Reports and Recordings from PulpFest 2018

Sep 17, 2018 by

“Summer’s Great Pulp Con” returned to Pittsburgh, Pa., for July 26-29, 2018. If you weren’t able to make it — or even if you did — check out these reports and recordings from PulpFest.

Read all about it

  • Lewis Forro writing as “The Supreme Leader” on his blog, The Leader’s Chronicles, provides a photographic report from PulpFest 2018. Expect a bit of tongue-in-cheek elements here.
  • Mike Glyer posts the Munsey Award announcement at his blog, File 770.
  • Ed Hulse, editor at Murania Press, had so much fun at this year’s convention that he had to break his report into part one and part two. His posts include photos by Curt Phillips.
  • Walker Martin reports on his visit to PulpFest, as well as offering his take on the future of the summer’s pulp convention. His is always a lively report, with plenty of conversation in the comments section.
  • Sai Shankar provides a photogaphic report from the convention, including interesting finds in the dealers’ room and the auctions.
  • David Lee Smith posted his PulpFest report on the Pulp Magazines group at Groups.io. (You will have to register and join the group to read the report.)

Also, J. Randolph Cox, editor emeritus of DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP, will have a PulpFest report in the next issue of the zine.

For your listening pleasure

Chris Ryan conducted a series of interviews at this year’s PulpFest for the podcast “Tell the Damn Story”:

This year’s PulpFest may be over, but there’s plenty of time to start planning to attend 2019’s gathering. The convention will be back at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pittsburgh, from Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18. See you then!

(Robert Gould — the son of pulp artist John Fleming Gould — was one of the many presenters who spoke at PulpFest 2018. “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” is highly regarded for its programming. Please join us in August 2019 for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories.” We’ll be exploring the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have influenced writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.)

Fighting Aces of War Skies

May 23, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. From the war pulps would sprout an even more specialized category — the air war magazine.

Prior to the introduction of the air war pulp, stories about fighter pilots appeared irregularly in the general fiction magazines. The majority of aviation stories prior to 1930 were unrelated to the Great War. Most air fiction of the period involved daredevil aces and barnstormers, airmail pilots and governments agents, or bootleggers and rum runners. Leading aviation author Thomson Burtis primarily wrote about the Army Air Service guarding America’s borders or tangling with criminals.

Although Fiction House would introduce the first air-oriented pulp magazine — AIR STORIES — it was Dell Publishing that melded the air with the war. The first issue of Dell’s WAR BIRDS hit the stands with its March 1928 number. It was joined about a year later by Fiction House’s ACES. Later came another Dell magazine called WAR ACES, Popular’s BATTLE ACES, BATTLE BIRDS, and DARE-DEVIL ACES, Standard’s SKY FIGHTERS and THE LONE EAGLE, and a variety of George Bruce magazines from Fiction House. The latter would also rebrand WINGS, adding “Fighting Aces of War Skies” to its title bar during the summer of 1931.

The stories in the air war magazines ranged from realistic tales “about men suffering real emotions flying real planes in real situations” to the humorous “howlers” of Phineas Pinkham and Elmer & Pokey to the science fiction versions of the First World War found in Robert J. Hogan’s G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES and Donald Keyhoe’s Philip Strange stories for FLYING ACES.

“The air pulps meant different things to different people. They filled the heads of all sorts with Arthurian type heroes. We needed those during the dark days of the Great Depression.”

Join PulpFest on Friday, July 27, at 8:30 PM as award-winning writer and author Don Hutchison moderates a panel on the air war magazines of the pulps. He’ll be joined by graphic designer, illustrator, and pulp premium enthusiast Chris Kalb. Aviation fiction expert Bill Mann will also be along for the flight. With Chris and David Kalb, Bill founded Age of Aces BooksMunsey Award winner and PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will round out the panel. With Steve Young, Mike authored a portrait of WINGS for WINDY CITY PULP STORIES #18.

PulpFest 2018 will also be celebrating the 100th birthday of Philip José Farmer with FarmerCon 100. We’ll be welcoming  Joe Lansdale — the author of over forty novels, numerous short stories, and more — as our Guest of Honor and hosting a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley. Additionally, there will be author readings, a great programming line-up, two auctions featuring unique collectibles, and a dealers’ room filled with pulps, digests, and men’s adventure magazines, collectible paintings and illustrations, rare first editions, vintage paperbacks and comic books, unique films and more. PulpFest 2018 begins on Thursday, July 26, and runs through Sunday, July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

You can join both PulpFest and FarmerCon by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!

(Fiction House was one of the leading publishers of both aviation pulps and air war magazines. The first of their titles to specialize in stories about the war in the air was ACES. Its first issue was dated January 1929. It ran for fifty-five issues, including the February 1929 number with cover art by F. R. Glass. The Spring 1940 issue was the final number of ACES.

One of the more successful air war magazines was WINGS, also published by Fiction House. Debuting with its January 1928 number, it was originally subtitled “The Magazine of Air-Adventure Stories.” It became an air war title during the summer of 1931. WINGS would run for 133 issues. Its pilots fought in both World Wars as well as the Korean War and in a variety of settings during the early days of the Cold War. The final number of WINGS was dated Summer 1953.)