Danger Is My Business

Lee Server, Author
Lee Server, Author Chronicle Books $17.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8118-0112-6
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-0-8118-0355-7
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Server, a veteran collector of pulp magazines, has written a nifty fan's history, enhanced with copious color illustrations from the ``literary dream machines.'' Server maintains a lively style, describing how top pulp writers managed ``a staggering, finger-bruising annual production of two and three million words.'' He interviewed several writers; one claims to have gained inspiration from names of horses in the Racing Form . Though the pulps were seen as publishing's stepchild, Server notes that they launched authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler and Robert Heinlein, as well as genres from mystery to science fiction. He traces several varieties of pulps, including horror/fantasy chronicles like Weird Tales, private eye purveyors like Black Mask and romance compendiums like the Spicy magazines that were praised for their ``wacky colloquial voice'' (S. J. Perelman admired their language). By the early 1940s, however, comic books had begun to overtake the pulps, and paperback books, a favorite in soldiers' care packages, were given precious newsstand space. By 1954, the genre was dead, but as Server points out, the legacy lives on. (May)
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