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Pulp Fiction…A Forgotten Medium

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For most of us our familiarity with pulp fiction most likely comes from Quention Tarantino’s brilliant movie of the same title. The film was an homage to the storytelling style that dominated the first-half of the 20th century: lurid, sensational, fast-moving short stories, which covered almost every genre, published on cheap (pulpy) paper and sold for a dime or quarter. Though pulp fiction magazine go far back as the late 1800s and existed into the early 1960s, its peak—the so-called golden age—were the 1920s-1940s, snuggled in between the advent of radio, the Depression, and before television hit its stride. It was a source of entertainment for millions, who, on almost a weekly basis were enthralled with stories that provided escape from their dreary lives.

I’ve always been interested in pulp fiction magazine of the early 20th century. It was mostly a passing fancy, more interested in the history of these influential periodicals then their contents. I’m taking it a step further by reading many of them as I can.

Here’s a brief interview with novelist Elmore Leonard, discussing the movie 3:10 to Yuma, which was adapted from Leonard’s short story, which was originally published in a pulp fiction magazine.

This is the first time I’ve heard of a pulp magazine called Argosy, which according to my research was one of the more popular pulp fiction magazines of its time. I was instantly hooked. . I proceeded to scour the internet for more information about this medium. In the process, I found this incredible documentary about pulp fiction magazine on YouTube. Produced by something called UFOtv, a web site that sells UFO-themed media,  it focuses on the science fiction aspect of pulp fiction magazines. Nevertheless, it gives nice overview of the history of this medium. Check it out below:

In the process, I bought many of these magazines via eBay, where they are packaged onto DVDs. I’ve also ordered some original pulp magazines just so I can appreciate the tactility of the real thing..

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Written by niraj

September 13th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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