Feb 162015
 

Thrilling Wonder 1955-WNinety years ago today, Edmund Alexander Emshwiller was born in Lansing, Michigan. Although known primarily for his work composed for the digest and paperback markets, “Emsh” created a few covers for pulp magazines such as the Winter 1955 issue of THRILLING WONDER STORIES, pictured here. The bulk of his work for the pulp market consisted of interior illustrations for AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION, FANTASTIC STORY MAGAZINE, FUTURE SCIENCE FICTION, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING STORIES, and the aforementioned THRILLING WONDER.

PulpFest will be saluting Standard Magazines–publisher of FANTASTIC STORY, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING, and THRILLING WONDER–at its 2015 convention. Be sure to join the celebration beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here or call 1-888-421-1442. We hope to see you in August.

(Thanks to David Saunders of The Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists for helping us to keep our facts straight and for the THRILLING WONDER image. If you’ve never been to David’s site, you owe yourself a visit.)
 Posted by at 6:30 pm
Jan 212015
 

So what’s this PulpFest thing that has so many people talking? With over two-thousand likes on Facebook and hundreds of followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

AllStory-12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines, periodic fiction collections named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES took hold. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, and television. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in these everyday consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science-fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated through a wide variety of mediums—comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2015 will take place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio beginning on Thursday, August 13th. It will continue through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here.

Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine.

 Posted by at 1:15 pm

A Scandal In 1907

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Sep 152014
 
1907 Scandal



Early women's rights activist Annette Kellerman posed in this fitted, one-piece bathing suit to protest the restrictive clothing of the day. She arrested for indecency because of this picture. Australians can thank Annette Kellerman every time they take a swim. In 1905 she invented the streamlined one-piece swimming costume for women, a liberating garment, which became her trademark. But more than that, she re-awoke the pleasure of swimming for everyone including men, women and children. Known as the Diving Venus and the Australian Mermaid, Annette Kellerman (1887–1975) was an athlete as well as a vaudeville and movie star, one of the most famous women of her day.

Kellerman set out to challenge the legal restrictions on women's bathing clothes in the United States. In 1907, preparing for a promotional coast swim, she was arrested for indecency on Revere Beach, Boston. She was wearing one of her fitted one-piece costumes that had no skirt, clung to her body and revealed her thighs. The judge accepted her arguments in favor of swimming as healthy exercise and against cumbersome bathing suits, provided she wore a robe until she entered the water. Her arrest generated worldwide publicity. She continued to wear her one-piece swimsuit in her stage shows and public swimming events.

 Film Career
The Bride of Lammermoor: A Tragedy of Bonnie Scotland (1909)
Jephtah's Daughter: A Biblical Tragedy (1909)
The Gift of Youth (1909)
Entombed Alive (1909)
Siren of the Sea (1911)
The Mermaid (1911)
Neptune's Daughter (1914)
A Daughter of the Gods (1916)
National Red Cross Pageant (1917)
Queen of the Sea (1918)
What Women Love (1920)
Venus of the South Seas (1924)
 Posted by at 7:33 pm

4th Anniversary

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Sep 142014
 
4th Anniversary


Today is this blog's 4th anniversary

Thanks for all the support and comments

Looking forward to another year

The original post from this date in 2010

Bonus Cover
Transport Publishing Company
for and on behalf of Horwitz Publications, Inc

Novelette Series
"Lovely" Mystery
 1951


 Posted by at 1:33 pm

Smithsonian Day

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Aug 102014
 
Today is Smithsonian Day

The Smithsonian is home to 137 million artifacts works of art, and speciments

James Smithson was an English chemist, mineralogist and an Oxford graduate. He devoted his life to science, as well he authored 27 published papers on mineralogy. Smithson did not even visit the USA, but when he died in 1829 he left his entire estate to the United States to found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. This establishment was to be founded in Washington D.C. and to be called the Smithsonian Institution.

His bequest was sent to the US in the form of gold sovereigns filling 11 boxes, along with his personal papers, minerals, and library. The gold was sent to the Treasury in Philadelphia for a total over $500,000.

There are 19 different museums and galleries in the Smithsonian complex. One of the most popular exhibits in the Smithsonian is the Star Spangled Banner Flag, also called the Great Garrison flag. The flag flew over  Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The flag was sewn by Mary Pickergill with 15 star and stripes in 1813 for the sum of over $405. The flag has undergone several restorations, first in 1914 and the most recent in 1999.

The National Air and Space Museum is home to a lunar roving vehicle, The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, and Eugene Cernan's spacesuit. Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972.
 Posted by at 7:30 am

100 Years Ago Today

 History  Comments Off
Aug 042014
 
Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI or the Great War, also call the War To End All Wars. Germany invaded neutral Belgium on Aug. 4, 1914, as part of a planned attack on France. By nightfall, Britain had joined the war. The prelude to the war happened on June 28th 1914, when Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. A group of six assassins  from a nationalist group had gathered on the street where the Archduke's motorcade would pass. One of the assassins threw a grenade at the car, but missed. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them quickly. An hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where one of the assassins stood. He shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife. At the end some 7 million lives lost. On November 11th, at 5:00 am, an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne France. At 11 am on November 11th, 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a ceasefire came into effect.

Note
One of my grandfathers served in the 91st Infantry Division (The Wild West Division), 364 Infantry Regiment. He first saw action in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel (September 1918) and fought in the battles of The Meuse-Argonne Offensive and The Fifth Battle of Ypres. He died in March 1977.
 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Jul 062014
 

Terror Tales 39-11Not only will we be celebrating science fiction’s “Golden Year of 1939″ and “75 Years of Fantastic Fiction,” PulpFest 2014 intends to pay homage to “The Weird-Menace Magazines of 1934.” Called shudder pulps, these magazines experienced a brief period of popularity that began in late 1933 and ran until 1941, when a concerted reform movement brought an end to the genre.

Noted pulp authority Don Hutchison, author of The Great Pulp Heroes, has contributed a look at the weird-menace genre, “Pulp Horrors of the Dirty Thirties,” to this year’s issue of The Pulpster, our award-winning program book. Offered here are just a few of Don’s gory details concerning “The Shudder Pulps.”

Pulp Horrors of the Dirty Thirties: An Excerpt

Back in the days of bread lines and hobo jungles, millions of readers found escapist thrills in the pages of cheaply produced magazines printed on rough pulpwood paper. Pulp magazines catered to every imaginable reading taste from detective yarns to pirate stories, from jungle adventures to science fiction and even romance. But the wildest of them all were the notorious horror tomes known collectively as the shudder pulps.

The so-called “shudder� or “weird-menace� titles were a blood-red splash of color in the grey days of the Great Depression. They announced their monthly wares with circus-poster-style covers featuring voluptuous under-dressed beauties being pursued by hordes of leering lunatics as bent as boomerangs. Their promise: cheap thrills, and plenty of them.

Dime Mystery 33-10In their nightmare universe it was always a dark and stormy night. Tethered damsels suffered in the clutches of fiends such as hell-mad surgeons, warped scientists, and masked and cowled cultists, eagerly abetted by legions of demented dwarfs and horny hunchbacks. They stripped, whipped, and boiled their curvaceous victims with the enthusiasm of medieval inquisitors. Even the requisite rock-jawed heroes of these stories suffered a purgatory of horrors in order to rescue their brutally treated fair maidens.

The weird-menace magazines lasted for but a few brief years, roughly from 1933 to 1941, when the actions of blue-nosed watchdogs helped propel them from the market. In contrast to previous horror magazines with their literate but fusty eldritch mysteries, the new breed of terror pulps dared go where no newsstand magazines had gone before. These few magazines were largely responsible for the low opinion people held (and still hold) of the entire pulp fiction field. Many dealers sold them under the counter, and New York’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia singled them out when he warned the pulp publishers to clean up their act or get out of town.

With stories written to a strict formula by seasoned pros, shudder pulps featured some of the most unashamedly lurid fiction and art ever produced for the newsstands of middle America. Each month they announced their presence with covers illustrating in chromatic detail the titillating promise of stories like: “Flesh For the Goat Man,� “The Corpse Wants Your Widow,� “Food for the Fungus Lady,� “Mate For the Thing in the Box,� and “Summer Camp for Corpses.�

Horror Stories 35-01The first of the new breed of fiction mags, Dime Mystery, lurched onto the newsstands in October of 1933. It was the brainchild of Popular Publication’s resourceful young publisher Henry Steeger and took off like skyrockets. Popular Publications lost little time in producing not one, but two companion monthlies: Terror Tales, followed by Horror Stories.

Readers responded in large numbers to the lure of these purple prose set-ups and the inevitable pay-off in hell-spawned horrors. Soon, other publishers rushed into print with similar books of their own. Chief among them was publisher Ned Pines, whose Thrilling Mystery was a clone of Popular’s Dime Mystery. Believing that the public can never get too much of a bad thing, more newcomers tested the limits of sensationalism. There was Ace Mystery, Eerie Mysteries, Eerie Stories, Mystery Novels and Short Stories, Mystery Tales, Spicy Mystery Stories, Uncanny Tales, and others.

In the early 1940s there developed a public rejection of the permissiveness and thrill-seeking of the thirties. When New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia threatened to rid his city of sex-and-sadism magazines, publishers retrenched in fear of losing newsstand sales as well as their U. S. postal mailing privileges. As shudder pulp stalwart Bruno Fischer described it “Clean-up organizations started throwing their weight around and gave editors jitters, and artists and writers were instructed to put panties and brassieres on the girls.�

Speed Mystery 43-01Dime Mystery was retooled as a straight mystery magazine. Spicy Mystery soldiered on for awhile, but was then re-titled Speed Mystery. Terror Tales and Horror Stories were shut down in 1941. Pulp fiction’s bloody reign of terror had ended, not with a bang but with a whimper. Unfortunately, in discarding key ingredients of their appeal, the magazines failed to develop new innovations, much less new readers. And, with the coming of World War II, the extent of human madness and misery could no longer be viewed–much less enjoyed–as mere fiction. In a more innocent time, it was thought that the brand of horror perpetrated by the fiends of the shudder pulps was purely imaginary. Now people knew that such things–and worse–were possible.

If you’d like to read the unabridged version of Don Hutchison’s article, it will be appearing in the PulpFest 2014 program book, The Pulpster. You’ll find ordering instructions at the bottom of our post entitled “To Infinity and Beyond.” It was featured on our home page on June 15th.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. 

Jun 152014
 

Comet 1940-12A lengthy period of contraction followed the science-fiction and fantasy pulp boom of 1939. With the United States about to enter the Second World War and paper rationing limiting magazine production, the only new magazines to appear before the conflict’s end were the short-lived Comet, Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories, plus rebound copies of Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures.

A British magazine entitled New Worlds was the first new science-fiction magazine to appear following World War II. Although it first appeared in 1946, it didn’t come into its glory until Michael Moorcock became editor in 1964. New Worlds would run for 222 issues and become the focus of science fiction’s “New Wave.” A companion magazine, Science Fantasy (later titled Impulse), premiered in 1950.

F&SF 49-FThe first U. S. magazine to appear after the war was Avon Fantasy Reader. Edited by Donald A. Wollheim, it was primarily a reprint magazine. The first new fantastic magazine would wait until 1949 when The Magazine of Fantasy–the “and Science Fiction” was added later–premiered in the fall. Originally edited by Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas and published by Lawrence Spivak, its founders sought to move away from pulp concepts, asking its writers for stylish fiction “that was up to the literary standards of the slick magazines.” Still published today, F&SF–as it has become known–has greatly helped both science fiction and fantasy to mature as genres. It is still published today.

Ray Palmer, most remembered today for his trumpeting of the Shaver Mystery in Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures, began publishing a couple of fantastic magazines around 1950. Although his first, Other Worlds, would publish a number of top-notch stories by Ray Bradbury, Gordon Dickson, Wilson Tucker, and others, Palmer would eventually convert it into a magazine about flying saucers. His other magazine was Imagination. It was sold to another publisher following its second number. Lasting for over sixty issues, Imagination published hurriedly written hack fiction by Randall Garrett, John Jakes, Frank M. Robinson and Robert Silverberg, all hiding behind pseudonyms.

Galaxy 50-10In the fall of 1950, World Editions introduced Galaxy Science Fiction, a digest magazine that paid its authors a minimum of three cents a word. Edited by H. L. Gold, the magazine serialized Alfred Bester’s “The Demolished Man” and Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Puppet Masters,” and published shorter works such as Ray Bradbury’s “The Fireman” (later expanded to become Fahrenheit 451), Damon Knight’s “To Serve Man,” and Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction,” all in its first year. In 1953, Galaxy shared the first Hugo for Best Magazine with Campbell’s Analog. Later edited by Frederik Pohl, Jim Baen, and others, Galaxy ran for a total of 254 issues with its final issue appearing in 1980. Like F&SF, Galaxy was a leader in the movement to bring a more human element to science fiction.

Given the success of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction, other publishers tried to cash in on the growing market. Most of them quickly folded. Some of the more notable magazines introduced during the fifites included If—particularly when it was edited by Frederik Pohl; Nebula Science Fiction—a Scottish magazine; Fantastic—started by Howard Browne for Ziff-Davis; Fantastic Universe—nicknamed “the poor man’s” F&SFBeyond Fantasy Fiction—a short-lived fantasy companion to Galaxy Science Fiction; and Imaginative Tales—a companion to Imagination.

Inifinity 55-11At the dawn of the space race, ten new science-fiction magazines entered the market. The best was Infinity Science Fiction. Edited by Larry Shaw, it published some good stories by authors such as Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke, Damon Knight and C. M. Kornbluth. Other longer-lived magazines to premier during this time included Infinity Science Fiction, Satellite Science Fiction, and Super-Science Fiction. Although nearly fifty British and American science-fiction and fantasy magazines were introduced during the fifties, only four of the fifty–Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, If, and Fantastic—lasted beyond 1960.

Omni 78-10Although science fiction continued to mature after 1960, the genre increasingly turned to low-priced and portable paperback books to extend its reach. Except for the reprint digests—Magazine of Horror and Startling Mystery Stories—little of note appeared in the form of a new magazine until Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine debuted in the spring of 1977. Still running today, it will soon publish its 463rd issue. Other notable magazines from the last quarter of the twentieth century are Omni—a slick companion to Penthouse that sometimes topped a million in circulation and published science articles alongside science-fiction stories; Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine—a companion to the men’s magazine Gallery, it sometimes sold more than 125,000 copies and featured a mix of traditional supernatural fiction and movie and television features; Interzone—a British magazine started in the spring of 1982 and originally modeled after Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, it continues to be published today; Aboriginal Science Fiction—a magazine that debuted in 1986 and published many new writers; and Absolute Magnitude (originally entitled Harsh Mistress)—a semiprofessional magazine that debuted in the spring of 1993 and published “hard science fiction with a strong human element.”

Asimov's Science Fiction 2014-08Today, science fiction and fantasy have, by and large, achieved the respectability they long sought. At the same time, competition from a range of media including paperback books, movies, television, video games, e-books, and the Internet, has vastly diminished the scope of magazine fantasy and science fiction. The major science-fiction and fantasy magazines in the print format–Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Interzone, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction–have seen their circulations shrink tremendously.  Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that contemporary science fiction and fantasy owe a great deal to the magazines of the past—The Strand, Pearson’s Magazine, Argosy, The All-Story, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding Science-Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and countless others. Without them, where would science fiction and fantasy be today?

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.

The cover for Asimov’s Science Fiction is copyright © 2014 by Penny Publications LLC/Dell Magazines.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of magazine science fiction. If you’d like to read the unabridged version of the article–entitled “Science Fiction and the Pulps: A Genre Evolves”–it will be appearing in the PulpFest 2014 program book, The Pulpster. All you have to do to get a copy of the book is to become a member of the convention. It will take place from August 7 – 10 in Columbus, Ohio.

For those who cannot get to Columbus in August–although we’d love to see you–a supporting membership will be available that will entitle you to a copy of The Pulpster. You can register to become a regular or supporting member of the convention by visiting our registration page.

If copies are still available after the conclusion of the convention–quantities are limited–they will be available for purchase from Mike Chomko, Books. Visit our program book page to learn how to place your order.