I have written two novels of what I like to think as serious fantasy, and have plans for more, but I have come to the realisation that at the moment I am a pulp writer – and I like it.

Those big, epic, world changing bookstopper fantasy series – they aren’t me. It was hard enough to finish off the two novels at novel length. It was after doing so that I realised that I prefer the short versions of stories – shorts and novelettes and novellas – and more importantly, prefer writing stories in the pulp style; action, adventure, larger than life characters etc. Nothing too serious, nor high literature, but fun to read.

I find myself even preferring to read the shorter style stories – I haven’t read one of those mega series in a long time.

For the time being I am going to be concentrating on writing pulp style shorts, working on four series mainly; The Chronicles of the White Bull, Primal Tales, The Sir Richard Hammerman Adventures and Peregrine and Blade.

The Chronicles of the White Bull and Primal Tales both have stories already written and available in the Pure Escapism collection; Primal tales is fantasy set in a primeval, low-tech world, a place of wild forests and prehistoric creatures. The Chronicles of the White Bull follows the exploits of an escaped minotaur gladiator, travelling a dying world in the search for home.

The Sir Richard Hammerman is steampunk pulp; currently with a novella and novelette half-written. Sir Richard Hammerman is a gentleman adventurer who travels with his companions who travels an Earth similar, but not exactly, to our own, a place of weird science, of pterodactyl riding pygmies, airships and odd contraptions.

Peregrine and Blade is pure pulp, inspired by the likes of Robert E Howard, Fritz Leiber and their ilk. The first novelette has been written up in rough form – and can be read here – the first of many.

  1. camille says:

    I feel the same way! Even though we think of pulp as a particular type of hard-boiled men’s fiction, in the heyday of the pulps, every kind of story was written. I really do expect a resurgence of all kinds of fiction which wasn’t viable in the “big print book” era.

    Me, I’m working on a series of adventure novelettes which are something of a throwback to the swashbucklers and adventures of the silent movie era. Maybe not your commercial property, but a lot more fun.

  2. qorvus says:

    I’m a big fan of the pulps, especially of the sword and sorc variety as written by Robert E Howard, Fritz Leiber etc, but yeah, the pulps covered a wide variety.

    And in this day and age of ebooks, there is a niche for everything. You just need to find the market.

    Good luck with your adventure novelettes.

  3. Clifton Hill says:

    Timely post. I’ve been wondering, just WHAT exactly Pulp-type fiction is. I’ve read the technical definition, but it didn’t help. From what you say it is:

    “Nothing too serious, nor high literature, but fun to read.”

    That kind of description sounds great to me. I like Epic Fantasy, but I can certainly appreciate something that is quick and fun.

    I bring this up because I just finished reading The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith, which some have classified as Pulp. It didn’t exactly set me ablaze with enthusiasm for it and I found there to be a number of things lacking. I wrote a review for it over on SF Signal: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2011/04/review-the-greyfriar-by-clay-and-susan-griffith/

    Have you read the book? What do you think? And what is a good piece of pulp to read in the fantasy genre?

  4. qorvus says:

    I haven’t read that book, so can’t comment on it really.

    For good fantasy pulp it seems like you have to go back a bit, or as least for me – mostly they are short stories/novelettes but with some novellas as well. Good choices would be Robert E Howard’s Conan stories or Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. They deal with adventure and excitement rather than epic world-changing events which seems the norm nowadays in fantasy.

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