Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines"
by Peter Haining
Chicago Review Press, 2000
Gaudy color covers,
hard-boiled and salacious prose, bug-eyed monsters, and women in metal
bra--it's all there for you between the pages of classic pulp magazines
like "Amazing Stories," "Weird Tales," "Spicy Mystery" "Saucy Stories."
The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines is a gorgeous,
glossy coffee table book that traces the history of this forgotten literary
genre. It's almost ironic how a slick, highly produced book like this celebrates
the low-grade, gritty feel of the pulps. If it wasn't for pulp magazines,
the tawdry novels we feature here on the Book Shelf wouldn't
have existed. Pulp magazines ushered in the era of quickly written, quickly
consumed, and quickly enjoyed pop culture writing. The stories were just
as rough as the paper they were printed on. The appetite for this type
of fast paced, hard driving action was incredible. Thousand upon thousand
of these magazines were published under dozens and dozen of titles, working
and re-working any number of popular genres. Sadly, World War Two and the
paper rationing it caused was the beginning of the end for this genre.
Some titles limped along into the 1950's and 60's and became smaller, sadder
versions of themselves. Finding pulp magazines in good and readable condition
nowadays is a crap shoot. Because they were meant for rapid consumption,
the grade of paper they used quickly deteriorated. There are still some
around in your better used bookstores, but many more have crumbled away
and been lost to history.
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