K Yani @ 2019-07-27 14:05:57
Found a site dedicated to old pulp magazines, and one mag of many there is 'Planet Stories', almost in full from 40s to 60s. Reading it is almost as being a chimerical mix of ethnographer and archeologist, able to observe how the ideas of life on other planets changed with expanded knowledge, how now-known authors and almost-forgotten ones were printed both on the same footing back there, how language and the very manner of speech changed (O. Q. puzzled me a bit, and I probably still cannot fully believe that this was an acceptable, not-ironic way to write back then). Sometimes it is difficult to read, with all those strong-jawed men manly doing all the doings and mostly caricatured, if not outright dissonant, portrayals of the aliens and future. I am on mid-40s now, and so far there is also a lot of what you can expect from gender roles, and, while it rarely dips down to Lovecraftian or Howardian lows in views on others people, there are occasional things like that too. It even had its own proto-message board in a shape of Viziograph, the letter column, with its own snide, jargon, passive-aggressive praise, newbie optimism, criticism and analysis, replies to replies, even little feuds about which story/illustrator/cover is best and if they need more or less half-naked and/or helpless women there. Everything would be so familiar to the current reader, and only unusual in shape, in sense that the frequency of 'posting' was once in three months, and people have to kind of think their rebuttals to rebuttals well beforehand. Also I am pretty sure the Editor was carefully trolling in at least half of their replies. It is a fascinating reading if you want to take a look into 40s-60s slice of """'nerd'""" life (and I am using the biggest quotes I have, in the most sympathetic way because it is the very beginning of it, the proto-term and just a lot of people beginning to care about these kinds of stories, which yet barely distinguished from wild west, mystery and other pulps in characters and plots). So far I found: - good, nice, tidy murder mystery which could be adapted easily to something like Mothership; - a quite touching character tragedy story, which would benefit from being set away from Solar System, because turns out Saturn is too cold for the events described in it; - one very surprising portrayal of humanity as of something more corrupted and wicked than aliens; - interesting penal system on asteroids I am certainly 'borrowing' - maybe not very original anymore, but well-described; - several earliest Brackett's stories, which I am happy she later rewrote a bit; - a couple of good illustrations; many of them, at least by mid-40s, seem to be done by non-professional artists, and black and white style brings the current OSR-around reminiscence, strangely enough; - typo of 'space-monk' instead of 'space-monkey'. The space-monkey is supposed to be a customs, tariffs and taxes spaceport official but I will certainly use space-monks for that. Off to 50s soon, then 60s. Curious to see how/if anything changes when civil rights movement kicks in.
Richard G @ 2019-07-27 23:16:23
could you post the link? I’m supposed to be writing an article for a Traveller zine and I could use a firehose of background reading. I’ve never explored the pulps that actually inspired the game, only the Dambusters/martial arts mysticism movie that came out the same year.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-07-28 02:05:08
I've been reading a lot of the material of that period and earlier via various means over the last few years. Project Gutenberg, Wildside Press Megapacks on Kindle and Google Books, and most recently picking up old paperbacks and hardcovers wherever I can. I'm often inspired by the Vintage Treasures articles on blackgate.com. The right article will find me hunting down a copy of the respective book on Amazon. However some of the Amazon Marketplace sellers seem to be quite dodgy customers and this has led to some serious frustration on my part in some cases. I still have a particular white whale I can't bring myself to try to order again, because I can't stand the notion of having the same experience again.
K Yani @ 2019-07-28 09:27:51
Richard G, here are Planet Tales https://comicbookplus.com/?cid=2665 But there are many more pulps there, maybe you'd find something more specific. All supposed to be very legal and proper. Just realized PS doesn't last into 60s, a pity. Mamading Ceesay, I am quite happy with electronic copies because pulps (printed on very unstable acidic paper) are difficult to care about, so I cannot provide that care to paper pulp magazines. A lot of SF/Fantasy books and pulps are kept in special storage in Merril's library here and even then some of them you cannot touch with bare hands.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-07-28 11:54:50
@K Yani. Totally hear you. I'm actually speaking about reprints and collections of those stories rather than the original pulp publications themselves. I have a growing collection of stuff published in the 70s and later even if the original material dated back several decades. One of the prizes of my collection is an hardcover of Asimov's Before the Golden Age which collect pre-Campbell stories.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-07-28 11:56:42
I also have The Startling Stories of Henry Kuttner which collects three of the science-fantasy novellas he wrote for the Startling Stories pulp.
K Yani @ 2019-07-29 05:30:38
Mamading Ceesay I didn't know such things as reprints existed. Still, due to sheer amount of place such collection would need (and the one I don't have) I think I can only be tempted by the original/reprint of Brackett's 'Enchantress of Venus'
Roger Giner-Sorolla @ 2019-07-29 08:22:16
Sorry, what do you mean by O. Q.?
Alex Schroeder @ 2019-07-29 08:34:27
I have recently read the first three books in the Dumarest series by Tubb. Reading old books is weird. Perhaps it’s specially weird as I don’t read new books, either. I am trapped in the literature of my youth, somewhere in the eighties and nineties.
K Yani @ 2019-07-29 17:08:32
Roger Giner-Sorolla, in early 40s Planet Stories they use 'O. Q.' instead of 'OK'. Alex Schroeder, mostly same here. Most of my contemporary literature is various supplements, rulebooks and adventures.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-07-30 00:51:09
Hmm, even in my teens I developed a taste for Andre Norton, Heinlein's juveniles, Asimov, Clarke as well as A.E van Vogt and E.E. "Doc" Smith. Also read Marvel and DC comics along with 2000AD and various spinoffs,
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-08-02 01:51:57
@K Yani - thanks for the post and the link. I have found a few similar things online but I keep losing the links (else I’d post them here for ‘completeness’). I found a story by Ray Bradbury in an online SF zine that was obviously a precursor to Fahrenheit 451. Some of these stories are a bit hard to take nowadays, for various reasons (crap science, crap story telling, crap notions re: gender etc) - but even those often have interesting ideas in them. Sometimes I just like reading things written in a way that is just different from what you find today. @Mamading My reading seems to have frozen somewhat in a period dominated by what my Dad read (I raided his bookcase), so that has certainly informed the settings, plots, and characters in my games. Even if not in the same genre. So to add to your list (minus the comics, that was never me until a brief exposure to 2000AD *much* later), I’d add Kuttner, Simak, Bradbury, ...countless others I’d read in numerous anthologies. Only recently have I decided to check out Dumarest series. I didn’t have access to many of those various SF zines (they weren’t things my parents approved of is my dim recollection, as well as being scarce): but they obviously informed / were collected in many short story anthologies, of which my High School had *lots*. They had a set of book shelves dedicated to just SF, another for Thrillers. Took me 3.5 years to get through them all at 2+ books/week.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-08-02 01:58:03
Oops: my reading did get past what was in my Dad’s bookcase though 8-) gaming thoughs today are still dominated by my growing up years (1960s-70s-80s), starting to tail off in the 90s, but my Dad’s collection got me into some ‘40s, 50s stuff AND got me started on the 60s & 70s. I read Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land before I read the early juvenile fiction that introduced the martians, for example. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is probably one of my favourites from that time. The mid to late 90s and 2000-2010s have seen a vast reduction in my reading of fiction. I had a lot of non fiction to read at work and found reading of any sort to be a chore once I got home, so the last 15+ years have been mostly informed by TV & Film. Probably a bit sad, really.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-08-05 10:49:03
@Alistair, I should mention that probably the key influence on my fiction reading at the age of 10 onwards was what was available in the science fiction section of my local public library in London. The web massively impacted my reading habits however pressures of work and life caused me to reduce my fiction reading for a long time. It has only been in the past five years that I've had a resurgence in fiction reading and as I've said, I have taken the opportunity to delve in to old stuff that I had missed previously.
Alex Schroeder @ 2019-08-07 06:28:47
As a kid i think half the science fiction I read was Perry Rhodan. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Rhodan
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-08-07 12:22:27
I remember seeing those! Like all the Dumarest books as well! There were a few series from back then that I thought I’d get around to, and then...well, they disappeared. Now bookshops and 2nd hand bookshops are disappearing to - going the way of the video store. Progress, I guess.
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-08-07 14:47:01
Hmm, there was a paperback and pulp book fair year before last in London. Seems they do it every few years.
Alex Schroeder @ 2019-08-07 16:27:29
Piracy will there for us before the end. 👍
Mamading Ceesay @ 2019-08-07 19:46:13
In the meantime, I'll keep visiting the charity shops and the odd 2nd hand bookshop. That's how I'm currently building up my collection. That and the occasional Amazon Marketplace purchase as mentioned above.
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