So what’s this PulpFest thing that has so many people talking? With over two-thousand likes on Facebook and hundreds of followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?
PulpFest is named for pulp magazines, periodic fiction collections named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES took hold. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format.
By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, and television. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in these everyday consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science-fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated through a wide variety of mediums—comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.
The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.
Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2015 will take place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio beginning on Thursday, August 13th. It will continue through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here.
Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine.
You want to go to PulpFest 2015, but where do you sleep?!
By staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success. 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.
For PulpFest 2015, it’s easy to book a room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus:
1) Click this Link
2) Make a call to 1-888-421-1442. (Make sure you tell them you would like the PulpFest rate.)
You can reserve a room at the special convention rate of $116 per night plus tax, which includes one free parking pass and free Wi-Fi, if you do so by July 1, 2015. Additional cars will be charged at the discounted rate of $10 overnight with in/out privileges.
Visit (and bookmark) the PulpFest 2015 Hotel Information page for answers to your other questions.
Award-winning science-fiction author Robert Silverberg turns eighty today. One of the few remaining authors with work that appeared in pulp magazines, Silverberg’s first professionally published story was “Gorgon Planet” for NEBULA in February 1954. Within two years, his work was found in a wide array of science-fiction magazines and he was named “Most Promising New Writer” by Hugo Award voters in 1956.
Robert Silverberg worked for the Ziff-Davis writing stable, creating copious amounts of fiction for AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC as well as competitors such as IMAGINATION, IMAGINATIVE TALES, and SUPER-SCIENCE FICTION. Much of his early fiction appeared behind a variety of pen names including Ivar Jorgenson, Calvin M. Knox, and Eric Rodman. During this period, he also collaborated with Randall Garrett, producing fiction as Robert Randall, Gordon Aghill and Ralph Burke.
Winner of multiple awards, including the Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Awards, Silverberg received the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2004. PulpFest would like to take the opportunity to wish Robert Silverberg the happiest of birthdays in this, his eightieth year. Thanks for the stories.
The first Scottish science-fiction magazine, NEBULA, published Robert Silverberg’s first professional sale, “Gorgon Planet,” in its February 1954 issue, featuring cover art by Bob Clothier.
“The twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale” — Stephen King
“The Copernicus of the horror story” — Fritz Leiber
“To me, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an entity. A most important one. And I rejoice to see that his work–and his memory among readers and writers–endures” — Robert Bloch
In his introduction to THE BEST OF H. P. LOVECRAFT: BLOODCURDLING TALES OF HORROR AND THE MACABRE (Del Rey Books, 1982), Robert Bloch remembers the man who, “. . . befriended a fifteen-year-old fan, who gave him a lifelong career, who set an example of fellowship and good-will . . .”
Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island on August 20, 1980. He was the last lineal descendant of an old New England family that had seen better days. His father died of paresis in 1898; his mother survived until 1921, but her own mental instability increased as the family fortunes declined.
Lovecraft wrote: “As a child I was very peculiar and sensitive, always preferring the society of grown persons to that of other children.” Actually it was his neurotic mother who labelled him peculiar and “protected” him from contact with other youngsters. A precocious child, he learned to read when he was four and soon experimented with writing. Poor health kept him from college and economic necessity eventually caused him to neglect amateur journalism in favor of ghostwriting or revising the work of others for professional publication. Gradually he began to produce poetry and fiction of his own.
After his mother’s death he lived for a time in New York, married an older woman from whom he separated amicably two years later, then returned to Providence. Here he made his home with two elderly aunts. One of them died in 1932; he and his surviving relative resided together until his own death on March 15, 1937.
Lovecraft’s career as a professional writer was largely compressed into a span of about sixteen years. He remained virtually unknown except to the limited readership of pulp magazines such as WEIRD TALES in which his work appeared. It earned only a pitiful pittance to supplement the income from a meager inheritance, and he continued his anonymous chores for other writers. At the same time he brightened and broadened his uneventful existence with a widespread correspondence among fellow writers and readers of fantastic fiction. The most constant and devoted members of this group formed what would later be called “the Lovecraft Circle”; his lengthy letters of comment, criticism, and literary advice encouraged them to write or attempt writing in the genre. When a combination of cancer and Bright’s disease claimed his life at the age of forty-six the loss was mourned by far-off friends, many of whom had known him only as a correspondent.
Lovecraft’s literary style was distinctive and frequently imitated by protégés. With his approval, they and others borrowed the imaginary settings of his stories, together with the weird books and grotesque gods he created to heighten horror.
At the time of his death he had already become what would now be called a “cult figure.” But the cult was comparatively small and had absolutely no influence on contemporary critics or publishers. It took long years to bring the man and his work to the attention of a larger audience.
Today Lovecraft is established as a major American fantasy writer, frequently ranked as the equal of Poe. His work is in print here and abroad and the mild-mannered, old-fashioned, conservative New England gentleman has become an acknowledged master of horror fiction.
Join PulpFest 2015 in August at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th as we celebrate H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, just a few short days before the author’s 125th birthday. We’ll be announcing more about the convention and our Lovecraft salute as we flesh out the details in the months ahead.
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
H. P. Lovecraft, writing in “Supernatural Horror in Literature”
The artwork is from the November 1944 issue of WEIRD TALES. The artist is Matt Fox, an illustrator who painted about a dozen covers for “the unique magazine.” Fox also worked for other pulps, including CRACK DETECTIVE, FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, and PLANET STORIES. In the 1950s and 1960s he was an artist for Atlas Comics.
An article in a recent edition of the Des Moines Register
Al Tonik (L) & Rusty Hevelin (R) at Pulpcon 1999
(Photo by Chuck Welch)
highlights the University of Iowa’s acquisition of the Rusty Hevelin Collection. Donated by the PulpCon founder upon his death, the collection is now partially accessible to the public.
“The scope of the collection is astounding,” said Peter Balestrieri, the UI curator in charge of cataloging the Hevelin Collection. “There are fanzines that date back to before World War I all the way into the 21st century. Every topic you could imagine is covered there, and we’ve just begun to unpack it.”
Columnist Daniel Finney writes that “Hevelin was by most accounts the greatest science fiction convention collector and attendee of all time. He built a massive archive in more than 70 years of collecting.” Rusty is, of course, well-known to the PulpFest crowd. His PulpCon was the precursor to the summer pulp festival now held in Columbus, OH.
On why Hevelin donated his collection to UI, Finney writes: “He helped found the two largest conventions in Iowa — Icon in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area, and DemiCon in Des Moines. His positive experiences apparently led him to donate his archives to UI.”
For more information on the Hevelin Collection please contact the University of Iowa Library Special Collections at email@example.com