Can we have a pulp fiction thread?
I think we need a pulp fiction.
Pic Related. So goddamn awesome.
I've never read pulp. Classic or retro. To my understanding, it's an unapologetic exploration of sci-fi and fantasy just for the sake of it. I know that's a gross simplification, but isn't it at least sorta true?
People actually accept and enjoy pulp for what it is? Without the sarcastic "so fetid it's wonderful" hipster mindset? I enjoy the snazzy looking art, but there's a part of my brain that tells me no one would ever really enjoy reading stuff like this in this time.
There are parts that are "so bad it's wonderful", but that's more from it being early twentieth century stuff, so it's more in the field of racism and sexism.
I find the fact that it's unapologetic sci-fi/fantasy refreshing. It doesn't try and keep up appearances about being high literature. You're here to see a man stab space-monsters with a sword.
On the other hand, alot of these stories are famous because they're very good. So if you pick one up, you can expect good pacing, clear descriptions and overall polished writing.
You'd think that.
Then you read shit by Lovecraft and Howard and it's, like, well...shit, this is legitimately awesome.
So while it might cross into the uncanny valley, it's firmly entrenched in the "Holy fuck this is amazing. WHO CARES if it's realistic?!" spectrum?
As a writefag, the concept of pulp is like some sort of oasis. One that would be fun to write but "probably" nobody would read.
I love George RR Martin's earlier stuff like The Sand Kings. In fact, his short story collection Dreamsongs is what got me into Sci-Fi. I grew up loving high fantasy almost exclusively so I haven't read that much else though and I can't say how it compares to other pulp but I know good stories when I read them.
I want a fucking Sand King terrarium.
Yeah. I mean the very core concept is that realism is boring. It's not that they fail to resemble real life, they actively try to avoid it. Instead, they try to keep you from thinking about it as long as your reading it. They try and paint a fantasy that is internally entertaining and keep you there, rather then bog it down with making it work in the real world.
Maybe I should give this pulp thing a try.
Oh, is THIS what it's called?!
Shit, I've been looking for things in this style for ages.
You want recommendations?
Okay, that image up top, that's John Carter of Mars. By Edgar Rice Burroughs. In the very first chapter the protagonist deals with potential treachery by a business partner, fights off a tribe of indians and escapes by going to mars /with his mind/.
Edgar Rice Burroughs also wrote about a guy you might have heard of called Tarzan. I've never read the books, but since it's written by this guy, you can bet it's probably more awesome then most people remember Tarzan being.
This guy here? He's Fu Manchu. If you've heard of him at all you probably remember him as a cheesy Chinese stereotype. He's not. He's the first Supervillain ever. And he's still one of the best. Except there no superhero. It's just two ordinary guys try to thwart the scheme of a genius the world doesn't even know about. And this isn't "I'm going to blow up the ocean" type plots. These are mysteries you'll be wondering how he commited the crime, and why he commited the crime.
Galactica mention Howard. He's best known for Conan, but I've never read Conan the Barbarian, unfortunately. I have read Howards stories about boxers, and one or two about cowboys, and there great. Occasionally Howard would write about the three things he loved most: Boxing, Barbarian Cowboys.
He also wrote some stuff about Solomon Kane, who is a 17th century puritan gunslinger/demon slayer.
Also, Pick up Golden Apples of the Sun, by Ray Bradbury. It's a collection of short stories and it is amazing.
On top of Dr Goblin's suggestions, I want to recommend Lovecraft's Shadow Over Innsmouth. I personally believe it to be his best work and a pretty intense horror story. I don't normally get into chase sequences in anything I read but this was a great exception.
Also, yeah, Conan. I haven't read enough to have a favorite story yet (though I really like The God in the Bowl) but it's considered to be some of Howard's best stuff for a reason. Dude really poured his soul into Conan and while it can be a bit goofy sometimes (winged demon ape-creatures!), it's always a good ride.
Pulp is one of my favourite genres, because it is imaginative and internally consistent.
As I read the first book in John Carter of Mars, I was quite blown away by how awesome many of the ideas in it were. Mars itself, and especially the Martians and the technology used was so bizarre, yet believable and cool, that I was quite surprised that people in the early 1900s could come up with stuff that's so glorious.
Pulp pretty much contains everything I find worthy in a book. A great story, setting, characters, adventure. I usually detest fancy realistic literature, since I read books for the imagination and tales, not for brain-tickling and arts.
As for something pulp that hasn't been mentioned, there's Jirel of Joiry, by C. L. Moore. Very Conanish in it's theme.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I can confirm that Tarzan and Conan are both characters you need to get into; there are some passages to set your White Guilt off, but you have to shrug it off.
Oh yeah, and this:
Information on hyperborean chronicles and anything related to them would be welcome.
OH ME OH MY, LOOKY WHAT I DID