Assignment: Lecture 5 and Pulp SF

Here’s a link to the presentation slide deck that I will anchor the lecture.

Reminder: Turn in a hard copy or email a scanned or generated PDF attachment of your notes so far this semester. You should have notes on every class and all the readings. As I’ve said before, I encourage you to share notes but you must copy others notes into your own script. Review the lecture videos for any days that you missed of class. This midterm assignment is worth 20% of your final grade. All those notebooks turned in as a hard copy will be returned the following week.

2nd Reminder: Each week, you will need to write a 250-word summary of the lecture and readings on these “Assignment” posts. These assignments contribute to the 20% of your grade of “Weekly Summaries of Readings and Viewings.” They should focus on the lecture and the readings assigned for that lecture. So, this week’s summary should focus on the Pulp SF lecture and the readings by Edgar Rice Burroughs and C.L. Moore.

13 thoughts on “Assignment: Lecture 5 and Pulp SF”

  1. Topics discussed in Lecture 5 included the history of mass market “Pulp SF” that made the genre widely accessible, a deeper dive into some of the main figures responsible for its proliferation as well as a discussion of Edgar Rice Burrough’s A Princess of Mars and C.L. Moore’s Shambleau. “Pulp” SF, named so because of the cheap compressed wood paper that it was printed on, made science fiction cheap and easy to read (and therefore accessible to a mass audience). Although Pulp SF gave the genre broad exposure, the writing was usually crude and unpolished – less refined literature that appealed to the masses with exaggerated dramas in the style of the “soap opera.” Authors were often paid by the word, so economical writing was not synonymous with Pulp SF. A byproduct of being paid more for writing more was that the plots of stories were often formulaic, and so it was not uncommon for authors to reuse the broad framework of story arcs in order to produce more stories. Covers were brightly colored, and stories were often accompanied by illustration in order to attract readers. SF themes common to Pulp SF were sex, the super-man, “sword and sorcery,” and the “space opera.” They were often lurid and filled with titillation.
    Major contributors to the sub-genre included Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), H.P Lovecraft (1890-1937), C.L. Moore (1911-1987) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Gernsback was an immigrant from Luxembourg that published the first SF magazine, “Amazing Stories,” in New York in 1926. The stories that he wrote himself had embedded in them advertising for the electronics products that he sold. Included within stories would be segments on how characters would manage to build batteries and other home electronics articles. Gernsback would make these “do-it-yourself” style electronics available to his readers by mail order. Gernsback, like H.G. Wells, was focused on the prediction of the future. He was the first person to combine the terms science and fiction in reference to the genre, which he called “Scientifiction.” He viewed SF as a system of progress and thought that you needed imagination in addition to a science background in order to write SF. He believed that the genre should be instructional and prophetic in its topics. He also played a role in scientific fandom, starting “The Science Fiction League” in 1944 and starting the first worldwide convention for SF called “World con.”
    Catherine Lucille Moore (C.L. Moore) gained popularity with her short story “Shambleau,” a femme fatale story set on Mars that incorporated a wild-west styled frontiersman (North West Smith, a recurring character in Moore’s books) that inadvertently saves a creature of an ancient species that has mythological-like qualities. The medusa-like creature overpowers Smith emotionally and sexually, and determines to feed off of his body and soul until he is saved by his swashbuckling comrade from Venus. This is the kind of “space opera” story typical to pulp SF.
    Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes in addition to his major series of works referred to as “Barsoom” (Mars stories). This series of Mars-related stories (“Barsoom” being the native word for Mars in his fictional world) included A Princess of Mars, which follows John Carter, a former U.S. Confederacy Captain who finds himself on the planet Mars amongst a breed of massive “bug-eyed monster” creatures and a race of humans that attempts to live amongst them, in addition to other Martian races. The story follows Carter as he explores the warring societies of Mars while impressing the aliens with his earthly traits (and killing of few of the Martians, earning him high status amongst Martian warriors). He eventually falls in love with a human female, who he must save from capture by a Martian warlord who wishes to marry her. As is apparent from the storyline, this is another example of the “space opera” style of SF.
    Finally, we discussed Howard Phillips Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft), who popularized the term “weird fiction” as a subgenre of SF that commonly included themes of transgression, “thinning” (the reduction of the protagonist or of a world), the uncanny (something very unusual), occultism, Satanism and doppelgangers. There was a large overlap with the Fantasy genre in his inclusion of supernatural fiction and horror stories of a transgressive nature. Another subgenre coined by Lovecraft was “cosmic horror,” which dealt with other dimensions, alien invasions and a general interfacing with the universe as a hostile place.
    Finally, early popular series that made it to the screen included Buck Rogers (1928) and Flash Gordon (1934) (in fact played by the same actor when filmed for the screen). We will explore these characters more next week when watching Flash Gordon.

  2. During our last lecture 03/04 we explored Pulp SF and the Author(s) different beliefs in what SF “should be”. The term “Pulp Science Fiction” has come up in our last few lectures and I had no idea what the term stood for. During the last lecture we learned that Pulp comes from the magazines and how they were made during that time period. We talked about the specific 10 x 7 dimension and how these magazines were printed on cheap paper that consisted of chemicals and wood. I found it very fascinating to learn how the magazines have aged. Professor Ellis went into detail about how accessing this book today would take gloves and a type of holder to maintain the books spine from falling apart. He also spoke on how these magazines were targeted toward adults but how kids such as Hugo Gernsback (at the time) could easily access them. It sort of reminds me of how I had access to video games that had teen/mature ratings on them when I was younger and how they influenced me at the time. Perhaps what stood out to me the most was the mention of the covers these books would have. They were described as “Brightly covered colors”. I am an illustrator myself and I would love to learn more about the artist behind these covers. I can’t even imagine how great it would have been to have a job making these covers. It’s true that these covers stand out during library visits or when you’re at a place like Barnes & Noble, you just can’t help but to walk over and examine a book with a beautiful cover. We also talked about the Narrative characteristics of pulp SF, they were designed to appeal to a wide audience and often recycled ideas. Authors began to develop a belief for what SF should be. For example Gernsback had a prophetic vision that included its % of literature and science, didactic, and its potential to predict the future. It was fun to discuss SF fandom and how it wasn’t only popular in the US but on a global scale instead. We also spoke about how women used their initials as pen names to avoid stereotype bias from readers when reflecting on SF work. In all, it was a significant lecture because Pulp SF was a time of development or rather evolution for the modern SF we are more familiar with today.

  3. Reflecting back on the lecture and my notes from last week, we started the discussion from our readings. The first reading we discussed was “A Princess from Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A few new terms I wrote down associated with this reading were, a cognitive arrangement. I believe this was brought up in correlation to the character John Carter’s sudden transfer from Earth to Mars. Cognitive arrangement I wrote means mind disconnection. This transfer from Earth to Mars was an ambiguous occurrence. Then we touched briefly on C.L. Moore’s “Shambleau” that tied into the discussion on “Pulp Science Fiction.” We learned that the name is derived from the type of paper that these magazines were printed on. Then the lecture discussed the eight characteristics of “Pulp Science Fiction.” We then learned a brief history of Hugo Gernback’s publications, and his recipe for “scientification.” The lecture continued with the genre “Pulp SF” called “Space Opera” and the publication “Weird Tales.” Further genres and characteristics that were touch on were H.P. Lovecraft “Weird Fiction” and “Cosmic Horror.” Then we briefly went over the history of Buck Roger, and Flash Gordon and their association with a racist theme called “Yellow Peril.” This “Yellow Peril” was were in these stories their villains were symbolically correlated to anyone of Asian descent. This theme was an anti-colonial belief that was a product of its time in history. This miss guided belief is that those of Asian descent will infiltrate a white culture and take from them.
    Returning to the reading, I thought “Shambleau” was a cross breed between Greek mythology and science fiction. This connection is illustrated in the description and behavior of the alien like Medusa. The story also has ties to the Gothic character the vampire. This Gothic vampire like description was described through Shambleau’s cat like teeth and her want for blood. The “Princess of Mars” was a science fiction love story where you can see Romanesque inspired description of a civilization on Mars. The Romanesque undertones are apparent in the gladiator like sport the Martians hold.

  4. During our lecture, I was wondering when we would ever hit the topic of “weird” science fiction. A lot of modern movies use this genre, as it’s honestly more compelling to tell a story through this type of genre than using realistic-ish science and make an obscure situation become a reality through our eyes. H.P Lovecraft was the one who pushed this type of science fiction out into the world, and this is the type of science fiction I genuinely enjoy watching/reading. To me, this just makes lots of stories a bit more interesting, having regular people be put into such crazy situations that don’t normally happen here on earth. I love weird science fiction, it really is something I’ve always wanted to dive into and try to write something with this genre. The idea of Aliens potentially causing problems we humans see as just regular old problems we deal with on a regular basis just seems like a great time in general. Also during our lecture, we talked about some shows and movies I’ve heard about like “Flash Gordon” and “Tarzan”. I’ve never really watched any Flash Gordon things, neither have I gotten a real glimpse at what the show or movie is even about. “Tarzan” I Am familiar with, not the original story that was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but the Disney animated version. I’m pretty confident that both stories share similar details and set ups, but I prefer the Disney version as it’s very nostalgic for me.

  5. Pulp Science fiction was the pillar around where the class was constructed. The first work that was mentioned “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). The book is about a guy who entered a cave where he inhaled a mix of chemises that provoked he lost his conscience. Then, A trope is used to explain how he transports from the earth to Mars. There is live a series of adventures where he ends living a tribe of the green men, he rises up among the ranks of the tribe thanks for coming from Earth where there is a greater gravity and he is superior physically from those on planet Mars. Then, we received an explanation of some key concepts of SF.
    Historical context is a good concept that we have when we read a work who belongs to another era, we must take into consideration the time and place where the author was writing from. The Author always is a product of his/her culture at that given time.
    Megatext: it is a term on speculative fiction that describes the elaborate fictional background, tropes, images and convention that SF shares.
    Alternative story: it is taking a previous point in history and change some elements. This will provoke a series of changes and the author play with the possibilities. It’s like using a common element such as WWII in the case of Germany had won the war and start building a world around that idea. Furthermore, Anthology is a collection of stories. Was the last relevant concept that I can picked up in the class.
    The pulp fiction has some narrative characteristics: excitement, stylistically crude, formulaic, written for a less educated audience, little emphasis on characters, recycles ideas, BEM’s, SF theories. Also, the physical characteristic was mentioned: 10”x 7”, printed on cheap, chemically treat wood pulp, brightly colored covers, writers paid by the word.
    Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) one of the most renowned writers that even in my generation that we tent to be a little far from the literature it is impossible not to hear about him, I heard the first time about him thanks to his three law of the robotic. The bicentennial man is another film that brings his name to my life.
    Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967) creator of the magazines Modern Electrics and Electrical supply. He created Amazing stories in April 1926. This magazine is recognized as the first full-fledged SF magazine.
    Weird Tales is the magazine that reunited authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, C.L. Moore and Robert E. Howard where many sub-genres of SF where created. One of those great sub-genres is the Cosmic Horror that came out form the brilliant mind of Howard Allan Lovecraft. And, he established the 5 characteristics of cosmic horror: the existence of another dimension, invaded by aliens, interference with human cultural and physiological evolution, the universe is essentially horrible and hostile to humanity, writing shift from clinical to the dense adjective filled description.
    Katherine Lucille Moore (1911-1987) was the writer of the Shambleau the work that was part of our homework to read. The book basically is about a femme fatale protagonist that the first time commands the title of heroin in a sword and sorcery story. This was the 1st time that happened in the literature

  6. In week 5 Lecture, we learned about pulp science fiction which was a period of publishing science fiction stories in magazines during the 1920s – 1930s. These stories were printed on cheap paper from chemically treated wood pulp. Writers who wrote these stories were paid cheaply, per word and this resulted in poor writing. These stories were meant for the common folk, they were cheap to buy and sold everywhere in newsstands. Most of these stories follow the same narrative characteristics and story concepts. It was during this era that science fiction gained large public attention. Because it was so accessible many people started reading these interesting stories. Hugo Gernsback, also known as the father of the science fiction genre, was the innovator of pulp science fiction. He had his own magazine called “Amazing Stories” where he advertised his products from his electronics mail order company, he then published his science fiction novel “Ralph 124C 41+” in a serial fashion. Hugo Gernsback focuses on predictions of the future; he believes in what we read in science fiction should be todays reality. We recapped last week readings of “Shambleau” and “Princess of Mars”. Both stories take place in outer space and on different planets other than earth. They both feature different species and goes into detail about the planet setting, in this case it’s mars. Catherine Lucille Moore who wrote “Shambleau”, was a very strong writer. Her husband, Henry Kuttner, who was also a science fiction writer, was known as the genius of the couple by other people, but she was the superior writer. Moore was one of few women to be prominent and contribute to the pulp science fiction genre well into the 1950s.

  7. In our last lecture, we spoke about a very popular method of Science fiction production in the 1920s and 1930s. This was the era of Pulp SF iconic for the printing material used, being chemically treated wood pulp. This wood pulp paper was cheap to produce but unfortunately aged very poorly. The comics featured very brightly colored covers and since writes were paid on a word to word basis, had a certain stylistic crudeness of using far too many words and over explanations. We spoke about SF writer Hugo Gernsback(1884-1967) who was responsible for labelling SF. He started an electronics company and alongside it published Modern Electric. His first one being Ralph 124C 41+. His belief is that SF should be a primarily literature but scientifically that’s instructive and prophet. Later, is the appearance of Weird Tales which was funded in 1923 by J.C Hennenberger and J.M Lansington. This featured many prominent writers C.M Moore (1911-1987) and H.P Lovecraft (1890-1973).

  8. In our last lecture, we learned about Pulp SF and it’s different narrative characteristics. Pulp Science Fiction was a type of magazine that was made out of the chemically treated wood pulp. Other physical characteristics were the bright colored covers of the magazine that purpose was to attract new customers. The negative impact of the pulp was how badly it aged, the magazine would eventually become yellow and brittle. Furthermore, writers were paid by the word, this would cause the stories to be unnecessarily long for the writers to get good pay. A few narrative characteristics of Pulp SF include the stylish crude, BEMs(Bug eye monsters), little emphasis on characters, etc. Furthermore, we discussed the important figures of science fiction like Hugo Gernsback(1884-1967). Gernsback published his own SF magazine called “Amazing Stories” in 1926 and since then is known as one of the most popular SF magazines. Hugo Gernsback is also the creator of the term, “Scientifiction”. According to Gernsback scientifiction pieces should include 75% literature and 25% science. Also, the writing should be prophetic and didactic. Furthermore, another popular magazine at the time was Weird Tales. The magazine was first issued in March 1923 and it published works of H.P Lovecraft, C.L. Moore, and Robert E. Howard. We transitioned over to discuss more Catherine Lucille Moore(1911-1987). We discussed her famous story, Shambleau, a femme fatal story that included Northwest Smith and his accidental rescue of a greek mythology creature. The characters in her writing included Northwest Smith and Jirel of Joiry who was the first female hero in genres of swords and sorcery. Another writer of SF we discussed was Edgar Rice Burroughs(1914-1958). His stories were Tarzan of the Apes, which to this day the character Tarzan is well known and Barsoom(Mars). His Barsoom’s stories influenced another great SF writer, Ray Bradbury.

  9. The topic of the lecture was the Pulp Science Fiction Period (the 1920s-1930s) and influential writers of the genre. We discussed the notable writers, Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), C.L. Moore (1911-1987), Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), Henry Kuttner (1915-1958), and H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). Pulp SF derived its name from being printed on inexpensive paper that was course, smelly, and aged poorly. Its covers were brightly colored to attract attention, and the per-word payment structure used to compensate the writers resulted in lengthy writings. Pulp SF writers of the period were mostly white males though the female writer C.L. Moore used initials rather than her name to thwart sexism. Pulp SF writings were intended for a less-educated reader, and as a result, the stories although exciting, were formulaic, included stereotypes, and lacked originality.

    As part of the lecture, we discussed the assigned readings, A Princess of Mars (1917), by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Shambleau (1933), by C.L. Moore. In both stories, the male protagonists find themselves on Mars, where they meet female aliens that interest them. A Princess of Mars is an exciting tale of Earthman John Carter who awakens to find himself on a distant planet. Due to a difference in gravitational force between his home planet and that of Barsoom (Mars), he suddenly possesses abilities that surpass those of the planet’s natives. His abilities, coupled with his good morals, lead him on an exhilarating journey that includes several episodes of violence and challenges that he must overcome to defeat his enemies and free his love interest. He is successful but without warning awakens back on his home planet with no way of returning to Barsoom. In the story Shambleau the protagonist Northwest Smith, a somewhat shady character, is on Mars awaiting the arrival of his associate when he stumbles upon a female alien character that is being pursued by a mob. After intervening on her behalf, he offers her food and shelter, and shortly after simultaneously develops an unexplainable attraction and repulsion to her, though he does not understand why. After several days, the alien who would not eat any of the food offered to her begins to feed on her host, placing him in a helpless state. If not for the in the nick of time arrival of his associate, Northwest would surely have been killed by the alien. Both stories are about space travel and alien planets and were written several decades before man successfully landed on the moon. They paint a picture in the reader’s mind of what the planet Mars must be like and also of the fascinating technologies that exist in these distant worlds. Both tales were exciting and suspenseful, and after completing, A Princess of Mars in its entirety, I watched the movie John Carter and compared the two.

  10. Here during today’s lecture, we learned a lot about pulp SF and it’s a vast definition and how many different characteristics it comes with it. We learned that pulp SF was a unique magazine that was made out of a chemically treated wood pulp. Hence the name. Pulp SF had very attractive bright colors to bring attention to the magazine of course. This idea wasn’t all too great it leads to an awful smell, all in all, it aged so poorly. Its purpose was to attract new customers but it ended up falling flat on its face. Adding fuel to the fire the writers were paid word for word this would lead into unnecessary long stories. A sacrifice the writers were willing to make. for our readings we were required to read “shambleau” and “princess of mars” Both pretty similar tales both tales take place on the different planet other than earth both feature a unique set of species and go into detail on the background surroundings Moore has only accomplished SF writer at the time and has a massive contribution to the pulp SF genre in the mid-50s.

  11. “John Carter, a friend of the red men of Helium” (29).

    Edgar Rice Burroughs’ (1875 – 1950) A Princess of Mars is a Pulp Science Fiction story that began to be serialized in the 1912 issue of All Story Magazine. It tells the tale of John Carter, a former captain of the confederate army, who travels southwest looking for gold after the end of the civil war. On the night of March 3, 1866, he flees from pursuing Apache Indians and finds refuge as he hides in an Arizona cave. He falls asleep and, after an outer body experience, he awakes naked in a cave on Mars. John Carter and the reader are both left wondering how exactly it was that he got on Mars. It seems to have been through some type of wormhole or astral projection that was activated through the Arizona cave.

    Carter realizes that he is quicker, stronger, and can jump higher on Mars. Gravity on Mars is only 38% as strong as Earth’s gravity. This would mean that a man who weighed 100 pounds on earth would only weigh 38 pounds on Mars. Subsequently, the Native Martians that Carter encounters, although large, “are infinitely less agile and less powerful… They are muscled only in proportion to the gravitation which they must overcome” (p. 11). Burroughs took the scientific knowledge of his day regarding Mars’ gravitational force and extrapolated his ideas for Carter’s experiences on the red planet from there.

    Through his newly acquired superhuman strength, agility, and his skill in combat Carter earned the respect of the two warring Native Martian tribes: the civilized and honorable red Martians and the nomadic, warlike, and barbaric green Martians. The red Martians and green Martians, through Carter and Burroughs’ eyes, parallel white Americans, and Native Americans of the times. The civilized red Martians mirror the white Americans as they maintain their hold on the dominant culture of Mars by constantly warding off attacks from the barbaric green Martians who mirror the Native Americans.

    Carter learns to speak the Martian language and becomes a Chieftain among the green Martians of the Thark tribe. He rescues Princess Dej Thoris and returns the Princess to her people, the Red Martians of Helium. Through several selfless acts Carter befriends Tar Tarkas, a Green Martian warrior. He soon finds himself entangled in the political affairs of both the red and green Martians. Through daring exploits John Carter kills the king and prince of Zodanga, a red Martian city that had long been enemies with the Red Martians of Helium and the Green Martians of Thark, thus uniting them.

    Later on, Carter marries Del Thoris, the Princess of Helium. They remained married for 9 years as Carter continued to fight for the armies of Helium. They even had an egg, soon to be, child together. Things are going about as well as they could on the harsh surface of Mars when a sudden rapid decrease in breathable air all over the planet dooms the inhabitants to death within three days. In a desperate and last second attempt to save the planet, Carter uses a telepathic code to help an engineer, who can restore air levels, gain access to the factory. The last thing Carter sees before succumbing to asphyxiation is the engineer who holds the hope for all Martian-kind crawling towards the panel that will fix the air levels.

    John Carter awakes, fully clothed and back on earth in the same Arizona cave that he had fallen asleep in ten years prior. He wondered if Mars had been saved. Did the Martian engineer reach the pump room? Was his wife alive? Would his egg hatch and his lineage live on for generations on Mars? The story ends with Carter gazing up at the red planet and imagining Del Thoris and his son. “I believe that they are waiting for me” (p. 51).

    “The wildest legend may have a basis of fact (p. 541)

    Catherine Lucille Moore (1911 – 1987) is an early female author of Science Fiction. In 1933, she published a short story titled Shambleau, which takes place on one of Earth’s colonies on Mars and tells the account of Northwest Smith, a gun slinging and alien whiskey-drinking outlaw who encounters a real-life gorgon. Moore takes elements from mythologies and gives them a rational scientific explanation. What if the gorgons spoken about in the times of the Ancient Greeks were in fact of alien descent?

    The story opens with Smith saving a girl from an attacking mob calling her Shambleau. She does not speak English and although she has attractive humanistic features, it is apparent that she is not human. He takes the girl to the rundown place that he is staying at while on Mars and allows her to shelter there. He leaves her there alone and continues to go on about his shady dealings and late-night indulgences of his vice. Smith drunkenly stumbles home later that night and kisses the girl but is instantly disgusted with himself and goes to bed.

    Smith eventually realizes that Shambleau is in fact a Medusa, a gorgon. Descriptions of Shambleau flip back and forth from beautiful to ugly, lovely to dreadful, horror to delight. Smith has a “sickened fascination” (p. 542) with Shambleau. As she encloses Smith in her snake hair and begins to drain his life force, he feels “conflicting sensations of perilous pleasure” (p. 544). It is impossible to know exactly what happens to Smith while this is taking place. Afterall, Shambleau is an alien, leaving the imagination to run wild with descriptions provided.

    Smith’s Venusian partner in crime, Yarol, arrives and rescues him from the cold clammy clutches of Shambleau. Yarol then uses the reflection of a mirror to locate Shambleau and fires a fatal shot at her. This is much like Perseus, in the Ancient Greek myth, who uses the reflection of his shield to behead Medusa while she slept. Northwest Smith is saved and free to continue his life as an outlaw however, the horrors and pleasures of the otherworldly grasp of Shambleau remain with him for the rest of his days.

  12. It was discussed Pulp science fiction came from roughly the 1920 to the 1930s. The name came about due to how the magazine was created. The magazine was a 10 by 7in cheap chemical treated wood pulp. The wood is able to absorb most liquids but also was acidic, which broke down the pages over time. As a result, the Pulp Sheets were made thicker than the papers made today. Pulp science fiction featured colored stories whose subject were excitement. Stylistically crude, formulaic, Science fiction themes, and bug-eyed monsters. They were usually written for a less educated audience. Writers like Hugo Gernsback, an innovator to pulp science fiction, were paid a fraction of a cent per word written. Hugo Gernsback was responsible for giving science fiction a name. HIs works combines science and fiction, scientifiction, were his first novel was “Ralph 124C 41+”. Then we discussed Catherine Lucille Moore’s “Shambleau” and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “A Princess on Mars”. Similar to Star Wars, Shambleau story follows these space gangsters during their travels. Meanwhile the story also describes religious figure of some form. Her works include a lot of technical writing explaining how things work in the world. Catherine Lucille Moore (1911-1987) also wrote “No Woman Born”. “A Princess of Mars” inspired the Disney movie John Carter. The character flees from these apaches into a cave. Later he falls asleep to awaken, to his surprise, on Mars. Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) is best known for “Tarzan of the Apes”. Burroughs Mars, he called Barsoum, stories were influenced by the supposed discovery of canals on Mars.

  13. In this week’s lecture, we covered the topic of Pulp Science Fiction. We learned about different authors of Pulp SF and discussed their beliefs about what they think science fiction should be. Pulp SF came about in the 1920’s to the 1930’s. The name comes from the type of magazines Pulp SF was published in. We learned that these magazines were printed on cheap paper that was made of chemically treated wood pulp. They were a 10 inch by 7 inch dimension. The consistency was course, acidic, and thick. It ages and becomes yellow and brittle. The covers of the magazine were brightly colored to draw people’s attention. We discussed the narrative characteristics of Pulp SF which are excitement, stylistically rude, formulaic, written for a less educated audience because it involved racism and sexism, it had little emphasis on characters, it consisted of recycled ideas, it involved bug-eyed monsters (BEM’s), and portrayed various SF theme such as space opera, sex, supermen, and sword and sorcery. We then learned about science fiction writer Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967). He was responsible for giving SF a label. He came up with the term scientificion which was part of a larger system of progress. Scientifiction consists of 75% literature and 25% science. It is didactic meaning you learn something from it and prophetic meaning predicting the future. We then discussed fandom which are fans that form a community such as clubs and conventions. Lastly, we discussed science fiction writers Catherine Lucielle Moore (1911-1987) and Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937).

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