Pulp Magazine

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Name applied to a periodical printed on coarse wood pulp paper and containing short stories, novelettes, and serials usually of violent and exotic adventure. This type of magazine carries on the tradition of the dime novel, combining melodrama and conventional romance based on innocent morality. Produced by hack writers, the fiction is based on a few accepted formulas, which have been described as “making all heroines very young girls, presenting the West purely as a cowboys' Valhalla, and bringing all criminals—except those of the Robin Hood type—to summary and violent justice.” The pulp magazines generally specialize in a single variety of fiction, e.g. crime detection and the chase of criminals; “Western” adventure; “horror”; pseudo-erotic or saccharine “love”; and pseudo-scientific “amazing” stories. Always the basis of the tale is sensational situation rather than plot, and development of character is frowned upon, for, as a critic has termed it, pulp-magazine publishing is “the business of purveying predigested daydreams to people who cannot dream for themselves.” Many journals of this sort have been superseded by series of paperback books devoted to analogous themes and subjects.

Subjects: Literature.

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