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Join us in 2014 in Columbus, Ohio for Summer's Great Pulp Convention!

Thousands of Pulp Magazines in One Hall!

Beautiful Pulps!

Join us Thursday, August 7th – Sunday, August 10th
at the Hyatt Regency in downtown
Columbus, Ohio for PulpFest 2014.


Latest News

April 15, 2014

The Munsey Magazines

Filed under: History — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

All Story 1905-01Shortly after The Argosy had been converted to the first all-fiction magazine in 1896, and not long thereafter the first pulp magazine, its circulation had doubled to about 80,000 copies per issue. By 1907, the year the periodical celebrated its 25th anniversary, its circulation had reached a half million copies, earning its publisher about $300,000 per year.

From its beginning, The Argosy made a home for fantastic fiction, reprinting “Citizen 504,” a dystopian short story written by Charles H. Palmer, in the December 1896 issue. Other reprints, from a variety of sources would follow. As the century turned, original fiction of a fantastic nature began to appear in The Argosy, including works by Jared L. Fuller, Park Winthrop, and longtime dime novelist William Wallace Cook. Edgar Franklin Stearns also began to contribute his humorous fantasies concerning off-beat contraptions to the magazine.

As its readership grew, The Argosy was bound to attract some imitators. Street & Smith, the longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, was first to meet the call, debuting The Popular Magazine with its November 1903 issue. As the circulation of the new magazine grew, it became apparent to Frank Munsey that there was room on the newsstand for more than one pulp. At the end of 1904, the publisher debuted The All-Story Magazine.

allstory_tarzanMore than any other periodical prior to the introduction of the specialized science-fiction and fantasy pulps, The All-Story became the major repository for the “different” tale or the pseudo-scientific yarn. It was soon joined by other Munsey magazines–The Scrap Book and The Railroad Man’s Magazine (both 1906), The Ocean/The Live Wire (1907), and The Cavalier (1908). All of these, The Cavalier in particular, published fantastic fiction. However, it was all but a prelude to the serial novel that would begin in the February 1912 issue of The All-Story– “Under the Moons of Mars”–credited to Norman Bean.

Bean’s novel—the first published fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs—would introduce John Carter of Mars to readers. It would soon be followed by the author’s “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety in the October 1912 issue of The All-Story. These two novels, along with the pseudo-scientific works of H. G. Wells and his American disciple, George Allan England, would serve as templates for much of the science fiction written over the next twenty-five years, generating a type of fiction best known as “the scientific romance.” The Munsey chain in particular worked to develop this school of fiction, creating a stable of writers–Ray Cummings, J. U. Geisy, Victor Rousseau, Francis Stevens, Charles B. Stilson, and the best of all, Abraham Merritt–able to contribute such stories.

Adventure 1910-11Although the fiction of Burroughs and Wells and those “inspired” by their work would remain popular for some time to come, its share of the pulp market would diminish as new magazines began to arrive on the scene. Beginning with Adventure Magazine, introduced by the Ridgway Company in 1910, these specialized pulps lessened the attraction of the general fiction magazines for those who enjoyed a certain type of story–mystery, romance, western, or straight adventure. In not too many years, the fantasy and science-fiction fan would likewise be served.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.

April 11, 2014

A Magazine for the Common Man

Filed under: History — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

Pearson's 1899 Sept.We have seen that the popular British fiction magazines were modeled after the illustrated periodicals of America. However, unlike their British counterparts, the leading American magazines of the late nineteenth century–Harper’s, Century Magazine, and Scribner’s–were beyond the financial and the intellectual reach of the average U. S. citizen.

It was left to Frank A. Munsey–a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker”–to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man. In his own words, Munsey decided to create “a magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

Frank Munsey was born in Maine where he became interested in publishing. With minimal funds, he traveled to New York City and founded The Golden Argosy, a children’s weekly, in late 1882. Working largely on credit, he struggled for years, building his circulation through advertising and sheer determination. Deciding that the future lay in the adult market, he founded Munsey’s Weekly in 1889, soon converting it to Munsey’s Magazine. In 1893, convinced that a magazine could only be successful if the price was right, he slashed the price of Munsey’s to a dime and marketed it directly to newsdealers, essentially cutting out the middle man.

As the circulation of Munsey’s climbed to hundreds of thousands of copies, the publisher converted The Argosy to an adult magazine, similarly priced and modeled after it’s brethren. Envisioning a new kind of magazine, Frank Munsey wrote, “We want stories . . . . not dialect sketches, not washed out studies of effete human nature, not weak tales of sickly sentimentality, no ‘pretty’ writing . . . . We do want fiction in which there is a story, a force, a tale that means something–in short a story. Good writing is as common as clam shells, while good stories are as rare as statesmanship.”

Argosy 1896-12In October 1896, The Argosy became the first all-fiction magazine. Two months later in a cost-cutting move, it began to be printed on the wood-pulp paper he used for his daily newspaper and the rough-paper fiction magazine, or pulp, was born.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.

April 7, 2014

Prelude to the Pulps

Filed under: History — posted by Mike Chomko @ 4:50 pm

Amazing_Stories 27-08As we learned in our April 4th post, “Origins of Science Fiction,” magazines began to reach a much wider audience as Europe and America became more industrialized. Increasingly urban and literate societies required cheap, entertaining, and easily accessible entertainment to escape the drudgery of the mills and offices. Since magazines could be produced cheaply and in a timely fashion, the last quarter of the nineteenth century became “The Age of the Storytellers.” Beginning around 1880, when Robert Louis Stevenson started to publish his first works of fiction, the world would witness the birth of the popular fiction magazine as well as the pulp magazine.

Strand 1891-07Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” first serialized in 1881-82, helped to provide the spark for other authors to try their hand at similar fiction. Works such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), “She” (1886), and “Allan Quatermain” (1887), as well as Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” (1887) demonstrated the need for an inexpensive, popular fiction magazine to be published on a regular basis. Shortly after Christmas in 1890, the first of these—The Strand Magazine—was launched by George Newnes. Filled with illustrations, the periodical really took off during the summer of 1891 with the start of Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” introducing one of the most successful continuing character series of all time.

With the success of The Strand Magazine came a host of imitators, among them Pearson’s Magazine. It debuted in late 1895 and soon became one of the leading publishers of magazine science fiction, featuring the future war stories of George Griffith and the scientific romances of Herbert George Wells. “The War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man,” both originally published in Pearson’s in 1897, are still enjoyed today, over a century after their initial appearances. Educated in the sciences as well as a literary genius, Wells’ mastery of both science and fiction was readily apparent. His later science fiction, including “The First Men in the Moon” (1900-1901) and “The Country of the Blind “1904), would run in The Strand.

In our next installment, we’ll turn our attention across the pond where an American entrepreneur named Frank A. Munsey was busy turning a struggling magazine into the first American all-fiction magazine.

War of the Worlds

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.


April 4, 2014

The Origins of Science Fiction

Filed under: History — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

Startling1939-01Way back in 1939, a sudden blossoming of  magazine science fiction and fantasy occurred. Following the introduction of Startling Stories at the end of 1938, no less than eight pulps featuring fantastic fiction debuted in the next year–Dynamic Science Stories, Strange Stories, Science Fiction, Unknown, Fantastic Adventures, Future Fiction, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and Planet Stories. Additionally, three other science-fiction pulps were in preparation during 1939–Astonishing Stories, Captain Future, and Super Science Stories–and the first World Science Fiction Convention was held in New York City, home to the World’s Fair and its “World of Tomorrow” theme.

Over at Astounding Stories, editor John Wood Campbell was publishing the first science-fiction stories of Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, and A. E. Van Vogt, as well as Isaac Asimov’s first story for the magazine and Hubert Rogers’ first cover. With his growing stable of writers and artists, Campbell was ushering in what would become known as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. But from whence did the genre come?

Although science fiction can trace its roots to such imaginary voyages, satires, and utopias as Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1626), Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1634), Francis Godwin’s The Man in the Moone (1638), Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), and other works, most modern scholars point to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, originally published in 1818, as the first science-fiction novel. In the years that followed the publication of this important work of both Gothic horror and science fiction, an increasing amount of fiction, once the province of books, found its way into magazines.

It was in periodicals that Edgar Allan Poe, best remembered for his horror and mystery tales, introduced logic and science to explain elements of the fantastic. Beginning with “Ms. Found in a Bottle” (1833), a story involving a sinking ship caught in a whirlpool leading toward the earth’s interior, Poe introduced science fiction to the short story. In the remaining sixteen years of his life, the author would periodically return to the genre in tales featuring trips to the Moon, new species, the death of the human race, the transmutation of lead into gold, and more.

From the Earth to the MoonWhen Poe died in 1849, the strength of his stories kept them fresh and alive, inspiring authors the world over. One of these was Jules Verne who introduced “precise, scientific details” into his own writing, culminating in his first great triumph, Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863). Encouraged by the novel’s great success, the story’s original publisher, Pierre Hetzel, contracted the author to produce two novels each year for the next twenty years to run in a new periodical. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869-70), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), and Off on a Comet (1877) are just some of the masterpieces of science fiction penned by this master of the genre.

As the century progressed and Europe and North America became increasingly industrialized, magazines began to reach a much wider, sometimes national, audience. Blackwood’s Magazine, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Scribner’s Monthly, and others emerged, publishing the fiction of Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Fitz-James O’Brien, and others. The dime novels, penny-dreadfuls, and story papers also emerged during these years, offering tales of derring-do to a growing juvenile audience. It was here that the “American Jules Verne,” Luis Senarens, developed the Frank Reade, Jr. series that featured steam-powered contraptions in exciting adventure yarns.

Franke Reade, Jr.Still to come are H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle and The Strand Magazine, H. G. Wells and Pearson’s, Munsey’s and The Argosy and George Allan England. We’ll discuss these and more as we continue our examination of the offspring of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein–the fantastic magazines of Europe and the United States–in anticipation of PulpFest 2014 on August 7 – 10.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.

March 30, 2014

Advertise in The Pulpster

Filed under: Program Book — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

The_Pulpster_2014Our editor and designer Bill Lampkin is already hard at work on the next issue of The Pulpster. He’ll be featuring articles on science fiction’s golden year of 1939, the shudder pulps, and other interesting topics. So expect a slam-bang issue from the esteemed editor of our highly popular program book. Every member of PulpFest will receive a complimentary copy of The Pulpster.

If you’d like to place an advertisement in this year’s Pulpster, you have until June 1st to do so. All advertising is sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with payment expected immediately upon reserving a space. Please realize that the cover spaces sell very quickly. Our rates are reasonable: color back cover–$170; inside color covers–$130; inside color full page–$100; inside black-and-white full page–$70; half-page–$40; quarter page–$30. Print specifications, payment information, and more are listed on the Program Book page of our website. To inquire about space availability, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.comThe Pulpster has a circulation of 450-500 copies. You can also submit your advertising copy to Mike and ask him about back issues.

Another way to advertise at PulpFest is to donate material for our giveaway tables. Over the years The Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionBook Source MagazineGirasol CollectablesRadio ArchivesStark House Press, and other organizations have donated a variety of publications that were given away free to PulpFest attendees. Your donation will be acknowledged on our website and at the convention. If you’d like to offer something for our giveaway table, please contact Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

Graves Gladney contributed the cover art to the July 1939 Astounding Science Fiction, considered by many longtime science-fiction fans to be the true beginning of the genre’s Golden Age. With its October 1960 issue, Astounding became Analog Science Fact & Fiction. It retained that title until the April 1965 number when it became Analog Science Fiction & Fact, its name today. It is published by Dell Magazines. Gladney’s art illustrated A. E. Van Vogt’s “Black Destroyer,” as well as this year’s cover for The Pulpster.

March 23, 2014

Dealing at PulpFest 2014

Filed under: Our Dealers — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

BNT Guide to Pulp FictionInterested in selling at PulpFest 2014? If your specialty is pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, first edition hardcovers, original art, series books, dime novels, men’s adventure, true crime, digest, or slick magazines, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related collectibles, old-time-radio shows, or Golden and Silver Age comic books, then PulpFest is for you.

The people who attend PulpFest are primarily interested in pulp and genre fiction as well as pulp and paperback art. So it’s a great place to sell science-fiction books, mystery and detective fiction, adventure or western fiction, original artwork, and more. And it doesn’t have to be old! Publishers such as Adventures in BronzeAge of AcesBattered Silicon Dispatch Box, and Murania Press do well selling their pulp reprints and related materials as do resellers such as Mike Chomko, Books and Martin Grams. Likewise, new pulp publishers and authors such as Dick Enos, William Patrick Maynard, and Ron Fortier and Rob Davis of Airship 27 have found PulpFest to be a great event to market today’s pulp fiction.

PulpFest 2014 will have over 100 six-foot tables in its 15,800 square-foot dealers’ room. Wall tables will cost $80 and island tables will be $70. Dealers will also be required to purchase regular three-day memberships for themselves and for any helpers accompanying them to PulpFest. For those dealers who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency ColumbusPulpFest is pleased to offer a third table free for every two tables that they rent, a tremendous savings. That’s buy two and get one free to thank such dealers for helping to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying at the host hotel.

Our dealers’ room will be open at 10 AM on Friday, August 8th, and remain open until 5 PM. We’ll also have hours on Saturday and Sunday, August 9th & 10th. Please visit our convention hours page for more details. And don’t forget about our early-bird hours on Thursday evening, August 7th, from 6 PM to 10 PM, when dedicated fans of  pulp and genre fiction will enjoy an extra four hours of shopping.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning now to attend as a PulpFest 2014 dealer and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can register by clicking on the link below for a download of our 2014 dealer newsletter & registration form.

PulpFest 2014 Dealer Newsletter & Registration Form

If you’d prefer to register via email, please send all of the information requested on our dealer registration form to Jack Cullers at jack@pulpfest.com and complete our survey by clicking here.  Remember, we’ll be holding a random drawing for three free memberships to PulpFest 2014 for those who respond to our survey questions.

The front cover to Ed Hulse’s The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction was designed by Chris Kalb, a talented illustrator who also put together the PulpFest website way back when. This must-have, non-fiction guide to pulps and pulp fiction was published in 2013 by Murania Press.

March 18, 2014

It’s Munsey Nomination Time

Filed under: Awards — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

Final Munsey AwardEvery year, PulpFest recognizes the efforts of those who work to keep the pulps alive for this and future generations through its Munsey Award (pictured at left). Named after Frank A. Munsey, the man who published the first pulp magazine, this annual award recognizes an individual who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the pulp community, be it through disseminating knowledge about the pulps or through publishing or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest in the pulp magazines we all love and enjoy. Nominations for the 2014 Munsey are now being accepted. All members of the pulp community, whether they plan to attend PulpFest 2014 or not, are welcome to nominate a deserving person for this year’s award.

You can also nominate someone for the Rusty Hevelin Service Award. Initiated in 2012, this award is designed to recognize those persons who have worked long and hard for the pulp community with little thought for individual recognition. It is meant to reward especially good works, and is thus reserved for only those individuals who are most deserving.

If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive either of these prestigious awards, please let us know. All members of the pulp community, excepting past winners of the Munsey, Hevelin, or Lamont Awards, are eligible. Please send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to mike@pulpfest.com. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2014. The recipient of the Munsey and/or Rusty Hevelin Service Award will be selected by a panel of judges consisting of recognized experts in the pulp field. The award will be presented on August 9th, during the convention’s evening programming.

The Munsey Award was created by artist David Saunders, the son of legendary illustrator Norman Saunders. Dan Zimmer of the Illustrated Press and publisher of Illustration Magazine has produced a limited edition of thirty-six numbered and signed prints. The PulpFest Committee is indebted to both David and Dan for their generous support of our convention.

March 13, 2014

PulpFest and the “New Fictioneers”

Filed under: Programming — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

Skull Island CoverIt’s called new pulp–stories by modern writers who recreate the style of fiction that appeared in the pulp magazines of yore. Back then, the authors who labored for the rough paper industry liked to call themselves scribes, word-slingers, penny-a-worders, and, perhaps the most favored term of all, fictioneers. Join PulpFest as we celebrate today’s fictioneers—the authors writing the new pulp fiction.

If you’re a writer who has been inspired by the work of yarn-spinners such as Lester Dent, Robert E. Howard, Edmond Hamilton, H. Bedford-Jones, Norvell Page, Frederick Faust, and countless others who churned out commercial fiction for the pulp market, PulpFest is looking for you! Every year since 2009, we’ve featured readings by some of the best writers of today’s pulp fictionRon Fortier, Will Murray, Duanne Spurlock, Win Scott Eckert, William Patrick Maynard, and many others have read excerpts from their work, showcasing a wide range of exciting new fiction. Afterward, they’ve talked with their audiences, answering questions, fielding comments, discussing works-in-progress, and selling their books. Both our writers and their audiences have loved these sessions.

We call these hour-long events our “New Fictioneers” readings and we’re hoping to have some great ones for you at PulpFest 2014. As we have for the last five years, PulpFest is looking for writers for its New Fictioneers program, scheduled for Friday, August 8th, and Saturday, August 9th. If you’re a writer of new pulp fiction who would like to participate in this year’s festivities, please send an email to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com to let him know that you’d like to join us as one of our celebrated New Fictioneers.

March 7, 2014

Shopping for Collectibles at PulpFest

Filed under: Our Dealers — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

Planet Comics 1940-01Year after year, PulpFest is a paradise for the fan of pulp magazines, digests, vintage paperbacks, and other collectibles. The collector will also find first edition hardcovers, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, series books, dime novels, original artwork, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books in our 15,800 square-foot dealers’ room.

For those who simply like to read pulp and genre fiction, you’ll find science-fiction books, mysteries, adventure fiction, and countless pulp reprints from publishers such as Adventure HouseAltus PressGirasol CollectablesMeteor House, and Sanctum Books. Fans of new pulp will have readings by their favorite authors on both Friday and Saturday, as well as offerings from Adventures in BronzeAirship 27, and other purveyors of today’s pulp fiction.

Accommodating over 100 tables, our dealers’ room will be open to all comers from 10 AM to about 5 PM on August 8th and 9th and until 2 PM on Sunday, August 1oth (although buying and selling opportunities may be limited on our final day as many of our dealers will be packing up for their return trip home).

And don’t forget about our early-bird hours on Thursday evening, August 7th, from 6 PM to 10 PM. For an additional $30 over your regular membership fee, you’ll be able to purchase early-bird privileges for an extra four hours of shopping. Better still, to reward loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying three nights at our host hotel, PulpFest is pleased to offer free early-bird privileges. That’s a very significant savings of $30!

Remember, “If you read or collect pulps, pulp reprints, books, vintage paperbacks, or slicks . . . PulpFest is the place to be.”


The first issue of Fiction House’s Planet Comics, dated January 1940, sported a front cover by Lou Fine. The comic book was a spin-off of Planet Stories, one of seven science-fiction pulps introduced in the genre’s Golden Year of 1939. PulpFest 2014 will be celebrating “75 years of fantastic fiction” at this year’s convention in Columbus, Ohio.

March 2, 2014

Stay at the Hyatt Regency

Filed under: Details — posted by Mike Chomko @ 7:00 pm

13th World SF ConventionPulpFest will be returning to the beautiful Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio for the third straight year. In the heart of the active Arena District, the Hyatt Regency is just a few minutes’ walk from the trendy Short North Arts District. There are dozens of restaurants in the blocks surrounding the hotel. Ohio State University and various tourist attractions are also easily accessible.

Through July 11, 2014, the Hyatt Regency Columbus will be offering PulpFest members a nightly guest-room rate of $114 plus tax that includes a complimentary parking pass with in-out privileges and free wi-fi. Views of downtown Columbus or Ohio State’s scenic campus are found in each of the Hyatt’s spacious 338-square-foot guest accommodations.

Book your reservation now by clicking here to link to an electronic reservations interface customized for PulpFest attendees. Or call 1-888-421-1442 to book a room by telephone. Be sure to mention PulpFest 2014 to get the special convention rate. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success.

Remember, to reward loyal attendees who support the convention by staying at the host hotel, PulpFest will provide an early-bird membership at no extra charge. That’s a $30 savings!


Frank R. Paul, often described as “The Father of Science-Fiction Illustration,” created the front cover art for the program book of the 1955 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio. The 130th anniversary of the birth of this noted illustrator will be celebrated in April of this year. Additionally, Worldcon will be celebrating its diamond jubilee in 2014.  The first World Science Fiction Convention took place in New York City in July 1939.

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