Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Golden Age Goodness...

Everyone knows I love classic pulp fiction, but often they are extremely hard to find or the reprints are of such poor quality that it hardly justifies the purchase price.

Well, the folks at Galaxy Press have taken care of that and gone and created a book club for former pulp author turned founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. I was skeptical at first, but after glimpsing some of the books at Comic Con, and now having had the chance to read one, I am convinced this is a bargain at twice the price (only $9.95 each).

But not only have they taken Hubbard's stories and re-released them in fine, new editions - they have taken the time to try and recapture the feeling of the pulp magazines for a new audience.

The books feature vibrant covers on durable cardstock, and a delicious cream colored paper stock for the interior printing. The type has all be reset and is clean and easy to read. The pages are slightly offset and not trimmed (like today's paperbacks) so you get that impression of rough-edged paper with flakes of pulp nesting in your lap.

But of course, you're wondering about the stories themselves. I have to be honest and say I didn't care for "The Beast" nor "The Slaver" included in this edition, but I thoroughly enjoyed both "Space Can" and the title story "The Great Secret." Both are what I consider to be "good pulp" - short, entertaining and thought-provoking while not being overbearing. I think Hubbard comes off as pretentious sometimes, but part of that is the "theatricality" of pulp writing in the time period.

But what's amazing is that Galaxy Press has made the commitment to over 80 novels in this format, not only in these beautiful print editions, but in both audiobooks, mp3 downloads and e-texts. They've even gone so far as to load up ipods with all of the stories in the library so you don't have to do any of the downloading. That's a publisher that understands readers - pulp readers to be exact.

So yes, I have to give this book a thumbs up and a thumbs up for the series overall.

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