We NEEEDDD More Faves !!!!
Penny Dreadfuls, Dime Novels, Pulp Magazines: the 10c mass produced serial fiction of a century ago. From this “low culture” arose characters and trends and careers that have endured into our day. This lurid, exploitative literary format included highly energetic writing and arresting illustration. Let's bring it back!
In order to participate in, join, or even understand this group, you have to have a sense of the flavor we're aiming at here. We're all going back in time to the mid 19th to early 20th centuries to celebrate the throwaway pop literature of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This is by no means confined to England, America and friends are included. We're talking about PULP: mass produced magazines, newspapers, leaflets, that brought thrilling stories to the public, chapter by cliff-hanging chapter! They were known first in England as Penny Dreadfuls, then in America as Dime Novels, and later it all evolved into The Pulp Magazine.
Pulps and friends gave birth to many enduring characters, including Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, The Three Musketeers, Sweeney Todd, Fantomas, Fu Manchu, and many many more. Many stories were of a lower quality, and in general the medium was looked down on (and much of the output that survived is still not considered “literature”).
Although many of my favorite creations in this medium come from the later period, 1930s, this group focuses on a mere 80 year stretch, from 1840 to 1920. That basically means we're covering everything from Edgar Allan Poe to Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is a fruitful period of lurid tales, adventure, romances, social class distinction, scientific progress, cultural mix-ups, predictions of the future, life on other planets, creatures from the earth's core, black magic, mysticism, perils and wonders from “The East”, detectives, masters of disguise, vampires, trap-doors, and the birth of science fiction and fantasy as we know it.
How does any of this differ from today's literature? Well, for one, it's time gives it a sort of “innocence” in that it pre-dates many of the inventions and tragedies of the 20th and 21st century. It also pre-dates a lot of social progress, but we are 21st century writers, so we can choose whether or not to include social injustices. In this time period, many minorities were either portrayed as threatening or mysterious, always with a sense of the exotic. Essentially, understanding didn't yet exist, so wild imaginations filled in the blanks. On this venture, we are the practitioners of a nostalgic fantasy and it's our toy to play with.
What can't you do in this group? Well, we aren't looking for modern stuff. A story set in 2015 is permissible... if it feels like a 2015 as imagined by a hack writer in the 19th or early 20th century. Think H.G. Wells and friends. We're not looking for reality. Naturally some historical revisionism is allowed and naturally we are all looking at this a century later, but the flavor of the heightened genre must be present! We're talking about the era where newspapers would run hoaxes about observing alien civilizations on the moon via telescope. Artworks and illustrations should observe the themes of the era. We're not looking for “post modernism”, and we are very much not looking for “cyber punk”. The internet age is our reality, but we are using it to portray a 19th/20th century fantasy. We want quality artwork that will reflect the right feeling and that will, in some cases, illustrate featured stories. The aesthetic is the thing!
Cliffhangers are also a big part of this. For those of you writing serial stories, it's important to keep the reader in suspense and therefore fired-up to read the next entry. This means ending each chapter or segment leaves off with the protagonist in peril or horror or with some nutty new mystery developing. This principle was used in most pulp serial stories and was in turn also used in the 1930s and 1940s film serials based on them. Many of you will remember THIS ...and check out this awesome thing!
This group is, in effect, a magazine. Submissions will be gathered and assembled into a mass issue (taking the form of a journal), which will be arranged from the front cover on down to the back. Several stories, illustrations, articles, letters, and advertisements will fill the interior. Since it's a magazine and it's deigned to hold to its theme, we'll have to reject any material that won't fit. While we primarily are looking to get traditional looking illustration, digital creations, photography, and collage are all permitted so long as they project the correct aesthetic. One doesn't wear a disco suit to a biker bar, so try and fit in.
This is a magic carpet ride, to a time where the unknown could be explored and all it's delights and horrors were just a balloon ride away. Perfumed foreign lands sent forth cults and spies to menace the “civilization” of “the west”. Ghosts, curses, strange inventions, opium dens, mummies, and ghouls can and will pop up around every corner, ensuring non-stop thrills!
Are you picking up what I'm putting down? If so, please come and join the fun!
We're looking for people who get what this is all about and feel like they can create content on a regular basis. If you think you can hack it, please comment or note me and we can discuss it
If you think you're interested and want to know more, please take a look here:
And this site appears to have entire pulp magazines available to read: www.pulpmags.org/
You can also find works by some pulp authors available free on Project Gutenberg Australia: gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty.htm…
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