Crime fiction at your fingertips

Posted by on 4:45 pm Monday, August 29, 2011 in News, Opinion, Pulps, Review

Okay, I admit it: I’m a sucker for pulp reference material.

I’m as much a collector of pulp fanzines, reference books and websites as I am of pulp magazines.

So, when a preview copy of the “Crime, Mystery & Gangster Fiction Magazine Index: 1915-2010” CD-ROM (Locus Press, 2011) arrived in my mailbox on Saturday, I immediately had to pop it into my computer and check it out.

If you’re familiar with the FictionMags Index at Phil Stephensen-Payne‘s website, Galactic Central, then you’ll feel right at home using the Crime Fiction Index. The CD-ROM is an html-based collection that you access through your web browser.

(The FictionMags Index, by the way, is one of the pulp resources I find myself turning to several times a week. If you haven’t checked it out, you’re missing a real goldmine of pulp information.)

The Crime Fiction Index provides an index each for author, title, issue, series, publisher and artist, and a chronological index by author. The appendix includes an issue checklist and information about what is include, what is not included, abbreviations used in the index and a user guide.

It’s easy to navigate through the index. But it takes a few clicks to find the magazine issue, author or story title you’re looking for. Since the index is set up as individual page files and relies on your web browser, there is no index-wide search function as you might find in a stand-alone application or a database. That’s my only real complaint with the CFI.

But because there is no separate software to install, the CFI can be accessed on any computer (PC, Mac, Linux, etc.) with a CD-ROM or DVD drive.

The CFI was compiled by Phil, William G. Contento and Stephen T. Miller.

Over at Galactic Central, Phil has posted a list of the 870 magazine titles covered in the Crime Fiction Index. As the index’s name implies, the CFI covers more than just pulp magazines, and includes digests and other magazines.

Phil posted on the FictionMags list that “seven years of my life went into it, so I hope it’s useful to someone.” Well, there’s no doubt it will be very useful for anyone doing research on crime fiction, or for anyone researching a particular magazine or author.

The CD-ROM is $24.95 and available from Locus Press, P.O. Box 13305, Oakland, CA 94661; 510-339-9196; or locus@locusmag.com.