PULP FICTION WRITERS: The Essential Guide to More Than 200 Pulp Pioneers and Mass-Market Masters

Lee Server, Author . Checkmark $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8160-4578-5

Those who spent their formative years engrossed in the works of V.C. Andrews, Mickey Spillane or Harold Robbins (when they should have been reading Silas Marner for English class) will delight in this comprehensive resource on the virtuosos of genre fiction. Server (Over My Dead Body), who writes about pop culture and literary history and is a stone-cold expert on pulps, offers encyclopedia-style biographical entries on legendary writers in all of the mass market categories: westerns, horror, science fiction, detective stories and romances. Entries include the usual suspects, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Louis L'Amour, Ian Fleming, Mario Puzo and Jacqueline Susann, as well as more unlikely names: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (the Hungarian refugee who wrote The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel), John Faulkner (the less successful sibling of you-know-who, whose 1951 Cabin Road is about the ribald shenanigans of Mississippi hicks), Achmed Abdullah (the Russian-born, Afghanistan-raised, Oxford-educated author of spy thrillers and gritty New York Chinatown noirs—The Honorable Gentleman and Other Stories, etc.—in the 1920s and 1930s). The biographies themselves make for engrossing reading, as Server describes how Bruno Fisher came to write his "weird menace" supernatural pulps while working as the editor of the Socialist Call, or why Chester Himes turned from social novels to detective fiction (he was broke). A bibliography follows each entry, and Server includes an introduction that describes the rise of cheaply bound sensational fiction in the 19th century. Numerous b&w photos enliven the text even further. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/25/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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