“The Gunslinger-Writer: The Fast–Working Working-Class Authors of the Pulps”

July 19, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Thompson Library 150A-B

 

Like gunslingers, pulp fiction authors survived by being fast. In this lively lecture, pulp historian and publisher John Locke will discuss the complex working conditions faced by the army of writers who worked at breakneck speed to provide millions of words—all at 1- to 2-cents apiece—of popular fiction to the countless numbers of science fiction, western, adventure, romance, hero, war, detective, crime, and mystery fiction magazines of the 1920s-1940s. Mr. Locke will describe the era of the cheap fiction magazine and the pop-culture legacy of the pulps, with particular emphasis on how the professional writers’ advice magazines of the day reflected how the constantly shifting economics of the pulp publishing business affected the work and output of writers, editors, and publishers. From articles advising would-be pulpsters on the best ways to plot and pace a high-seas adventure story to snapshots of the contemporary market for cheap fiction and the occasional first-hand account of the pulp author’s life, these writers’ magazines illustrate in tangible and personal ways the difficulties, attractions, and realities of what life was like as a cent-a-word pulp-wood “hack”.
 
Copies of Mr. Locke’s book, Pulp Fictioneers: Adventures in the Storytelling Business (Adventure House, 2004; http://www.adventurehouse.com/shopping/en-us/dept_103.html) will be available for purchase after the lecture.
 
This lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Aldus Society and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of the Ohio State University Libraries, in conjunction with Pulpfest 2012 (http://www.pulpfest.com/).
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