Pulp Never Dies: Straight From the SourceA column article by: Tommy Hancock
A Column Explaining, Discussing and Exploring New Pulp
By Tommy Hancock
When last we left our intrepid adventurers (That ‘last we left’ refers to the previous column and ‘intrepid adventurers’ include each of you who have so far recklessly thrown your lot in life behind my stalwart leadership in this exploration of New Pulp…If this is your first column, though, there’s still time to run away willy nilly behind the native guides who have already deserted us…), I stood teetering on the precipice of controversy and confusion. My strong heroically cut chin jutted forward, my steely eyes narrowed and ready for anything, my very muscles taut like barbed wire (No, there’s no need to go out seeking photographs to prove this image…this is all about FICTION, remember?), I was forged in the flames of definition and knowledge, ready to tackle that monster of all questions-What is, isn’t and might be New Pulp? A scary query to be certain and sure, but one that I, wit and wisdom in hand and a bit of tenacity and conviction to boot, meant to answer, damn the consequences.
Then there came a hint, a glimmer, something out of the corner of my eye. Not an ancient rope bridge, not a mystical pathway across cavernous depths, not a buxom woman on a winged horse to make my travails easier. Although none of these would have been denied-- particularly a vivacious Valkyrie-- they had not made themselves available. This interrogative about the meat and bones of New Pulp still demands a response and its hunger for more foolish sages such as myself will not be abated until it gets one. No, what presented itself to me as I very nearly sacrificed myself to the maw of describing something that defies description was a simple suggestion. A suggestion that turned me from the darkened depths before me in a slightly different direction that would hopefully reveal just as much as I had planned to in my irresponsible attempt to capture and color the wind, as it were.
And besides, this new plan means I have less to do. Always a score and a win in Hancock’s Book.
In the opening salvo of PULP NEVER DIES, the concept of New Pulp was established in a historical context. The stage was set, the scenery established, and the mood and ambiance mingled together into a palpable atmosphere. The canvas that New Pulp would be painted upon. Next came the unfurling of the banners of imagination, the brandishing of the newly tempered, sharpened blades of fiction, the hard, cold evidence of the living, breathing continuation of one of the greatest literary genres ever-- Bits and pieces of actual New Pulp work, excerpts and samplings taken from just some of the best and brightest purveyors of pulpy goodness the Movement has to offer.
But what remains? What is left but to ford the raging river, to conquer the looming mountain, to finally once and for all outline word for word what New Pulp is? Why, quite a bit it turns out, such as hearing from those who walk that set stage, who are leaving wide swaths of their own souls and ideas on that New Pulp canvas. Getting input from the standard bearers, inspiration from the swordsmiths of modern Pulp fiction, and ideas from those crafty masterminds heading up a Renaissance and Resurgence of a methodology, a style, a medium, AND a genre like none ever seen before.
Yep, it’s time to hear from the rank and file of New Pulp themselves. And although I first thought there would be copious commentary provided by me as I deemed appropriate, upon reading all that you are about to, I found absolutely no need to add to what my peers, contemporaries, and friends have already contributed.
Barry Reese -
“New Pulp is, quite simply, new stories told in the style of classic pulp - in other words, escapist entertainment with an emphasis on fast-paced storytelling and plot.”
Erwin K. Roberts-
“Magazines printed on pulp paper may have faded away, but the pulp style adventure story never really did. It moved to paperback books, plus films & TV shows. The first "new pulp" I'm aware of was Larry Herndon's ditto printed "Batwing." It ran three issues in the late 1960's. Among the contributors: George R.R. Martin. Tom & Ginger published around 200 new pulp fiction issues from around 1990. But, like Batwing, you pretty much had to be a member of the existing fandom to know they existed. The Internet changed all that. Now, print-on-demand & ebooks can be marketed by anyone via the net and other electronic means. New Pulp had now come into its own. And "pulp" magazines are back. Check out my stories in "Pulp Spirit".”
“Present day authors paying homage to the great pulp heroes and authors of the past through the creation of exciting new characters and entertaining action tales. Through respect for pulp's past we strive to create an equally bright future for the genre.”
Chronologist and author Jeff Deischer - “New Pulp is pulp being written by modern-day authors who love the original pulp. And just not the original pulp, which covered a number of genres (times and places) but a specific type-- the Action Hero. New Pulp may become a genre unto itself, because it has conventions-- the terse, colorful writing of the original pulps and has chosen a setting: the Twenties and particularly the Thirties, when the original pulps had their golden age, producing the Modern Action Hero.”
Bobby Nash- "New Pulp is excitement. Pulp is one of those things that, while not easily described in just a few words, is something immediately recognizable as such. New Pulp is all of that goodness plus a little something extra. New Pulp is one of those books that moves so fast I just can't put it down."
PJ Lozito- "New stories in the old style."
Chuck Miller -"New Pulp is a distillation of things that are both impossible and necessary; people who do not exist, but should, doing things that cannot be done, but must be. A writer of New Pulp has a responsibility to supply those vital things that reality has neglected."
Fantasy Pulp Author Nancy Hansen -“ Breathless action and fast pacing in high adventure stories that propel you at whirlwind speed from opening to end...New Pulp is the pure entertainment fiction of the modern day reader for pleasure. From its shadowy origins in the inexpensive prints of the past, to a boldly realized future delivered in all sorts of electronic formats to a far more diverse audience, this is no longer a guilty indulgence but a whole modern movement of talented writers, publishers and artists getting the stories people want to read into their hands as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Frank Schildiner -“New Pulp is the best of two worlds; the heroic qualities of the old-school heroes, with a modern touch. In a world that has become overly cynical and harsh, this movement represents a positive direction for literature.”
Bill Craig - “ New Pulp is both mindset and attitude, a throwback to what the pot-boiler writers of the thirties and forties and the types of stories that leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. It is adventure and action at their break-neck best! That's what New Pulp is. Adventure redefined!”
Teel James Glenn - “New Pulp is a difficult blend to create, as it had to be a hybrid beast-- half pulp pounding wordage and half the thought out modern mind. It can't forget that even the darkest of the mystery pulps had hope, something many modern authors seem to have forgotten in the race to nihilism.”
James Palmer - “To me, New Pulp is adventure fiction written in the fast paced style, language and often taking place in the same time period as the original pulps. New Pulp authors write short series books in a variety of genres fast.”
Author Kevin Rodgers - “I think New Pulp involves larger-than-life characters who find themselves in outrageous predicaments. When I consider buying a New Pulp book, I anticipate that it will be fast-paced with lots of action and suspense. I think New Pulp stories should hook the reader at the beginning and maintain his/her interest until the very end. I enjoy New Pulp stories that flow from one action-packed scene to the next while the characters change and grow while revealing their strengths and weaknesses. New Pulp is very effective when the story resonates in the reader's mind after the final page has been read."
Author Wayne Reinagel tackles the question in his own way-
“Can I describe New Pulp in one word?
Dastardly craven villains.
Courageous lion-hearted, heroes and spirited heroines and fearless sidekicks.
A non-stop, hair-raising, breath-taking, blood-curdling roller coaster ride, hanging on by just the tips of your fingers and by the seat of your pants, and... okay, I take it back. I can't describe pulp in one word.
My favorite description of New Pulp, just four short words, was used by one of my readers when describing my Pulp Heroes novels.
Lightning in a bottle.
Yeah, I think so, from the mouths of New Pulp’s own progenitors…‘Nuff said.
Into the chasm next week….
And evildoers, take note- PULP NEVER DIES.
Come read Darkness, Spreading Its Wings of Black: Chapter III: Assistance Unlimited (An Adventure Starring Lazarus Gray & The Rook) written by Barry Reese in our companion Pulp Fiction section.
Tommy Hancock is a New Pulp author, publisher, podcaster, convention organizer, and all around New Pulp supporter. A Partner in Pro Se Productions, Tommy has been published by various New Pulp Publishers and is currently at work on projects for Moonstone, Airship 27, and other companies. Tommy is the organizer of the New Pulp Movement and also is the Editor in Chief of All Pulp and the creator and one of the co-hosts on PULPED! The Official New Pulp Podcast