Friday, September 2, 2016

Thoughts on the Pulp Revolution

As mentioned previously, the publishing world is undergoing a revolution, and the pulp revolution is just one outgrowth of the changes roiling the market.  I use the term 'pulp revolution' mainly because smarter men than I use it, but also because it encapsulates the salient points of the changes taking place:
  1. The recent uptick in rock 'em, sock 'em short stories featuring science fiction and fantasy in the Gernsbeckian* and Campbellian tradition harkens back to the writing showcased in the pulp magazines.
  2. This uptick is largely the result of a ragtag bunch of outcasts taking on the powerful and well-financed titans of industry.
One minor reservation I have about the term "pulp revolution" is the implication that the new guys seek to simply turn the clock back to 1950.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The deference shown to the masters of old is simply that of students seeking to learn from the master, and then go off in their own directions.  These aren't writers who want to ignore advances made in the intervening dark age of sf/f literature, but writers who think the advances were made in the wrong direction.

Think of it this way...

Forgive the crudity of the's not to scale.
It isn't about turning the clock back to pre-1980 writing, but creating a new timeline.  One where fun and adventure weren't stripped out and replaced by dour intellectual masturbation.  One where the heroes and heroines fought to make a better world with their own two hands, rather than fought to create a utopia through ham-fisted appeals to socialism and identity politics.

The pulp revolution - whatever you want to call it - is not so much about recreating the old stuff as it is creating new stuff that honors the old in ways that the dinosaur publishing houses don't.

No comments:

Post a Comment