Win Scott Eckert — HUNT THE AVENGER

Aug 11, 2019 by

PulpFest 2019 is pleased to announce that Win Scott Eckert will read from his newest book, HUNT THE AVENGER, on Saturday, August 17 at 2:30 PM.

2019 Munsey Award nominee Win Scott Eckert launched the first Wold Newton website, The Wold Newton Universe in 1997. Over the next twenty-two years, he has written or co-written novels and short stories featuring characters such as Philip José Farmer’s Patricia Wildman, cult favorites Honey West and T. H. E. Cat, and classic properties such as The Green Hornet, Zorro, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Green Ghost, Captain Midnight, Phileas Fogg, Doc Ardan, Sexton Blake, and Sherlock Holmes. His latest novel is HUNT THE AVENGER which pairs The Avenger and The Domino Lady for a new pulp adventure.

Win is the editor of and a contributor to MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE — a 2007 Locus Awards finalist — and co-editor with Christopher Paul Carey of TALES OF THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE. He was co-editor  with Paul Spiteri of FARMERPHILE from 2007–2009. His massive timeline of crossover stories — CROSSOVERS: A SECRET CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD— was published by Black Coat Press in 2010. A tireless chronicler of Philip José Farmer’s idiosyncratic view of a broad shared universe, Eckert has shown remarkable fidelity to Farmer’s vision and serves as an inspiration to the many new pulp writers and pulp fiction scholars who have followed in his wake. Like Farmer, Win is one of the leading “Children of the Pulps.”

Win’s Saturday afternoon reading immediately follows his 1:30 PM book signing. After the author reading, please join Win as he takes part in the panel, Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction alongside Will Murray, Christopher Paul Carey, John C. Bruening, Craig McDonald, and moderator William Patrick Maynard. Saturday evening at 7:45 PM, Win joins Christopher Paul Carey, Garyn G. Roberts, Jason Aiken, and moderator Paul Spiteri for FarmerCon XIV: Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences.

Next year, Win will contribute TARZAN: BATTLE FOR PELLUCIDAR to the new Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe series of canonical novels coming from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. He will take part in Friday afternoon’s panel, Entering the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe with Matt Betts, Heidi Ruby Miller, and moderator Christopher Paul Carey. Win is also working on a third Pat Wildman adventure and completing Philip José Farmer’s manuscript of THE MONSTER ON HOLD, the fourth novel in the Secrets of the Nine series.

Win’s appearance takes the place of the previously announced reading by Christopher Ryan, author of Alex Simmon’s Blackjack and The Mallory and Gunner Series. Chris, unfortunately, had to change his plans at the last minute and will not be able to attend this summer’s convention.

(Win Scott Eckert’s HUNT THE AVENGER was recently released by Moonstone Books. It features cover art by Malcolm McClinton.)

100 Years of “The Curse of Capistrano”

Aug 9, 2019 by

In the early 1800s, California was still under Spanish rule. The peaceful indigenous people were victimized by the corrupt military commanders. One man rose to stand against injustice and the abuse of power. One man stirred the hearts of Californians and gave them the spirit to resist tyranny. That man was the masked avenger known as Zorro!

Zorro was introduced in Johnston McCulley’s novel, “The Curse of Capistrano,” when it was serialized in the pages of ALL-STORY WEEKLY in 1919. The first segment of the five-part serial part serial was dated August 9, one-hundred years ago to this very day.

The success of the serial’s 1920 film adaptation as THE MARK OF ZORRO — starring Douglas Fairbanks — convinced the character’s creator to author further adventures. Over the next forty years, McCulley penned a total of five Zorro novels and nearly 60 short stories featuring the masked avenger. The stories appeared in ARGOSYWEST, and other magazines. In book form, “The Curse of Capistrano” was retitled THE MARK OF ZORRO and sold more than 50 million copies. McCulley’s numerous follow-ups never achieved the same level of success. Most were never collected in book form until the definitive editions published by Bold Venture Press.

In addition to the Johnston McCulley’s stories, Zorro has appeared in over forty film and television adaptations, including Walt Disney’s 1950s TV series starring Guy Williams. The character has also appeared in numerous literary pastiches as well as radio, comic books, newspaper strips, and stage plays.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media. McCulley’s hero is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close parallels to the character. As such, today’s superheroes are very much “Children of the Pulps.” Join publisher/author and 2019 Munsey Award nominee Rich Harvey of Bold Venture Press on the opening night of PulpFest for a celebration of “A Century of Zorro.”

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. You can reserve a room by calling 1-800-222-8733. Please be sure to mention PulpFest when placing your reservation in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available. There is ample free parking surrounding the hotel.

(Created by the prolific pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro debuted in “The Curse of Capistrano,” a five-part serial that ran in the pages of the Munsey magazine, ALL-STORY WEEKLY during the month of August 1919. It will be the centennial of the first Zorro story during this year’s PulpFest.

The cover art featured on the August 9, 1919 issue was painted by P. J. Monahan. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Monahan moved to Brooklyn in 1907. He became one of New York’s most prolific artists for the first three decades of the twentieth century, creating advertisements, movie posters, commissioned art, and, most of all, pulp magazine illustrations and covers.)

Popular Yellowed Perils

Jun 28, 2019 by

Context is a challenge in politically correct times that seek to view the past through the myopic lenses of an eternal present. What remains of pulp fiction’s past is largely through the efforts of specialty publishers who keep these classic works in print for a niche market that still reads stories from a simpler, different — though not always better — world.

Much of the last century’s fantastic fiction sprung directly from colonial viewpoints of the British Empire. Among the xenophobic byproducts of colonialism in popular culture was the Yellow Peril, the paranoid delusion that Chinese immigrants were plotting to conquer the West. There was certainly crime in Chinatown: there is always crime among the economically underprivileged. However, what made the Yellow Peril thrive as a sub-genre of the thriller was the creation of a brilliant, amoral criminal mastermind

Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu became the personification of the Yellow Peril. Without the character’s introduction, the sub-genre would never have prevailed. Fu Manchu took the reading public by storm just before the outbreak of the First World War. The series remained a bestselling franchise up to the Cold War. Rohmer’s insidious fiend was everywhere: magazines (slicks, not pulps), books, newspaper strips, comic books, radio series, films, the theater, and eventually television.

Popular Publications gave readers the most memorable Fu Manchu imitations with Robert J. Hogan’s pulp title, THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG, and its successor, Donald Keyhoe’s DR. YEN SIN. Wu Fang was pitted against G-man Val Kildare, an American variation on Fu Manchu’s nemesis, Sir Denis Nayland Smith of British Intelligence. Kildare, like Smith before him, was complemented by his own Watson, news correspondent Jerry Hazard.

Closely following the established Fu Manchu formula, Wu Fang’s unwilling femme fatale, Mohra, fell in love with Hazard. She would repeatedly betray her master to spare the lives of Kildare and Hazard. Mindful of the audience demographics for pulp magazines, THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG featured the reader identification character of Cappy, a spunky newsboy and boy scout who improbably accompanied Kildare and Hazard on their globe-spanning adventures.

Popular Publications employed Rohmer’s artist, John Richard Flanagan, to provide his lurid Yellow Peril interior artwork for each month’s stories. While there were many Fu Manchu imitations in the 1930s, THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG looked and read almost like the genuine article and was providing readers with a new short novel each month. After Popular Publications received a cease and desist letter from Rohmer’s attorneys, THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG was promptly cancelled after its seventh issue. Afterward, Popular Publications reworked the concept with a similar character.

The replacement title was DR. YEN SIN. While there was no mistaking Donald Keyhoe’s Yen Sin as another variation on Fu Manchu, his nemesis was not another clone of Nayland Smith or Val Kildare, but a unique pulp hero who deserved greater recognition. Yen Sin faced Michael Traile, a G-man dependent upon yoga, due to a freakish medical condition that prevented him from ever sleeping. Traile was ably supported by yet another newspaper correspondent, Eric Gordon.

Dr. Yen Sin belonged to an international criminal organization, the Invisible Empire, where he was known by the code name, the Cobra. Keyhoe detailed the character’s backstory involving the abduction of the Russian Grand Duke Damitri and Michael Traile’s first encounter with Yen Sin in China after the Great War.

Unfortunately, these points were drawn directly from Sax Rohmer’s 1918 Yellow Peril thriller, THE GOLDEN SCORPION. It was part of the Fu Manchu continuity and featured Fo-Hi, known within the international criminal organization, the Sublime Order, by the code name, the Scorpion. Fo-Hi was likewise first glimpsed by the hero in China several years before the novel takes place. He was likewise involved with the removal of a Russian Grand Duke just before the First World War.

DR. YEN SIN made the same mistake that brought THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG to a premature end by steering too closely to Rohmer. The third bi-monthly issue of DR. YEN SIN had just gone to press when Popular Publications cancelled the series following a further cease and desist letter initiated by Rohmer’s attorneys. Perhaps without John Richard Flanagan’s artwork, so synonymous with Rohmer’s work, they might not have attracted so much unwanted attention.

More likely it was a combination of factors, the most important of which was a monthly (or bi-monthly) pulp title imitating (and sometimes outdoing) Rohmer. This was perceived as a threat to Fu Manchu’s marketability, particularly since each new Rohmer novel was vied for by the slicks for serial rights. If the pulps now had their own Chinese criminal mastermind using Rohmer’s favored Fu Manchu interior artist, then Rohmer’s property diminished in value for both publishers and readers.

For just over a year, Popular Publications gave readers the next best thing to Rohmer’s Devil Doctor. THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG and DR. YEN SIN are familiar, but stand on their own as classic pulp thrillers in the Yellow Peril sub-genre. Keyhoe, like Robert J. Hogan before him, is among the best of the Yellow Peril authors to follow in Fu Manchu’s wake.

Altus Press has reprinted all ten issues comprising the complete run of these two collectible titles as affordable digest-sized trade paperbacks. PulpFest 2019 will see the debut of the hardcover omnibus edition of DR. YEN SIN featuring bonus text features and introductory material not included in the trade paperback editions.

There is no denying the inherent racism of Yellow Peril fiction. Much like minstrel shows, the racism is its reason for existing. At its best, yellow peril fiction offered readers exotic thrills and excitement that dared them to imagine adopting the values and mores of a different culture, one that withstood Western imperialism and tempted readers with greater knowledge and power as well as the lusty allure of something far more dangerous and pleasurable than they could ever find back home.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(In 1935 – 36, Popular Publications tested the market for a yellow peril pulp. It launched THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG, beginning with the September 1935. All of the stories — including “The Case of the Suicide Tomb” — were written by Robert J. Hogan, best known as the author of the series, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES. The pulp lasted for seven issues and featured cover art by Jerome Rozen, including the cover for the December 1935 number.

Next came DR. YEN SIN, again featuring cover art by Jerome Rozen. The series premiered with its May-June 1936 number and ran for three issues. All of the stories were written by Donald E. Keyhoe. He is remembered for his air war stories featuring Captain Philip Strange. Later in life, he became well known as a UFO researcher.)

Author Signings at PulpFest 2019

Jun 17, 2019 by

There will be more than 30 fiction writers attending PulpFest 2019. Most of them will be reading from their work or participating in panels on writing and pulp fiction.

PulpFest 2019 will host nine readings by contemporary authors of genre fiction as part of its long-running New Fictioneers series. You can read about this year’s New Fictioneers readings here and here.

The convention will also host the Raw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration on Friday and the Dog Star Books Rapid-Fire Read on Saturday. Additionally, PulpFest 2019 will showcase Popular Fiction from Seton Hill prior to the Dog Star event. Join Dog Star Books founder and author Heidi Ruby Miller and three writers from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Master’s Program on Saturday morning, August 17, in the convention’s programming hall.

One of the highlights of Saturday’s programming line-up will be a panel on Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction. Fu Manchu continuation author William Patrick Maynard will be joined by Midnight Guardian creator John Bruening; Christopher Paul Carey, Director of Publishing at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc; Philip José Farmer collaborator Win Scott Eckert; Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald, creator of the Hector Lassiter historical crime series; and Will Murray, author of “The All-New Wild Adventures of Doc Savage and Tarzan.”

In addition to the previously mentioned, PulpFest 2019 will stage two formal author signing sessions, right outside the entrance to our dealers’ room. The signings will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 PM on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. Our writer guests will also have copies of their recent books available for sale.

Friday afternoon’s signings will feature pulp historian and 2004 recipient of the Lamont award John Locke in advance of his Saturday evening presentation, “Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks;” pulp’s indefatigable Renaissance man, 1979 Lamont award recipient, and official continuation author of Doc Savage, Tarzan, and The Spider, Will Murray; as well as renowned horror, science fiction, and suspense author and PulpFest 2015 guest of honor, Chet Williamson.

Saturday afternoon’s signings will feature the author of ROD SERLING: HIS LIFE, WORK, AND IMAGINATIONNicholas Parisi following his Friday evening presentation, “The Key of Imagination: THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the Pulps.” Also appearing will be critically acclaimed pop culture historian and 2006 Lamont Award recipient John Wooley of Reverse Karma Press following his Friday evening presentation, “Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story” and 2019 Munsey Award nominee, Win Scott Eckert who will be signing copies of his new novel, HUNT THE AVENGER.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(This year’s PulpFest will host over thirty writers of contemporary genre fiction. Most of them will be part of the convention’s afternoon programming on Friday, August 16, and Saturday, August 17.

Of particular note will be PulpFest’s first organized book signing event. Our guest authors will be more than happy to sign copies of their books on August 16 and 17, from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. So be sure to bring your copy of MR. CALAMITY, the latest Doc Savage adventure, featuring cover art by Joe DeVito.)

 

Lost John Carradine Fu Manchu Screening at PulpFest

Jun 10, 2019 by

There are a number of Holy Grails that every collector seeks. It is said the quest is more important than the treasure. This is probably because few such treasures are ever discovered. For fans of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu series, one of the most obscure relics is a 1952 pilot film shot for NBC for a FU MANCHU television series starring John Carradine as the Devil Doctor. The pilot was never broadcast. A still has never been published in books or magazines. Many fans dismissed the pilot as nothing more than a rumor — an idea that was never actually filmed.

They were wrong.

William Cameron Menzies, the legendary Hollywood production designer, directed the highly stylized pilot film. It is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the 1912 Sax Rohmer story that started it all — “The Zayat Kiss.” Cedric Hardwicke plays Nayland Smith, the driven British colonial official obsessed with capturing the elusive criminal mastermind, Dr. Fu Manchu. John Carradine — appropriately menacing as a silhouetted figure behind a screen intoning his commands in an educated hiss that is far removed from the province of yellowface performances — is the most faithful Fu Manchu ever to grace the big or small screen.

Born out of imperialist Britain’s fear of a Yellow Peril emerging from the East, Rohmer ingeniously imbued his fictional villain with greater intelligence and integrity than his Western protagonists.  Rohmer’s initial description of the character in “The Zayat Kiss” is unforgettable and one he would strive to re-create over the years without ever falling into direct imitation:

“Imagine a person, tall, lean, and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true-cat green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government — which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.”

Dr. Fu-Manchu does not even make a physical appearance in the story, yet his presence pervades the atmosphere and hysteria of “The Zayat Kiss.” Set in a mad world filled with conspiracy theories, bizarre assassinations, and death traps, there was no way Rohmer’s story could not have been a smashing success when it debuted in print in October 1912. All of the ingredients were there to build a winning formula.

Thursday night, August 15, PulpFest 2019 will offer the first of three public screenings of a complete and pristine print of Carradine’s legendary lost classic. Also featured will be such rarities as the silent FU MANCHU serials made by Stoll Productions in the 1920s. Alongside the lost NBC pilot, these silent chapters are the most faithful adaptations of Sax Rohmer’s works ever attempted. There will be two encore presentations of the lost pilot on Friday afternoon, August 16, and Saturday night, August 17. The silent rarities screened with it during the encore presentations will be unique to each screening. This will allow repeat attendees to maximize their enjoyment. For reasons of copyright control, no copies can be made, distributed, or sold at these free public exhibitions that are open to any attendee of PulpFest 2019.

Join the licensed continuation author of the Fu Manchu thrillers, William Patrick Maynard, for these three very special screenings at PulpFest 2019. You’ll see John Carradine as Fu Manchu for the first time in 67 years and then enjoy the equally rare treat of seeing Fu Manchu serial chapters made nearly a century ago. You’ll bask in shimmering location footage genuinely shot on the streets and alleyways of London — including Limehouse — as it looked in the years when the names of Sax Rohmer and Fu Manchu were on everyone’s breath.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(THE MYSTERIOUS DR. FU MANCHU — directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Warner Oland in the title role — was released by Paramount Pictures in 1929. The first talking Fu Manchu movie, it was based on Sax Rohmer’s novel, THE MYSTERY OF DR. FU MANCHU. Set during the Boxer Rebellion in China, Dr. Fu Manchu’s wife and child are killed by foreigners. Enraged, he vows to take his revenge on the British army officers he holds responsible for the killings. The poster advertising the film — one of several — was created by an unknown artist.)

A Century of Zorro

Jun 5, 2019 by

In the early 1800s, California was still under Spanish rule. The peaceful indigenous people were victimized by the corrupt military commanders. One man rose to stand against injustice and the abuse of power. One man stirred the hearts of Californians and gave them the spirit to resist tyranny. That man was the masked avenger known as Zorro!

Thursday night, August 15, at PulpFest, publisher/author and 2019 Munsey Award nominee Rich Harvey of Bold Venture Press presents “A Century of Zorro,” marking not only the centennial of the legendary pulp character, but also the publication of the first matched set of every original Zorro novel and short story in six attractive volumes from Bold Venture Press.

Zorro was created by pulp writer Johnston McCulley. In the original stories, Zorro has a price on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the authorities to capture him. Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, the only son of Don Alejandro de la Vega, a wealthy landowner. He adopted his secret identity after learning California had fallen under the thrall of a ruthless dictator. Diego conceals his identity by posing as a cowardly fop.

Zorro was introduced in McCulley’s novel, “The Curse of Capistrano,” when it was serialized in the pages of ALL-STORY WEEKLY in 1919. The success of its 1920 film adaptation as THE MARK OF ZORRO, starring Douglas Fairbanks, convinced his creator to author further adventures. Over the next forty years, McCulley penned a total of five Zorro novels and nearly 60 short stories featuring the masked avenger. The stories appeared in ARGOSY, WEST, and other magazines. In book form, “The Curse of Capistrano” was retitled THE MARK OF ZORRO and sold more than 50 million copies. McCulley’s numerous follow-ups never achieved the same level of success. Most were never collected in book form until Bold Venture Press’ definitive editions.

Zorro appeared in over 40 film and television adaptations, including Walt Disney’s 1950s TV series starring Guy Williams. The character has appeared in numerous literary pastiches as well as radio, comic books, newspaper strips, and stage plays.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media. McCulley’s hero is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close parallels to the character. As such, today’s superheroes are very much “Children of the Pulps.” Join Bold Venture Press founder Rich Harvey on the opening night of PulpFest for a celebration of “A Century of Zorro.”

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Created by the prolific pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro debuted in “The Curse of Capistrano,” a five-part serial that ran in the pages of the Munsey magazine, ALL-STORY WEEKLY during the month of August 1919. It will be the centennial of the first Zorro story during this year’s PulpFest.

The cover art featured on the August 9, 1919 issue was painted by P. J. Monahan. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Monahan moved to Brooklyn in 1907. He became one of New York’s most prolific artists for the first three decades of the twentieth century, creating advertisements, movie posters, commissioned art, and, most of all, pulp magazine illustrations and covers.

Along with Bob Fujitani, Bob Correa and Alberto Giolitti, the late pulp artist Everett Raymond Kinstler created the interior pencils and inks for the Zorro stories featured in Dell’s FOUR COLOR COMICS series. Kinstler drew issue numbers 497 — featuring “The Sword of Zorro,” with the cover painted by an unknown artist — 538, and 574. Born in 1942, Kinstler was a freelance artist for the pulp, slick, comic book, and paperback industry before turning to portraiture during the 1950s.)

Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story

May 27, 2019 by

Dashiell Hammett was born on May 27, 1894, making Memorial Day 2019 the 125th anniversary of his birth. Hammett was not the first pulp author to write hardboiled detective fiction, but he was the most influential. His was an original voice, steeped in cynicism bred by first-hand experience as a former Pinkerton Op. His stories and novels transcend their humble origins and are recognized as literature today. Hammett’s fiction and characters have left an indelible mark on popular culture nearly a century after he first appeared in the pages of SMART SET and BLACK MASK.

Friday night, August 16, at PulpFest 2019, critically acclaimed pop culture historian and 2006 Lamont Award recipient John Wooley of Reverse Karma Press presents “Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story,” ably assisted with visual support from ADVENTURE HOUSE publisher and editor John Gunnison. Please join us for what is sure to be one of the highlights of this year’s convention.

While legendary Hammett characters such as The Continental Op, Sam Spade, Nick & Nora Charles, and Ned Beaumont started in the pulps (and slicks), they reached an even wider audience in film, radio, and television. Humphrey Bogart, the team of William Powell and Myrna Loy, and George Raft brought  Spade, Nick & Nora, and Ned Beaumont to the silver screen before being succeeded, respectively, by Howard Duff on radio, the team of Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk on television, and Alan Ladd in the silver screen remake of THE GLASS KEY. The nameless Continental Op was less faithfully transferred in ersatz adaptations for radio and a spin-off film version as Brad Runyon (rather than Casper Gutman) in THE FAT MAN, and 25 years later in a television mini-series with James Coburn as Hamilton Nash in THE DAIN CURSE. Less memorable variations of these properties preceded and followed these notable versions. Despite the undeniable charm of Nick and Nora on big and small screen and Bogart’s career-defining portrayal of Sam Spade in John Huston’s classic film version of THE MALTESE FALCON, no Hammett adaptation has remained entirely faithful to the written word or matched the depth and flawed moral complexities displayed by Hammett’s characters on the printed page.

The shining light of the BLACK MASK school of detective fiction left behind another legacy, albeit one that is less celebrated 85 years later. Alongside FLASH GORDON creator Alex Raymond, Hammett launched SECRET AGENT X-9 in 1934. The newspaper strip was enormously successful in its day spawning not one, but two Saturday matinee movie serials from Universal Pictures in the 1930s and 1940s. The newspaper strip continued for many decades, crossing over into comic books as well, and eventually becoming SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN. 

Hammett’s background as a Pinkerton man infused his detective stories with a realism few other writers could match. An unfaithful husband and an often absent father, he was a flawed man. His literary output teetered on the precipice as he debated deserting his wife and family. Like Sam Spade in the closing chapter of THE MALTESE FALCON, Hammett faced the consequences of his actions and, in the process, forever extinguished the spark of moral turpitude that lit his creative flames. Twenty years later, he teetered on the moral brink a second time when he struggled with what freedom really meant as an American citizen. His guilt over his violent past as a literal Union strikebreaker fueled his defense of workers’ rights late in life. He tried to make a better choice and was condemned in his own era for resolving to stick to his values once he recognized the wages of sin. A veteran of both World Wars, he served time in a state penitentiary for defending civil rights against the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was released from prison a broken man and died of the tuberculosis that had plagued him since the First World War.

Join John Wooley and John Gunnison at PulpFest 2019 for a celebration of the life and work of the single greatest writer of hardboiled detective fiction, the pulp writer who has achieved the greatest literary acclaim, and a man whose work is still justly celebrated for being as vital and influential today as it was when he typed his first story nearly a century ago.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(H. C. Murphy painted the initial cover for Dashiell Hammett’s five-part serial, “The Maltese Falcon.” It was originally published in the September 1929 through January 1930 issues of BLACK MASK. The story introduced the iconic private detective, Sam Spade.

THE ADVENTURES OF SAM SPADE was a radio series based loosely on Dashiell Hammett’s morally complex private eye, Sam Spade. The show ran for 13 episodes on ABC in 1946, for 157 episodes on CBS in 1946-1949, and finally for 51 episodes on NBC in 1949-1951. It starred Howard Duff as Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle as his secretary Effie. The series was produced and directed by William Spier and sponsored by Wildroot Cream Oil Hair Tonic.)

 

Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks

May 24, 2019 by

Pulp writer Arthur J. Burks was fated to be better known for the quantity of his output than the quality of his fiction. A familiar name on many pulp covers, he was a highly effective storyteller who authored approximately 800 stories. On Saturday, August 17, at Pulpfest 2019, the 2004 recipient of the Lamont award, pulp authority John Locke will host a presentation, “Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks.” We’re all familiar with the amazing million-word-a-year men of the pulps. This talk will focus on how Burks became one of them.

Burks was born to a farming family in Washington state on September 13, 1898. During World War I, he enlisted in the Marine Corps as a private; after rejoining the Corps during World War II, he retired a Lieutenant Colonel. His real passion, though, was writing. While stationed in the Dominican Republic from 1921-24, he witnessed strange things which gave him material for his first professional sales, to a new magazine, WEIRD TALES. In the 1930s, his work seemed to be everywhere. He wrote countless adventure, aviation, boxing, detective, and weird menace tales for AIR STORIES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, FIGHT STORIES, GANGSTER STORIES, MARVEL SCIENCE STORIES, POPULAR DETECTIVE, SKY FIGHTERS, SPORT STORY MAGAZINE, STRANGE TALESTERROR TALES, THRILLING ADVENTURES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, UNKNOWN, and many others. Burks’ series characters include deaf detective Ewart D’Strange, flyer The Winged Cavalier, New York Chinatown detective Dorus Noel, and gangland boxer Kid Friel.

His friendship with L. Ron Hubbard in the 1930s triggered Burks’s interest in the paranormal and metaphysics. By the 1960s, he was a popular fixture on the lecture circuit, sharing his knowledge with the curious and skeptical alike. Much of Burks’ fantasy fiction centers on the metaphysical. One of his best known works (and one of the few to be published in book form), THE GREAT MIRROR (1942), concerns Martian technology utilized by Tibetan monks to foster ESP and matter transmission.

A writer to the very end, Burks died at age 75 on May 13, 1974.

We hope you’ll join pulp historian John Locke — the world’s foremost Burkologist — at PulpFest 2019 for this very special hour-long presentation on the career of the highly prolific and vastly underappreciated Arthur J. Burks.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Arthur J. Burks was a prolific and successful pulp writer who usually wrote over one million words per year. He wrote hundreds of stories for the adventure, aviation, detective, fantasy, science fiction, sports, war, and weird menace pulps.

Burks wrote fourteen stories for ASTOUNDING STORIES and its later incarnation, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION. Most of these tales were of novella or longer length. “The Mind Master” — a two-part serial featured in the January (with cover art by H. W. Wessolowski) and February 1932 issues — concerns a mad scientist who replaces the brains of several apes with human brains. It’s part of a short series that Burks began in 1931 with the story, “Manape the Mighty.”)

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Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences

May 17, 2019 by

Philip José Farmer is arguably the most influential pulp figure to emerge since the Golden Age. His Wold Newton family of crossover fiction provides the pulp equivalent of the Sherlockian Great Game for its many followers; continues to inspire sectarian groups who form their own variations of crossover chronologies; confounds or infuriates the most ardent canonical purists; and enriches the pulp community as a whole through the peerless research and scholarship into pulp history undertaken in its wake. Since 2011, PulpFest has partnered with FarmerCon to bring pulp fans the biggest and best pulp con in the East while hosting an annual gathering for Wold Newtonians to celebrate our shared literary family tree.

On Saturday, August 17, FarmerCon XIV showcases a panel discussion, “Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences” moderated by Paul Spiteri (co-editor of FARMERPHILE magazine and editor of the anthology, PEARLS OF PEORIA). The panel will explore the pulp origins and influences on some of Philip José Farmer’s most notable characters. It will also delve into Phil’s unique take on classic pulp characters in his writings, and the care and research he took to ensure they were treated with the reverence they deserved. Joining Paul on this panel will be a trio of distinguished and erudite pulp scholars.

Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D. has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan. He has edited or co-edited some of the best collections from the pulps including A CENT A STORY: THE BEST FROM TEN DETECTIVE ACES, MORE TALES OF THE DEFECTIVE DETECTIVE IN THE PULPS, THE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE MOON MAN, THE MAGICAL MYSTERIES OF DON DIAVOLO, and THE COMPLEAT GREAT MERLINI SAGA. His THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, a university-level textbook, is notable for the attention paid to the pulp magazines. Professor Roberts was presented with the Munsey Award in 2013 to honor his many contributions to the pulp community.

Recently named the Director of Publishing for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Christopher Paul Carey is also among the most accomplished of the stable of licensed authors in THE WILD ADVENTURES OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS series. He is also the authorized continuation chronicler of Philip José Farmer’s KHOKARSA series that bridges the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard. Carey has authored the novels SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN, BLOOD OF ANCIENT OPAR, HADON — KING OF OPAR, EXILES OF KHO, and THE SONG OF KWASIN. He is also a seasoned editor, comic book writer, essayist, and author of short fiction.

Fantasy and horror writer Jason Scott Aiken is also the host and producer of “Pulp Crazy,” a video podcast devoted to pulp magazines since its inception in 2013. Jason has used this forum to provide overviews of pulp characters and authors, delve into the many pulp genres, and review pulp stories and novels. Jason has also provided audio recordings from PulpFest, with particular coverage of FarmerCon.

Additionally, FarmerCon XIV will see the debut of Meteor House’s latest fantastic collection of stories by Philip José Farmer! GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES collects for the first time in hardcover the stories Phil wrote in the 1970s to pay tribute to the pulps he first devoured in his youth.  The volume also features an introduction by pulp historian and panel member, Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D. The collection gathers rare material that originally appeared in Byron Preiss’ WEIRD HEROES and in the THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION.

GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES will debut at FarmerCon XIV, but can be pre-ordered now. Meteor House is offering an “Early Bird Special” discount for this fascinating collection of Farmer paying homage to his literary heroes.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Philip José Farmer was a child of the pulps. Born in 1918, the Science Fiction Grand Master grew up with the pulps. He particularly favored Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes. Running a close second was Lester Dent’s Doc Savage.

Farmer’s “biography” of Clark Savage, Jr. — DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE — was released by Doubleday in 1973. It featured dust jacket art by Walter Baumhofer, excerpted from the April 1935 issue of Street & Smith’s DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.)

Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction

May 10, 2019 by

PulpFest is proud that over 30 popular fiction writers will be attending our 2019 convention. “Back in the day,” 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 today’s pulp fiction!

At 3:15 PM on Saturday, August 17, please join Fu Manchu continuation author William Patrick Maynard in the PulpFest 2019 programming hall for a look at contemporary genre fiction. Joining him for the panel will be a quintet of established authors.

John C. Bruening is the co-founder of Flinch Books, publisher of Bruening’s critically acclaimed Prohibition-era pulp hero series MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN that began with 2016’s HOUR OF DARKNESS and continues with the 2019 publication of THE ANNIHILATION MACHINE. Bruening has also edited Flinch Books‘  adventure, horror, and science fiction anthologies BIG TOP TALES, RESTLESS, and QUEST FOR THE SPACE GODS

Recently named the Director of Publishing for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Christopher Paul Carey is also among the most accomplished of the stable of licensed authors in THE WILD ADVENTURES OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS series. He is also the authorized continuation chronicler of Philip Jose Farmer’s KHOKARSA series that bridges the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard. Carey has authored the novels SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN, BLOOD OF ANCIENT OPAR, HADON — KING OF OPAR, EXILES OF KHO, and THE SONG OF KWASIN. He is also an accomplished editor, comic book writer, essayist, and author of short fiction.

2019 Munsey Award nominee Win Scott Eckert launched the first Wold Newton website, The Wold Newton Universe in 1997. Over the next twenty-two years, he has written or co-written novels and short stories featuring characters such as Philip José Farmer’s Patricia Wildman, cult favorites Honey West and T. H. E. Cat, and classic properties such as The Green Hornet, Zorro, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Green Ghost, Phileas Fogg, The Domino Lady, and Sherlock Holmes. His latest novel is HUNT THE AVENGER. A tireless chronicler of Farmer’s idiosyncratic view of a broad shared universe, Eckert has shown remarkable fidelity to Farmer’s vision and serves as an inspiration to the many who have followed in his wake.

Author of the Edgar-nominated HECTOR LASSITER historical crime series, Craig McDonald is an award-winning novelist, journalist and editor. The HECTOR LASSITER series chronicles the exploits of a fictional BLACK MASK author and his encounters with such notable figures as Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Ian Fleming, and Lester Dent. McDonald’s internationally acclaimed works have found a global audience and have also been adapted in graphic novel format. His works have been published by Simon & Schuster and Macmillan Press.

It is arguable if a man who has penned so many introductions needs one of his own, but Will Murray’s many accomplishments and the esteem in which he is held by his peers demand recognition. Will Murray is the legendary author, historian, and comic book writer who continues to set the bar for everyone else in the field. The official continuation author of Doc Savage, Murray has also been licensed to continue the adventures of Tarzan, The Shadow, and King Kong. A tireless researcher of pulp and comics history, Murray has written extensively for both Marvel and DC Comics and co-created Squirrel Girl with the late Steve Ditko. Recipient of numerous industry awards for his scholarship, his fiction has also been recognized with Pulp Ark and Pulp Factory with Awards for Best Series Revival and Best Novel, respectively. A Lamont Award recipient in 1979 for his contributions to the betterment of the pulp community, Will Murray is just as vital 40 years later as he has ever been.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” at this year’s gathering. Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(In 2018, acclaimed artist Mark Wheatley shared with PulpFest the extensive array of illustrations that he created for the novel, SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN.

In his novel, Christopher Paul Carey expands on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Moon novels, while remaining solidly true to the established lore of the series. “This was a great project to be a part of,” Wheatley told us. “As a long-time Burroughs fan, I can tell you that Christopher is an excellent author. If I had any problem illustrating this book, it was that I was limited to eighteen pages of illustrations, and Christopher easily had a hundred great scenes in his manuscript!”)