Monday, July 28, 2008

Blogs for Western Enthusiasts

Anybody interested in the Western genre, or anything having to do with popular culture for that matter, should check out, which belongs to Western writer Gary Dobbs. Fantastic archive of Western works can be found there.

Also, Chris' The L'Amour Project,, which is a lot of fun. Chris asked in a comment to a previous post whether I thought Louis L'Amour was a "pulp" writer, and my opinions on that. I know that he got his start in the pulps -- I want to say it was in the late 40s and the 50s. But for the most part I would not call him a "pulp writer" because he did not make his name or most of his income from the "pulp" magazines of the 30s and 40s. Most purists and pulp fiction historians seem to think that writing for the magazines is a criteria to being called a "pulp" writer in the historical sense. Correct me if I'm wrong, readers. And I don't think there's as much of a negative connotation to an author being referred to as a pulp writer anymore. there's a lot of interest in this part of popular culture history (just go to one of my presentations and see the interest there) and many people know that a lot of writers graduated from the pulps to the better known "slick" magazines, paperbacks and mainstream novels. Many writers considered the pulps a good training ground for their later writing.

Thanks for your interest in my blog, guys, and I'll add yours to my list.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little Big Books

A couple of weeks ago I talked about finding one of my grandfather's Little Big Books at the Long Beach Flea Market. Here's a photo of it, and also a photo of another of the Little Big Books, Johnny Forty-Five. My apologies for the low quality of the photos.

These stories were reprints of Wild West Weekly stories, and were published by Saalfied Company in 1938. From the records my grandfather left, he was paid $50 each for the reprint of each story into Little Big Book format.

I have a copy of "Lowery's the Collector's guide to Big Little Books and similar Books", published in 1981 by Lawrence F. Lowery. Although I don't know if there have been any corrections or updates to this book since it was published, it does seem to be fairly comprehensive. I have found all of my grandfather's Little Big Books catalogued in here as well.

Stu Schiffman sent me another book to add to my Pulp Writer Memoirs list. Although these aren't memoirs, they are biographies, which are close enough. Here is his note to me:

I’d like to mention "Literary swordsmen and sorcerers : the makers of heroic fantasy" by De Camp, L. Sprague (Lyon Sprague), 1907-2000. Sauk City, Wis. : Arkham House, c1976., As well as his bios of RE Howard and Lovecraft.

There’s also a recent new biography of Robert E. Howard, that concentrates on his relationship to Texas and is a contrast to the figure as presented in DeCamp’s book - Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, published by Monkeybrain, Inc

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Speaking at the West Covina Library

Yesterday I spoke at the West Covina Library about Pulp Writer and the history of pulp fiction. There were several pulp fiction enthusiasts there, including one gentleman named Chester Hilton who learned to read by using Wild West Weeklys, and read them religously for several years during the Depression. He was one of the classic readers who read under the covers after he had gone to bed, and after his mother turned out the lights, he would take his Wild West Weekly over to the window and read by streetlamp. "I bet you don't know the name of Kid Wolf's horse," he challenged me. "Well, I do happen to know," I told him, "but I want you to tell me what it is," I kidded back. "Blizzard," he said promptly.

We all had a great time. There were other pulp fiction enthusiasts there, including one man who had collected a great many of the pulps, including some of the Weird Tales issues from the 1920s. I hope you have them stored in a safe deposit box, I told him.

It was nice to get out and do a presentation again. I hadn't done one in a few months, and it felt good to speak again. I needed the escape - many of you know that I am trying to sell my house in Los Angeles, and stressful doesn't even begin to describe it. Besides worrying about whether the house will ever sell, there's also the extra work of making sure the house is picture perfect every single day before leaving for work, and every weekend having open houses and preparing for those - which, if you include all the yard work, takes an entire day. so for the past few months, every single weekend, I have worked myself to exhaustion on Saturday and Sunday mornings getting the house and the yard ready, and then spending Sunday afternoons taking the dogs and driving around for three hours. All for nothing, so far. I will be so glad when this is all over. You have no idea. Or maybe you do.