No Rocketeer this week

Chickie cover 1925

A few days ago I started on a new avenue of research and, like the springy snake that pops out of the can, I was unprepared for what I was getting into. I started by looking into an interesting (and rather tricky) topic: very early romance novels intersecting the beginning of the pulp era. I wanted to get the feel for some longer pulp-era love stories for my own writing purposes. I do have a number of “Love Pulps” (magazines) but it is nearly impossible to read their long series…

Ode To A Bedsheet: What’s a Pulp Magazine?

Ode to a Bedsheet meme

Last weekend was my birthday and I was working hard to finish the first draft of the second version of my new “Moon Man” novelette. Funny thing, I mentioned this to someone yesterday at a meeting and they assumed I was finishing READING a novelette. “No,” I clarified. “Not reading, writing.” It made me laugh, she doesn’t know me very well. Anyway, the second attempt is much better. I liked the first plot and may still use it for another story, but it wasn’t hitting the correct marks for a…

Bryce Walton and the Many Faces of Dystopia

Bryce Walton meme

This week’s ROCKETEER is my first post about Bryce Walton, a mid-20th century sci-fi and fiction writer. He mainly wrote short works and for that reason is not well remembered today. I think he’s an overlooked writer, especially his dystopian works which are the subject of this week’s posts. Dystopian stories, if done well, can be very instructive for various reasons. Sometimes they are used by “powers-that-be” as predictive modeling for societal change. (We see all the time in “The Simpsons.”) Walton’s dystopias are wide-ranging, interesting, and sometimes prophetic. They’re…

Two new articles, a story in progress, and a drawing for practice

Rocketeer alien series meme

There seems to be a lot going on at the moment. For the next few weeks the ROCKETEER is going to highlight aliens in honor of the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party—a local event celebrating everything UFO. (It’s like McMenamins UFO Festival only smaller.) I’ll be discussing pulp-era and slightly later stories with the themes of invasion, alien manipulation, control, and humanity fighting back in stories ranging from the absurd to the deadly. The first in that series came out this week: “Tactical Error: This Star Shall Be Free.”  The story…

Via the Hewitt Ray: An obscurity from 1930

Via the Hewitt Ray meme

In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m looking at an obscure science fiction story from 1930 called, “Via the Hewitt Ray” by M. F. Rupert. It’s considered an example of early feminist utopian science fiction. But that’s not the reason I chose it for review. I’m more interested in it as a fine example of 1920’s utopian science fiction that happens to have an nearly all-female cast. Here are some other things I like about the story. The author is a virtual mystery. This sentence:  “I had dressed myself in my flying togs…

New PulpFest Profile: Cathy Wilbanks and the Burroughs Century

All Story 1912 featuring Tarzan

Are you a fan of Tarzan, John Carter, or any of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs? Then don’t miss my interview with Cathy Wilbanks, Vice President of Operations at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.! The picture I’ve posted here is the cover of “The All-Story,” from October, 1912 featuring “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. (Painting by Clinton Pettee.) This is the first time Tarzan appeared in print. Can you imagine—111 years ago! Did you know that Edgar Rice Burroughs was the first author to incorporate himself? What…

Johnny Mayhem: A Spy With Elan

Johnny Mayhem header

This week’s ROCKETEER looks at the “Johnny Mayhem” series from the mid-late 1950’s. Johnny Mayhem was a space opera hero from the pages of AMAZING STORIES. He was a bodiless entity who had once been human. Now immortal, but still under a death sentence unless he’s very, very careful, Mayhem is a galactic troubleshooter who can be anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Great stuff! You can read this week’s ROCKETEER on Substack.

Shrinking (And I don’t mean violets!)

Land of the Giants still

This week’s ROCKETEER looks at stories about shrinking people down to miniscule sizes. This theme has been popular for more than 300 years and is seen in books, movies and on TV. Certainly, we see wonderful examples during the pulp era. These sorts of stories are made for the pulps as the drama level in them is always high. You can read “Shrinking” here and all my other issues of the ROCKETEER on Substack.

Two items of interest today

I just finished a pulpy commission for a fellow writer of science fiction, Sarah Anderson. She wanted an alternate cover for her new book, as well as something she could use for postcards. I was happy to oblige and here is the result. I have to admit that it’s fun to paint people with dramatic expressions. Screaming and running from a creepy monster…what’s more pulpy than that? You can find out more about Sarah’s new book here. Next, on this week’s ROCKETEER I talk about how I conceptualized my award-winning…