As anyone who is interested in the 1930s through 1950s knows, pulp magazines featuring dastardly villains, courageous heroes, and damsels in distress were very popular. There was Adventure Magazine, Wild West Weekly, Popular Love, Detective Fiction, and many, many others (for a brief overview of pulp fiction, visit this link).
Laurie Powers, one of my writing acquaintances, discovered her grandfather was a pulp fiction writer during the 1920s and 1930s. He mostly wrote westerns and published them in Wild West Weekly. Laurie even finished her grandfather's autobiography and published it. Called Pulp Writer: Twenty Years in the American Grub Street, it's a fascinating account of her grandfather's life as a pulp fiction writer. Her website jumpstarted my interest in this fiction powerhouse.
In researching pulp fiction magazines for my own amusement, I've been fortunate enough to snag a couple vintage magazines in antique stores. Browsing through them is an absolute treat, and makes me mourn the days when these were readily available.
What happened to our fascination with this type of short fiction? This wasn't literary fiction, but rather genre - sci-fi, western, detective, adventure, and just about anything else you could think of. Did the novel become more popular? Perhaps. (I'm sure there's an essay on this floating around there somewhere, but that's not the point of this post, so...I'll skip the literary treatise for now).
Short fiction and even serializations of novels were also prevalent in popular magazines of the era, as well. I have several copies of Ladies Home Journal that are stuffed full of short stories. I just love reading them.
All this got me to thinking: wouldn't it be swell to have a monthly print magazine devoted to these types of stories? As the title of this post suggests, I think it would be just plain fun!
Of course, such an endeavor would involve a lot of start-up costs, none of which I have, but I like to dream about it sometimes. I would love to be the editor of such an endeavor and have the short stories focus solely on that time period. And of course, we'd have to include that amazing pulp artwork (some of which was pretty darn racy). I've thought of doing a sort of e-zine, but my heart is pretty much set on a print magazine. So maybe someday, when I'm independently wealthy, I'll launch that glossy magazine!
It's another aspect of the Golden Era that I love and wish I could resurrect. Maybe someday...