Highly Recommended. By Mike Chomko, Will Murray et al. The Pulpster has two major themes this year: the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Ray Bradbury, and the 100th anniversary of the debut of Black Mask. The annual magazine for PulpFest is available despite PulpFest being cancelled due to the pandemic. It’s not a regular edition, but almost twice as large as last year’s edition. Mike Chomko, 2020.
The Pulpster has two major themes this year: the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Ray Bradbury, and the 100th anniversary of the debut of Black Mask. The annual magazine for PulpFest is available despite PulpFest being cancelled due to the pandemic. It’s not a regular edition, but almost twice as large as last year’s edition.
And a lot of great content is filling those pages!
Garyn G. Roberts heads up the section on Ray Bradbury with three pieces: a general look at the life of the writer, an essay on Bradbury his friend, and a look at Bradbury’s contributions to the Popular Publication detective pulps. Samuel James Maronie offers a fan’s reflection on meeting Bradbury at a 1996 convention.
Next, we shift from Bradbury himself to the author’s Martian legacy. Leading off, Michael Chomko writes about the influences that led Bradbury to create his singular vision of the Red Planet in The Martian Chronicles. Then, Sara Light-Waller looks at the depiction of Mars through the pulp years. Henry G. Franke III writes about “Bradbury, Burroughs, and Mars,” and how Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom inspired a young Bradbury. Wrapping up, Albert Wendland discusses how the exploration of Mars by orbiters and rovers has changed the way the planet is portrayed in science fiction.
The second feature section — celebrating Black Mask — kicks off with an excerpt from Milton Shaw’s book, Joseph T. Shaw: The Man Behind “Black Mask.” Shaw looks at the beginnings of Black Mask, and what his father, “Cap” Shaw, accomplished during his 10 years at the pulp magazine’s influential editor.
Will Murray looks at the Black Mask writers who “left too many tales untold.” Next, John Wooley looks at Kenneth White, who took over the editor’s fedora at Black Mask during the 1940s. Christopher Ryan tells of the surprising response from high school seniors in his lit class to reading a Black Mask story, William Cole’s “Waiting for Rusty.” Then Craig McDonald explores the possibility that there may have been an actual killer in the pages of Black Mask. And wrapping up the Black Mask section, Brooks E. Hefner, co-director of the Circulating American Magazine project, looks at the pulp’s circulation from 1925-1940.
If that weren’t enough, there are several other articles in store for readers.
Darrell Schweitzer treats us to a discussion he had with science-fiction authors and couple Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton in 1977, shortly before Hamilton’s death. Stuart Hopen takes a deeper look at Philip Wylie, whose works inspired both the Man of Bronze and the Man of Steel — Doc Savage and Superman — and other fictional heroes.
Tony Davis celebrates the brief reign of Canada’s “King of the Pulp Writers,” Thomas P. Kelley. And Martin Grams Jr. traces the history of “Renfrew of the Mounties.” Also included is a look at folk-rocker Bob Dylan’s use of pulp magazine images, written by Bill Lampkin.
Robert Deis writes about model and actress Eva Lynd, who was featured in numerous men’s adventure magazine covers and illustrations during the 1960s. Eva was to be the guest of honor at PulpFest 2020 and hopes to attend next year.
Rounding out the magazine is the “Final Chapters” department, celebrating the lives of those in the pulp community that we’ve recently lost.
The cover features Frank Kelly Freas’ artwork for “Lorelei of the Red Mist,” from the Fall 1953 issue of Tops in Science Fiction, originally published by Fiction House. Edited by Bill Limpkin.
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