Plot devices

The editor of Strange Science Magazine is clamoring for your story, but you’re suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. What to do? You’re probably familiar with Doc Savage author Lester Dent’s “The Master Fiction Plot,” which offers tips for plotting a story. But his guide wasn’t the first (or the last) designed to help writers develop their stories. In a five-part article, Edward J. Wood takes a look at fiction plotters such as the Plot Genie, Plotto and others. MORE …

Behind The Shadow

Ever been curious about the writer of The Shadow novels? What was he like? What were his interests? Eric Seidel reviews Thomas J. Shimeld’s biography, “Walter B. Gibson and The Shadow.” MORE …


Stagelight Shadows

Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre will be re-enacting two episodes of The Shadow old-time radio drama on the stage Sept. 29 -through Nov. 30; previews began Sept. 19. “The two episodes we’ll rebroadcast in the play are ‘The Walking Corpse’ and ‘Prelude to Terror,’ two excellent, fast-paced, exciting Shadow scripts,” says John Hildreth, the production’s director. “As to what interested me in adapting The Shadow to the stage . . . I am the biggest Shadow fan in Chicago!” Tickets for the regular run are $20, or $16 for students and seniors; admission to the previews is $12. For more information, see the theatre’s website.

Pulp chic

You’ve got your black slouch hat, your black cloak, maybe a pair of fangs in your pocket. What more is needed to complete your ensemble for a night out on the town? How about a pulp handbag? Maddie Powers handbags offers book purses made from what look like the covers of cheap paperbacks and pulp magazines. At least three of the purses — Ten-Story Love, Love Story Magazine and All-Story Love — are based on pulp magazines. You may have to send a message down to your contacts in Hidalgo to ship up some gold to help you with the purchase. The purses run $140 to $150 apiece. (Thanks to Conrad V. Sucatre for this item. To learn more, check out his article on “Jay Moore: Pulp Purse-onality” in issue 7 of Romances With Attitude magazine.)

Pulp Art extended

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s exhibit of Pulp Art, it’s not too late. The New York show, featuring original pulp paintings from the collection of Robert Lesser, has been extended through Oct. 19.

On the cover

In the August issue of Smithsonian magazine, Doug Stewart writes about pulp art and the Robert Lesser collection on view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (see above). The article features three full-page reproductions and several smaller pieces of art. It was nice seeing a Raphael DeSoto painting gracing the cover of a magazine on the newsstands again. The last mass market magazine with a classic pulp cover (at least that we recall) was 10 years ago to the month when American Heritage reprinted the classic “Black Hush” portrait of the Shadow by George Rozen for a story on mystery stories. (Coincidentally, the Shadow was never mentioned in the article.)

Xena vs. Tarzan?

Lucy Lawless, formerly of Xena Warrior Princess, will be joining the cast of the new Tarzan television series as Kathleen Clayton, Tarzan’s aunt. According to a WB press release, Lawless’ character is a New York newspaper publisher who will be battling her estranged husband, Richard (played by Mitch Pileggi), over what to do with Tarzan (Travis Fimmel). Joining Fimmel, above, is Sarah Wayne Callies as Jane Porter. The series premieres Sunday, Oct. 5, on the WB. (Check your local listings for correct time and channel.) For more information on the pilot and future episodes, visit the series’ website (no longer active). The site also includes images, a forum and news about the new update on the Edgar Rice Burroughs apeman.

Press on pulps

The pulp art show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (again, see above) has garnered attention in the mass media this summer. The Associated Press wire service ran articles about Robert Lesser and the show in May and in August. And the Village Voice’s R.C. Baker offers up a review of the show and a short article on the balance between artistry and misogyny.

— William Lampkin

Pulp Q&A

I have bought lots of different pulp magazines and would like to find out who the good writers are. Can you help me?

Wow. Wish there was a simple answer to that question. There are so many authors and so many genres, or styles, of pulps, that your question is almost impossible to answer without more details. What are you interested in? Science fiction? Action-adventure? Mystery? Detective? Weird horror? Romance? Sports? There are plenty of good — and bad — writers in each genre.

Using the shotgun approach, you might be on the lookout for stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edmond Hamilton, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, E.E. Smith, Jack Williamson, Max Brand, Ray Brabury, H.P. Lovecraft … and that’s just scratching the surface. There are dozens more authors whose works rank above average, and hundreds more who don’t rate as high but are very enjoyable nonetheless.

That’s the real key to which are “good” writers: They are the authors of the stories you enjoy reading, whether anyone else thinks highly of them or not. Find a comfy chair, pick up one of your pulps and start reading. You might discover a forgotten treasure.