Armistice Day

Nov 6, 2017 by

The day when we honor all U. S. military veterans — November 11 — originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The day became a national holiday in 1938 and was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

One hundred years ago today, the struggle for the battered village of Passchendaele — officially called the Third Battle of Ypres — was drawing to a close. The town’s remnants would be reclaimed by British and Canadian forces on November 6, but the fighting would last four more days.

Edwin Vaughan– an officer of the 1st/8th Warwickshire Regiment of the British Expeditionary Force — wrote about the carnage in his journal:

“Up the road we staggered, shells bursting around us. A man stopped dead in front of me, and exasperated I cursed him and butted him with my knee. Very gently he said, “I’m blind, Sir” and turned to show me his eyes and nose torn away by a piece of shell. “Oh God! I’m sorry, sonny,” I said. “Keep going on the hard part,” and left him staggering back in his darkness . . . A tank had churned its way slowly behind Springfield and opened fire; a moment later I looked and nothing remained of it but a crumpled heap of iron; it had been hit by a large shell. . . .

From other shell holes from the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony, and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell holes, and now the water was rising about them and, powerless to move, they were slowly drowning. Horrible visions came to me with those cries, (of men) lying maimed out there trusting that their pals would find them, and now dying terribly, alone amongst the dead in the inky darkness. And we could do nothing to help them; Dunham was crying quietly beside me, and all the men were affected by the piteous cries.”

On August 25, when he awoke to take muster, Vaughan’s worst fears were realized: “Out of our happy little band of 90 men, only 15 remained.”

Such were the horrors of Passchendaele and the “War to End All Wars.” In 1914 as war was declared, there were street celebrations across Europe. No one envisaged the stalemate of the trenchs nor the appalling casualties of four years of fighting. About 8.5 million soldiers on both sides of the conflict died of wounds and disease. According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA“It has been estimated that the number of civilian deaths attributable to the war was higher than the military casualties, or around 13,000,000. These civilian deaths were largely caused by starvation, exposure, disease, military encounters, and massacres.”

Except for a single writer — Leonard Nason — stories about the First World War were very limited in the general fiction pulps. But as the rough paper magazines began to specialize in the teens and twenties, the first pulp devoted to tales of war would appear. Introduced by Dell Publishing in 1926, WAR STORIES would be followed by many others: BATTLE STORIES, WINGS, OVER THE TOP, DARE-DEVIL ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, and dozens more. Most disappeared by 1940 as another “Great War” was unfolding.

Beginning on Thursday evening, July 26, and running through Sunday, July 29, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The convention’s focus will be the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century as well as the depiction of war in popular culture. Please join us at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside Pennsylvania’s Steel City. We’ll also be celebrating the century mark of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. PulpFest and its associated convention — FarmerCon — will be saluting the acclaimed author of such works as ESCAPE FROM LOKITHE DARK HEART OF TIME, the classic Riverworld series, and more. Award-winning author Joe Lansdale will be PulpFest‘s guest of honor.

A soldier running along a corduroy track through Chateau Wood (photograph from the collection of the Imperial War Museum).

(H. C. Murphy painted the front cover art for the February 20, 1924 issue of ADVENTURE. Leonard H. Nason was featured on the cover for his short story, “Three Lights from a Match,” appearing in the issue.)

Happy Halloween from PulpFest

Oct 30, 2017 by

The skeleton was a popular motif used on a variety of pulps. Naturally, skulls and skeletons adorned the covers of such magazines as WEIRD TALES, TERROR TALES, and the like. One could also find them on detective pulps, hero pulps, and even on war pulps. In Rudolph Belarski’s cover for the Summer 1944 issue of AIR WAR, the Grim Reaper — wearing goggles and a fighter pilot jacket — urges a World War II fighter pilot to sow death upon his enemies.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the hostilities of the First World War. Beginning on Thursday evening, July 26, and running through Sunday, July 29, PulpFest 2018 will honor this anniversary by focusing on the depiction of war in popular culture.

And don’t forget that author Joe Lansdale — winner of ten Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and other awards — will be PulpFest‘s guest of honor.

We’ll keep you informed about our plans through our website and social media sites. So please be sure to bookmark PulpFest.com. We’ll be offering a new post every Monday morning around 9 AM, eastern time. Alternately, you can read our posts via our facebook site or catch our tweets by following our Twitter page.

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us . . . to PulpFest 2018!

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Happy Labor Day from PulpFest

Sep 4, 2017 by

On this day when we honor America’s laborers, PulpFest is pleased to announce that the organizing committee has worked out a deal to return to the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry in 2018.

In his PulpFest 2017 report, Murania Press publisher Ed Hulse wrote: “And what a venue. I’ve been attending conventions of various kinds for exactly 50 years now but have rarely set foot in a hotel more perfectly suited than the DoubleTree for the event it hosted.” Walker Martin echoed Ed’s sentiments in the report he wrote for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File: “In my opinion, after attending almost all the pulp conventions since 1972, this is the best hotel that we have ever had for our shows.”

Conveniently located where three major roadways intersect, the DoubleTree offers ample free parking, free wifi for its guests, and provides two free breakfast coupons per day to PulpFest members who stay at the host hotel during the convention. Its ember & vine open-air restaurant is also very popular. The room rate will be $129 per night.

PulpFest 2018 will take place over the last weekend in July, beginning on Thursday evening, July 26 and running through Sunday, July 29. We’ll keep you posted about developments here on our home page. So please stay tuned by visiting www.pulpfest.com at least once a week. We’ll be offering a new post every Monday morning around 9 AM, eastern time. Alternately, you can read our posts via our facebook site or catch our tweets by following us via our Twitter page.

(In honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, PulpFest 2018 will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century. One of the leading magazines of the genre was Fawcett Publications’ BATTLE STORIES. Its leading cover artist was George Rozen who painted about thirty covers — including the April 1931 number — for the magazine. Both George and his twin brother, Jerome, were pulp artists.

Next year just so happens to be the century mark of a certain Grand Master of Science Fiction named Philip José Farmer. PulpFest and its associated convention — FarmerCon — will also be saluting the acclaimed author of such works as ESCAPE FROM LOKI , THE DARK HEART OF TIME, the classic Riverworld series, and more.)

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Happy New Year from PulpFest

Jan 1, 2017 by

detective-story-31-01-03Ring in the new year by planning to join PulpFest 2017! We’ll be exploring the world of detective fiction with a look at DIME DETECTIVE — one of the top detective pulp magazines; female gumshoes; and the pulps’ first hardboiled hero. “Ka-chow!” We’ll celebrate the 100th anniversary of Robert Bloch, author of PSYCHO; the villains who battled The Shadow; Pat Savage; the world of Philip José Farmer; and the characters of Erle Stanley Gardner. The Narada Radio Company will perform and author and stage actor Chet Williamson will read from his work. Plus, we’ll have a dealers’ room filled with detective and adventure pulps, science fiction books and magazines, westerns and digest magazines, original art and illustrations, vintage paperbacks and collectible comic books, unique films, and much more. It will all be at PulpFest 2017.

Running from July 27 – 30, the convention will be at the newly and beautifully renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Conveniently located at the intersection of three major roadways, the DoubleTree boasts a world-class restaurant in an open air setting. There are many other restaurants nearby — some within walking distance — suitable for a variety of tastes. The more adventurous can discover plenty of dining, shopping, and nightlife just a short drive away in downtown Pittsburgh. The DoubleTree offers ample free parking as well as free wifi for its guests.

To thank those members who will be supporting PulpFest by staying at our host hotel, the convention is holding a “Cyber Monday” sale through January 8, 2017. We’re offering those members who choose to stay at the DoubleTree an opportunity to lock in our 2016 prices for PulpFest 2017. If you act before January 9, you’ll save $5 on your membership fee! Exhibitors will save ten bucks for each table they rent!! What a great deal for the holidays!!!

Your PulpFest organizing committee — Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch — wishes everyone a happy and healthy new year.

(The front cover art for the January 3, 1931 issue of Street & Smith’s DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE was painted by John A. Coughlin. Born in Chicago, Coughlin got his start in his home town’s advertising business. He moved to New York City in 1912 and painted his first pulp cover a year later — for Street & Smith’s THE POPULAR MAGAZINE. Other pulp clients included ARGOSY, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, SHORT STORIES, TOP-NOTCH, and WILD WEST WEEKLY. He also contributed cover art for HARPER’S WEEKLY, FARM AND FIRESIDE MAGAZINE, and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.)

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Season’s Greetings from PulpFest

Dec 25, 2016 by

hardboiledxmasFrom July 27 – 30, 2017, PulpFest will celebrate the “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few of the Psychos” of the great pulp magazines. It was in such rough-paper periodicals as BLACK MASK and DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE that the hardboiled detective genre took shape and flourished. Still inspiring authors and readers across the globe, the hardboiled dick and dangerous dame had to be, as Raymond Chandler suggested, “the best man (or woman) in his world and a good enough man (or woman) for any world.”

The “hard-boiled detectives knew well how the world worked, that it was too often an ugly, unfair and brutal place that buried gentle virtues and kind gestures under spadefuls of smothering darkness …. They understood that they were trying to make a decent living in an often indecent business, but it was more than that. Deep down, they wanted to help humanity, wanted to restore compassion and kindness to the world — wanted, say, for themselves and others to be able to enjoy Christmas like a kid.”

Let’s hope a knight errant of the hardboiled school is around to help this poor woman enjoy her holidays. It’s not looking too good for her. The painting — by David Saunders — and the quote just above — by John Wooley and John McMahan — is from HARD-BOILED CHRISTMAS STORIES, an anthology of ten yuletide homicide tales published in 2012 by Reverse Karma Press. It’s highly recommended.

Here’s wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season from your PulpFest organizing committee — Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch

(To thank those members who will be supporting PulpFest in a very special well by staying at our host hotel — the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — the convention is holding a “Cyber Monday” sale through January 8, 2017. We’re offering those members an opportunity to lock in our 2016 prices for PulpFest 2017. If you act before January 9, you’ll save $5 on your membership fee! Exhibitors will save ten bucks for each table they rent!! What a great deal for the holidays!!!)

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