Pulp Renaissance

The 2013 Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention runs April 12-14 in Lombard, IL. Organizers Doug Ellis and John Gunnison predict it will be the largest yet. They’ve sold out all 150 tables in the dealers room. Over 200 lots of material from the collection of Jerry Weist will be on the block at the con’s Friday night auction. And Sunday’s program will emphasize pulp’s promising future.

Wait, pulp has a future? Yes, and a present too.

Decades ago Ed Cox astonished me by opening copies of early pulps in his collection that still had ivory-white pages like they were fresh off the newsstand. Thereafter I associated “pulp” with the effort to collect and preserve these venerable relics of science fiction history, but nothing more.

I’ve discovered I was too pessimistic.  Pulp writing and publishing never really went away. If no longer conducted on the scale of Ziff-Davis with 200,000-copy runs, pulp does occupy its own niche in the market. That’s something to ponder, amid speculation about the survival of a market for physical books. (Though it must not be overlooked that some “pulps” appear in digital editions).

Tommy Hancock explains pulp’s continued heartbeat on the New Pulp site:

New Pulp is fiction written with the same sensibilities, linear storytelling, pattern of conflict, and creative use of words and phrases of original Pulp, but crafted by modern writers, artists, and publishers.  New stories with either completely original characters or new tales of established characters from Pulp past.   It’s really that simple.  New Pulp is Pulp written today.

So much New Pulp is now available, including work from noted pulp historians such as Will Murray and Tom Johnson as well as the entire Wold Newton family of creators and beyond.   Add to that the literal multitude of mavericks and new guns that have stepped forward, myself thankfully included, and New Pulp is suddenly more than just a group of guys and gals telling stories like the ones we grew up on.  It’s its own movement, its own subgenre, within Pulp as a whole. 

The New Pulp Movement will be celebrated by Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention in five-hour program block. Ron Fortier, Managing Editor of Airship 27 Productions and Tommy Hancock, Managing Editor of Pro Se Productions have arranged three panels and eight authors’ readings. They’ll be joined by Chris Bell, Rob Davis, Joe Bonnadonna, David C. Smith, Wayne Reinagel, William Patrick Maynard, David White and Terrence McCauley.

The con will also hosts the Pulp Factory Awards, given to the best in new pulp fiction and artwork.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]


Pulp Factory Awards