Books & Essays

Robert Lesser's Pulp Art is the ultimate book on one of America's most important and spectacular forms of illustration art. This volume includes most of the still-existing originals created for the pulp covers. Sterling, 2005.
A Comprehensive Index to Black Mask, compiled by E.R. Hageman, is a thorough and accurate index to the magazine that furnished a publishing place for many of the writers of hard-boiled detective fiction. Popular Press, 1982.
Though ostensibly a history and anthology of early science fiction in the Munsey magazines, Sam Moskowitz's Under the Moons of Mars is also one of the best general histories of early pulp magazines (1912-20) around. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970.
In Science/ Fiction Collections, editor Hal Hall has brought together a dozen collectors, librarians, and book dealers to discuss the expansion and bibliographic control of significant archival and research collections of SF and fantasy literature. Haworth Press, 1983.
Storytelling in the Pulps, Comics, and Radio, by Tim DeForest, has sections on all three media, which were each bolstered by new or improved technologies and used unique attributes to tell dramatic stories. McFarland, 2004.
The Time Machines is the first installment of Mike Ashley's three-volume series that charts the history of the science fiction magazine from the earliest days to the present. Liverpool University Press, 2000.
John Cheng's Astounding Wonder explores science's intersection with inter-war popular and commercial culture, the emergence of science fiction, and the genre's origins in the pulp magazines of the early twentieth century. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
Michael Saler's As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality discusses letters' columns in the pulps, and how they created "public spheres of the imagination," turning literary worlds into virtual worlds for readers to inhabit. Oxford, 2012.
Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920-1960, by Nathan Vernon Madison, is an examination of nativist anxieties in pulp magazines and comic books from 1920-1960, focusing on constructions of heroism and villainy. McFarland, 2013.
Re-Covering Modernism, by David M. Earle, is an innovative approach to modernist studies that examines the physical aspects of paperbacks and pulp magazines-covers, dust wrappers, illustrations, cost-which become texts in their own right. Ashgate, 2009.
David M. Earle's "Pulp Magazines and the Popular Press," from the Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Vol. 2, provides a critical overview of pulp magazine production and its relationship to literary modernism. Oxford, 2012.
The Age of the Storytellers, by Mike Ashley, is a guide to the popular fiction magazines of the golden age of storytelling, with comprehensive illustrated studies of 70 of the most important magazines, and detailed information on over 70 others. British Library, 2000.
Peter Haining's The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines describes the cover art and history of the classic pulps in all their sleazy, sensational glory. Chicago Review Press, 2001.
Toni Johnson-Woods's Pulp: A Collector's Book of Australian Pulp Fiction Covers details the history, authors, genres, and lurid covers of this once-popular literary form, the Australian paperbacks of the 1940s and 1950s. National Library of Australia, 2004.
The Collector's Index to Weird Tales, compiled by Sheldon Jaffery and Fred Cook, lists all materials printed in Weird Tales magazine through Summer 1983. It also lists works in Oriental Stories and Magic Carpet Magazine. Bowling Green, 1985.
James Traylor's Dime Detective Companion indexes all 274 issues of Dime Detective Magazine, one of the leading detective magazines of the 1930s. This book also includes several articles on the series and its writers. Altus Press, 2011.
In Gumshoe America, Sean McCann offers a bold new account of the hard-boiled crime story and its literary and political significance. Duke University Press, 2000.
In Empires of Print, Patrick Scott Belk explores how adventure fiction writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries engaged with foreign markets through periodical publishing, and argues that popular subgenres emerged as one way of marketing adventure fiction to expanding audiences worldwide. Routledge, 2017.
In Chap. 10, "Buchan and the American Pulp Magazines," in John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity, Patrick Scott Belk draws critical links between transatlantic publishing, pulps, and the emergence of the spy hero in British popular fiction. Pickering & Chatto, 2013.
In Hard-Boiled, Erin A. Smith examines the culture that produced and supported this form of detective story through the 1940s. Temple University Press, 2000.
Michelle Nolan's Love on the Racks includes information on several different types of romance comics and their creators, plus histories, numbers, and publishing frequencies for dozens of romance titles. McFarland, 2008.
Michelle Nolan's Ball Tales traces a history of American baseball, basketball and football fiction for all ages from dime novels to pulps to comic books of the 1960s. Appendices list sports pulp titles and comic books featuring sports fiction. McFarland, 2010.
In The BnT Guide to Collecting Pulps, Ed Hulse offers invaluable information on some of the most desirable genres, titles, authors, and series characters, and identifies particularly collectable issues. An appendix lists a library of representative titles. Murania, 2009.
Ed Hulse's The Best of Blood 'n' Thunder collects the finest articles and reviews to have appeared in the magazine's long-out-of-print first ten issues—contains history, biography, and commentary, researched and presented by devotees for devotees. Murania, 2011.
Uncovered: The Hidden Art of the Girlie Pulps is Doug Ellis's tribute to pulp's "bad girls", featuring colorful cover art from the likes of Pep, Saucy Stories, Spicy Adventures, and Bedtime Stories. Adventure House, 2003.
The Pulp Magazine Holdings Directory, by Jess Nevins, is a comprehensive index of American pulp magazines. Entries are organized alphabetically by magazine title, and offer bibliographic data including author, volume/issue numbers, dates of publication, publisher, and a brief categorization. McFarland, 2007.
In The Shudder Pulps, Robert Kenneth Jones chronicles a medium that published some of the grisliest, goriest, most outrageous mystery-terror fiction ever sold on the American newsstand during the golden age of the pulp magazines. Wildside Press, 2007.
Harold Hersey's The New Pulpwood Editor is reprinted from the original 1937 text, but with over 200 b&w cover reproductions from the rare Hersey pulp magazines. Adventure House, 2007.
In Pulp Fictioneers, John Locke has gathered articles and excerpts from hundreds of pulp-era writing journals. Topics include behind-the-scenes looks into the pulp world, the rise and fall of the business, and the personal experiences of writers, editors, and publishers. Adventure House, 2004.
Pulpwood Days, edited by John Locke, collects over two dozen articles from writer's magazines (1920-1960) by and about pulp magazine editors. Articles are supplemented by biographical materials, photos/illustrations, and a complete index. Off-Trail, 2007.
Pulp Writer is Paul S. Powers's memoir documenting his travels from serious literary ambitions to the pages of Wild West Weekly. Essays by Powers's grand-daughter, Laurie Powers, provide a valuable historical context. University of Nebraska Press, 2007.
In Pulp: Reading Popular Fiction, Scott McCracken argues that popular fiction serves a vital function in the late twentieth century, providing readers with the means to construct a workable sense of self in the face of the disorientating pressures of modernity. University of Manchester Press, 1998.
In Chapter 1, "Pulp Logic and the Rise of the American Comic Book," from Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book, Paul Lopes traces critical links between pulp magazines and the new field of comic books in the 1940s. Temple University Press, 2009.
Lee Server's Danger Is My Business is a history of the pulps enhanced with copious color illustrations and written in a lively style, discussing genres from mystery to science fiction. Chronicle Books, 1993.
In The Fiction Factory: or, from Pulp Row to Quality Street, Quentin Reynolds documents over a century's worth of the history, legends, and collected anecdotes of the pulp publishing giant Street & Smith Corp. Random House, 1955.
The Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers, edited by Lee Server, is a comprehensive resource on writers of genre fiction, offering biographical entries on legendary writers in all of the mass-market categories. Each entry includes a bibliography. Checkmark, 2002.
Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines is an illustrated collection of magazine covers from pulp fiction magazines, which looks at the cover styles for westerns, erotic stories, mysteries, and horror pulps. Collectors Press, 1998.
Paul Safont's edited anthology The Wide World: True Adventures for Men includes selections from the The Wide World Magazine, presented in it's original design, with colour reproductions of its striking jackets throughout. Pan Macmillan, 2004.
More than just a reprint of Ron Goulart's classic 1972 history of the pulps, this completely redesigned and re-released version of Cheap Thrills contains mountains of material not used in the original. Diamond Comic Distributors, 2007.
Gerard Jones's Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book brilliantly demonstrates how the creators of comic book superheroes gained cultural influence and established a crucial place in the modern imagination. Basic Books, 2005.
Darrell Richardson's Those Macabre Pulps mainly consists of an alphabetical index of authors, with stories and articles listed in chronological order. Diamond Comic Distributors, 2004.
The Pulps: Fifty Years of American Pop Culture, edited by Tony Goodstone, is an excellent survey of pulp magazines, featuring selections of fiction and poetry, complete with illustrations and advertisements from the originals. Chelsea House, 1970.
Frank Gruber's memoir, The Pulp Jungle, is an informative history of the pulp magazine scene among writers, editors, and publishing houses in New York City during the 1930s and 40s. Sherbourne, 1967.
Thrilling Detective Heroes, edited by John Wooley and John Locke, is a colorful collection of tales taken from Thrilling's flagship detective pulps, Thrilling Detective and Popular Detective. Includes tributes to the authors' lives and works. Adventure House, 2007.
Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors, edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg, includes one story from each year of the magazine's 1923-54 run, some reprinted for the first time. Random House, 1988.
Don Hutchinson's informative study, The Great Pulp Heroes, is a lively and entertaining history of pulp heroes, the magazines in which they appeared, and the amazing wordsmiths who created them. Mosaic Press, 2010.
A combination pulp history and treasure trove of stories, Peter Haining's The Fantastic Pulps is full of rare pulp fiction, each story prefaced with historical and cultural information regarding the pulp industry at the time of its publication. St. Martin's Press, 1976.
William F. Nolan's The Black Mask Boys is a collection of vintage detective fiction that pays tribute to many masters of the hard-boiled school and the legacy of Black Mask, the magazine that made them famous. W. Morrow, 1985.
In Belarski: Pulp Art Masters, John Gunnison explores the remarkable range, versatility, and influence of artist Rudolph Belarski, as seen through his covers for Thrilling Mystery, Wings, War Birds, and many other pulps. Adventure House, 2003.
John Gunnison's Walter Baumhofer: Pulp Art Masters examines Baumhofer's influence on pulp art, showcasing his groundbreaking images for Doc Savage, Dime Detective, The Spider, Dime Mystery, and many others. Adventure House, 2007.