PulpFest and Ray Bradbury on Instagram

Aug 27, 2020 by

Here is one of the many fine cover images that we’ve been posting to the PulpFest Instagram page over the last few days. It’s just one small part of our Ray Bradbury tribute, honoring the August 22 centennial of the author’s birth.

The image displayed here is the cover for the Spring 1944 issue of PLANET STORIES. Painted by “Ghastly” Graham Ingels, it’s the artist’s only cover for the Fiction House science fiction pulp. Best known for his work for EC Comics during the 1950s — notably THE HAUNT OF FEAR and TALES FROM THE CRYPT — Ingels also contributed interior art to PLANET STORIES and other Fiction House pulps.

Ray Bradbury’s “The Monster Maker” — a short story reprinted in THE COLLECTED STORIES OF RAY BRADBURY: A CRITICAL EDITION, VOLUME 1: 1938-1943 — originally appeared in this particular issue of PLANET STORIES. Bradbury established himself as one of the leading “Golden Age” voices of science fiction in the pages of the Fiction House magazine.

Join us every Monday through Friday — between 7:30 and 8 PM, eastern time — for selected images and commentary related to Bradbury appearances on the PulpFest Instagram page. Why not become one of the 1100+ followers we have on Instagram? You’ll find us at https://www.instagram.com/pulpfest/.

Countdown to PulpFest

May 28, 2018 by

It’s just sixty days to PulpFest 2018. On Thursday, July 26, be one of hundreds of pop-culture fans who will be arriving at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. Please click one of the Register buttons on our home page to learn how to join the annual summertime get-together for fans of popular fiction and art.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be talking about our dealers, our terrific programming, our PULPSTER program book, the PulpFest auction, and much more. You can keep abreast of all these updates by bookmarking pulpfest.com or liking our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter where we’ll be tweeting about our home page updates. We’ll also be posting to a variety of Yahoo newsgroups including Pulpmags.

PulpFest is known for its superb programming. The presentations that we have planned for this year’s convention will be great! PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. The convention will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. We’ll also salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerJoin PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 for panels and presentations on the celebrated author of TARZAN ALIVE: A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF LORD GREYSTOKEDOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, the Riverworld and World of Tiers series, and many other works. Also planned is a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley.

The convention’s guest of honor will be award-winning author Joe LansdaleThe author of over forty novels and many short stories, Lansdale has also written for comics, television, film, Internet sites, and more. Joe will be talking with Tony Davis on Saturday evening, July 28, and be available at select times during the convention. We’d like to thank our sponsor AbeBooks.com for helping to bring Mr. Lansdale and his wife to PulpFest 2018.

Our dealers’ room will feature 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.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to register for PulpFest 2018! There’s no other way for you to be part of our convention. While you’re at it, you can reserve a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Simply click one of the links on the PulpFest home page that reads “Book a Room.” 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. By staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success. Given its popularity, we urge every member to book a hotel room for PulpFest 2018 as soon as possible. The earlier you place your room reservation for this year’s PulpFest, the greater chance you will have of landing a room at this beautiful hotel.

Although the DoubleTree by Hilton is the ideal place to stay during the convention, we want everyone to be able to make it to the “pop culture center of the universe” and “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” With our terrific programming line-up and our spacious dealer’s room, we want everyone to have a chance to attend PulpFest. Rest assured, you’ll have a FANTASTIC time! We look forward to seeing you at the DoubleTree from July 26 – 29 for PulpFest 2018.

(PulpFest 2018 will focus on the “war pulps” as part of its celebration of the centennial marking the end of World War I. The first magazine devoted to tales of war — WAR STORIES — was introduced by Dell Publishing in late 1926. About a year later, Fiction House issued the first aviation fiction magazine, AIR STORIES. The two genres were combined about half a year later when Dell’s WAR BIRDS hit the stands.

The pilots who flew and fought over Europe’s Western Front were naturals to a public starving for heroes and escape. Their exploits were told again and again in the magazines that followed the debut of WAR BIRDS: BATTLE BIRDS, DARE-DEVIL ACES, FLYING ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, WAR ACES, WINGS, and many others.

One of the more successful of the “air war” magazines was ACES. Published by Fiction House, it debuted at the end of 1928 and lasted for 74 issues. The May 1929 number featured cover art by H. C. Murphy. The artist — best remembered today for his BLACK MASK covers — painted many covers for the Fiction House line of pulps. His work can be found on ACES, ACTION STORIES, AIR STORIES, DETECTIVE BOOK MAGAZINE, FIGHT STORIES, LARIAT, WINGS, and other Fiction House titles.)

Space Operas in the Sky

Jun 6, 2014 by

Planet Stories 39-WAlthough Fiction House had been around since the 1920s, it waited until 1939 to enter the science-fiction field. A year before, it had joined the comic book industry with Jumbo Comics, home to Sheena, “Queen of the Jungle.” Perhaps trying to hedge its bets, Fiction House launched a science-fiction pulp, Planet Stories, and a science-fiction comic book, Planet Comics, at the same time.

Over the years, Fiction House had developed a reputation for offering action-packed stories of adventure in its pulps. Planet Stories would prove to be no exception to this rule. Over its 71 issues, the rough-paper magazine would be home to countless science-fiction adventure stories called “space operas.”

In her introduction to The Best of Planet Stories #1, acclaimed author and screenwriter Leigh Brackett writes: “Planet, unashamedly, published “space opera” . . . . a story that has an element of adventure . . . . of great courage and daring, of battle against the forces of darkness and the unknown . . . The so-called space opera is the folk-tale, the hero-tale, of our particular niche in history . . . . These stories served to stretch our little minds, to draw us out beyond our narrow skies into the vast glooms of interstellar space, where the great suns ride in splendor and the bright nebulae fling their veils of fire parsecs-long across the universe; where the Coal-sack and the Horsehead make patterns of black mystery; where the Cepheid variables blink their evil eyes and a billion nameless planets may harbor life-forms infinitely numerous and strange.”

Running from 1939 – 1955, the early issues of Planet Stories featured writers such as Eando Binder, Nelson Bond, Ray Cummings, Ed Earl Repp, and Ross Rocklynne. By the middle-forties, Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury reigned supreme with the former offering seventeen “science fantasies,” while the latter introduced readers to The Martian Chronicles. They were joined by less-acclaimed authors such as Alfred Coppel, Gardner F. Fox, Henry Hasse, Emmett McDowell, and Basil Wells. The late forties and early fifties found the magazine publishing work by Poul Anderson, James Blish, Philip K. Dick, Chad Oliver, Mack Reynolds, and other greats who would go on to develop science fiction’s modern era.

Planet Stories 42-WPerhaps it was Planet Stories’ emphasis on cover art with a strong dose of sex—usually imagined by Allen Anderson or Frank Kelly Freas—that helped turn “space opera” into a pejorative term. Per Leigh Brackett, “It was fashionable for a while, among certain elements of science-fiction fandom, to hate Planet Stories. They hated the magazine, apparently, because it was not Astounding Stories.” For seventy-one issues, rather than aiming for the cerebrum, it aimed for the gut. Who is to say that one target is more valid than the other?