VIZIGRAPH: “Introducing People to the Past and Inspiring the future”

Wednesday , 15, February 2017 17 Comments

Penny Kenny writes in:

Thanks again for putting together the varied, thought-provoking content you do at the blog. I’m not a gamer, so when I read the gaming posts, I’m always learning something. Just off the top of my head, I’m also enjoying the series about the roots of Japanese SF. Alex’s Planet Stories reviews are always entertaining – and I’ve enjoyed the digression into the G-Men Detective magazine, too. And as I mentioned before, I’ve really gotten a lot out of the Ship of Ishtar pieces.

About a year or so ago, I had just about decided I didn’t really like SF. I thought liked the idea of it and enjoyed some visual SF – especially the older (70s-80s-era) anime, TV shows, comics, and movies. And, of course, I enjoyed Burroughs’ Mars series, Brackett’s Stark, some of Schmitz’s Telzey and friends books, Alexander Key’s juvenile SF, some of Clifford Simak and older Andre Norton, the Stainless Steel Rat, some of Lee & Miller’s Liaden books, the early/young Miles books of Bujold (I really wanted to love her Ivan book, but it was just ok), Retief, and a few others; but I couldn’t seem to find anything on the new shelves that I spent more than a few chapters on before giving up – if I even brought it home. Then I found within a month’s time at several different thrift stores, E.E. Doc Smith’s Skylark and Lensman series, and on-line your Appendix N reviews. I fell in love with Skylark’s opening book and Lensman was even better. It seemed like I kept bumping into the books you were reviewing and I snapped those up and found I enjoyed many of them – Moorcock just doesn’t work for me and I haven’t been able to get into Vance yet, though I hope he hits me right sometime in the future. Between the books and your ever expanding discussion, I realized I did like SF. I just didn’t care for the box it had put itself into by dropping the more adventurous, romantic aspects and I wasn’t the only one. So keep up the great work and keep introducing people to the past and inspiring the future.

High praise!

You know, it really is neat to hear this sort of thing. And not just because of the chilly reception we got from the existing science fiction fandom back when we were first starting out. I think it’s going to get increasingly hard for people to imagine, but in 2015 it wasn’t at all clear (to me anyway) that we were on the verge of striking a chord. I would look around the web at the commentary on the books I was writing about and it was just dumbfounding. Why was it that nobody was saying what struck me as being so obvious?! Why was the Castalia House approach to discussing science fiction and fantasy so different…?!

Well if it didn’t resonate with the existing science fiction scene, it did eventually find an audience. And the people that showed up…? It blows my mind just how danged fun they all are. Jon Del Arroz puts it like this:

The Pulp group makes fun, talks about stuff they love. Music, movies, Edgar Rice Burroughs, gaming. The posts feel high energy and are about a lust for life on average.

The literary SF crowd has a lot of downer posts, usually links to fake news Huffington Post or angry political sites on repeat. They talk about seriousness and professionalism at length.

Excitement is infectious. And I hate to say it, but the Romance! Adventure! Thrills! crowd has very nearly been handed a monopoly on it. When I think back to the many people that “regretfully” informed me that they could not read my work unless I posted it somewhere else… the people that publicly go to acquaintances of mine and tell them they need to not link to me or associate with me… the way friends and friends of friends seem to be automatically blocked by BIG TIME AUTHORS on social media…. and all of the blog posts in the wild that cover the some subject matter as we do and which strangely evaporate when I remark on them…. You know, these people aren’t fencing anyone out. At this point, they’re just fencing themselves in.

Because the party is out here– and we’re just getting started!


  • deuce says:

    Right on.

    The Regressives have built themselves their own little prison planet. Too bad — for them — that fewer and fewer people are volunteering for a one-way ticket to that blighted system.

    This is what a prison break looks like. With romance, adventure and thrills, of course.

  • Right on. Especially the last paragraph. Life’s too short to care about guilt by association.

    Now when’s the #PulpRevolution convention scheduled for? 🙂

  • Rod Walker says:

    “You know, these people aren’t fencing anyone out. At this point, they’re just fencing themselves in.”

    This is very true. Rod Walker stopped participating in the SF/F internet some years ago because it had become such a toxic, joyless grind.

    The Appendix-N-sphere (pulp-o-sphere?) is much more enjoyable to read. RW will even occasionally leave a comment every few weeks!

  • Pulp-o-sphere? Paleosphere? Retrofuturosphere? Spherosphere? Pulp World? Cool World? Way Cool World? Awesomesphere? Tomorrowland? Back to the Future? Unboring SF? Noncraptastic SF? Superversive SF? Sfosphere? Normal, good stories? Amazing? Spectacular? Tales to Astonish?

    Folk SF? Classic SF?

    We cannot call it Red SF, because that sounds communist. I suggest “Space Princess SF” because that is what red blooded American boys want to read about.

    This is the New Golden Age, the Return of the King, the Restoration.

    We can say we are in the Orthosphere, the land of Straight SF, served uncut, pure quill, 14 caret, and unadulterated, the domain of where the crooked and warped are absent.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      I’d go with #PulpRev. It captures every possible permutation of this movement.

    • [] says:

      We can call it Red because that’s a third of the American flag and we don’t need to give it away to some foreign death cult.

      I like Paleosphere because it makes me think of dinosaurs, but many of those phrases bring to mind merely the aesthetic of the old pulps, not the underlying mentality. PulpRev brings to mind revolution, revival, but also reverence, something no hackneyed reconstruction with the stock egotistical captain and talking robot has been able to provide.

      • deuce says:

        “PulpRev brings to mind revolution, revival, but also reverence…”

        Hey! I’d forgotten/not thought of that one. Good spot!

        I have to agree about “red”. It belonged to Us before it belonged to Them. It’s not like being associated with it made a certain US party particularly communist. Finally, everybody after Gen X really doesn’t even know that “red” was associated with communism. If anything, “green” is the new “red”.

        Nowadays, red’s just a cool color to teens and twenty-somethings. Like churches, we need the young in order to grow and move forward.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    Please no, not “Noncraptastic”. But any of the others will do in a pinch.

    Hmm. Time to start Reving (Revving?) my way into this New Golden Age of ours.

  • Jon Mollison says:

    Hey, if you want to get technical, it’s really more of a Reconquista than a Revolution. That way I can call myself a Reconquistadore. But really, in my head I don’t actually worry about the taxonomy – I just think of it as “The Good Stuff”.

  • Alex says:

    Glad to know folks dig the Short Reviews.

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