Named for the rough paper printed on pulp fiction magazines. The Pulps churned out spicy stories, mysteries, and futuristic fables to a generation eager for escape. To legions of fans, the cover was the deciding factor at the dime store counter.
They Were Cheap, They Were Gaudy
Before tv, the twenty theater multiplex, videotapes, and dvds, pulps were America’s mass entertainment. They were devoted almost entirely to fiction. And fiction was what most people wanted, and fiction was the field pulps specialized in. What made pulp magazines attractive was not their covers alone or that they were cheap, the real secrets of the pulps success were the stories and the author who wrote them.
The first major pulp magazine superstar was Edgar Rice Burroughs. Other circulation boosters were Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M Cain, Frederick Faust, Ray Bradbury, Robert E Howard, L Ron Hubbard, Louis L’Amour, Isaac Asimov, Robert A Heinlein, A.E. Van Vogt, Robert Bloch, John D Macdonald, and Robert Leslie Bellem.
Romance and fantasy held extraordinary appeal to young americans. With their lurid covers depicting the thrills of sex and violence and with stories to match inside, the pulps fueled America’s dreams and nightmares. For a few cents they offered everything young men wanted: sex, action, and adventure. The cheap thrills of the hot and spicy pulps and the sexual sadism of the shudder pulps of the fantasy, sci-fi and horror pulps
Sleazy Sensational Glory
The Pulps were all about action, adventure, and sex. They catered to basic needs in the male psyche to have a life of action and adventure in which beautiful women fell easily into his arms and even his bed. The pulps catered to fantasies providing armchair action and masturbrbatory ideals.