The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine

May 15, 2017 by

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, in Farmer’s back yard, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.  After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events such as PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members to our joint conference.

We’re equally pleased that year after year, FarmerCon has asked to help with our programming. On Friday, July 28 at 7 PM, please join PulpFest as we turn our programming stage over to our FarmerCon XII members and “The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine.” Win Scott Eckert, who edited the anthology MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE and collaborated with Phil on THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE, the novel that introduced adventuress Patricia Wildman, will moderate the panel. Joining him will be Frank Schildiner — author of THE QUEST OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE TRIUMPH OF FRANKENSTEIN, and other works — and Dr. Art Sippo, author of SUN KOH: HEIR OF ATLANTIS and host of the ArtsReviews podcast.

As this year’s PulpFest will be focusing on the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos” of the pulps, our FarmerCon friends have decided to turn their attention toward Philip José Farmer’s novels of the Nine: A FEAST UNKNOWN, LORD OF THE TREES, and THE MAD GOBLIN. Win Scott Eckert is currently working on the fourth book in the series — a Doc Caliban novel entitled THE MONSTER ON HOLD — which is based on a chapter and high-level outline written by Farmer and published in the program book of the 1983 World Fantasy Convention. The series recounts the ongoing battle of the ape-man, Lord Grandrith, and the man of bronze, Doc Caliban, against the Nine, a secret cabal of immortals bent on amassing power and manipulating the course of world events.

With both Art Sippo and Win Scott Eckert having contributed introductions or afterwords to the Titan Books editions of Philip José Farmer’s books, expect a thought provoking and in-depth look at the Nine and the two men who seek to defeat them. It’s all part of PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. To register for both conventions, please click the Register for 2017 button just below the PulpFest home page banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click one of the Book a Room buttons likewise located on the PulpFest home page.

Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII and join hundreds of pulp fiction and Philip José Farmer fans at the pop-culture center of the universe. You’ll have a maddening time, especially if you’re planning to stay at the DoubleTree! We look forward to seeing you from July 27 – 30.

(Philip José Farmer’s LORD OF THE TREES was originally released in 1970 by Ace Books as part of their double line of paperbacks. The other half the book featured THE MAD GOBLIN. Both sides of the book featured covers created by Gray Morrow, a comic book and paperback artist who also illustrated many science-fiction magazines. He was nominated for the Hugo Award for best professional artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968.)

One Hundred Years of Robert Bloch

Apr 3, 2017 by

Born one-hundred years ago on April 5, 1917, Robert Bloch is best remembered for his novel PSYCHO,  which became the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film of the same name. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest.

Born in Chicago, Bloch was a precocious child who developed an early interest in vaudeville and theater, as well as storytelling and reading. According to his autobiography, ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH:

Sometime late in the summer of 1927 the family, accompanied by my father’s sister, entered Chicago’s Northwestern Railroad Station to entrain for a suburban destination. Where we were going eludes memory, and it’s not important. What matters is that we passed the huge magazine stand in the terminal.

Here literally hundreds of periodicals — including the then-popular weekly and monthly “pulp” magazines — were ranked in gaudy array. Row after row of garish covers caught the eye; comparatively respectable offerings like ARGOSY, BLUE BOOK, ALL-STORY, and ADVENTURE competed for attention with scores of titles featuring romance, mystery, detective stories, westerns, and every variety of sports. There were even pulps devoted exclusively to railroad yarns, pirates, and WWI air combat. I stared at them, fascinated by this abundance of riches.

It was then that Aunt Lil, with her usual generosity, offered to buy me a magazine to read during the train journey. Scanning titles and covers, I stood poised in delicious indecision. Here was a mustached member of the French Foreign Legion battling a bearded Arab armed with a wicked-looking scimitar . . . beside it, an Indian chief preparing to discharge a flaming arrow at an ambushed wagon train . . . directly overhead, a helpless maiden struggling in the clutches of a gigantic gorilla whose glaring red eyes indicated his zooreastic intentions. Salivating, I surveyed this feast of literature. For a dime I could devour the exploits of a master detective; fifteen cents whould satisfy my appetite for mutiny on the high seas; twenty cents might gorge me with a huge helping of Secret Service operatives foiling the hellish Huns who presumably had substituted a bomb for the torch held by the Statue of Liberty.

But in the face of these attractions, what more might be offered for an entire quarter?

That price was imprinted on the cover of a magazine featuring a cloaked, bearded, evil-looking man confronting a recumbent, half-naked girl clad in Oriental garb against a background of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The featured story was “The Bride of Osiris,” by one Otis Adelbert Kline.

Snatching the magazine from the rack, I paged through it quickly, noting such promising titles as “Satan’s Fiddle,” “Creeping Shadows,” “The Phantom Photoplay” and “The Man with a Thousand Legs.”

That did it. “This is the one I want,” I said.

And it was thus that I was introduced to a magazine which changed my life, my very first copy of WEIRD TALES. . . .

What my parents thought of my taste remains unclear to me. Although they seemed uninterested in reading my favorite magazine they offered no objections to cover illustrations of damsels in various stages of distress and undress, and continued to supply me with quarters for monthly issues. . . . to me personally WEIRD TALES became a sort of non-theological BOOK OF REVELATION. What it revealed was that fantastic fiction was not necessarily the work of long-deceased authors like Poe, Hawthorne or de Maupassant; its prose and poetry were not entombed in pages from the past. Death was alive and well and living in Chicago.

By far the most horrifying concept, and to me the most convincing, was an account of ghouls feasting in their burrows below the cemeteries and subways of modern Boston. The story, “Pickman’s Model,” was credited to one H. P. Lovecraft, and I made a mental note to remember both the title and the name of the author. . . . By cutting down on my consumption of carbohydrates, borrowing streetcar passes and confining motion picture attendance to nights when tickets were ten or fifteen cents, I managed to keep the necessary quarter in reserve for the next issue of WEIRD TALES. . . . my addiction to the work of H. P. Lovecraft increased. . . . A Lovecraft junkie, I was hungry for more highs. What could I do?

As it has so frequently during a long lifetime, sheer stupidity came to my rescue. I sat down and . . . scrawled out a letter to Mr. Lovecraft care of the magazine. Identifying myself as an ardent fan (and a brash, presumptuous teenage idiot), I inquired if he might inform me as to where I could locate some of his stories presently out of print.

Thus began a friendship between the young Bloch and “The Old Gentleman.”

I had become a regular correspondent . . . a member of what was later styled the Lovecraft Circle — a group of friends and fans, many of whom were themselves writers or aspired to be. . . . Quite early in our correspondence HPL suggested I might be interested in trying my own hand at writing with an eye to publication. . . . And since Lovecraft’s suggestion generously included his willingness to inspect my efforts, what more did I need. . . . I trained my sights on the most obvious and visible target, WEIRD TALES. Instead of bombarding them with contributions, I took careful aim before shooting off a story in their direction. . . . Why a battle-scarred veteran of longtime literary warfare would notice the feeble dud I delivered remains a mystery to this very day. But in July, 1934, less than a month after graduating from high school, I received a letter of acceptance for my story. . . . I had suddenly and almost miraculously become a professional writer, a contributor for the very magazine which published the work of my favorite author and present pen pal. . . .

By the end of 1935, Robert Bloch began to sell on a frequent and regular basis to WEIRD TALES. Between that first 1934 sale and the demise of the publication in 1954, he sold nearly seventy stories to “The Unique Magazine.” Having started his career as a mimic of his Lovecraft, his writing gradually took on more psychological overtones and often a sense of humor. He began to branch out in 1939, selling fiction to AMAZING STORIES, STRANGE STORIES, and UNKNOWN. The forties found him contributing to DETECTIVE TALES, DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, MAMMOTH DETECTIVE, NEW DETECTIVE, SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, THRILLING MYSTERY, and others. His best-known story of this period, “Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper” — published in the July 1943 WEIRD TALES — led to an assignment writing scripts for a radio program called STAY TUNED FOR TERROR.

It was also during the 1940s that Robert Bloch became a regular attendee of science fiction conventions. In 1948, he was invited to be the professional guest of honor for the World Science Fiction Convention, held in Toronto, the first truly international event of its kind. In 1954, at the San Francisco Worldcon, he met Samuel Peeples, a longtime pulp fan and Hollywood writer. It was this friendship that led to Bloch venturing to Hollywood, where Peeples helped him land an assignment with the television show LOCK-UP. Bloch was soon writing for other series, including ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THRILLER, TRUE, and WHISPERING SMITH. In later years, he would contribute to THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E., I SPY, NIGHT GALLERY, STAR TREK, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, and others. Bloch would also write the screenplays for THE CABINET OF CALIGARI, THE NIGHT WALKER, THE SKULL, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, and other films. He died on September 23, 1994 in Los Angeles, California.

PulpFest 2017 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Robert Bloch’s birth with several special presentations. On Thursday, July 27, author Chet Williamson will read from his novel, Robert Bloch’s PSYCHO: SANITARIUM. Mr. Williamson was the guest of honor at PulpFest 2015. Garyn Roberts — who engaged in an extensive correspondence with Robert Bloch — will discuss the author and his works on Friday, July 28. Professor Roberts — who is working on a Robert Bloch biography — will be sharing rare and landmark material from throughout the author’s life. Garyn was honored with our Munsey Award in 2013.

There will be two other Bloch presentations on Friday evening. First, Michael Croteau, creator of Philip José Farmer’s Official Home Page and one of the founders of both FarmerCon and Meteor House, will do a short presentation on Robert Bloch’s relationship with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. To close the evening, the Narada Radio Company and PULP-POURRI THEATRE will present a mock radio drama of Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath,” originally published in the July 1938 WEIRD TALES. PULP-POURRI THEATRE is an all-new audio drama anthology series that has its origins in vintage pulp fiction, but presents its stories in the modern way. Pete Lutz is the company’s producer-director. You can sample their work online or via iTunes.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of PSYCHO author Robert Bloch at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Released in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO is considered to be a masterpiece of suspense. This classic film was based on Robert Bloch’s novel of the same name, originally published in 1959 by Simon and Schuster. Hitchcock’s film was nominated for four academy awards and helped its author to achieve fame and fortune, largely through his work in television and motion pictures.

Robert Bloch — who got his start as a writing professional working for the pulps — first discovered the rough-paper magazines through the August 1927 issue of WEIRD TALES, featuring front cover art by Hugh Rankin. A newspaper illustrator, Rankin began working for WEIRD TALES in 1927, doing the vast majority of the magazine’s interior illustrations during the late twenties and all of its covers, beginning with the July 1927 number. He continued as the pulp’s sole cover artist through the February 1931 issue. Afterward, he began sharing the cover with such artists as C. C. Senf, J. Allen St. John, and Margaret Brundage. Rankin continued to paint covers for WEIRD TALES into 1936.

Bloch’s fourth published story — “The Shambler from the Stars” — was not only dedicated to his writing mentor, H. P. Lovecraft, but also featured “The Old Gentleman” as an important character. Published in the September 1935 issue of WEIRD TALES and featuring cover art by Margaret Brundage, the story concerns a would-be writer who obtains a copy of an occult volume known as DE VERMIS MYSTERIIS. He takes the forbidden volume to a Providence-based mystic who, in his excitement, calls down an invisible, vampiric monster. Bloch’s tale would lead Lovecraft to write “The Haunter of the Dark,” published in the December 1936 WEIRD TALES. It was dedicated to Robert Bloch and featured a character named “Robert Blake.”

Following a write-up in the Milwaukee papers in 1935, the new author was invited to join The Milwaukee Fictioneers. A professional writers’ group, its membership also included pulp writers Fredric Brown, Ralph Milne Farley, Lawrence Keating, Ray Palmer, and Stanley G. Weinbaum. Soon after assuming the editorship of AMAZING STORIES in 1938, Palmer would publish Robert Bloch’s first science fiction story,“Secret of the Observatory.” Bloch would author a substantial number of stories for Palmer’s AMAZING STORIES, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, and OTHER WORLDS SCIENCE STORIES, including “It’s a Small World,” the cover story for the March 1944 AMAZING, featuring artwork by J. Allen St. John.

Although PSYCHO is certainly Robert Bloch’s most famous novel, his first book-length work, THE SCARF — originally published in 1947 by Dial Press — is considered by many critics to be his best work. According to Cullen Gallagher, “It tells the story of a writer . . . who uses real women as models for his characters. But as soon as he is done writing the story, he is compelled to murder them, and always the same way: with the maroon scarf he has had since childhood.” One of the finest editions of THE SCARF is Avon’s 1952 paperback reprint of the work, featuring a beautiful cover by Charles Binger.)

Recordings from PulpFest 2016

Aug 29, 2016 by

We would much rather you get the full experience of PulpFest by attending each year. But if you can’t attend, you can virtually sample some of PulpFest 2016‘s highlights.

Audio recordings from much of the programming at “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” are now available online.

The dealers' room at PulpFest 2016

The dealers’ room at PulpFest 2016

For the past few years, I have posted at ThePulp.Net audio recordings from many of the panels and presentations from PulpFest. This year’s recordings total around seven-and-a-half hours of pulp discussions. There is a special coverage page for PulpFest 2016 with links to individual pages with photographs and embedded audio recordings from nine events.

PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor Ted White discusses AMAZING STORIES and his life in science fiction.

PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor Ted White discusses AMAZING STORIES and his life in science fiction.

The recordings include presentations on AMAZING STORIES, THE ARGOSY and the magazine’s artists, H. G. Wells, Street & Smith’s second-string heroes, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the romance pulps, and WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the pulp western, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sanctum Books, and PulpFest Guest of Honor Ted White’s talk.

In addition to listening to ThePulp.Net’s recordings on the web, pulp fans can also download them as part of the Pulp Event Podcast free from either iTunes or Google Play Music.

I also have several reports from PulpFest 2016 that I published on my Yellowed Perils blog during and after the convention.

Over at Pulp Crazy, Jason Aiken has posted recordings of Ted White, FarmerCon XI author readings, a panel discussion including Paul Spiteri, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, and Danny Adams on collaborating with Philip José Farmer, and a New Pulp panel featuring Ron Fortier of Airship 27, and writers Eckert, Jeff Fournier, Barbara Dorran, and Andy Fix.

Dealer Gene Carpenter talks with Will Emmons at PulpFest 2016.

Dealer Gene Carpenter talks with Will Emmons at PulpFest 2016.

While his other PulpFest posts at Pulp Crazy are recordings, Jason also has a written report on the convention, with photos.

As part of the Art’s Reviews podcast, Art Sippo is also posting recordings from PulpFest 2016. So far Art has already posted a presentation by New Pulp author John Hegensberger, FarmerCon XI author readings, and an interview with New Pulp author Dick Enos. Art says he will be posting 11 recordings in total, so keep an eye on his Art’s Reviews podcast for updates in the coming weeks.

If you’re looking for more reports from PulpFest, head over to my PulpFest 2016 Reports entry at Yellowed Perils for a complete and up-to-date listing.

Friday at PulpFest

Jul 22, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 47-09PulpFest 2016 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All visitors will also be able to register for the convention this morning — beginning at 9 PM — and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Three-day memberships will be available at the door for $40. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. Paper forms will also be available at the door. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will also be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Please visit our registration page for further details.

For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and will remain open until 4:45 PM. Located in Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

Western Story 1932-09-03Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Our evening programming will begin shortly before 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XI presentation which will feature a panel of writers who will discuss their collaborations with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerPulpFest favorite David Saunders starts off our celebration of the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine with “The Artists Who Make ARGOSY — 120 Years of Sensational Pulp Art;” our salute to the 90th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine continues when Joseph Coluccio, president of the Pittsburgh Area Fantasy and Science Fiction Club, explores the history of AMAZING STORIES during the pulp era; closing out the evening will be pulp historian Laurie Powers with a look at “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon” and author and pop culture scholar Will Murray examining “WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western,” both part of PulpFest‘s remembrance of “A Century of the Specialty Pulp.”

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the 2016 Schedule Button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title. All of our programming events will take place in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Watch for the “panels” banner and you’re there.

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay

PulpFest 2016 will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, July 24. Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Artist Malcolm Smith‘s cover painting for the September 1947 issue of  AMAZING STORIES illustrated Edmond Hamilton’s “The Star Kings,” one of the author’s finest space operas. Smith’s first cover for AMAZING was the January 1942 number. He also contributed covers and illustrations to FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and Ziff-Davis’s MAMMOTH line of pulp magazines.

Walter M. Baumhofer — best remembered for his classic covers that appeared on DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE — was one of many great artists whose work — including the September 3, 1932 issue — graced the front covers to Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE.)

Collaborating with a Grand Master — FarmerCon XI

Jun 7, 2016 by

Hole in WednesdaySince 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, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.  After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events such as PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is  very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members to our joint conference.

We’re equally pleased that year after year, FarmerCon has asked to help with our programming. On Friday, July 22, at 7 PM, please join PulpFest as we turn our programming stage over to our FarmerCon XI members and “Collaborating with Philip José Farmer.” England’s Paul Spiteri, who served as co-editor of FARMERPHILE and the collection PEARLS OF PEORIA, and also collaborated with Phil, finishing the short story “Getting Ready to Write,”will be moderating the panel. Joining Paul will be Danny Adams, Christopher Paul Carey, and Win Scott Eckert.

Danny Adams collaborated with Phil on the short novel THE CITY BEYOND PLAY (PS Publishing, 2007) and has also just completed A HOLE IN WEDNESDAY, a work that Farmer began before he wrote the three novels DAYWORLD, DAYWORLD REBEL, and DAYWORLD BREAKUP. The latest Adams/Farmer collaboration will debut at PulpFest in July. Farmer’s Dayworld series imagines a severely overcrowded future that cures the overpopulation problem by “stoning” most of the population each day.

Christopher Paul Carey collaborated with Farmer on the novel THE SONG OF KWASIN, the third climactic volume in the Ancient Opar/Khokarsa series. He has continued the series with the prequel novella EXILES OF KHO, and the novellas HADON, KING OF OPAR and BLOOD OF ANCIENT OPAR. The latter will also be debuting at PulpFest in July.

Win Scott Eckert edited the anthology MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE and collaborated with Phil on THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE, the novel that introduced adventuress Patricia Wildman. He has continued the Pat Wildman series with the novella THE SCARLET JAGUAR, and will be finishing another incomplete Farmer manuscript, THE MONSTER ON HOLD, which will almost certainly debut at a future PulpFest. The latter features Philip José Farmer’s celebrated character, Doc Caliban.

To most pulp enthusiasts, the late Philip José Farmer is best known as “A prolific and popular science fiction writer who shocked readers in the 1950s by depicting sex with aliens and challenged conventional pieties of the genre with caustic fables set on bizarre worlds of his own devising.” In science-fiction circles, Farmer is most remembered for his novels. Called “sprawling, episodic works that gave him room to explore the nuances of a provocative premise while indulging his taste for lurid, violent action,” his best were set in the Riverworld and World of the Tiers series. He was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 2001. To those who know and love him the best — the members of FarmerCon who first joined our convention in 2011 — Philip José Farmer is revered for his work concerning the Wold Newton Family.

To learn more about Philip José Farmer, please visit The Official Philip José Farmer Web Page. It’s the Brobdingnagian collection of all things Farmerian! And join us at PulpFest 2016/FarmerCon XI from Thursday evening, July 21, through Sunday afternoon, July 24, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Collaborating with Philip José Farmer.” Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016/FarmerCon XI.

(DAYWORLD: A HOLE IN WEDNESDAY is a prequel to Philip José Farmer’s Dayworld trilogy about an overcrowded future that cures the problem by “stoning” six-sevenths of the population each day. Set between the events of the classic short story, “The Sliced-Crosswise Only-On-Tuesday World,” and the three Dayworld novels, the Farmer/Danny Adams collaboration — with cover art by Keith Howell — will debut at  PulpFest 2016/FarmerCon XI.)

 

Friday at PulpFest 2015

Aug 14, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01PulpFest 2015 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All members will also be able to register for the convention this morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Three-day memberships will be available for $40. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. You only need to bring the last page of the form. Please visit our registration page for further details.

Weird Tales 35-08The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:30 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of two New Fictioneers readings — by Jason Scott Aiken and John Hegenberger — followed by a presentation on the Pulp Magazines Project. Our evening programming will begin at 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include a discussion of Standard Magazines’ managing editor, Leo Margulies, featuring Philip Sherman, the nephew of the “Little Giant of the Pulps.” Our guest-of-honor, author Chet Williamson, will discuss his career and explain how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing as well as the writing of his peers in the world of modern horror fiction. Our special guest, Jon Arfstrom, the last of the artists who painted covers for the original run of WEIRD TALESwill also talk briefly with pulp art historian David Saunders. We’ll also have our friends from FarmerCon X on hand for a discussion of the weird tales of Philip José Farmer, while a panel of popular culture historians will discuss the development of the Cthulhu or Lovecraft Mythos. Our final panel, Thrilling Heroes of Standard’s Pulps and Comics will feature pulp and comic book scholars Matt Moring, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, and Garyn Roberts. We’ll close the night with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHU and COOL AIR, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series.

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

Call of Cthulhu Banner

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest
programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, please do so without delay. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website as soon as you possibly can. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

PulpFest 2015 will continue through Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, August 16th.

(Jon Arfstrom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950. Soon, he was selling to a number of magazines, including Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. He painted three covers for “The Unique Magazine,” beginning with the January 1952 issue, featured here, and continued contributing to it until its demise in 1954.

Our guest of honor for PulpFest 2015, Chet Williamson, has been collecting pulps ever since he was in college. The first pulp he ever bought was the August 1935 WEIRD TALES – pictured here with front cover art by the incomparable Margaret Brundage.

In 1981, a wargame and role-playing-game publisher known as Chaosium released the first edition of CALL OF CTHULHU, a game developed by Sandy Peterson. It is is now in its seventh edition and is one of the role-playing games that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track.)

 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It’s PulpFest and FarmerCon!

Aug 11, 2015 by

2015 Postcard FrontWant to hear what PulpFest is all about? Then pay a visit to ArtsReviews’s podcast to hear the convention’s marketing and programming director, Mike Chomko, talk with Art Sippo about “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” and this year’s PulpFest in particular.

While you’re there, give a listen to Mike Croteau and Win Scott Eckert, two of the “four horsemen of Farmerdon,” as they talk about FarmerCon X. It will be held in conjunction with Pulpfest 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in beautiful downtown Columbus from August 13th to 16th. Mike, Win, and Art will also discuss the four major publishing events from Meteor House that will be debuting at PulpFest 2015, along with their future publishing plans.

Many thanks to Art Sippo of ArtsReviews’s podcast for the chance to talk about these great conventions. Happy listening.

A direct download of the PulpFest talk:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/6/e/a/6ea4a73e9d63eca9/16108207560_2015-07-09_19-38-37.mp3?c_id=9380794&expiration=1439338831&hwt=eb7c6eb7f6686e2c603d33b1039e67c3

A direct download of the FarmerCon talk:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/0/1/0/010910d8083b4ea4/Croteau_and_Eckert.mp3?c_id=9387121&expiration=1439341556&hwt=70d8c6ad4d1e581a72952323332c9ca5

(The flyer for this year’s PulpFest features Matt Fox’s cover art for the November 1944 issue of WEIRD TALES. The cover story for the issue is August Derleth’s “The Dweller in Darkness.”)

 

Cthulhu is Growing Impatient for Your Arrival!

Aug 7, 2015 by

“Our tangible world is only an atom in a fabric vast and ominous, and that
unknown demesnes press on and permeate the sphere of the known at every point . . .”

Lovecraft

If you’re at PulpFest 2015 on Friday evening, August 14th, you’ll probably be in our programming area, listening to author Chet Williamson, the convention’s guest of honor, explaining how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing. Later, Jon Arfstrom, perhaps the last living artist who contributed covers to the original run of WEIRD TALES, will talk about his career. Closing out the evening will be a pair of panels — a FarmerCon presentation examining “The Weird Tales of Philip José Farmer” and PulpFest‘s main panel of the evening, “The Call of Cthulhu: The Development of Lovecraft’s Mythos.” The evening ends with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHUIt will be followed by COOL AIR, a short film made for ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY and based on the Lovecraft work of the same title. It originally aired in 1971.

On Saturday, our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft continues at PulpFest 2015. We’ll be turning our attention to WEIRD TALES, the pulp magazine where the bulk of the horror master’s work was originally published.

During our afternoon programming, we welcome a talented group of today’s fictioneers — the scribes and word-slingers who are creating the new pulp fiction — to discuss the writers and stories published by “The Unique Magazine,” the genres it helped to generate, and how WEIRD TALES has influenced contemporary writers. It’s called “The Heirs of WEIRD TALES” and promises to be the most fantastic “new pulp” panel we’ve ever assembled.

Back around the beginning of May, Feral House, a small press with a taste for the outrageous, approached PulpFest with an offer that was very difficult to refuse. Author and collector Mike Hunchback had put together a definitive survey of the later work of illustrator Lee Brown Coye and was interested in presenting a slide show of the artist’s work at this year’s PulpFest. Given that our convention was celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of author H. P. Lovecraft, we jumped at the chance to have Mike be part of our 2015 conference. After all, Coye, like Lovecraft, was very strongly associated with “The Unique Magazine, “ WEIRD TALES. Join Mike Hunchback at 2:30 PM for “Pulp Macabre — The Art of Lee Brown Coye” in the PulpFest programming room on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Our afternoon programming concludes with “Weird Prose and Poetry from Scott H. Urban,” readings of poems and fiction, both old and new. Scott promises to leave the bubbling chaos at home; however, he cannot guarantee that there will not be writhing tentacles and the ensuing loss of sanity.

PulpFest‘s WEIRD TALES programming continues at 7:55 PM with “Weird Editing at ‘The Unique Magazine,’” a panel presentation featuring Lovecraftian and pulp scholars discussing the editorial policies of WEIRD TALES, concentrating particularly on the era of its best-known editor, Farnsworth Wright.

Closing out the evening at 11:30 PM, will be an authorized showing of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESSa film produced by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It will be paired with PROFESSOR PEABODY’S LAST LECTUREan episode from ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY that originally aired in 1971.

And don’t forget PulpFest now has a gaming track. This year, it will be centered around CALL OF CTHULHU and other games inspired by the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

There’s still time to join the celebration! There may even be some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. The Hyatt Regency where the convention is taking place is totally booked. So what are you waiting for? Book a room and register now for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”

(The quotation that begins our post is from “The Descendant,” written by H. P. Lovecraft. It is a story fragment believed to have been written in 1927. It was first published in 1938 in the journal LEAVES, following Lovecraft’s death.

The photograph above, dated 1915 and taken by an unknown photographer, is from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.)

The Weird Tales of Philip José Farmer

Jul 2, 2015 by

F&SF 79-05To most pulp enthusiasts, the late Philip José Farmer is best known as “A prolific and popular science fiction writer who shocked readers in the 1950s by depicting sex with aliens and challenged conventional pieties of the genre with caustic fables set on bizarre worlds of his own devising.” In science-fiction circles, Farmer is most remembered for his novels. Called “sprawling, episodic works that gave him room to explore the nuances of a provocative premise while indulging his taste for lurid, violent action,” his best were set in the Riverworld and World of the Tiers series. He was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 2001. To those who know and love him the best — the members of FarmerCon who first joined our convention in 2011 — Philip José Farmer is revered for his work concerning the Wold Newton Family. But what about Philip José Farmer, the horror writer? In this year when PulpFest celebrates the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft, it seems fitting that our FarmerCon friends turn their attention to Philip José Farmer, the writer of weird tales.

Farmer’s short story “The Freshman,” originally published in the May 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, is certainly the story that owes the most to Lovecraft. Set at the New Englander’s fabled Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, it concerns a sixty-year-old occult novelist who enrolls at the university. Soon thereafter, he is invited to pledge at a fraternity called the House of Hastur. A fairly playful horror story, it was selected for the 1990 edition of Arkham House‘s TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS.

Image of the BeastOther notable Farmer weird tales include such short stories as “Duo Miaule,” “Evil Be My Good,” “It’s the Queen of Darkness, Pal,” “Monolog,” “Nobody’s Perfect,” “Opening the Door,” “The Rise Gotten,” and “Wolf, Iron and Moth.” There are also the science-fiction/horror novels IMAGE OF THE BEAST and its sequel BLOWN. These concern a private detective who is led into a waking nightmare of sexual brutality and supernatural bestiality in a universe populated by erogenous vampires, werewolves and other polymorphic creatures from the darkest recesses of the human imagination. Additionally, the collaborative novel THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE  — written with Win Scott Eckert — is not only an addition to the Wold Newton cycle, but plays with pulp and Gothic horror traditions. Finally, there are elements of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos to be found in his renowned classic DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE and “The Monster on Hold,” the first chapter of an unfinished Doc Caliban novel that originally appeared in the World Fantasy Convention program book for 1983. Win Scott Eckert has entered into an agreement with the Estate of Philip José Farmer to complete this novel.

Help PulpFest and FarmerCon celebrate H. P. Lovecraft’s lasting influence, less than a week before the 125th anniversary of his birth, by attending “The Weird Tales of Philip José Farmer” on Friday evening, August 14th, at 9:10 PM. Featuring Jason Scott Aiken, Chuck Loridans, and Frank Schildiner, all leading scholars of popular culture and Farmerphilia, our FarmerCon X panel will take place in the second-floor programming area of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” at the Hyatt-Regency Columbus.

Jason Scott Aiken  is a fantasy and horror writer and is also the host of Pulp Crazy, a blog and podcast dedicated to classic popular literature, characters, and themes. He has many episodes devoted to the works of Philip José Farmer and weird fiction from the pulp era. Chuck Loridans is one of the founding members of the New Wold Newton Meteoritics Society with whom he has appeared on panels at San Diego Comic-Con and ArchCon in St. Louis. His essay “The Daughters of Greystoke” appeared in MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE, published by MonkeyBrain Books. He teaches cartooning at the Renzi Education and Art Center in Shreveport, Louisiana and serves as the art director for the Gaslight Players theatre group. Frank Schildiner is a “new pulp” author who has also published several articles on horror in comic books, television, and film including essays on HELLBOY, the Frankenstein films, DARK SHADOWS, and television’s Lovecraftian links. His latest novel, THE QUEST OF FRANKENSTEIN, has Frankenstein’s monster meet H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Reanimator.

Chuck Loridans, it all started with Tarzan of the Apes, then Doc Savage. At the age of twelve he discovered Philip Jose’ Farmer had connected them. Farmer lead him to the incredible world of Pulp Heroes and the Wold Newton Universe. He is one of the founding Members of the NEW WOLD NEWTON METEORITICS SOCIETY with whom he has appeared in panels at Archon/Tuckercon/NASFIC in St. Louis and San Diego Comic-Con, promoting Wold Newton. He is the creator of MONSTAAH (Maximum Observation and/or Neutralization of Supernatural Terrors, Autonomous Agents Headquarters) and the Wold Newton Scholar who discovered that Tarzan of the Apes had two daughters (MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE, edited by Win Scott Eckert). Chuck makes his living in the real world as a hospital groundskeeper and a cartooning teacher at the Renzi Education and Art Center in Shreveport, LA. He is also the art director for the Gaslight Players theatre group.

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, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.  After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events such as PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is  very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members to our joint conference.

To learn more about Philip José Farmer, please visit The Official Philip José Farmer Web Page. It’s the Brobdingnagian collection of all things Farmerian!

(Farmer’s “The Freshman” was originally published in the May 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, featuring cover art by British artist David A. Hardy.

As a teenager, Hardy discovered Chesley Bonestell’s pioneering astronomical art and worked to emulate the “Father of Modern Space Art.” He got his big break when Patrick Moore, the host of the BBC’s THE SKY AT NIGHT, asked him to illustrate his next book. So began a lengthy collaboration between the two men. During the 1960s, Hardy became a freelance artist. He began to contribute cover art to science fiction magazines in early 1970. One year later, he started a long association with FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, creating more than fifty covers and many interior illustrations. He also painted numerous covers for both ANALOG and INTERZONE.

Farmer’s IMAGE OF THE BEAST was originally published in 1968 by Essex House, a Los Angeles publishing imprint that specialized in highbrow erotica. About half of their forty-two titles were science fiction or fantasy, including novels by Philip José Farmer, Richard E Geis, David Meltzer, and others. In 1979, Playboy Press reissued IMAGE OF THE BEAST, pairing it with its sequel, BLOWN. The cover art was by Enrich Torres, a painter best known for his work on the various Warren magazines, most prominently VAMPIRELLA, for which he rendered many covers.)

 

The Farmerian Vision: Pulp Meets Science Fiction

Jul 23, 2014 by

Adventure 46-03In his introduction to The Worlds of Philip José Farmer: Voyages to Strange Days, editor Michael Croteau writes, “A child of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Farmer wrote many of the same types of stories as his contemporaries during the last half of the twentieth century: tales of space exploration, alien planets, fantastic journeys, alien invasions, time travel, artificial worlds, the afterlife, space opera, alternate history, mad scientists, robots, dystopias, list worlds, feral humans, displaced men, artificial intelligence, the future, the distant future, and the realy, really far distant future. Name a science fiction trope and Farmer almost certainly tried his hand at it, sometimes playing it straight, sometimes turning it on its head.”

Although noted for his “pioneering use of sexual and religious themes,” Philip José Farmer was, in short, a pulp writer. This year FarmerCon IX, our “convention within a convention,” turns its attention to the pulp elements found in Peoria’s Grand Master of Science Fiction‘s canonOur annual FarmerCon panel presentation will begin at 10:15 PM on Thursday, August 7th.

In The Farmerian Vision: Pulp Meets Science Fiction, moderator Paul Spiteri–editor of the Farmer collection Pearls from Peoriaand panelists Jason Aiken and Christopher Paul Carey will discuss the unique way in which the Hugo awardwinning author blended pulp elements and themes with his science-fictional works.

Jason Aiken became interested in the pulps and works of Philip José Farmer in 2009. He is the host of the Pulp Crazy podcast and video blog where he reviews classic and new pulp fiction. Christopher Paul Carey, one of our 2014 New Fictioneers, coauthored Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa with Mr. Farmer, and authored Exiles of Kho, a prelude to the Khokarsa series.

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, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.  After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events like PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is  pleased to welcome FarmerCon IX members to the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Click on the illustration to learn more about the image.