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The Return of the Pulps
The pulp magazines grew from the dime novels and penny dreadfuls of the 1800s and were named not for a specific genre but for the cheap paper upon which they were printed. These periodicals were arguably the beginnings of genre fiction as we know it today.
Featuring spicy detective stories of hardboiled gumshoes, mystical adventures in the mysterious Orient, sword-wielding barbarians in lost ages thousands of years past, two-gun adventurers, sinister villains and women as deadly as they are beautiful, these stories were the birthplace of heroic fantasy, the crime novel, cosmic horror and other genres that dominate the fiction world today.
Rarely politically correct, sometimes controversial, but always exciting and intriguing, these magazines dominated shelves in newsstands across the nation all the way into the 1960s. Shadows and Masks seeks to bring the excitement of these spicy stories back to the market.
Shadows and Masks
Today, the pulps are getting a new look from scholars and are beginning to gain some of the credit they deserve as part of American literary history. Shadows and Masks hearkens back to those days of dark horror, high adventure, of hardboiled detectives, Western gunslingers, adventuring archaeologists and arcane scholars by bringing back a classic multi-genre fiction and poetry magazine for the modern era.
Shadows and Masks will be a quarterly publication from Elf Lair Publishing featuring fiction, poetry and nonfiction articles in a variety of genres that may have appeared in the classic pulps. Any genre is fair game, so long as it is something in the grand pulp tradition. In one issue you may find a Weird Western. In another, gritty swords and sorcery in the style of Howard or Smith and planetary romance or space opera. Still another might have a Chandler-esque crime tale and Lovecraftian cosmic horror. We are looking to feature it all!
What Sets Us Apart?
This is a very good question. We're certainly not the only publication out there dedicated to the revival of the pulps. We believe, however, that there are a few things which set us apart from other, similar efforts.
- Our Audience: where other magazines of this type try to attract fans of the classic pulps, we are looking to target both pulp fans and a more general science fiction/fantasy/adventure audience, particularly among the gamer and modern "geek" crowd.
- Our Focus: Most pulp magazines focus on a specific genre--indeed, they define themselves by that genre. Either they are a weird fiction magazine, a spicy stories magazine, a noir detective rag, or the like. Shadows & Masks is looking to bring all genres together under one umbrella. From the potboiler to the penny dreadful, from the dime novel to the hardboiled investigator, from weird west to Victorian vampires to cosmic horror, we hope to deliver it all under one umbrella.
- Our Format: We are making an effort to be available in a variety of formats, from PDF to true ebook to print-on-demand, with a hope towards eventually reaching true distribution on newsstands everywhere.
For more information, please check out our Writers' Guidelines