From Publishers Weekly
Those who spent their formative years engrossed in the works of V.C. Andrews, Mickey Spillane or Harold Robbins (when they should have been reading Silas Marner for English class) will delight in this comprehensive resource on the virtuosos of genre fiction. Server (Over My Dead Body), who writes about pop culture and literary history and is a stone-cold expert on pulps, offers encyclopedia-style biographical entries on legendary writers in all of the mass market categories: westerns, horror, science fiction, detective stories and romances. Entries include the usual suspects, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Louis L'Amour, Ian Fleming, Mario Puzo and Jacqueline Susann, as well as more unlikely names: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (the Hungarian refugee who wrote The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel), John Faulkner (the less successful sibling of you-know-who, whose 1951 Cabin Road is about the ribald shenanigans of Mississippi hicks), Achmed Abdullah (the Russian-born, Afghanistan-raised, Oxford-educated author of spy thrillers and gritty New York Chinatown noirs-The Honorable Gentleman and Other Stories, etc.-in the 1920s and 1930s). The biographies themselves make for engrossing reading, as Server describes how Bruno Fisher came to write his "weird menace" supernatural pulps while working as the editor of the Socialist Call, or why Chester Himes turned from social novels to detective fiction (he was broke). A bibliography follows each entry, and Server includes an introduction that describes the rise of cheaply bound sensational fiction in the 19th century. Numerous b&w photos enliven the text even further.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Written by established pulp fiction and popular culture author Server, Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers
includes information on more than 200 nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers. Arranged in alphabetical order, each entry includes a biographical sketch and list of the author's works (arranged by pseudonym). Also included is an introduction that serves as a concise overview and traces the start of the industry of pulp serials to the genre that it is today.
Rather than being comprehensive, the encyclopedia aims to provide "a representative sampling," and in some cases leaves out better-known and widely covered writers in favor of others who are more obscure. Among the names one will find here are James M. Cain, Zane Grey, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Mickey Spillane, and Jacqueline Susann. Approximately 30 percent of the writers do not appear in other author sources like Contemporary Popular Writers (St. James, 1997), and for those who do, the emphasis is often not on any contributions to pulp fiction. Many authors who have become mainstream, such as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ian Fleming, are included, and their humble beginnings are the focus of these articles. Some readers may be miffed to discover that their favorite (and often best-selling) authors--such as Tom Clancy and Mario Puzo--are identified with the pulp genre, but Server makes a good argument for inclusion. Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers fills a niche in sourcebooks on authors and is recommended for libraries with large literature criticism collections.
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