New Pulp=Old Pulp?

It’s funny how old becomes new and new becomes old.  A couple of days ago Chuck Wendig wrote a post about ‘New Pulp‘ fiction.

A New Pulp writer doesn’t know what to call himself. He can’t say, “I’m a thriller writer,” or, “I write crime.”

He just writes. Whatever crazy-ass shit enters his head goes to the page one way or another.

It isn’t just psychic dinosaurs. Or noir tales of moral doom. Or sex, or heroism, or Batman, or serial killers, or steampunk assassins or any of that stuff. It isn’t about what’s written. It’s about what can be written.

New Pulp says, “Fuck genre.” Then it clubs genre on the head like a sailor clubbing an unruly tuna.

Pulp fiction paved the way for some of our most creative and innovative authors of the 20th century – Ray Bradury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft. They brought larger than life locals and characters to the ‘working class’.  Due to paper shortages in the 1940’s due to World War II the golden age of pulp fiction was cut short.

Pulp Fiction‘ never really went away.  It grew from mimeographed publications in the 1950’s and 60’s to old time e-zines to all things electronic.  The word ‘pulp’ may lead you to think the stories are sub par to ‘literary fiction’.  These magazines are a way to find new authors and let established authors continue to tell stories outside their established genres and series.

Damien G. Walter defines the ‘New’ pulp movement as:

WHAT IS NEW PULP?  WELL, AS FAR AS MY DEFINITION GOES, THE EXPLANATION IS FAIRLY SIMPLE.  NEW PULP IS FICTION WRITTEN WITH THE SAME SENSIBILITIES, LINEAR STORYTELLING, PATTERN OF CONFLICT, AND CREATIVE USE OF WORDS AND PHRASES OF ORIGINAL PULP, BUT CRAFTED BY MODERN WRITERS, ARTISTS, AND PUBLISHERS.

Like the classic version of pulp magazines, ‘New Pulp’ is where innovation takes place. Online magazines are springing up in the wild frontier of the internet, letting writers explore, experiment and build an audience.

Publication in pulp magazines started the careers of writers we consider classic.  They honed their craft and consistently told stories that drew in readers. They worked hard, wrote constantly and never gave up.

I want to be just like them when I grow up.

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6 comments

  • Soon we’ll have new new pulp fiction, which will become new pulp fiction, demoting the old pulp fiction to old old pulp fiction. My head hurts 🙂
    I love online magazines. I love reading flash when I get the chance, so I’m a pulp-ey fan.
    “I want to be just like them when I grow up.” So would I!

    • Innovations of days gone by always re-emerge in new packages.

  • The more things change…. 😉

    • Exactly!

  • I was sipping three fingers of lunch at the Analog Grill, when Noir graced the barstool to my left. “I fingered you for low-brow,”she said. “Highball?” I offered.

    • Awesome!

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