The pulps were the birthplace of many aspiring writers, who created characters we have grown to love through time. The science fiction genre was growing and all authors were welcome as long as their stories were unique. The genre helped to establish stock characters and storylines, and many stories were reprinted to fill space by the editors. Magazines were constantly changing to meet the demands of the readers. The atmosphere was electric, as authors tried to image the future, would create alternate worlds and ideas of how science could enhance their lives. This was the age of creation, a time for aspiring authors to lend their voice to what they believed the future could bring.
Through their creations the reader was allowed to venture out of their comfy chair to be part of a space crew, travel through time, run from monsters created in a laboratory, or ride on a rocket ship to a far off planet and meet space aliens. The imagination of the reader was stimulated with a thrilling ride into the future, was brought about by that creator who pounded away on a typewriter and wasn’t afraid of what the future could bring, but they were terrified of the rejection letters of their alternate universes.
A selection of these types of stories from our pulp magazine collection has been added for your enjoyment. I have selected a vast variety of different storylines and a few of the favorite authors of the time. I have also selected a few relatively unknown authors. The beauty of the pulps was it really was the birthplace of aspiring authors, albeit, they were paid pennies per word to have their name in print, but these small payments allowed families to survive during the Depression years with additional income to help those that were hungry, not only for food, but for escape literature from what they were experiencing in their everyday lives.
One of my favorite authors of the time was David H. Keller, M.D.; he was a psychologist and worked in many sanitariums for the mentally imbalanced. While working he was also always writing fantasy and science fiction type stories. Sam Moskowitz has created a few anthologies of his work, which all deal with social problems and he was always wrote about human nature in his stories and how humans should look to the future.
I have added the beginning of “Creation Unforgiveable” by Keller, because I believe this could be his autobiography as an author of the pulps living during 1930. If you are a science fiction fan or an aspiring writer I invite you to step into a time machine to reflect on the life of this aspiring author.
By Susan Geers