…and that doesn’t begin to cover it. I’m in pretty big trouble here, and it’s the kind of trouble that’s put a big grin on my face.
Remember that scene in the old western, the one where the sidekick crumples to the ground, rolls on his back and mutters with his last breath
“They got me, Pard. I’m fadin’ fast.”
Sure you do. In a way, that’s me. You see, the pulps have got me. No, it’s not the virulent strain of pulpcollectivitus, it’s the less severe one, pulpreprintivus. Just now, though, it’s got me in it’s grip and I’m a little delirious. As far as I can tell, here’s what happened. Just remember, I’m a little delirious, so if I stray from the facts a little, you’ll understand.
At some time in the now-distant past – okay it was the Fifties – I read boy’s adventure fiction, and the Winston SF series from the local library, the Hardy Boys, sports series such as the one about Chip Hilton, and the Tom Swift Jr. books. That wasn’t pulp fiction, it had pretty much all come and gone by then.
Later I read a good deal of science fiction, and some of that was stories in collections of the Golden Age and the Early Days and the like. In those collections there was a good deal of “old” SF, and I realized that some of those Winston books were from that period as well. I read E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Skylark books, but after having read Heinlein and Asimov they seemed a little lame. Well, they were lame, even if at the time they appeared in pulps they were hot stuff.
Along the way of picking up mystery fiction, new and used, I got some things I now recognize as pulp stories, such as Norgil the Magician by Walter Gibson. I also bought some collections with “Pulp” in the title, and it was the introductions to those that gave me my first understanding that pulps were more than BEMs and terror tales.
More recently, I was innocently reading a blog or two, and in the course of clicking blogroll links came across the blogs of Laurie Powers, Evan Lewis, James Reasoner (who are all in my blogroll, to the right) and others. I name those three because they are the Primary Culprits. Reviews of some pulp fiction reprints led me to small publisher websites, wherein I found some things that looked darned interesting, and then more things, and before I knew it I was ordering books from Adventure House, Black Dog Press, Altus Press, Planet Stories and many other places. The books began to roll in, and I read some, unable to keep up with the inflow. Uh-oh.
I subscribed to Ed Hulse’s fine magazine Blood ‘N’ Thunder and learned more, and I found more things to desire.
There’s a resurgence: pulp reprints are plentiful and easily found. They’re affordable, especially considering the cost of finding and buying the original issues containing the stories and novelettes! They’re a ton of fun to read and there’s something for anyone: western, mystery and crime, science fiction, sports, adventure, air war, treasure hunters, romance, lost cities, super criminal masterminds, spy. You name it, it’s probably available. Just a word of caution these things can be addictive.