What is Pulp Adventure?

I have described The Old Man’s Request and the Utgarda Trilogy as “pulp adventure set in the 1920’s.”  What exactly does this mean?

For most people, Pulp Fiction is the name of a 1994 Quentin Tarantino movie.  That film did indeed capture the spirit of some varieties of the genre, but so do Indiana Jones, Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, and Buck Rodgers.

Indeed there were many genre’s of pulp fiction,including Adventure, Aviation, Detective, Fantasy, Hero, Horror and Dark Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction, Spicy Fiction, and Western pulps. And within each of these genre were subgenres such as the Hard Boiled Detective and G-Man stories, Futuristic, Super-Science, and Space Travel stories, Gothic, Gory, Supernatural,  Otherwordly or Cosmic Horror, and Weird Menace, etc., each with their own unique formulae and qualities.

Pulp fiction refers to short story anthology magazines there were published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The common element of these magazines was the cheap paper used for the contents, and their fantastic, and often risque, covers.  Titles such as Adventure, Argosy, Wierd Tales, Doc Savage, and the Black Mask featured short stories from such authors as Raymond Chandler, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert Bloch.

The writers were paid low wages, which allowed the magazines to be published and sold cheaply.  The population at large was becoming more literate at this time, and the introduction of radio, television and rapid transportation made the world smaller and more accessible.  Through the pulps, an increasing readership was able to experience a larger world than their own.  A world full of heroic men, beautiful women, exotic locations, and diabolical villains as well as mystery, intrigue and adventure.

Author: joabstieglitz

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