Saturday, May 23, 2009


SteamPulp [(c) & tm] is my new term of art I have coined to embrace and encapsulate works such as Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Captain Marvel and similar old serials and stories.

Although the pulp fiction era was very much into name dropping then-current technology such as monoplanes, dynamos, electricity, electromagnetism, rays, atomic power, rocketry and so on, the science (threadbare as it was) that went into the stories was rooted firmly in the Victorian era of scientific romances. The old stories of the pulp era are fairytales and sword and sorcery stories cloaked in a veneer of science.

When George Lucas heavily plagiarised the pulp era for his Star Wars product manufacture he understood this perfectly. That's why there is virtually no single example in Star Wars of any technology that could work as it is shown to work- it is, scientifically, bunk- or to be more accurate- magic.

Steampulp sums up this bridging of the storytelling tropes of fantasy and the clunky nut and bolts castles on hilltops with rocketships parked behind of pulp science fiction.

Also there is a high degree of overt and covert sexuality and bloodshed in the old pulps. Conan the Barbarian sprang from this milieu and he can serve as one extreme, but even the superheroes of the pulps mowed down a fair number of villainous victims.