From the Vault: New Pulp

Over the past few months, a lot of different folks have become aware of the New Pulp movement and penned blogs or articles about it. Look here, here and here for examples. In some cases, the authors of said pieces seem to be mostly unaware of the actual, defined movement and are mostly just casting about, recognizing that there seems to be something moving in the bushes of the literary world. The “Old Pulp” crowd was somewhat slow to embrace New Pulp, many of them dismissing it as nothing more than glorified fan fiction (Hello, Pulpster!). But now it looks like the Old Pulp crowd is coming around — an issue of Blood and Thunder featured coverage of New Pulp and PulpFest has held a few “New Fictioneers” panels and readings.

For the most part, I don’t like to over-think things. I just do them. I write without an outline. I refuse to take part in weighty discussions of theme and metaphor.

I’m too busy writing stories to give a rat’s ass about the process of writing.

So I find the whole “What the heck is New Pulp” discussion a bit counterproductive. Whenever someone on Facebook or wherever pipes up and asks, I back away, knowing others will gladly step into the ring.

For me, pulp is like pornography — I might not be able to define it but I sure as hell know it when I see it.

To me, the spirit of pulp is that you constantly write. You write as quickly as possible and as smoothly as possible. Distractions get hit in the head with a stick.

I’ll be speaking at the Crossroads Writers Conference again this year, which I always feel odd about, since I think that talking about writing is one of the things that gets in the way of writing! But I generally stand about and say that, then talk about the adrenaline rush that should accompany a good bout of writing and how everyone in the room should stop listening to me and go write something.

I’m thrilled that people are noticing the New Pulp movement, even if everyone who does seem to think they’ve just invented something (Hey, look, I’m gonna call it “New Pulp!”). The more people who are aware of the movement, the more people who might get their heads out of their asses and start embracing what the core of the movement means: We tell stories. We tell a lot of stories. We leave the pretentiousness at the door, where all the English grads are standing around, discussing that Great American Novel that they’d love to write but just can’t find the time to do.

I gotta go. A story is calling.


  1. Some of the “Old Pulp” crowd always maintain that pulp fiction is that which appeared in the pulp magazines–end of disscussion. This would lead one to believe that any attempt to write “new pulp fiction”–irrespective of whether the old pulpsters will ever accept it, or not–must be the sort of fiction that appeared in the original pulp magazines. Pretty much every type & genre of fiction was covered by the pulp magazines at some point, therefore writers should just quit over-thinking things & just write.

  2. to me, “pulp” is more of a style/mode of writing that can be associated with otr/1950-1970 paperbacks/serials etc. –so if someone is writing something that feels like pulp [from space opera, westerns,heroes, sword and sorcery, occult detective to high adventure etc.] tastes like pulp, looks like pulp and it is new? then it’s new pulp! back in my younger days, lin carters works, the destroyer, michael moorcock, karl edward wagner was the “new” pulp!there is a great deal of new pulp around , some very good, ok or bad[just like old pulp]. it’s up to the read to decide which is better, worse, original or strictly a copy of older stuff under a new name—my point is the term ” new pulp” is fine and YOU SHOULD READ and decide for yourself which author/series you like!

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