Bradbury, BLACK MASK, and Brundage

Nov 25, 2019 by

What Was Planned for the Canceled PulpFest

 

PulpFest is the summertime convention for fans of popular culture both old and new. It seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, game designers, and other creators over the years.

Although PulpFest 2020 has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, we thought we’d leave up our planned schedule for a taste of what was meant to be another fine convention.

In 2020, PulpFest was to focus on a pair of creators and a magazine at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry in Mars, PA. We hope to announce our 2021 programming plans by the fall of this year. In the meantime, please check out what we were planning for this year’s gathering.

PulpFest 2020 will salute the centennial of author Ray Bradbury’s birth; the 100th anniversary of BLACK MASK — the pulp where the hardboiled detective story took root; and the 120th anniversary of the birth of WEIRD TALES artist Margaret Brundage. “Bradbury, BLACK MASK, and Brundage” have inspired and continue to inspire creators the world over.

And if three “B’s” aren’t enough for you, how about Burroughs, Brackett, Baum, and a couple of “B” movies?

So what’s your taste? Uncanny tales of wizards and warriors? Mysteries that leave you breathless? Dark demonic plots? Awe-inspiring intergalactic wars? They all have their roots in the pulps.

At PulpFest, you’ll discover new tales by the writers of Batman and Green Lantern. The novels that inspired STAR WARS. Horror tales that’ll freeze your spine and thrillers awash in enough blood to make Quentin Tarantino blanch.

Join us at PulpFest 2020 to find your next favorite read!

 

PulpFest 2020 Schedule

Thursday, August 6

Dealers’ Room
1:00 PM – 7:30 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up
3:00 PM – 7:30 PM — Member Registration and Early-Bird Shopping

Evening Programming
8:00 – 8:45 PM — Visions of Mars: The Early Years (Henry G. Franke, III)
8:50 – 9:35 PM — Science Fiction: To What Purpose? (David and Daniel Ritter of First Fandom Experience)
9:40 – 10:25 PM — BLACK MASK — The Early Years (Walker Martin and Ed Hulse) (1920 – 1940)
10:30 – 11:15 PM — Visions of Mars: The Pulp Years (Sara Light-Waller)
11:20 – 12:50 AM — Ray Bradbury’s THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS

Friday, August 7

Dealers’ Room
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up
10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All PulpFest Members

Afternoon Programming
12:00 – 2:00 PM — Visions of Mars — The Art of Barsoom  (Sponsored by The Burroughs Bibliophiles)
3:30 – 4:45 PM — Auction Preview
4:00 – 4: 50 PM — Bradbury in Oz — The Yellow Brick Road to the Pulps (Sara Light-Waller)

Author Readings
1:00 – 1:30 PM — Craig McDonald, author of the Edgar-nominated HECTOR LASSITER series
1:35 – 2:05 PM — Wayne Carey, contributing author of QUATERMAIN: THE NEW ADVENTURES, published by Airship 27
2:10 – 2:40 PM — Geary Gravel, author of JOHN CARTER OF MARS: GODS OF THE FORGOTTEN, published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
2:45 – 3:15 PM — Win Scott Eckert, Wold Newton writer and author of TARZAN: BATTLE FOR PELLUCIDAR, published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
3:20 – 3:50 PM — Christopher Paul Carey, Wold Newton author and Director of Publishing at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Evening Programming
6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)
7:00 – 7:45 PM — Visions of Mars: The Modern Years (Albert Wendland)
7:50 – 8:35 PM — BLACK MASK — The Popular Years (John Wooley and John Gunnison) (1940 – 1951 and beyond)
8:40 – 9:25 PM — Ray Bradbury in the 25th Century (Donald Simpson)
9:30 – 10:15 PM — The Weird Tales of Margaret Brundage (Doug Ellis)
10:20 – 11:05 PM — Bradbury in Hollywood (Martin Grams)
11:10 – 11:55 PM — FarmerCon XV — The Many Adventures of Philip José Farmer (panelists to be announced)
12:00 – 1:30 AM — Ray Bradbury’s IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

Saturday, August 8

Dealers’ Room
10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All PulpFest Members

Afternoon Programming
12:00 – 2:00 PM — Visions of Mars — The Art of Barsoom (Sponsored by The Burroughs Bibliophiles)
2:35 – 3:20 PM — News from Tarzana: Thrilling Updates from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. (featuring ERB, Inc. Director of Publishing Christopher Paul Carey and ERB, Inc. Vice President of Operations Cathy Willibanks)
3:25 – 4:10 PM — The Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe Expands: New Tales of Tarzan, John Carter, Carson of Venus, and More! (authors Win Scott Eckert, Geary Gravel, and Matt Betts, with ERB, Inc. Director of Publishing Christopher Paul Carey moderating)
3:30 – 4:45 PM — Auction Preview
4:15 – 5:00 PM — World-Building in Genre Fiction (authors Win Scott Eckert, Geary Gravel, Sara Light-Waller, and Joab Stieglitz, with Christopher Paul Carey moderating)

Author Readings
12:50 – 1:20 PM — Will Murray, licensed author of THE WILD ADVENTURES OF DOC SAVAGE and THE WILD ADVENTURES OF TARZAN
1:25 – 1:55 PM — Frank Schildiner, Wold Newton alternate history and continuation author of Carriere’s THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN series, published by Black Coat Press
2:00 – 2:30 PM — Matt Betts, author of CARSON OF VENUS: THE EDGE OF ALL WORLDS, published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Evening Programming
7:00 – 7:30 PM — PulpFest Annual Business Meeting (meet the convention organizers)
7:30 – 7:45 PM — Munsey Award Presentation (presented by George Vanderburgh)
7:50 – 8:40 PM — Visions of Bradbury: The Author at 100 (Garyn Roberts)

7:30 – 8:30 PM — Registration for Auction Bidding by non-PulpFest Members
9:00 – 11:55 PM — Saturday Night Auction

Sunday, August 9

Dealers’ Room
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All (dealers may be packing up; buying opportunities may be limited)

Please note that the schedule above is for informational purposes only. PulpFest 2020 has been canceled.

(Every year, PulpFest celebrates mystery, adventure, science fiction, and other forms of genre fiction. The rough paper magazines played a major role in the development of fiction categories. Pulp publisher Street & Smith pioneered the specialized fiction magazine when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE in late 1915. Although DETECTIVE STORY emphasized the more traditional or “clued” detective story, it helped to pave the way for BLACK MASK and its gritty style of crime fiction.

Debuting in 1920, BLACK MASK would introduce the world to the hardboiled detectives of Carol John Daly, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and many other fine writers. The BLACK MASK style of storytelling continues to influence fiction writers to this very day.

Perhaps one of the most iconic of the BLACK MASK detectives was Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. The character was the protagonist of “The Maltese Falcon,” a novel serialized in five parts, beginning with the September 1929 number of BLACK MASK. The issue featured cover art by H. C. Murphy.)

 

Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story

May 27, 2019 by

Dashiell Hammett was born on May 27, 1894, making Memorial Day 2019 the 125th anniversary of his birth. Hammett was not the first pulp author to write hardboiled detective fiction, but he was the most influential. His was an original voice, steeped in cynicism bred by first-hand experience as a former Pinkerton Op. His stories and novels transcend their humble origins and are recognized as literature today. Hammett’s fiction and characters have left an indelible mark on popular culture nearly a century after he first appeared in the pages of SMART SET and BLACK MASK.

Friday night, August 16, at PulpFest 2019, critically acclaimed pop culture historian and 2006 Lamont Award recipient John Wooley of Reverse Karma Press presents “Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story,” ably assisted with visual support from ADVENTURE HOUSE publisher and editor John Gunnison. Please join us for what is sure to be one of the highlights of this year’s convention.

While legendary Hammett characters such as The Continental Op, Sam Spade, Nick & Nora Charles, and Ned Beaumont started in the pulps (and slicks), they reached an even wider audience in film, radio, and television. Humphrey Bogart, the team of William Powell and Myrna Loy, and George Raft brought  Spade, Nick & Nora, and Ned Beaumont to the silver screen before being succeeded, respectively, by Howard Duff on radio, the team of Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk on television, and Alan Ladd in the silver screen remake of THE GLASS KEY. The nameless Continental Op was less faithfully transferred in ersatz adaptations for radio and a spin-off film version as Brad Runyon (rather than Casper Gutman) in THE FAT MAN, and 25 years later in a television mini-series with James Coburn as Hamilton Nash in THE DAIN CURSE. Less memorable variations of these properties preceded and followed these notable versions. Despite the undeniable charm of Nick and Nora on big and small screen and Bogart’s career-defining portrayal of Sam Spade in John Huston’s classic film version of THE MALTESE FALCON, no Hammett adaptation has remained entirely faithful to the written word or matched the depth and flawed moral complexities displayed by Hammett’s characters on the printed page.

The shining light of the BLACK MASK school of detective fiction left behind another legacy, albeit one that is less celebrated 85 years later. Alongside FLASH GORDON creator Alex Raymond, Hammett launched SECRET AGENT X-9 in 1934. The newspaper strip was enormously successful in its day spawning not one, but two Saturday matinee movie serials from Universal Pictures in the 1930s and 1940s. The newspaper strip continued for many decades, crossing over into comic books as well, and eventually becoming SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN. 

Hammett’s background as a Pinkerton man infused his detective stories with a realism few other writers could match. An unfaithful husband and an often absent father, he was a flawed man. His literary output teetered on the precipice as he debated deserting his wife and family. Like Sam Spade in the closing chapter of THE MALTESE FALCON, Hammett faced the consequences of his actions and, in the process, forever extinguished the spark of moral turpitude that lit his creative flames. Twenty years later, he teetered on the moral brink a second time when he struggled with what freedom really meant as an American citizen. His guilt over his violent past as a literal Union strikebreaker fueled his defense of workers’ rights late in life. He tried to make a better choice and was condemned in his own era for resolving to stick to his values once he recognized the wages of sin. A veteran of both World Wars, he served time in a state penitentiary for defending civil rights against the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was released from prison a broken man and died of the tuberculosis that had plagued him since the First World War.

Join John Wooley and John Gunnison at PulpFest 2019 for a celebration of the life and work of the single greatest writer of hardboiled detective fiction, the pulp writer who has achieved the greatest literary acclaim, and a man whose work is still justly celebrated for being as vital and influential today as it was when he typed his first story nearly a century ago.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(H. C. Murphy painted the initial cover for Dashiell Hammett’s five-part serial, “The Maltese Falcon.” It was originally published in the September 1929 through January 1930 issues of BLACK MASK. The story introduced the iconic private detective, Sam Spade.

THE ADVENTURES OF SAM SPADE was a radio series based loosely on Dashiell Hammett’s morally complex private eye, Sam Spade. The show ran for 13 episodes on ABC in 1946, for 157 episodes on CBS in 1946-1949, and finally for 51 episodes on NBC in 1949-1951. It starred Howard Duff as Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle as his secretary Effie. The series was produced and directed by William Spier and sponsored by Wildroot Cream Oil Hair Tonic.)