Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Pulp?

For “Hills of Fire,” I wanted action stories, but I didn’t want to do only Appalachian westerns or detective stories. I needed a genre that was big enough for authors to explore different kinds of settings, characters and problems of Appalachia. 

Pulp was the obvious choice to me. Pulp is a giant genre that encompasses action, crime, western, sci-fi, mystery, fantasy and grindhouse. It’s a genre where the heroes are brave and bold, the villains are over the top, and the women can kiss or cut you in the turn of a page. 

Pulp is a giant sandbox full of possibilities. Earlier pulp writers like Poe, Burroughs, Lovecraft and Hammett understood how malleable the genre could be. These early pulp writers didn’t play by the rules. Their stories broke boundaries and conventions, creating worlds and characters that couldn’t fit into traditional literature molds. 

Though pulp is a wide open genre, there are a few identifiable characteristics. All pulp stories have larger than life characters. These characters are usually blue-collar and have a distinct moral code. The world they inhabit is full of danger, constantly provoking them to action. Though the landscape of the stories may change, one theme resonates, “It takes guts to change a rotten world.” 

Seems like a perfect fit. 

Frank Larnerd – Editor

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. You just did something I haven't been able to do in years: define the genre in which I write. I never thought of it like this. People ask me about -Holler- and my other stories, and I've never been able to cleanly categorize until now.