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This is an old revision of PulpMagazines made by TpnEditor on 2008-04-01 18:11:20.

 

Pulp magazines


Pulp magazines, or pulps, were inexpensive fiction magazines printed on paper made of wood pulp and sold to a mass market from the 1890s through the 1950s. A typical pulp magazine measured about 6 by 9 inches and totaled just over 120 pages, and sold for between 10 and 25 cents.

Background

The ArgosyAn issue of The Argosy from the 1890s.
The October 1896 issue of The Argosy is commonly considered the first pulp magazine. Published by the Frank A. Munsey Co., The Argosy was a reworked version of a general information magazine titled Golden Argosy. Munsey is remembered for considering the story more important than the paper it is printed on, which led to his decision to switch Argosy to an all-fiction format and print it on low-quality pulpwood paper.

Munseyís Argosy was a natural evolution of the dime novel, a tabloid-size story papers full of melodramatic and inspirational fiction.

Other publishers followed Munseyís lead, and within 20 years, numerous publishers, such as Street and Smith were selling pulp magazines.

A typical pulp magazine

A typical pulp would include several short stories and serialized novels. With the advent of the single-character pulps in the 1930s, the magazines began to include a complete lead novel in each issue.

Pulp magazines were usually around 6 by 9 inches in dimension, though bedsheet varieties were around 8-1/2 by 11 inches, and digest-size pulps were about 5-1/2 by 8-1/4 inches.

They contained three general classes of fiction: the short story; the novelette; and the booklength novel. Short stories were the most common and generally ranged under 15,000 words. Novelettes, literally ìlittle novels,î ran from 15,000 to 40,000 words. Booklengths, generally 50,000 words or more, could run complete in some pulps. Many earlier pulps often ran booklengths in serial form in three or four consecutive numbers.

End of the pulps

The pulps reached their zenith in the 1930s. Paper shortages during World War II spelled the beginning of the end for the magazines. By 1949, Street and Smith had folded its pulp magazine because of declining circulation.

Changing tastes after the war and competition from radio, television and inexpensive paperback books took their toll on the popular fiction magazines. By the end of the 1950s, pulps, for the most part, were history.

A few magazines lingered as digests, such as Astounding (later renamed Analog), or evolved into menís magazines, such as Argosy.

Pulps vs. ëpulpí fiction

Pulp magazines are a specific category of magazine featuring light fiction that was fast-paced, sometimes lurid, sometimes sensational, but always written for entertainment.

As fictioneer H. Bedford-Jones once said, ìThe fiction that is published in our popular magazines and in the standard novels commonly termed ëtrash,í is turned out for the people at large. It is written for the average man in the street. It is democratic, carelessly so. It may be poor in art, in grammar and in technique ó but it has to tell a story, and a good story, or it wwould not be published. Its aim is to entertain, not to point a moral.î

This description of light, lurid fiction as ìpulpî has been carried over to the inexpensive paperback books that appeared in the 1940s and 1950s, and, even today, with movies such as Pulp Fiction. In truth, none of these fall into the ìpulpî category as covered by PulpWiki or ThePulp.Net.

Pulp magazine category

The following 29 page(s) belong to PulpMagazines

Aces [Aces]
AvengerThe [AvengerThe]
CaptainFuture [Captain Future]
CaptainHazzard [Capt. Hazzard]
DetectiveStoryMagazine [DetectiveStoryMagazine]
DimeDetective [DimeDetective]
DimeMystery [DimeMystery]
DocSavage [DocSavage]
DustyAyres [DustyAyres]
FantasyGenre [FantasyGenre]
FaustFrederick [FaustFrederick]
FireFighters [Fire Fighters]
G8andHisBattleAces [G-8 and His Battle Aces]
GibsonWalter [GibsonWalter]
MerrittA [A. Merritt]
NewPulp [New Pulp]
Operator5 [Operator5]
PhantomDetectiveThe [PhantomDetectiveThe]
PulpGenres [Pulp genres]
PulpMagazineRights [Pulp magazines rights]
PulpsterThe [The Pulpster]
PulpTerms [PulpTerms]
ShadowThe [ShadowThe]
SoldiersOfFortune [SoldiersOfFortune]
SpiderThe [SpiderThe]
StrangeStories [Strange Stories]
StreetandSmith [Street and Smith Publications Inc.]
Unknown [Unknown]
WesternStoryMagazine [WesternStoryMagazine]


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