Friday, February 24, 2017


I should be writing a book review, but some heated discussions in the Pulp Revolution Twitter crowd over the last 24 hours or so have me wanting to put some random thoughts down. These aren't in any particular order or organization.

The topic of discussion is tone and how Pulp Revolutionaries are presenting themselves. There are some Pulp supporters who don't think its necessary to tear down non-Pulp establishment authors like Asimov in order to build up the Pulps. I'm mostly on this side because I think the quality of the Pulps is obvious when people are exposed to them and I think readers are smart enough to decide for themselves. Right now I'm reading The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard anthology and its phenomenal stuff. Seriously, go read it.

The other side is crashing the gates of establishment Fantasy/Sci-Fi screaming for vengeance after seventy-odd years of very serious Literary people shitting on the Pulps with lies and scrubbing all of the fun out of speculative fiction. Jeffro Johnson, arguably the torchbearer of the Pulp Revolution, is strongly in this camp, and makes a number of good points at the Castalia House blog about allthis

Now the random points:

1: The fact that people are civilly disagreeing in public discussions about the nascent Pulp Revolution is good. Healthy, even, since it shows there's a lot of passion going around, and passion is what drives TWO-FISTED TALES OF ADVENTURE!

2: Emphasis on public discourse, insofar as that's possible, considering Twitter and G+ and other outlets increasingly tightening the screws on Wrongthinkers. As far as I'm aware, there isn't a secret cabal of Pulpists conspiring to behead those who insult the name of Burroughs. If there is, I haven't been invited to it.

3: After the conversation last night, Cirsova Magazine's editor put up a post about how he got called a misogynist fascist for daring to go to another forum and offer to talk about the kind of stories he prints. He reached out an olive branch and was called a fascist. That's bullshit, and that behavior isn't even uncommon among Establishment/Pink/Post-Campbellian Sci-Fi fans. Just look at how Jon Del Arroz was treated by his local scene. Hell, look at what happened to the Sad Puppies campaigns every single year of their existence. At least the Pulp side of the fence enjoys the concept of being an ideological fistfight instead of chanting something like “Pulp Will Not Divide Us” during the next Hugo Awards to a half-empty auditorium. (Calling it now.)

4: It is impossible to coexist with something that wants you driven out from its presence or converted to its narrow worldview. Which is what Establishment Sci-Fi is nakedly trying to do to Pulp. We have evidence. See the above point. Pulp and the Superversives are a very real threat to the ivory tower of modern Science Fiction & Fantasy. They have the enthusiasm, very soon they're going to have the writers (and a lot of young, up and coming writers at that, with long careers ahead of them), and then they'll have the audience.

5: Off topic, but I've noticed a very large number of Catholics in the Pulp and Superversive movements. Makes sense, since the Subversive movement has little for them/us to care about.

6: Twitter is garbage for nuanced discussion. Its a weird kind of arguing but agreeing at the same time. The “Barnstormers” aren't saying all post-Pulp Golden Age stories are worthless and the “Diplomats” aren't saying that the Barnstormers shouldn't be criticizing the sacred cows of Establishment sci-fi when justified. At least I hope not.

7: If you catch me tone policing, tell me to dial it back.

8: That was a joke.

9: And yes, I'm starting to change my stance from Diplomat to Barnstormer. 

10: And N


Alexandru said...

I'm in the same page. I like a lot of post pulp stuff, I like a lot of new stuff. But I don't think being nice to those people is worth it. I also love that Howard collection.

John Boyle said...

Is that Horror Stories of REH the Del Ray book? or something newer?