Tag Archives: Alex R Stuart

Fifty Shades of Pulp

There’s been a lot of on-line talk lately about so-called ‘New Pulp’, what it is, who’s in, etc. It’s an interesting debate and one, as a fan and aspiring pulp hack, I’m happy to see occurring. What has surprised me is how this discussion has fed into my thoughts about another hotly debated issue on the Internet at the moment, the publishing sensation known as Fifty Shades of Grey.

Don’t get how the two are linked? Here goes.

Very few commentators have been bold enough to offer up a definition of New Pulp, which is probably just as well as by its very nature it’s all over the place. I’m certainly not going to try and do it here.

The guy who kicked off the most recent round of talk, Damien Walter, a writer with The Guardian newspaper in the UK, defined it as “fiction written with the same sensibilities, linear story telling, patterns of conflict, and creative use of words and phrases as original pulp, but crafted by modern writers, artists and publishers.”

Which sounds to me a lot like ‘Old Pulp’ only it’s being published now.

Let me try and summarise what else people have had to say on the subject.

New Pulp is about pace. Not just in terms of plotting but the speed with which it’s written.… Read more

Pulp Friday: biker pulp

“Lusting females with sadism and sex on their mind.”

Bikers were one of the major themes of pulp fiction in the late sixties and seventies.

Society’s fascination with bikers obviously dates back much further than this, but by the late sixties it had well and truly seeped into popular culture, thanks to the well publicised violence at Aldamont, movies like Easy Rider (1969) and the success of Hunter S Thompson’s 1965 gonzo journalism classic, Hells Angels.

Australia was no exception to this trend, with concerns about law and order arising from the growth of the counter culture and the popularity of movies like Stone (1974) and Mad Max (1979) resulting in our own fascination with bikie culture.

The result was wave of pulp novels focusing on the exploits of outlaw biker gangs and the cops trying to break them. The books mirrored mainstream society’s fascination/loathing of bikie culture, real and imagined, mixed with lashings of gratuitous sex and hard-core violence.

Wheels of Death (1975) and Bikie Birds (1973) are two Australian examples of biker pulp fiction. Both were written by Stuart Hall, who penned approximately 45 pulp novels between 1970 and 1980, including a number of biker pulps for Scripts, the adults-only inprint of Sydney-based pulp publisher Horwitz Publications.

In addition to writing about the denim clad male members of these bikie gangs, Hall devoted considerable attention to the women (or ‘birds’ as women were often referred to in popular working class Australian slang) who rode with them, characters every bit as sexually loose and violent as their male counterparts.… Read more