have have happened to the pulps?

I find it hard to believe that magazines with this much appeal (above) could have slipped away so quickly.

Yikes! Getting sliced up by a giant paper cutter...how gruesome! Yet it must have sold well.

I wonder if the paperback revolution killed the pulps.

Maybe cheap sci-fi paperbacks replaced the pulp magazines. Maybe paperbacks were perceived to offer a whole novel for the same price as short stories in the pulps. Maybe...I wish I knew!


ardy said...

Wow, I was just thinking about pulp magazines.

I think pulp magazines could make a big comeback. Or at least cheap, short stories sold through provocative titles and artwork. The kids these days love their electronic toys and have short attention spans. And some of these toys, like the iPad and Kindle, are pushed and marketed as ideal reading devices. But most people I've seen get wary of reading full length novels that way, it's better suited for shorter reads. And when you consider how visual the devices are, and how digital products are sold on them, images will become the strongest selling point, meaning awesome artwork will become a necessity to stand out. Also, with the huge glut of amateur authors out there and the ease of distribution, it's going to become a volume business, all about quantity over quality, the way pulp magazines were. To me this feels like the inevitable next step in literature.

The only caveat is that they won't be man stories, they will be predominantly female stories. Girls are way bigger readers these days, and as evidenced by the Twilight novels and 50 Shades of Grey, they do get off on some cheap, provocative fiction. If only those books had awesome artwork to accompany the shallow stories and bad writing, I'd go from hating them to loving them instantly.

kurtwil said...

I pretty much agree with Ardy. Kickstarter appears to be funding various comics and stories.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Ardy: Interesting thoughts! I think the pulp sensibility will make a comeback, though in which format it's hard to tell. What we need now is a new genre...but what?

Kurtwil: Thank God for Kickstarter!