Pulp Revolution, Before The Pulp Revolution Was

Thursday , 5, January 2017 5 Comments

There is so much going on it’s easy to miss things. And there are books going out that I don’t even look at until three different people insist I take a look at them. Thune’s Visions was one of those books. Nethereal was another. Given how good those were, I pay attention when this sort of consensus begins to emerge.

Here’s just the latest example:

Hooc Ott pointed out on Twitter that “the novel that launched Sad Puppies and all that followed it is in the tradition of Howard ERB Lovecraft Tolkien PULP”: Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International!

And that did jog my memory. The month before the latest QuQu video had a whole bit on how Correia invoked the pulp ethos just as he was making his big splash.

But there was actually one person that had gone further than anyone else in making this connection. That was Daddy Warpig back in October!

Check it out:

In every literary movement, there comes a time when earlier works are reinterpreted in light of the new aesthetic and retroactively incorporated. It happened with New Wave, Cyberpunk, and Steampunk, and I’m doing it today with the Pulp Revolution.

Thesis: The writings of Larry Correia are pure Pulp Revolution.

Let’s run through the supporting reasoning.

1 Action Oriented: Larry writes action. Larry writes GOOD action. Larry writes action scenes that blow the top of your head off. In fact, Larry has said that if he goes 5000 words without an action scene, he starts to get twitchy and feels the need to blow something up. (Paraphrasing, obviously.)

2 Moral Core: Pulp Heroes, as Misha Burnett wrote, act from a moral core. In Larry’s stories, even the VILLAINS act from comprehensive moral codes (see “Hard Magic” and “Son of the Black Sword”). Owen Pitt, chief protagonist of the Monster Hunter series, has a definite moral code which compels him to act, and the element of romance, in both the “male-female” and “adventure” senses, are clearly a part of that series.

3 Deafness to Genre Restrictions: It is not that Larry is a rebel against arbitrary genre restrictions, it’s that he simply doesn’t understand them and violates them as a matter of course. The Big Book Of Genre No-No’s baffles and enrages him, and like a caveman with a calculator, he beats the infuriating thing against a rock until shiny stuff falls out.

It’s telling that when he set his hand to writing Epic Fantasy, what he came up with was, first, a dieselpunk-superhero-fantasy with zeppelins, ninjas, and giant mechs, a genre blend that does the pulps proud, and second a post-demon-apocalypse, India-inspired sword and sorcery setting, every bit as exotic as nearly anything you could find in the pulps.

So, while Larry isn’t part of the Pulp Revolution, and has almost certainly never heard of Cirsova magazine (or possibly even Appendix N), his writing definitely prefigured much of the elements that make it up. Larry’s books partake of the spirit of the Neopulps, and for that he deserves a place of honor in the Pulp Revolution Hall of Fame.

‘Nuff said!


  • Gaiseric says:

    Considering that Larry has documented his D&D campaign for some time on his blog, I’d venture to guess that he’s heard of Appendix N.

    Knowing him, I’d also venture to guess that much of what has been written about it recently would strike him as literary navel-gazing BS and he’d tire of it quickly and start smashing it with his tetsubo, though. He doesn’t care much, I’d venture to surmise in his behalf, about literary “movements” and whatnot; I strongly suspect that he just does what he likes and doesn’t care at all about what anyone else says about it. His focus is on “do I think this is cool, and therefore do the paying customers who are looking for the same kind of cool that I write think this is cool?” Which is very much like the pulp aesthetic before the pulp aesthetic had to become a neoreactionary push against the kind of fiction that has flooded the market since back when everyone just wrote like that.

  • Gaiseric says:

    I’d also venture to say that in the world of role-playing games, the pulp aesthetic has been building towards some kind of critical mass for some time. Look at the cover art for games like Spirit of the Century for example (gorilla soldiers in biplanes) or Hollow Earth Expeditions (fighting dinosaurs at the center of the earth.) While RPGs have certainly not been immune to SJW convergence, they’ve also never completely abandoned the pulp aesthetic, and games that have been overtly pulp themed have garnered a lot of attention and acclaim by the fans. I really think that looking for a nexus of foreshadowing for the pulp revolution, the RPG community has to be seen as a fertile ground where a lot of these roots first grew.

  • Rawle Nyanzi says:

    Yup, Monster Hunter International was the first book of his that I read. While it was cool, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

  • Mike says:

    I agree that Larry’s depiction of bad guys is one of the secrets of his success.

    In fact, I’d say you can gauge the quality of any tale by how fully its bad guys are presented. To cite one example: Magneto from the early X-Men movies. You can understand him while also rooting for his defeat. Now THAT’S a story that pulls you in.

  • Nathan says:

    “The one good thing about being forced to read The Great Gatsby was that I discovered Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft afterwards because I figured that not everybody from that time frame could have been that incredibly annoying.

    “My sophomore English teacher dismissed those works as “pulp” not “literature”. Really? Because who has influenced more people in succeeding generations? Cthulu or Gatsby? My money is on the big squid.”

    -Larry Correia, “Correia on the Classics”, Monsterhunternation.com

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