The Pioneers of Pulp

Science Fiction and Fantasy, once despised by the creators of popular entertainment as well as literary scholars, have not only risen in the eyes of serious students of literature but among the general public. What accounts for this sea-change? We could point to the surprising success of both Star Trek (soft sci-fi) or Star Wars (sci-fan), but the origins of the near-dominance of sci-fi/fantasy in popular entertainment today goes back a little further, as this must-read from Open Culture argues:

Do we start with The Castle of Otranto, the first Gothic novel, which opened the door for such books as Dracula and Frankenstein? Or do we open with Edgar Allan Poe, whose macabre short stories and poems captivated the public’s imagination and inspired a million imitators? Maybe. But if we really want to know when the most populist, mass-market horror and fantasy began—the kind that inspired television shows from the Twilight Zone to the X-Files to Supernatural to The Walking Dead—we need to start with H.P. Lovecraft, and with the pulpy magazine that published his bizarre stories, Weird Tales.

I have to agree. Lovecraft’s the man!

Don’t miss the article’s treasure trove of links to the letters of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as links to classic editions of Weird Tales featuring stories by Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Quick, Robert Bloch, and Theodor Sturgeon. What a great way to get ready for Halloween!

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7 thoughts on “The Pioneers of Pulp”

  1. Why vote for the *lesser* evil? Vote Cthulhu this November!

    I don’t know the author, but this looks neat:

    Your Stars Are Wrong: Wisdom for the Coming Age of Cthulhu Paperback – July 16, 2018
    by Samir al-Azrad”

    (Cthulhu related, not recommending just noticed it today)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let us now praise famous pulps!… I discovered science fiction when we spent one summer with an older couple whose son had filled a shed in the back yard with his entire collection of sf pulp mags from the 30’s and 40’s. Didn’t manage to read every single one but I gave it my best effort!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pretty much, yes. My parents wondered why I didn’t bug them to take me swimming all summer.

        After that orgy, sadly, I was dependent on the Athens public library’s one shelf of science fiction and the monthly Fantasy & Science Fiction and Analog — but at least that was back when they still published good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

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