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Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers (Facts on File Library of American Literature) Paperback – October, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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.

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Facts on File Library of American Literature
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Checkmark Books (October 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081604578X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816045785
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 7.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,151,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LEE SERVER is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed biographies Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care and Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing. Robert Mitchum was named a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, "the film biography of the year" by the Sunday Times (U.K.) and one of the "60 Greatest Film Books" by Total Film Magazine. Ava Gardner is a New York Times Notable Book, and a NY Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today Best-seller. "Diligently and widely researched," wrote Jonathan Cecil in the Times Literary Supplement, "Server's book is a gripping study of an elusive character, and a sizable contribution to the history of mid-twentieth century cinema." Server's other books include Sam Fuller: Film is a Battleground, Asian Pop Cinema: Bombay to Tokyo, and the pulp fiction histories, Danger is My Business and Over My Dead Body. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Interview Magazine, the New York Daily News, the Sunday Telegraph, Sight and Sound, and Film Comment among other publications.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Lee Server's books for a while now (don't miss OVER MY DEAD BODY, a fun and dirty tour of 1950s-era pulp paperbacks), and this book does not disappoint. It's an encylopedia-style rundown of "schmucks with Underwoods," but don't let that stop. Half the fun is flipping the page and finding some other forgotten scribe who deserves to be remembered (and read). Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Alan Deutsch on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This brief compendium of biographical enties on major and minor pulp writers is interesting and illuminating. It has just about the right amount of photographs, and some of them are rare. This volume is not as indipensable a starting point for research as it would have been before ithe nternet, wikipedia, and all the new online pulp studies. But this book is useful, easy to use, and fun to read. It is far from able to serve as an excyclopedia, or to deserve that name. I'd like to see it expanded on a regular schedule, and also cover the pulp artists who contributed so much to the pulp experience. This is a pleasant contribution to the growing field of pulp studies. Modest but very nicely done.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Polly on September 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why would an author who believes Sam Spade to have been created by Raymond Chandler (page 62) bother to write about pulp fiction writers? And, more to the point, why would you bother to read him?

There is little actual information in the book, except for generalities, brief plot synopses and more or less widely available biographical data. There are a few interesting snippets here and there about some lesser figures, but they are hardly worth your 20 bucks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A terrific companion piece to Danger is My Business, Lee Server's other book about the pulp magazine phenomenon.
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