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Pulp magazine

Pulp magazines, often called simply "pulps", were inexpensive text fiction magazines widely published in the 1930s - 1950s. The first "pulp" is considered to be Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy of 1894. Most of the few pulps still thriving today are science fiction or mystery magazines.

The name comes from the cheap woodpulp paper on which they were printed. Magazines printed on better paper and usually offering content more oriented towards family reading were often called "slicks." Pulps were the successor to the "penny dreadfuls" and "dime novels" of the nineteenth century.

Though many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are perhaps best remembered for the fast-paced, lurid, sensationalistic and exploitive stories often featured in their pages. Pulp covers were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero.


Pulp magazines can be categorized into the following genres:


Popular regular pulp fiction characters included:


Many well-known authors wrote for the pulps at one time or another. Note that many people would make a distinction between an author who wrote for the pulps but later went on to transcend the limitations of the genre, and a "pulp author," who did not.

Well-known authors who wrote for the pulps include:

Many classic science fiction and crime novels were originally serialized in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and Black Mask.

The format eventually declined (most dramatically in the 1950's) with rising paper costs, competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel.

The genre also gave name to the movie Pulp Fiction.

Last updated: 02-06-2005 18:35:02
Last updated: 02-26-2005 20:49:46