Welcome to the Pulp Revolution.
If you have your dog-eared copy of “A Princess of Mars” handy, you’re in the right place. How we got here is a bit of a long story, and you may have some questions. What follows is a brief summary of how we got here – a very brief summary – which will likely lead to more questions. Good. Keep asking them. Keep looking back into the original source documents…that’s kind of what we do around here. And we have enough faith in our arguments, our works, and our faith to have no fear of the light.
But be warned: As you delve into the dank corners of the movement, you’ll come to see that much of the gospel written below vastly understates the case for the Pulp Revolution. Though our cause is just and our victory written in the starts, the situation really is worse than you can possibly imagine.
Jeffro read a series of books written pre-1980 that inspired D&D and noticed some rather striking things about them. Instead of doing the sane, rational thing – thinking, “Huh, this guy makes some rather strange leaps, and I disagree with many of his conclusions, but as a self-confessed fan of sf/f literature, it’s at least worth thinking about and talking about these things” – the internet went full “burn the heretic!” hate machine on him. We’re talking Kony 2012 levels of rage, which would have been horrible if it wasn’t mincing skinny-fat fanfic writers and barely literate game nerds doing the raging.
He didn’t realize that one blogger liking the style of sf/f from pre-1980 would put him in between attacks from the book scene
(they realized people liking old books would mean buying less of their own books) and from the gaming scene (they realized people using old books for inspiration would mean buying less of their hack RPG supplements and settings). [Edit: The motives behind the attack were many, varied, and mysterious. More details are available here.]
Protests from the gaming community are best exemplified by these blog posts
As for the ‘it’ what set off the literary crowd? That’s a pretty big kettle of fish to unwrap*. Long story short: The nerds wanted respect so they abandoned the timeless virtues championed in the old tales in favor of Oprah-level drivel and self-absorbed literary tricks…but with dragons! They went dark and gritty, because that’s more ‘grown up’ than heroism and virtue. In the process they dragged everything good about sf/f into the mud, and they did it while no one was looking for reasons that have more to do with real world politicking than anything else. It was a pretty bleak time for anyone unwilling to engage in the latest Two Minute Hate or who cared that good quality took a back seat to good politics. We had so little to read we turned our back on the darkness.
Well, along comes old Jeffro flicking on the lights, pulling up the rug, and showing the world all those scurrying creepy crawlies for what they truly are, and the Gollums and orcs who curse the day ball reacted with all the spittle and anger you’d expect. He started asking where the good stuff was now that the orcish gatekeepers had been superceded by self-publishing, and wouldn’t you know it, a ragtag group of misfits and ne’er do wells rallied to the Howardian, Burroughsian, and Nortonian banner we waved and started doing just that. The last year or so has seen the blossoming of a nascent movement to look back to the pulps and build a better literary culture that produces works for today that remain true to their spirit. We fans of the old masters have gone from wandering lonely in the ‘nothing to read’ wilderness to an embarrassment of riches recently, and it’s only getting better all the time.
If you are new to the revolution, you’re in for an exciting time.
For more information, this is a good starting post for Jeffro’s message that so enraged the world of supposed sf/f fans: https://jeffro.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/i-have-been-nominated-for-a-hugo/
And a bit of the old smash and bash: https://jeffro.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/withering-criticism-for-me-compliments-of-mark-from-file770/
How about a little bit more? https://jeffro.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/file770-is-on-fire/
Those are some good starting points for the history. If you want to see the future, take a look at Cirsova Magazine: https://cirsova.wordpress.com/
That magazine is the best exemplar of the old ways done modern that I’ve yet to come across. Unlike loud mouthed bloggers who gamble nothing but a few hours of free time, a whole bunch of electrons, and a non-existent reputation, the genius behind Cirsova is betting cold, hard cash that people are longing for a return to the good stuff.
Well I’m not longing for more of the good stuff! Not anymore. I found it. Right here, in…
The Pulp Revolution!
Viva John Carter!
*Yeah, I mixed that metaphor, sometimes you have to know when to break the rules, and as a self-professed member of the Pulp Revolution, I ain’t afraid of breaking rules. Gimme a reason, and I’ll dangle a participle from the nearest tree, too. That’s just the sort of thing we revolutionaries do.