The term ‘pulp’ comes from the cheap wood pulp used to print the inexpensive fiction magazines first popularized between 1896 through to the 1950’s. During this time a typical pulp magazine consisted of 128 pages on paper 7 inches wide by 10 inches high with raged, untrimmed edges.
The term pulp fiction became synonymous with run-of-the-mill, low-quality literature. They were the successors of the penny dreadfuls and dime novels, known for their lurid, exploitative and sensational subject matter. Many contained stories of superheroes, such as The Shadow, Flash Gordon and Doc Savage.
Frank Munsey’s Argosy Magazine of 1896 is seen as the first pulp fiction publication with 192 pages and no illustrations, even on the cover. It combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to young working-class people. In six years, Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.
Next on the market was Street and Smith, a dime novel and boy’s weekly publisher with The Popular Magazine in 1903, boosting 194 pages. It’s success was increased when they serialized Ayesha by H. Rider Haggard in 1905. His Lost World genre influenced many key pulp writers including Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Edgar Rice Burroughs. In 1907, 30 pages were added to each issue, the price increased by 15 cents and a stable of established writers proved successful. The next innovation was introducing specialized genre pulps within each issue. Popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly.
The peak of popularity was in the 1920’s and 1930’s with the most successful pulps selling up to one million copies per issue. Although, by that time there were some 150 pulp titles, the most successful were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories., collectively known as “The Big Four”.
Primarily and American publication there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War II. These included the Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine and The Story-Teller.
Pulp magazines began to decline in the 1940’s, due to paper shortages during the Second World War, when smaller and thicker magazine publishers began publishing paperbacks, comics and digest-sized novels and the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel.
When the primary distributor of pulp magazines, American New Company liquidation it was seen as the end of the pulp era. By that time many of the famous pulps were defunct, leaving a few specializing in science fiction or mystery in the digest size format.
A sub-genre of the fantasy or science fiction genres, the lost world involves the discovery of an unknown world out of time, place, or both. It began as a sub-genre of late-Victorian adventure romance and gained popularity into the 21st century.
Due to the remnants of lost civilizations being discovered around the world, such as the tombs of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the semi-mythical stronghold of Troy, the jungle-shrouded pyramids of the Maya, and the cities and palaces of the empire of Assyria the genre rose in popularity. Between 1871 and the First World War, the number of published lost world narratives, dramatically increased. The genre also has similar themes to “mythical kingdoms”, such as El Dorado.
For example, the now famous Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1820), has long been hailed at the ultimate lost world novel, however, King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider haggard (1885) was considered the first-world narrative. This book was followed by The Man Who Would be King by Rudyard Kipling (1888) and The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (1912). The name Shangri-La was first introduced by James Hilton in his novel, Lost Horizon in 1933, this meme has become synonymous with lost world narratives as the idealization of a lost world.
Topics within these narratives ranged from winged people on an isolated island surrounded by high cliffs, the hollow earth, surviving pockets of prehistoric species, and humans living alongside living dinosaurs. Today with most of the planet explored the narratives are turning to space.
Subterranean fiction is actually a sub-genre of adventure fiction or science fiction, focusing on underground settings, sometimes at the center of the Earth or otherwise deep below the surface of another planet. The genre is based on the theory of a hollow earth. The earliest works were Enlightenment-era philosophical or allegorical works, where the underground setting was often incidental. In the late 19th century, however, more pseudoscientific or proto-science-fictional motifs gained prevalence.
Common themes include depictions of an underground world that is more primitive than the surface, either culturally, technologically or biologically, or a combination of these. The earlier stories usually saw the setting used as a venue for sword-and-sorcery fiction, while the latter stories featured extinct creatures, such as dinosaurs, hominids or cryptids living free. A less frequent theme has the underground world technologically advanced, typically either as the refugium of a lost civilization, or even a sanctuary for space aliens.
Some of the earliest novels were: Ludvig Holberg’s 1741 novel Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum (Niels Klim’s Underground Travels) and Giacomo Casanova’s 1788 Icosameron (a 5-volume, 1800-page story of a brother and sister who fall into the Earth and discover the subterranean utopia of the Mégamicres, a race of multicolored, hermaphroditic dwarfs.
More recent novels have been The City of Ember (2003) by Jeanne DuPrau – a city built underground to survive a nuclear holocaust and Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams – tells of a hollow Earth with an interior sun, in which multiple civilizations exist within and beneath the crust.
As a genre it is not a common theme.
Do you read this genre? Have you written this genre?
Writing usually energizes me. There’s nothing better than getting some ideas that have been running around in my head down on paper.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My kryptonite would have to be grammar and sometimes, punctuation. I get confused by all the rules. I’d rather just write.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No. I always pictured my name on the books I wrote.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Eva Blaskovic, Mandy-Eve Barnett, Konn Lavery. These guys have been huge inspirations and very supportive. Plus, they write awesome content.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
For the most part, I’m writing stand alones. I might have a signature that shows up in all my writing but all my works are going to be different genres and different characters
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
So far, just getting my book published. Spending money on that is creating a dream that I’ve had since I was a young girl.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I don’t remember anything specific but jokes and puns were one way I learned about the power of language.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
That’s a hard one to answer but probably Shade’s Children.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
An anchor. It symbolizes my interest in pirates as well as helps me stay grounded. I’ve always been very attracted to anchors, whether in print, jewelry or real life.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Two on paper and one in my head.
What does literary success look like to you?
Walking past a bookshop and seeing your book there, and having people talk about it, either in person or on social media.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Most of my writing has to do in the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre. I researched a lot of myths, history, and science fiction that other authors or TV producers have put out. I don’t know the hours that I put in before writing. Usually, I get an idea, start writing and then research as I go along.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
Depends on where in the book I am. Could be anywhere from 4-20/week
How do you select the names of your characters?
I generally want the names of my characters to reflect something of their personality so I’ll research some names and then pick the ones I like best. If I can’t find anything, I’ll just look up some names until something feels right. If that fails, I’ll find a random name generator and pick some from that.
What was your hardest scene to write?
There’s a scene where one of my characters (who’s been having nightmares that no one else can understand) has a fight with her boyfriend about them. It was the point where she’s starting to lose her cool, from being scared all the time, confused and hurt as well as exhausted. It was hard to write her in a way that wasn’t to be confused with her throwing a fit. I had to choose my wording and emotional descriptions carefully.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I grew up watching and reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy. That genre really excites me and just seems to be a part of who I am. It makes sense for me when I’m writing in that genre.
How long have you been writing?
Actually writing, probably since I was 6 but my mom told me I used to make up stories right from the time I was 3 or 4.
What inspires you?
I pretty much get inspiration from everywhere. Music, dreams, reading other books or watching something on T.V., nature walks. I have a pretty vivid imagination and will usually get a scene playing out in my mind daily.
How do you find or make time to write?
It’s hard with kids and a business, but it’s something I can’t not do, so that means, sometimes staying up into the wee hours of the morning, or escaping to a coffee shop on a weekend.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I have a spin-off to the book I’m launching this year, and am currently splitting my time between a detective story set in a parallel 1920’s with some science fiction and steampunk elements. And, a science fiction book set in the future that has some inspiration from evolution and biology (that one will need lots of research).
What do your plans for future projects include?
Hopefully publishing them and getting more well known in the author world.
I am a Wellness Coach but my book will be available through my site after September 29, 2018.
Leslie Hodgins has been writing for years. Her areas of interest are science fiction and fantasy. She is a wife, a mom of two busy boys, a nature lover and a coffee addict. Music is a major inspiration, and when she’s writing, it’s always on.
When she’s not writing, she’s helping people through wellness coaching and helping them manage stress.
Leslie currently lives in Edmonton, AB with her husband, sons and her dog, Oscar.
Slipstream can be defined as a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The term was coined by Bruce Sterling, a cyberpunk author: “… this is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange; the way that living in the twentieth century makes you feel, if you are a person of a certain sensibility.”
Slipstream fiction is “the fiction of strangeness” in which cognitive dissonance is at the heart of the story inducing a sense of ‘otherness’ in the audience, like a glimpse into a distorting mirror and imparts a sense that reality might not be quite as certain as we think.
Slipstream narratives do not always employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, as they are not crucial to the plot, but provide setting and background. The common unifying factor is a degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.
It is certainly a little known genre to the mainstream reader but does have a loyal following. If you are interested in reading this genre here is a list: http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Slipstream-Books/525