Pulp Revolution: The Future Is Ours

Thursday , 3, August 2017 20 Comments

We are the Pulp Revolution, and all shall join us… or fall before us.

Seems like everyone wants to know what exactly this Pulp Revolution thing exactly is, and how exactly and precisely do we define it, and what stories are or are not included in the specific canon of this very specific bomb throwing literary book club movement thing. In the interests of clarifying nothing, and agitating everyone, I present:

JUST WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PULP REVOLUTION THING ANYWAY?

The Pulp Revolution isn’t about the time or place or genre of a story, nor about remaking old stories. It’s about learning from the past how to make great stories.

It’s about grabbing the audience right out of the gate and keeping them mesmerized by moving the story along. It’s about the absolute minimum of boring talky baloney, and the absolute maximal entertainment, enjoyment, and fun. It’s about audience first, last, and always. It’s about eschewing all else in pursuit of stories that inspire, that thrill, that horrify, that move, that elate. It’s about storytelling in its purest and most elemental form. It’s about all that…

And nothing else.

Maybe your story has hard science, or not. It doesn’t matter.

Maybe your story has Tolkienesque elves, or not. It doesn’t matter.

Maybe your story is set in the ’30’s, or not. It doesn’t matter.

Is it thrilling? Is it compelling? Is it entertaining? Is it moving? Is it inspiring? Is it horrifying?

Does it grab the audience from sentence one and pull them through the story? Does it, in short, enthrall them?

Only this matters.

The writers and editors of the Pulps had a simple mandate: write for the audience, write to tell stories they loved and wanted more of, write to drive the audience wild, OR GO OUT OF BUSINESS. In this cauldron of fierce competitiveness, they were forced to develop their talents to their utmost. They told great stories, because it was that or go bust. We can learn from them.

The Pulp Revolution eschews all else—“laws” of genre, preachiness and propaganda, minute and mind numbing and IRRELEVANT details of worldbuilding, technobabble, or whatever else the author wants to spit out to show how clever they are—in the pursuit of stories that drive the audience wild: finding them, sharing them, and MAKING them. The story, and only the story, and only ever the story.

We treasure adventure, exploration, bold characterization, heroics, and action. We treasure all that entertains and enthralls, all that moves and inspires, all that drives the audience wild.

We plumb the Pulps for ideas and tropes long forgotten, like the ancient perilous elves, like wild and unfettered fantasy stories, like plots, archetypes, and entire genres long since forgotten. We take all these great and forgotten elements and build something new and exciting from them.

The Pulp Revolution is not about the past. It’s about the future. The future of storytelling, the future of publishing, and the future of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

The Pulp Revolution is the future. It is all that is vital and ALIVE about storytelling, it is all that audiences cheer for and love. Everyone else will join us, ape us, or decline into irrelevance.

We are the Pulp Revolution. The future is ours.


Jasyn Jones, better known as Daddy Warpig, is a host on the Geek Gab podcast, a regular on the Superversive SF livestreams, and blogs at Daddy Warpig’s House of Geekery. Check him out on Twitter.

20 Comments
  • With every revolution there is an end once the shift has occurred. But at that point you’ve already won or been quashed. I believe victory is inevitable. Even if the labels change, the guiding philosophy will flourish on its own.

  • Rawle Nyanzi says:

    This is something I can get behind.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    More pulp, less progressive clap trap.

  • “I have seen the future, brother, and it’s murder.”

    Leonard Cohen.

  • deuce says:

    Right on, right on. Let’s get PulpRevvin’!

  • Skyblue2525 says:

    Yes!
    Writers Autonomously Revitalizing Genre and Media Entertainment Revolution (W.A.R.G.A.M.E.R.)

    — Skyblue2525,
    who could not come up with an acronym for Female Readers who Prefer Heroic Masculine Story Protagonists

  • Nicholas Archer says:

    Is a Pulp Story with a Message regardless of whether it is Overt or Covert still a PulpRev Story or is it the Status Que? I would like to know.

    • Alex says:

      Even a handful of pulp stories were garbage message fiction (see my reviews of The Wheel is Death or Damon Knight’s No Winter, No Summer), and they were still pulp stories. I say worry less about whether or not a story is a Pulp Rev story and more about whether it’s a good story.

      • deuce says:

        Pulp has to ENTERTAIN. That is its number one job. You can have plenty of “message” in a pulp story as long as the reader is still entertained. ERB and REH worked messages in all the time. However, they didn’t let “message” dominate. They did it so well — flying in messages under the radar — that many people think all they wrote was “mindless escapism”.

        “Entertainment is fiction’s purpose.”
        –Edgar Rice Burroughs

      • Nicholas Archer says:

        Do you know of any good and entertaining Pulp Stories with a message? I’m new to the pulps as I’ve mostly read Contemporary and Campbellian Stories.

      • deuce says:

        Read ERB’s “Moon Trilogy”. Short n’ sweet. Three very short “novels”; what we would almost consider novellas now. Packed with socio-political commentary and loads of fun.

        http://freeread.com.au/@rglibrary/ERBurroughs/Moon/Moon.html

  • Old enough says:

    Mickey Spillane, John Carter, anything by Rosemary Suttcliff!, Doc Savage, Hardy Boys. Short, tight, entertaining, take you for a ride. Long live PULP!

  • CoyoteKhan says:

    Hear hear, Daddy Warpig! Great stories and no claptrap.

  • Jill says:

    Just as long as the future isn’t devoid of philosophy, ideas, and fact/info dumping. Oh, and humor. Loads and loads of goofiness, whimsy, and absurdism. I like pulp because of its bent toward the weird, but I do like to meander in my reading occasionally.

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