Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Riding the Pulp Trail
Laurie saw through the publication of her late grandfather's memoirs, which she had found among a collection of his papers, and the resulting book, Twenty Years in The American Grub Street is much more than an authentic story of a working writer during the pulp era - indeed it encapsulates the entire pulp era and is an important slice of the history of popular fiction and students of the pulps owe the lady a great debt. The book is still available and highly recommended.
Riding the Pulp Trail is a collection of twelve stories from the pen of Paul S. Powers, with six of the stories recieving their debut since they were never published in the pulps for which they were intended. I actually named this collection, something of which I am very proud because it links me in some small way to the pulp era. How cool is that! And cool would be a great description for the stories found within the lovely retro style covers. The opening tale, Death is Where You Find It ends with a wonderful poetic slice of dialogue which perfectly sums up the stories that precedes it. It starts of at a gentle pace before building up to a furious climax of vengeance and frontier justice. I read several of these stories in the one sitting and finally polished off the final story this morning. Each and every story is excellent and it is clear that Ms. Powers put considerable thought in selecting the tales for this collection.
Paul was born in 1905 in Little River, Kansas. His father, John Harold Powers, was the town physician. Dr. Powers hoped that his son would follow in his footsteps, but Paul had different aspirations and decided that he wanted to be a writer early in life. He eventually dropped out of high school and began a lifetime of restless wandering across the Southwest. In his late teens, as he struggled to get his early stories accepted for publication, Paul hopped between Kansas and Colorado. As he wandered in the ghost towns in Central City and Blackhawk, Colorado, he accumulated valuable material for later stories and met several unforgettable characters along the way." From Paul S. Powers, Pulp Writer
"From 1928 to 1943, Paul pounded out 12,000 word blood and thunder novelettes every week, featuring his wildly popular characters Sonny Tabor and Kid Wolf, Johnny Forty-five—all written under the pen name Ward M. Stevens—and Freckles Malone, written under the pen name Andrew Griffin. In between writing shoot ‘em ups for his regular heroes, he wrote other novelettes and short stories for Wild West Weekly, some under other pseudonyms and others under his own name." From Paul S. Powers, Pulp Writer.
An excellent book - illustarted troughout the collection really does replicate the golden days of western fiction and is a must read for western fans and anyone who enjoys pure storytelling regardless of the genre.