Saturday, August 6, 2011


PulpFest 2011

Welcome to the new home of The PulpRack.

The process for maintaining the former Website-based PulpRack was becoming too clunky for me to manage in a timely manner--the demands on my time have become greater in recent years, and using my blogs is a quicker and more efficient method for me to put info out into the world, so I allowed the PulpRack Website to go moribund. Actually, I didn't really know if it had any traffic anymore.

However, at PulpFest in Columbus, Ohio, more than one person said, "I tried to access the PulpRack the other day, and it wasn't there." So, here we are.

I'm kicking off this relaunch of the PulpRack in its new incarnation as a blog with a brief PulpFest 2011 report. In the following weeks, I'll be posting new stuff interspersed with reposts of items that originally resided on the PulpRack Website. People apparently still refer to bibliographies and other items that were posted there. My original intention for the PulpRack was to serve as a reference site. With the proliferation of information-access apps and whatnot through mobile devices and the ubiquity of the Internet, I thought my site had become a redundant resource. But apparently not.

So, onward to PulpFest!

This was my first PulpFest. My last pulp convention was PulpCon 35 in 2006. Both of the guests of honor at that convention (Philip Klass [May 9, 1920 – February 7, 2010] and Anastassios Kyriakakos aka Ernest Chiriacka [1913-2010]) have died since that time.

Walker Martin has posted an entertaining PulpFest report at Laurie Powers' enjoyable blog, Laurie's Wild West. I'll just add a few remarks to complement that report from my perspective.

I was thrilled to see a pulp convention that was dynamic and thriving. Unfortunately, the last couple of PulpCons I attended had dwindling attendance. Many vibrant dealers and fans who had been at the PulpCons I had initially attended are now gone: Howard DeVore, Harry Noble, Jack Deveny, et al. Some are now in a fragile state: Al Tonik--whose PulpCon reports I read in fanzines which were the source of my knowledge about pulp fandom--is no longer able to attend; Nick Wooda Carr--whose articles on pulp westerns taught me tons about that genre--moves very slowly these days; and Don Hutchison--the Dapperest Gentleman in Pulp Fandom, author of The Great Pulp Heroes and editor of Scarlet Riders and It's Raining More Corpses in Chinatown--is showing his age, though still demonstrates grace and panache.

But PulpFest 2011 also had a lot of younger folks in attendance, many who were attending their first pulp convention and had only recently learned about the world of pulp culture. And they were very interested and enthusiastic and eager to learn more and  to participate in fandom. I was also pleased to see an expanded number of dealers and types of products available. This is all good news for the continued health and growth of our eccentric hobby. (Maybe -- after I've looked around and seen the focus of some other hobbies -- pulp fandom isn't so eccentric as we fans occasionally like to imagine.)

I was pleased to see available a greater number of books reprinting pulp stories. That there is a market for these kinds of books demonstrates the viability of this realm of writing that pulp fans love, and that the writing is, at heart, good: I recognize that's a pretty generalized statement, and it probably deserves a posting all its own. But the best pulp writers demonstrated a verve and mastery of narrative that's just as dynamic and entertaining to readers today as at the time their works were originally published.

Now, back to PulpFest itself.

(I said above "a few remarks," but looks like I've gotten a bit more long winded than I expected when I started writing this post.)

Okay, back to brief.  PulpFest 2011 rocked. Great people, excellent programming, fun times. I hadn't intended to spend a lot of cash on items, except for maybe two reprint books. I ended up buying three reprints, two old paperback anthologies of western stories, a Have Gun Will Travel tie-in novel by Noel Loomis (after Chuck Welch decided to pass on it), and three pulp magazines. I would have purchased more if  the budget would have allowed such a spree, but I anticipate I'll be contacting some of the small press publishers in attendance for an order or two in the coming months as my coffers allow. As it is, I have plenty of pulp reading ahead of me for the coming weeks.

I gave a reading as a "new pulp fictioneer" from three of my works in progress: an excerpt from Space Detective, an alternative-1950s SF/hard-boiled detective novel I'm working on with British artist Mike Fyles; a chapter from Shalimar Bang, about a contemporary pulp-styled action-adventure team; and a short chapter from a western novel, The Express Agent.  The audience was interested, the Q&A lively, and the experience overall was very enjoyable. I look forward to doing another reading someday.

I also joined five other new pulp fictioneers -- Dr. Art Sippo, Greg Gick, Win Scott Eckert (of Wold Newton fame), Wayne Reinagel, and Bill Craig -- in a panel moderated by Airship 27's Ron Fortier. The topic was new pulp writing. Quite a number of people were in the audience, and again the crowd was enthusiastic and very nice. Ron did a great job moderating, and all the panelists did a fine job providing background on new pulp-styled writing and offering encouragement to the audience members to learn and read more.

I'm looking forward to next year's 'Fest!

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William Lampkin has posted a roundup of links to PulpFest 2011 reports over at ThePulp.Net's Yellowed Perils page. Nice way to get a variety of perspectives on the event:

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