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.)

Sunday at PulpFest

Jul 30, 2017 by

PulpFest 2017 is drawing to a close, but there is still time to get in on the action. The dealers’ room will be open from 9 AM until 2 PM today. With most of our dealers getting ready to head for home, our admission for the day is only $10, which includes a copy of our highly collectible program book, THE PULPSTER. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. There are no programming events scheduled for Sunday.

Located in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, 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. Although our dealers’ room will be open, buying opportunities may be limited as most of our dealers will be packing up their displays, preparing for their trip home.

If you have not been able to attend PulpFest in 2017, start making your plans right now to join the 47th convening of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2018. Your PulpFest organizing committee is already starting to plan for next year’s convention. We’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War at PulpFest 2018. We’re also hoping to be joined by our FarmerCon friends for a celebration of 100 years of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. As always, expect a great dealers’ room and superb programming.

To keep informed about PulpFest 2018, bookmark http://www.pulpfest.com/ and visit often. News about the convention can also be found on the PulpFest Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/PulpFest. And for those who prefer their news short and sweet, follow our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/pulpfest. You’ll also find us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pulpfest/ and Tumbler at http://pulpfest.tumblr.com/. Wherever you look for PulpFest on the web, we’ll be sure to keep you informed of our plans.

Many thanks to all of you who attended this year’s convention. We hope that you enjoyed yourself and will return for PulpFest 2018. Please bring your friends!

Your PulpFest Organizing Committee — Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, & Chuck Welch

(At the start of the twentieth century, reading was a primary form of entertainment in the United States. Cheaply made magazines printed on wood pulp paper and costing a quarter or less were affordable to most. These “pulps” featured a variety of stories: westerns, romances, mysteries, science fiction, and more. Tales of war were largely relegated to the historical past and colonial Britain or France. Except for a single writer — Leonard Nason — stories about the First World War were very limited during the teens and early twenties.

As the century progressed, pulps began to specialize. There were magazines devoted to fantasy, detectives, love, sports, and other genres. In 1926, Dell Publishing introduced WAR STORIES, the first magazine devoted to tales of war. It was followed by many others: BATTLE STORIES — the January 1932 number with cover art by Gertrude C. Orde is pictured here — WINGS, OVER THE TOP, DARE-DEVIL ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, and dozens more. Most had disappeared by 1940.

After World War II, the demand for pulp magazines waned as paperback books took hold. In the fifties, television became the favored form of escapism and the surviving pulps ceased publication. Fiction magazines continued to be published, but in new formats. The science-fiction and mystery digests and men’s “adventure” magazines are considered descendants of the pulps.

Start making your plans right now to join PulpFest 2018. We look forward to seeing you.)