Sunday, October 16, 2016

Scanning the New Pulp Horizon

For those of you who don't read footnotes, Rawle Nyanzi, a young man writing his own survey of Appendix N literature, is writing a book of his own.  As mentioned previously, I'm looking forward to seeing how a millennial approaches pulp writing.  He is a self-professed follower of the "new pulp revival", so I'm optimistic that he is familiar with the fundamental premises of pulp writing, and will present us with an interesting new take on the pulp genre. 

(Even if he does use the tepid term "revival" instead of the more accurate "counter-reformation" or my preferred belligerent sounding "revolution".  Give me a second to climb down off my hobby-horse here, and I'll continue...)

It's not clear to me how somebody born after the great purge of the 1980s will view old style fiction, nor even how his exposure to media from the last two decades will influence his own work, but it's something to look forward to.  As Brian Niemeier showed us in his Soul Cycle series, pulp-style fiction can work even within a framework that draws heavily on influences as modern as anime.

(Not a big fan of anime, so my analysis would be infantile in its depth.  Somebody with a better understanding of anime could produce a lot of hay by measuring classic anime series against the yardstick of the Five Pillars of Pulp.)

Today I'd like to use Rawle as a jumping off point for another observation about the Pulp Revolution: it inspires people to pick up the pen and get writing.  Aside from myself and Misha and Rawle, there are at least another three authors that drift through the haze of my social media awareness who have all started writing, or resumed writing as is the case with Misha, in the past year.  To say nothing of guys like Cirsova.  And in each case it is due in no small part to a desire to join the Pulp Revolution/Revival/whatever you want to call it.

Setting aside the usual disclaimers about observation bias and positive feedback systems, it's worth noting that something is going on here.  For some reason, the talk of new pulps, and the desire for more of them, is happening at a time when more people have the time, the wherewithal, and the inspiration to just shut up and do it themselves already.  It might be the influence of the Puppies both Sad and Rabid.  It might be Chuck Tingle inspiring us to kiss the sky.  It might just be that the trickle of new material* demonstrating proof of concept was enough to break a dam of long pent-up desire among the would-be pulp revolutionaries.

Whatever the reason, brace yourself for incoming, because 2017 is going to be an exciting year for long under-served fans of science fiction and fantasy.

* For my part, it was the first issue of Cirsova that really inspired me to sit down and start slapping the keyboard in earnest.  I've read the best and worst of the original pulps and the latter attempts to ape them, but it wasn't until I read great stories in Cirsova that I realized that it could be done, that a market existed, and that I might be able to sell a bit of it myself.


  1. Thanks for the write-up. I hope you enjoy my book when it's ready.

    I'm having great fun reading through not only Appendix N, but notable non-Appendix N works too, such as Gor. It really is exciting to experience these works, especially since I had never picked them up before.

  2. It's nice to see my "Five Pillars" post being shared, I think it's got a lot of people talking, which is what I wanted to do.

    As an aside, though, there is no "c" in my first name.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you, corrected. It's a great checklist, I'm also glad to see people referencing it.

  3. Nice. It's excellent to see so many being inspired to pick up their pens again. I rebooted my writing about three years ago as well, but mostly as a personal hobby. It's only in the last year that I realised what was missing in my own work and got inspired to write for submission again. I'm really looking forward to 2017!