pulp science fiction n.

science fiction published in the pulp magazines of the early–mid twentieth century; any science fiction regarded as being characteristic of these magazines, esp. in being action-driven or based on clichéd ideas, plots, or characterizations

Also in form pulp SF.

SF Criticism

  • [1928 H. M. Robinson in Bookman Aug. 650/1

    Many of the best pulp artists have been recruited from newspaper ranks.]

  • [1936 D. Brazier Letter in Weird Tales Dec. 635 page image

    I had thought that Weird Tales had risen above the cheap, pulp horror-thrillers, but after reading Isle of the Undead I wonder.]

  • 1939 Observatory in Amazing Stories June 4/1 page image

    This month we present Abner J. Gelula, author of that near-classic, ‘Automaton’, which was the first pulp science fiction story ever to be sold to the movies.

  • [1942 D. A. Wollheim The Fantasy World in Stirring Science Stories Mar. 66/2 page image Donald A. Wollheim bibliography

    Someday the classics of pulp fanatsy [sic] will get their due. That day is not yet. The publishers ask $2.50 for this book. You could buy more and better stories for a quarter that price on any newsstand.]

  • 1948 A. H. Rapp Flaming Fans in Chronoscope Autumn 29 Arthur H. Rapp

    Immediately arises the question, how did the superb craftsmanship and delicate enchantment of current pulp science fiction arise from the earlier sagas of stereotyped characters dwindling into atomic-sized universes amid plots packed with improbably lush coincidence?

  • 1951 ‘H. H. Holmes’ Rocket to Morgue 171 Anthony Boucher bibliography

    The causes were two: directly, my acquaintance with the Mañana Literary Society, which existed in fact precisely (aside from murders) as it is depicted in this book; indirectly, the fact that pulp science fiction had, at that time, just reached maturity both in thinking and in writing and was at a fine ripe stage to make converts easily.

  • 1972 ‘L. del Rey’ The Hand at Issue in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Apr. 73/1 page image Lester del Rey bibliography

    Yet he never sneered at honest pulp science fiction.

  • 1976 A. Budrys in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan. 23/2 page image Algis Budrys

    Otherwise, in a rather short time everything we ‘know’ about pulp SF will be secondhand inferences and adumbrations by earnest, painstaking, unempathetic, style-deaf, obtuse people.

  • 1989 A. Panshin & C. Panshin World beyond Hill 143 Alexei Panshin Cory Panshin bibliography

    With utopian plausibility denied to it, this American pulp SF of the Teens became highly imaginative.

  • 2012 P. Di Filippo On Books in Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug. 108/2 page image Paul Di Filippo

    ‘Triumph Over Terror’ goes meta, as it looks at an alien invasion stymied by pulp SF writers.

  • [2015 E. Fortune Review in Starburst Magazine (#417) Oct. 6/2 page image

    Jonathan Maberry is a highly prolific creator of pulp horror fiction who mostly focuses on short and snappy horror stories that feature vampires and zombies.]

Research requirements

antedating 1939

Earliest cite

editorial note in Amazing Stories

Research History
Matthew Hoyt submitted a 1989 cite from Lawrence Sutin's "Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1989 cite from Alexei and Cory Panshin's "The World Beyond the Hill".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1976 cite from Alexei and Cory Panshin's "SF in Dimension".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1976 cite from Alexei and Cory Panshin's book review column in F & SF.
Cory Panshin submitted a January 1976 cite from Algis Budrys' book review column in F&SF.
Cory Panshin submitted a 1972 cite for the form "pulp science fiction" from Lester del Rey's article "The Hand at Issue".
Cory Panshin submitted a 1975 cite from Algis Budrys' Books column in F&SF.
Sue Surova submitted a 1959 cite from a letter printed in Robert Heinlein's "Grumbles From the Grave".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from Arthur H. Rapp (quoted in a review of the Autumn 1948 issue of Chronoscope) in Thrilling Wonder Stories; Alistair Durie verified the cite in Chronoscope.
Bill Mullins submitted a 1948 cite from the New York Times.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1975 cite from the afterword to a reprint of Anthony Boucher's "Rocket to the Morgue" (originally published as by H.H. Holmes).
Fred Galvin submitted a 1942 cite from Donald Wollheim for the form "pulp fantasy" (misspelled as "fanatsy") in Stirring Science Stories.

We are looking for both "pulp sf" and "pulp science fiction".

Last modified 2022-03-15 18:03:18
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.