PulpVox.se produce audiobooks of stories from the golden era of pulp fiction.
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.
That’s the opening of the classic pulp story Red Wind by one of the greatest writers of the form, Raymond Chandler. The paragraph sets a tone. It gives you a sense of what’s coming. We know it’ll have at least one dead body and plenty of sharp gab.
Pulp doesn’t bog us down with thematic ambiguity or thick flights of circumlocutory style. Pulp is escapist and entertaining – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The term pulp fiction has a rich history and multifaceted meanings. To some, pulp is fiction that provides transient pleasure, and nothing else. To others, it’s hack work, low quality and a threat to literature itself!
Historically, pulp fiction was that which was printed on cheap, wood-pulp paper and set inside lurid, colourful covers of magazines selling for a dime or fifteen cents.
The most famous pulps included Black Mask, Weird Tales, Dime Detective, Amazing Stories and Argosy. The most popular genres were detective, mystery, adventure, Westerns and fantasy.
Readers could not get enough of series characters like Perry Mason (by Erle Stanley Gardner); Tarzan (Edgar Rice Burroughs); Doc Savage (Lester Dent); and Conan (Robert E Howard). Some of the best prose stylists in American lit were trained and nurtured by the pulps.
With all that to look back on, we can make some generalisations about the breadth and style of pulp. In general, pulp fiction is:
- Easy to read (no need to run to the dictionary)
- Colourful characters
- Snappy dialogue
- Intriguing settings
At its best, pulp fiction is satisfying. It meets a need, a legit one — the need for temporary respite from everyday life. That’s what readers of pulp have always desired – and now we want to give listeners the same chance!
The stories are read by neural ai-voices (the audiobook equivalent to cheap pulp-paper) and can thus be made available at affordable costs.
PulpVox is part of the publishing company Yabot AB and based in Stockholm, Sweden.