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The Lawyer and the Scientist Who Predicted the Atomic Bomb in 1915

H.G. Wells has long been given credit for inventing the idea of the atomic bomb. He not only described it in his 1914 novel, The World Set Free, but also coined the name. But there was a far more obscure novel, published that same year, which should really be credited with the most realistic prediction of what the… » 1/21/14 8:00am 1/21/14 8:00am

Create your own pulp magazine covers with the Pulp-O-Mizer

The Pulp-O-Mizer Pulp Magazine Cover Generator lets you play editor of your own retrofuturistic magazine, with titles like Enormous Stories, Hearts and Pistons, and What in the Blue Blazes. It's a fun weekend time waster that lets you dream up strange story titles and taglines and then customize your cover… » 2/02/13 10:30am 2/02/13 10:30am

Pulp Science Fiction in Spain, Before And During Totalitarianism

This is the fourth part of a four-part series on the pulps under totalitarianism. Read more: Pulp Scifi Under German Totalitarianism | Pulp Scifi Under Russian and Soviet Totalitarianism | Pulp Scifi Under Japanese Totalitarianism

Like most European countries Spain has a tradition of science fiction and proto-science… » 1/18/13 6:38pm 1/18/13 6:38pm

The Worst Science Fiction Novel of the 19th Century

A number of science fiction novels were published in the 19th century which hold up today and can genuinely be considered as good literature: Walter Besant's The Inner House, Joseph Nicholson's Thoth, and H.G. Wells' Time Machine. But the good novels are far outnumbered by the bad ones. The borders and matter of the… » 3/05/12 4:18pm 3/05/12 4:18pm

The strange afterlife of pulp hero Franke Reade

Portland-based Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett are a husband-and-wife team of multimedia artists who have produced a variety of work from comics (the science fiction romance Heartbreakers and the superhero Chronos, among others) to the website and book about Boilerplate, a robot. Their new book, Frank Reade: Adventures… » 2/03/12 4:59pm 2/03/12 4:59pm

The most exciting scenes from Mexican horror stories I've never read

Yours truly recently discovered a treasure trove of art from 1970s Mexican horror pulps, none of which I've ever laid my eyes upon. Nonetheless, I shall attempt to relay these thrilling story beats using nothing but context clues. For example, that illustration above is from a story called The Time Santo Glued His… » 1/17/12 12:40pm 1/17/12 12:40pm

The Most Disturbing Novel Ever Written About Christmas

Until recently, Patrick Hamilton was a mainstay of "forgotten novelists" lists. Thanks to clamorous support by a distinguished group including J.B. Priestly, Doris Lessing, and Nick Hornby, many of his best books have slipped back into print over the last few years. Thankfully, this includes Hangover Square, perhaps… » 12/23/11 3:00pm 12/23/11 3:00pm

Before Science Fiction: Romances of Science and Scientific Romances

The origin of science fiction stories is well-known to both critics and the public: by consensus, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) was the first SF novel. But the origins of "science fiction" as a concept are neither well-known nor agreed-upon. The phrase "science fiction," meaning the genre of… » 12/23/11 11:56am 12/23/11 11:56am

Sex Change in the Pulps: Demonic Shapeshifters, Feminist Conspiracies,…

In many ways the science fiction pulps and the science fiction novels of the pulp era were conservative when it came to gender matters. Women – if they appeared at all – were usually relegated to the roles of girlfriends or victims, and sex was never mentioned. Compared to the romance, detective, and especially the… » 12/09/11 4:00pm 12/09/11 4:00pm