Visiting Pittsburgh

Jun 19, 2019 by

If you’re thinking about attending PulpFest 2019, why not bring your spouse or even your whole family? The convention will take place from Thursday evening, August 15, through Sunday afternoon, August 18, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. Once the center of America’s steel industry, Pittsburgh ranks among the top places to live, work, and visit in the United States. The city is consistently recognized by major tourism organizations as a great destination.

Located where the Allegheny and Monongahela converge to form the Ohio River, Pittsburgh was once known as as the “Gateway to the West.” Fort Pitt, a key British fortification during the French and Indian War, also served as the western headquarters of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. By the dawn of the 19th century, roads, canals, and eventually railroads connected Pittsburgh with the major cities of the East Coast. Pittsburgh became a hub of entrepreneurs and skilled craftsmen who created a region seething with the fire and smoke of industry, earning a new nickname, the “Smoky City.” The years following the Civil War saw an unparalleled explosion of creative genius and productivity that attracted enormous capital investment and made Pittsburgh one of the world’s great industrial centers. Steel was king and immigrants in search of a better life eagerly responded to the insatiable demand for labor. Under a mighty cloud of industrial smoke, the “Steel City” prospered and matured, giving birth to philanthropy and cultural institutions that became models for the rest of the United States.

By the 1970s and 1980s, the crippling decline of the steel industry changed the region’s image as well as its economic base. Industries and businesses retooled and diversified. Innovative leaders adapted to this changing world, engineering another remarkable renaissance. By the mid-1980s and again throughout the 2000s, Pittsburgh gained the reputation as one the nation’s most livable cities. Today’s Pittsburgh is a model of adaption, maintaining its work ethic, independence, and inventive spirit while exhibiting an “old world charm” that is cherished by people who care about heritage and preservation. It is a rapidly advancing leader in medicine, education, health care, robotics, software engineering, hi-tech industries, and cultural tourism. With 90 neighborhoods and districts, Pittsburgh is a city to be explored one delightful section at a time. What’s most amazing about the city is the people that make up each of these neighborhoods. They are proud of the heritage reflected on their streets and willing to share their stories of strength, perseverance and triumph.

Pittsburgh’s topography has played a large part in how each neighborhood developed.  Start with the city’s dynamic Downtown and Point State Park. Next, cross one of the three rivers — the Allegheny, the “Mon,” or Ohio — to find unique areas shaped by more than the region’s distinctive and beautiful topography. Natural geographic boundaries such as sloping, wooded hillsides and rivers do their part to define, but Pittsburgh neighborhoods are also known for the clusters of attractions they offer.

Visitors can plan their itineraries by the points of the compass, first focusing on attractions Downtown and in the Strip District (one of the city’s most popular spots for great food and nightlife). Across the Mon is the South SideMount Washington — home to the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines — Station Square and East Carson Street. On the banks of the Allegheny is North Shore — home to the Pirates and the Steelers, the Rivers CasinoCarnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum. Pittsburgh’s East End and Oakland are home to a number of outstanding attractions that owe their existence to the philanthropists who made their fortunes in the city’s early industry. Here you’ll find the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural HistoryPhipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the 42-story Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus, and more. While in this corner of the city, don’t miss Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, two walkable neighborhoods with an upscale flavor, and plenty of shopping and dining options. More family fun is waiting on Pittsburgh’s East End in Highland Park, home of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, featuring an indoor penguin exhibit and a rainforest exhibit. In nearby West Mifflin, visit Kennywood Park, the century-old “roller coaster capital of the world.” And, just outside of Pittsburgh are stunning examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s amazing architecture, including Fallingwater, called one of the “fifty places of a lifetime.”

Pittsburgh is very walkable with hip galleries, shops, dining, nightlife, sports, museums, and more throughout the city and the surrounding region. So while you’re enjoying yourself at PulpFest — the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction, art, and related materials — your family can be taking in the many sites and sounds of this very vibrant city. You can book your room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the Book a Room button found on our homepage or call 1-800-222-8733. When calling, please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2019. We’ll be exploring the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. And please consider staying a bit longer in the “Gateway to the West,” the “Smoky City,” and the “Steel City” known as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Below are some resources for conventioneers and their family members to learn more about the many things that PulpFest’s host city has to offer (including a couple of sites about the city’s independent booksellers):

The Atlas Obscura Guide to Hidden Pittsburgh — 43 unusual things to do in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Best Indie Bookstores in Pittsburgh — three stores for lovers of the “old-book smell,” hardcover collectors, and bookaholics on a tight budget.

6 Indie Bookstores You’ll Love — a guide to some of Pittsburgh’s coolest literary hangouts.

11 Independent Bookstores in Pittsburgh Worth Browsing — Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods are alive with thriving, local booksellers.

Pittsburgh Eventful — provides the most popular Pittsburgh events, concerts, movies, comedy, nightlife, and family events.

Pittsburgh Improv Jam — a night of spontaneous, comedic scenes inspired by audience suggestions and performed by experienced improvisers.

Pittsburgh Pirates — the Bucs will be hosting the Chicago Cubs during PulpFest proper and the Washington Nationals for a four-game set from August 19 – 22.

PlanetWare’s Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pittsburgh — ideas on where to go, what to see, and tips for making the most of your trip.

Popular Pittsburgh — information about one of the most livable cities in the USA and links to help you enjoy the experience.

TripAdvisor Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA — helping you make the most of every trip.

U. S. News’ Best Things to Do in Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh is full of fun things to do, especially for families.

What’s Next for Pittsburgh — the must-read Pittsburgh publication about the innovative and cool things happening in the region.

VisitPittsburgh.com — the official site of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The visitors bureau also offers these more specified pages to help you plan your visit:

Arts in the Spotlight — arts and culture in the city of Pittsburgh

Discovering a City of Neighborhoods — with 90 neighborhoods and districts, Pittsburgh is a city to be explored one delightful section at a time.

Parks and Green Spaces — the top green spaces and public parks in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh: City of Champions — a look at the city’s professional sports teams as well as opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Pittsburgh: A Cultural Phenomenon — called one of the best arts and culture destinations in the country, Pittsburgh has built a stellar reputation for the quality and richness of its art and its cultural offerings.

Pittsburgh is Kidsburgh — Pittsburgh is fun, affordable and packed with family entertainment.

Restaurants and Culinary — choose from casual family spots, upscale and romantic eateries, late-night bites or convenient take-out.

Shopping in Pittsburgh — travel in any direction in Pittsburgh and find great shopping to suit every budget and taste.

Things to Do — find out why Pittsburgh has been named one of the best places in the world to visit.

Visitors Guide — get your one-stop guide for everything to see and do in Pittsburgh.

VisitPA — for those who’d like to check out other Pennsylvania destinations, including the birthplace of liberty, the City of Philadelphia.

(Pictured above: a nighttime view of Point State Park and Downtown Pittsburgh from Mount Washington; pouring steel; the Duquesne Incline; Dinosaur Hall, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; and Downtown Pittsburgh from PNC Park — home to the Pittsburgh Pirates — on the city’s North Shore. Remember that the Bucs will be in town during PulpFest 2019. They’ll be hosting the Cubs from August 16 through August 18.

If you’re a science fiction fan, please note that Confluence — the annual science fiction convention sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh science fiction club and Parsec, the region’s speculative fiction society — will be held July 26 – 28 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel.

If you have any questions about Pittsburgh or Pennsylvania, PulpFest Marketing and Programming Director Mike Chomko is the man to contact. You can reach him at mike@pulpfest.com. For questions about the Pennsylvania Dutch, please write to PulpFest Goodwill Ambassador Barry Traylor at barry@pulpfest.com.)

 

 

Hey Dad! It’s Time to Count the Days to PulpFest!

Jun 14, 2019 by

On Sunday — Father’s Day — it will be sixty days to PulpFest 2019So forget the wallet and the socks, the shaving kit and that many-tools-in-one gadget you can get for eighteen bucks on Amazon. This year, give Dad what he really wants . . . a membership to PulpFest 2019.

PulpFest begins on Thursday, August 15, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. Click the Register button below our homepage banner to learn how to get Dad a membership to the summertime gathering of fans of popular fiction and art. Or skip all that and click our PulpFest Paypal page to sign him up.

The dealers’ room at PulpFest features tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips.

PulpFest is particularly known for its programming. This year, we’ll be focusing on the many ways that pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme, “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on pop culture.

And if Dad’s a fan of Science Fiction Grand Master Philip José Farmer, then PulpFest 2019 is the place for him. Since 2011, PulpFest has hosted FarmerCon, a convention that began in Peoria, Illinois, the hometown of Philip José Farmer. Originally a gathering of Farmer fans figuratively, and literally, right outside Phil’s back door, with presentations and picnics at the author’s house.  In 2011, FarmerCon decided to link up with PulpFest and provide Farmer fans with a range of programming, plus a huge room of collectibles.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to register Dad for a PulpFest 2019 membership. While you’re at it, you can also reserve him a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Simply click the Book a Room button, found on our homepage. Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate. Given the convention’s popularity, we urge everyone to book a hotel room as soon as possible.

It goes without saying that PulpFest not only welcomes dads, but also moms, kids, and everyone in between and beyond. We want everyone to be able to experience “Summer’s Big Pulp Con.” With our terrific programming and spacious dealer’s room, everyone is welcome at PulpFest.

To keep abreast of the convention, please bookmark pulpfest.com or like our Facebook page. Over on Twitter, you’ll find tweets with our updates. You’ll also find selected posts on various newsgroups, including Pulpmags. And don’t forget about our Instagram  page! PulpFest is exploring “The Children of the Pulps” on that site.

(N. C. Wyeth’s painting, “The Call of Spring,” was originally used as the cover art for the first issue of June 1911 of Street & Smith’s general fiction pulp, THE POPULAR MAGAZINE. We believe it’s a very nice fit for the Father’s Day theme featured in our post.

Although pulp magazines had a lurid reputation, many pulps — particularly those of the teens — featured quite tasteful covers. The April 10, 1915 issue of ALL-STORY CAVALIER WEEKLY  — with cover art by Albert Hencke  — is a good example. From about the beginning of 1915 until its last issue in 1920, many covers of Munsey’s ALL-STORY featured portraits of women. Aimed at a general audience, it made perfect sense to use such art to sell the magazine.)

The Key of Imagination: Pulp Television

Jun 3, 2019 by

 

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

 

Sixty Years of THE TWILIGHT ZONE

 

Rod Serling’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964. It remains in syndication to this very day. A new version of the series — narrated by filmmaker Jordan Peele — premiered on CBS All Access on April 1, 2019. Sixty years after its original debut, Rod Serling’s remarkable creation is still very much embedded in the public consciousness.

The creator of THE TWILIGHT ZONE was born on December 25, 1924 in Syracuse, New York. His brother, the late novelist and aviation writer Robert Serling, said: “We were fairly close as kids and we played together a hell of a lot, despite the seven-year difference. The two of us used to read AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, WEIRD TALES — all of the pulps. If we saw a movie together, we’d come home and act it out, just for the two of us.”

After serving in World War II as an army paratrooper, Rod Serling entered Antioch College in Ohio. He majored in language and literature and became involved in the college’s radio programming. While still in college, he began to sell his radio and television scripts. Long an admirer of Norman Corwin — a writer and producer who used entertainment to explore social issues — Serling complained that he was “. . . bitter about everything and at loose ends.” He began writing “. . . to get it off my chest.”

Rod Serling’s big break came in 1955 when KRAFT TELEVISION THEATER produced his drama, “Patterns.” It won the writer the first of his six Emmy awards. Serling’s “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” written for PLAYHOUSE 90, won him another Emmy in 1956. “The Comedian,” starring Mickey Rooney, won Serling a third Emmy  in 1958.

At the top of the entertainment world, but still dissatisfied, Rod Serling began to search for a new way to get things off his chest. He had previously written science fiction and fantasy while working for THE STORM, a television series that aired live in the Cincinnati area. He had also attempted to sell a few science fiction scripts to the ABC series, TALES OF TOMORROW. However, having written no published science fiction or fantasy and — according to author Ray Bradbury — knowing little about the field, Serling turned these genres for his first television series. In a 1963 interview published in the first issue of GAMMA, Rod Serling explained:

“Because I loved this area of imaginative storytelling — and because there had never been a TV series like it. The strength of TWILIGHT ZONE is that through parables, through placing a social problem or controversial theme against a fantasy background you can make a point which, if more blatantly stated in a realistic frame, wouldn’t be acceptable. Because of this from time to time, we’ve been able to make some pertinent social comments on conformity, on prejudice, on political ideologies, without sponsor interference. It offered a whole new outlet, a new approach.”

Although he wrote or adapted nearly sixty percent of the series’ 156 total episodes, Rod Serling also employed writers Ray Bradbury, Earl Hamner, Jr., Jerry Sohl, and his “three writing gremlins,” Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, and Richard Matheson, for the series. Most were actively writing science fiction or fantasy for the magazines of the day.

Join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, as we welcome Nicholas Parisi for “The Key of Imagination: THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the Pulps.” He will be discussing the creation and history of Rod Serling’s fantastic program and its relationship to the science fiction and fantasy pulps and digests. A former staff writer and editor for GOOD TIMES magazine, Nicholas is the author of ROD SERLING: HIS LIFE, WORK, AND IMAGINATION.

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.

To become a member of 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.

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension — a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

(Rod Serling was interviewed for the first issue of GAMMA, a short-lived science fiction magazine that debuted in 1963. In addition to the Serling interview, five authors who wrote for THE TWILIGHT ZONE also had stories in the issue — Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, and John Tomerlin. The cover painting for GAMMA #1 was by Morris Scott Dollens, an artist who got his start in the science fiction fanzines of the late 1930s.)

Two Sought Adventure

May 31, 2019 by

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser faced each other across the two thieves sprawled senseless. They were poised for attack, yet for the moment neither moved.

Each discerned something inexplicably familiar in the other.

Fafhrd said, “Our motives for being here seem identical.”

“Seem? Surely must be!” the Mouser answered curtly, fiercely eyeing this potential new foe, who was taller by a head than the tall thief.

“You said?”

“I said, ‘Seem? Surely must be!”

“How civilized of you!” Fafhrd commented in pleased tones.

“Civilized?” the Mouser demanded suspiciously, gripping his dirk tighter.

“To care, in the eye of action, exactly what’s said,” Fafhrd explained. Without letting the Mouser out of his vision, he glanced down. His gaze traveled from the belt and pouch of one fallen thief to those of the other. Then he looked up at the Mouser with a broad, ingenous smile.

“Sixty, sixty?” he suggested.

The Mouser hesitated, sheathed his dirk, and rapped out, “A deal!”

 

Eighty Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

 

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser first met in the story, “Ill Met in Lankhmar,” published in the April 1970 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. Fritz Leiber’s story won both the 1970 Nebula and 1971 Hugo awards in the novella category. However, the characters had been created decades earlier, in a 1934 letter that the beginning author received from his friend, Harry Otto Fischer:

“For all do fear the one known as the Gray Mouser. He walks with a swagger ‘mongst the bravos, though he’s but the stature of a child. His costume is all of gray, from gauntlets to boots and spurs of steel.”

 

Of Fafhrd he wrote that he laughed merrily and was “full seven feet in height. His eyes wide-set, were proud and of fearless mien. His wrist between gauntlet and mail was white as milk and thick as a hero’s ankle.”

 

They met “in the walled city of the Tuatha De Danann called Lankhmar, built on the edge of the Great Salt Marsh . . . and so the saga of the Gray Mouser and Fafhrd was begun.”

After further correspondence with his friend, Fritz Leiber began working on a novella, finishing it in early 1936. It was rejected by Farnsworth Wright of WEIRD TALES as being too full of “stylistic novelties.” Following several revisions, the author showed his manuscript to H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote:

“There will shortly be circulated among the gang . . . a remarkable unpublished novelette by young Leiber — “Adept’s Gambit,” rejected by Wright and now under revision according to my suggestions. It is a brilliant piece of fantastic imagination — with suggestions of Cabell, Beckford, Dunsany, and even Two-Gun Bob — and ought to see publication some day.”

Although the initial tale of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser would not be published until 1947 in NIGHT’S BLACK AGENTS, pulp readers would be introduced to the characters in the August 1939 UNKNOWN. Beginning with “Two Sought Adventure,” the Street & Smith pulp would publish five of Leiber’s tales of the two adventurers. In later years, the stories would be featured in COSMOS SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY MAGAZINE, DRAGON, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, OTHER WORLDS, SUSPENSE MAGAZINE, WHISPERS, and, most importantly, FANTASTIC and Donald Wollheim’s Ace Books.

“Two comrades to the death and black comedians for all eternity, lusty, brawling, wine-bibbing, imaginative, romantic, earthy, thievish, sardonic, humorous, forever seeking adventure across the wide world, fated forever to encounter the most deadly of enemies, the most fell of foes, the most delectable of girls, and the most dire of sorcerers and supernatural beasts and other personages.”

Join PulpFest 2019 on Thursday, August 15, as we welcome fantasy and horror writer Jason Scott Aiken and sword and sorcery expert Morgan Holmes, for “Two Sought Adventure — Eighty Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser.” Dr. Holmes is the former official editor of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association and was nominated for a Hugo award in 2016 as Best Fan Writer.

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.

 

(Although the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series began in the pulp UNKNOWN, it was Cele Goldsmith of FANTASTIC who took a gamble and commissioned Fritz Leiber to author a new series of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. The first of these was “Lean Times in Lankhmar,” published in the November 1959 issue. FANTASTIC would run eleven tales featuring Leiber’s two comrades, concluding with “Under the Thumbs of the Gods,” published in the April 1975 number, featuring front cover art by Stephen E. Fabian.

Around 1967, Donald A. Wollheim asked Leiber to put the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser tales “into chronological order and write new ones to fill in the gaps.” The result was a series of six paperbacks, beginning with SWORDS AND DEVILTRY — with cover art by Jeffrey Catherine Jones — first published by Ace Books in 1970.

A seventh book of stories — THE KNIGHT AND KNAVE OF SWORDS — was published in 1988 by William Morrow and Company.)

Robert H. Davis — The Grandfather of Science Fiction

May 29, 2019 by

Born in Nebraska on March 23, 1869, Robert Hobart Davis has been called the greatest editor of the pulp era. Trained in the newspaper industry, Davis became the managing editor of Frank A. Munsey’s NEW YORK SUNDAY NEWS in the early 1900s. He soon shifted to fiction editor for MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE. As Munsey added more magazines to his stable, he turned them over to Davis. THE ALL-STORY MAGAZINE, THE CAVALIER, RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE, THE SCRAP BOOK, and others were edited by Bob Davis.

Sam Hellman — a Davis protégé — knew of no other editor who had “graduated more writers from pulp to prominent pay.” Pulp historian John Locke also noted that, “More than sixty authors — many of them well-known — dedicated their books to Bob Davis.”

Bob Davis was the literary godfather to “Edgar Rice Burroughs, Zane Grey, Edison Marshall, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Octavus Roy Cohen, Max Brand, Fannie Hurst, Israel Zangwill, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Sophie Kerr, Frank L. Packard, Montague Glass, Arthur Somers Roche, Faith Baldwin, James Oliver Curwood, Rex Beach, Louis Joseph Vance, Charles Van Loan, and Ben Ames Williams,” according to Richard Cary. He also signed O. Henry to a long-term contract — giving Munsey first look at the author’s works — and acquired the rights to Joseph Conrad’s last major work, “Victory.”

Science fiction and fantasy also owe a great deal to Robert H. Davis. He was a major force in their development during the early years of the twentieth century. Using the scientific romances of Edgar Rice Burroughs as a template, Davis inspired a style of fiction for the Munsey stable of magazines. He called this style the “different” story. The Munsey editor discovered or cultivated the talents of Ray Cummings, George Allan England, Philip M. Fisher, Homer Eon Flint, J. U. Giesy, Austin Hall, Murray Leinster, A. Merritt, Todd Robbins, Victor Rousseau, Garrett P. Serviss, Perley Poore Sheehan, Francis Stevens, and Charles B. Stilson. Robert H. Davis can very well be thought of as “The Grandfather of Science Fiction.”

Join PulpFest 2019 on Thursday evening, August 15, as we welcome Gene Christie for a look at the life of Bob Davis and his importance to the development of science fiction and fantasy.

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. 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.

(Although he cultivated a school of writers to create “pseudoscientific” or “different” stories for the Munsey chain of magazines, Robert H. Davis also turned to Edgar Rice Burroughs for many such works. One was “Thuvia, Maid of Mars.” It was serialized in three parts, beginning with the April 8, 1916 issue of ALL-STORY WEEKLY, featuring cover art by P. J. Monahan.

Gene Christie will explore the life and influence of “The Grandfather of Science Fiction” at PulpFest 2019. A longtime pulp collector and scholar, Gene has edited over a dozen anthologies for various publishers. THE CRIME MAGNET: THE ADVENTURES OF MAJOR BERNARD DE TREVILLE, THE MAN WHO FOUND ZERO: EARLY SCIENCE FICTION AND WEIRD FANTASY FROM THE BLACK CAT, THE PEOPLE OF THE PIT AND OTHER EARLY HORRORS FROM THE MUNSEY PULPS, THE SPACE ANNIHILATOR: EARLY SCIENCE FICTION FROM THE ARGOSY, and THE THING FROM — OUTSIDE are just a few of Gene’s books.)

The Game’s Afoot!

May 22, 2019 by

Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, the author preferred the historical fiction that he wrote. THE WHITE COMPANY was his favorite among Conan Doyle’s many works. He was extremely prolific.

Conan Doyle began to write while a medical student. His first sale, “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley,” was published when he was twenty. However, countless rejections, low word rates, and lack of author credit, were leading nowhere.

Shortly after graduating from medical school, Conan Doyle married Louisa Hawkins. Armed with his wife’s small estate and encouragement, the author continued to write.

While trying to sell an early novel, Conan Doyle began a new one. It featured a character modeled after C. Auguste Dupin — Edgar Allan Poe’s amateur detective — and Dr. Joseph Bell, one of the author’s medical school instructors. Dr. Bell taught that keen observation and logic were paramount in the diagnosis of disease. Following several rejections, Conan Doyle sold “A Study in Scarlet.” It was published in the November 1887 number of BEETON’S CHRISTMAS ANNUAL. A hardbound book followed.

Although preferring to write historical fiction, Conan Doyle began to notice that readers wanted to learn more about his protagonists from “A Study in Scarlet.” After contracting to provide a forty-thousand word novel to LIPPINCOTT’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE, he obliged his readers. “The Sign of the Four” appeared in the February 1890 number of the magazine. It was not long before the author would return with more stories of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Looking for a way to efficiently exploit the growing market of monthly magazines, Conan Doyle decided to offer more of Holmes and Watson. In the summer of 1891, “A Scandal in Bohemia” appeared in THE STRAND MAGAZINE. It would be followed by eleven more tales, one per month for the next year. In writing the stories that became THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, Conan Doyle created the first short story series. In the years to follow, his idea would be imitated across the globe. It resounds to our very day in series television and throughout popular culture.

Please join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, for “The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps.” Our presentation will begin at 7:55 in the programming area at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. It will feature George Vanderburgh, who has published over 600 books, including many volumes of Sherlockian scholarship. His Battered Silicon Dispatch Box has also published many pulp-related volumes and numerous collections of early detective fiction. George also served as the co-editor of Arkham House Publishers until the death of April Derleth.

Joining George will be Garyn G. Roberts, a professor of English and popular culture who has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan. Garyn has also edited or co-edited some of the best collections of fiction from the pulps. He is the author/editor of the award-winning THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. In 2013, Garyn was presented with the Munsey Award to honor his many contributions to the pulp community. He was also a Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award Finalist for DICK TRACY AND AMERICAN CULTURE in 1994.

Garyn and George will be discussing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his creations as well as their vital importance to the evolution of popular culture for over 100 years. Please join them at PulpFest 2019, taking place from Thursday evening, August 15, through Sunday afternoon, August 18, in Mars, Pennsylvania.

(Almost ten years after killing Holmes off at the Reichenbach Falls, Conan Doyle brought his character back in “The Adventure of the Empty House.” The story would appear first in the September 26, 1903 number of COLLIER’S, featuring a cover illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele.)

The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists

May 20, 2019 by

The sensational pulp magazines were illustrated by many legendary artists with colorful personalities. They often competed for free-lance assignments. Among the ranks of this pecking order there were exceptional women, such as Constance Bailey, Margaret Brundage, Dorothy Flack, Madge Geyer, Thelma Gooch, Alice Kirkpatrick, Zoe Mozert, Margery Stocking, Gloria Stoll Karn, Xena Wright, and Irene Zimmerman. These women defied social norms and pursued their own art careers in the male-dominated world of publishing.

Please join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, as we learn all about “The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists.” Pulp art historian, David Saunders, will share biographical profiles of these cultural pioneers who worked beyond glass ceilings.

David Saunders is the son of pulp artist Norman Saunders, and is also a foremost scholar of American illustration art. His free public website, Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, has over five-hundred biographical profiles of artists.He has also written artist biographies for ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE and several coffee-table books on pulp artists. To find out more, visit theillustratedpress.com. A New York artist, David’s own artworks have been exhibited worldwide and are collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Additionally, David is the creator of the Munsey Award.

This year’s PulpFest 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. 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.

(Irene Zimmerman — who used the pen-name Irene Endris — started her commercial art career during the 1920’s in newspapers and THE GOLDEN BOOK MAGAZINE. During the thirties, she began to draw pen and ink interior illustrations for Harry Donenfeld’s spicy pulp magazines. Zimmerman also painted covers for CRACK DETECTIVE, SPEED DETECTIVE, TEN DETECTIVE ACES — including the August 1946 number — and LIBERTY MAGAZINE.

Another woman pulp artist who David will discuss is Pittsburgh resident Gloria Stoll Karn.  The city’s public television station, WQED, recently released a documentary about five visual artists from Western Pennsylvania. Gloria Stoll Karn is one of the artists featured, sharing her work and stories about the rewards and challenges of being a woman in her field.

Entitled VISIBLE, the WQED documentary also features author and PulpFest member Heidi Ruby Miller. You’ll find a link to Gloria’s segment here and to the entire documentary here. PulpFest would like to thank the film’s producers, Anne Casper and Andrew Holman, for the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful project.)

 

ARGOSY, ADVENTURE & BLUE BOOK — The Men’s Adventure Pulps

May 15, 2019 by

ARGOSY . . . ADVENTURE . . . BLUE BOOK . . . when it comes to pulps, these three magazines were the “aristocrats.”

THE ARGOSY was the first pulp magazine, having been converted to an all-fiction magazine with its October 1896 issue. Two months later, publisher Frank Munsey began to print it on wood-pulp paper. The rough-paper fiction magazine — or pulp  — was born.

When THE ARGOSY celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1907, its circulation had reached a half million copies. Given its success, THE ARGOSY was bound to attract imitators. Street & Smith, longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, was first to meet the call. It debuted THE POPULAR MAGAZINE in late 1903. Munsey countered in 1904 with its second pulp, THE ALL-STORY. One year later, the Story-Press Corporation introduced THE MONTHLY STORY MAGAZINE. Not long thereafter, it became THE MONTHLY STORY BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE. In late 1910, the Ridgway Company introduced the pulp known as ADVENTURE.

These five periodicals —  along with SHORT STORIES — led the pulp magazine industry for decades, publishing some of the field’s best writers: H Bedford-Jones, Max Brand, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Agatha Christie, Zane Grey, H. Rider Haggard, James B. Hendryx, Harold Lamb, A. Merritt, Clarence Mulford, Talbot Mundy, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Sax Rohmer, Rafael Sabatini, Edgar Wallace, and others. They also introduced the world to Tarzan, Zorro, Barsoom, Hopalong Cassidy, Captain Blood, and Pellucidar.

The stresses of World War II — the loss of writers and artists to the war effort, paper shortages, declining readerships, changing tastes — generated a slow but steady metamorphosis of the “aristocrats.” ARGOSY was the first to change.

In 1943, ARGOSY was converted to a bedsheet, semi-slick magazine. Although fiction stories by top pulp writers remained a mainstay of the magazine, true war stories became more common, as did other true or fact-based stories. In the early fifties, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK followed suit.

With the contraction of the pulp industry during the 1950’s, men’s adventure magazines began to take off. The successful transformations of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE, and BLUEBOOK (as it was renamed in 1952) brought about a significant increase of men’s adventure magazine titles. Although many were short-lived, more than 150 men’s adventure magazines were launched during the decade, thanks to the three “aristocrats.”

Join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, as we welcome Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle for “ARGOSYADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — Men’s Adventure Pulps,” a look at the metamorphosis of these “pulp giants” into men’s adventure magazines.

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. 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.

(Bob Deis has worked as a teacher, an artist, a musician, a logger, a magazine writer, and a state government bureaucrat. By accident, he fell into a lengthy career as a political consultant. Now retired, Bob spends much of his time collecting, writing, and publishing books about the men’s adventure magazines, including the November 1957 issue of ADVENTURE, featuring cover art by Mort Künstler (as Emmett Kaye) and the May 1954 issue of BLUEBOOK, featuring cover art by John Walter. In 2009, Bob created the popular website about the genre, MensPulpMags.com. Several years later he became friends with another fan of the men’s adventure genre, writer and publisher Wyatt Doyle, co-founder of the New Texture imprint.

Together, Bob and Wyatt co-edit and publish the Men’s Adventure Library series of books that collect classic stories and artwork from the men’s adventure magazines. Their books include WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH!, HE-MEN, BAG MEN, & NYMPHOS, CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY, A HANDFUL OF HELL, BARBARIANS ON BIKES, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, POLLEN’S ACTION: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN, and POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN.)

THE TWILIGHT ZONE’S Magic Man — Charles Beaumont

May 13, 2019 by

A prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, Charles Beaumont was born on January 2, 1929. According to award-winning writer and editor Roger Anker, “In a career which spanned a brief thirteen years,” Beaumont wrote and sold “ten books, seventy-four short stories, thirteen screenplays (nine of which were produced), two dozen articles and profiles, forty comic stories, fourteen columns, and over seventy teleplays.”

Beaumont grew up with the pulps. He wrote for PLAYBOY in 1962:

“Were they any good? No. They were great. DOC SAVAGE, THE SHADOW, THE SPIDER, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, THE PHANTOM, ADVENTURE, ARGOSY, BLUE BOOK, BLACK MASK, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, MARVEL TALES — and all the hundred-and-one other titles that bedizened the newsstands of America in the halcyon days — provided ecstasy and euphoria of a type unknown to this gloomy generation. They made to crawl deliciously young scalps. They inspired, excited, captivated, hypnotized — and, unexpectedly, instructed — the reckless young . . .”

During the summer of 1946, Beaumont met author Ray Bradbury in Los Angeles. Through a mutual interest in comic strips, the two became friends. Bradbury also became Beaumont’s writing mentor, reading and critiquing the budding author’s work. “When I read the first one, I said: ‘Yes. Very definitely. You are a writer,’ recalls Bradbury. ‘It showed immediately. . . . Chuck’s talent was obvious from that very first story.’”

Charles Beaumont’s professional writing career began with the novella, “The Devil, You Say?” published in the January 1951 issue of AMAZING STORIES. He was soon appearing in the pulps of his day — primarily digest magazines — IF, IMAGINATION, INFINITY SCIENCE FICTION, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, MANHUNT, ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION and others. In September 1954, Beaumont’s “Black Country” appeared in PLAYBOY. Before long, his stories were appearing in prestigious magazines such as COLLIER’S, ESQUIRE, and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.

Beaumont also began to write for television, authoring episodes for programs including ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THE D. A.’S MANFOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE, HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL, NAKED CITY, ONE STEP BEYOND, ROUTE 66, THRILLER, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, and, most importantly, THE TWILIGHT ZONEBeaumont wrote twenty-two episodes for Rod Serling’s classic series including “The Howling Man,” “Living Doll,” and “Number 12 Looks Just Like You.” He also authored a number of screenplays including THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, and THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO.

At the height of his writing career, Beaumont began to suffer from a mysterious ailment. “By 1964, he could no longer write. Meetings with producers turned disastrous. His speech became slower, more deliberate. His concentration worsened. . . . after a battery of tests at UCLA, Beaumont was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s Disease; he faced premature senility, aging, and an early death.” He died on February 21, 1967 at the age of thirty-eight.

Join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, for an authorized screening of Jason and Sunni Brock’s documentary, CHARLES BEAUMONT: THE SHORT LIFE OF TWILIGHT ZONE’S MAGIC MAN. “The story of a man whose life was in many ways more incredible than any of his stories,” the film features Forrest J Ackerman, Christopher Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, Roger Corman, Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Johnson, S. T. Joshi, Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, William Shatner, John Shirley, John Tomerlin, and others.

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. 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.

(Although Charles Beaumont is highly regarded for the teleplays that he wrote for Rod Serling’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE, he started as a pulp writer. Following his initial appearance in AMAZING STORIES, his second published story — “The Beautiful People” — appeared in the September 1952 issue of IF: WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION. The author was prominently listed on the magazine’s cover, which featured a painting by Ralph Joiner. In 1963, the story was adapted by John Tomerlin for THE TWILIGHT ZONE. It was first broadcast on January 24, 1964 as “Number 12 Looks Just Like You.”

If you can’t wait for our special viewing of CHARLES BEAUMONT: THE SHORT LIFE OF TWILIGHT ZONE’S MAGIC MAN, you can pick up a copy via Amazon or by clicking here.)

 

Get a Shirt and Show Your PulpFest Pride!

May 2, 2019 by

A big hit at PulpFest 2018, we still have a few PulpFest T-shirts available for sale. They are available in medium, large, and XL in either blue or black. The cost is $27.50 per shirt, priority mail included.

If you’d like one of these great shirts to show your PulpFest pride, please send your check or money order to David J. Cullers, 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305. You can also pay Jack via Paypal. Please be sure to click the “Send Money to Friends or Family” button when paying via Paypal. After all, if you want to display your PulpFest pride, you’re surely a friend of PulpFest. Please send your payment to jassways@woh.rr.com.

When placing your order, please specify what size and color you prefer. Also include your mailing and email address. This offer is only good in the United States of America. Act now as quantities are limited!

Write to Jack now at jassways@woh.rr.comThese babies won’t last long!

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