Monday, January 5, 2009

Help Wanted: Fiction with More Pulp

Throughout 2008, I tried to learn as much as possible about crime and mystery fiction. i started with hard-boiled, moved to noir, got a taste of the traditional, and even threw in some comedy. I am far from an expert but I at least know where to look.

I realized I still have a deficit: old-school pulp fiction. By pulp fiction, I'm talking not just westerns but adventure fiction. My recent reading of a Tarzan short story made me realize I was missing something. It's the stuff I probably should have read when I was in middle school (Tarzan, Mars books, Fu Manchu, Quartermain) but never did. Now, I'm planning on rectifying that deficit.

Patti Abbott's Friday Forgotten Books Project is helping (thanks August West for the G-8 reference). But I'd still like y'all's help in compiling some lists.

What are some great pulp adventure stories/authors?

What are some pulp western stories/authors?

What are some great pulp science fiction stories/authors?

What are some great pulp spy/espionage stories/authors?


James Reasoner said...

For pulp adventure (and Western and fantasy, for that matter), start with Robert E. Howard. I love the Doc Savage books, especially the early ones. There are dozens of pulp Western authors I'd recommend, but T.T. Flynn and H.A. De Rosso are two whose work can be found pretty easily in recent paperback reprints. You've already discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs. Now you need to read his Martian series, or at least the first three, which form a trilogy of their own. As for SF, there are a ton of anthologies reprinting stuff from the Golden Age. I was always partial to Asimov and Heinlein and Kuttner, but really, I enjoy almost everything from that era.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Try Leigh Brackett's "Eric John Stark" books and her crime stuff. All of Robert E. Howard's "Conan" and "Solomon Kane" stories have recently been reissued (as he wrote them, without tampering and pastiches by deCamp and Carter).

There was a huge anthology published years ago called something like BEFORE THE GOLDEN AGE that was packed with pulpy SF. Some of the stories were quite good.

Fred Blosser said...

Pulp adventure: Harold Lamb, Talbot Mundy, Arthur D. Howden-Smith, and H. Bedford Jones.

Pulp SF: Otis Adelbert Kline (the best of the ERB imitators), C.L. Moore, and Edmond Hamilton.

Pulp Western: Elmore Leonard and Louis L'Amour.

Dunno about pulp spy. If you define pulp as a state of mind rather than as a medium of publication, I'd include the pb series that appeared in the '60s during the Bond boom -- including the Nick Carter series, Norman Daniels' Man from AXE books, and Ace Books' novelizations of The Man from UNCLE.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Scott-It would be fun to keep lists of these for all of us to refer to. I'm as much at sea as you in most areas. Is there such a category as NeoPulp, I wonder.

Scott D. Parker said...

James - I have all 11 Mars books but have only read two...a long time ago. I just got the audio for A Princess of Mars so that book review will be coming along shortly.

Patrick and Fred - Thanks for your additions. I have some of the Conan and Kane material on my Palm Pilot. Now to just read them.

Patti - NeoPulp: I can't help but wonder if the Gabriel Hunt books will start a mini-revival in pulp adventure stories. If there isn't a genre "NeoPulp," let's invent one.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I'm discovering the original conan tales by robert e howard - they are great. Also Zane Grey, Lee Floren. And of course Louis Lamour

David Cranmer said...

Doc Savage for sure. I would also say William P. McGivern and Norbert Davis for some hardboiled pulp. Davis is a real unsung writer from the same class that produced Chandler and Hammett. On the western front: Luke Short was my big discovery of '08.

Melissa said...

Try, "The Worst Kind of Lies," by John Patrick Lamont. Skillfully crafted, John Lamont portrays his characters in a way that they are not seen as villains even though many of them partake in the underhanded methods. AND, it is one of the only mystery/fictional books out there that speak so much truth.

Barbara Martin said...

For SF I read Analog in the late 1960s into the 1970s, and the authors I liked then were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, C. Simak, Arthur C. Clarke.

I also read most of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books on Tarzan as my mother had all her hardcovers from 1918 to 1923 which were reprints with a printed signature on an inside page. It was the same for the Mark Twain series of books, and all the books had bookplate photos with tissue paper covers.

Jay Stringer said...

hell yeah, Neopulp, lets go.

I'm just coming to an end (i think) of a return to pulp reading. I've not really got anything to add to what's already been suggested.

HOWARD was a very effective writer, and Burroughs. Rider Haggard isn't really pulp as such, but KING SOLOMONS MINES was such an inspiration to what followed.

As Fred said, Elmore Leonards westerns are a good read. I'd like him to return to that field a little more.

The fantasy writer Michael Moorcock has had the occasional experiment with Pulp, books like WARLORD OF THE AIR is a good read.

Then of course there's pulp-ispired comic books, but that wouldbe a whole different blog. One i will suggest to everyone on here is INCOGNITO. Issue 2 is out this week, so issue 1 is still on the shelves in many shops. Its the tale of a superpowered villain in the witness protection program and its Ed Brubaker's tribute to pulp as much as CRIMINAL is is tribute to hardboiled. As with CRIMINAL, each issue of INCOGNITO has an essay in the back. The essays are provided by Jess Nevins, and each one is about a different pulp character. The first one was THE SHADOW.