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Pulp Science Fiction

What is Pulp Science Fiction?

Pulp Science Fiction is a term that describes a period of publishing in the 1930s-1950s when science fiction magazines were published on cheap paper. These publications had a distinct style with colourful cover art, brutish monsters, space heroes, and the scantily-clad damsel in distress. The stories in these publications emphasize action, adventure, and plot at the expense of character and literary elements.

You might think of these as the fiction version of those cheesy science fiction B movies of the 50's.

You can view the crowd-ranked "Popular" Pulp Science Fiction Books list and vote and/submit entries to it.

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  • Level of Real Science

    Moderate. Earlier Pulp Sci Fi was not very scientifically literate, but as the genre grew science started to become more real.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    Low. Pulp Sci Fi is all about the adventure and grand ideas have no place in an action packed adventure on an alien planet in the Pulp world.

  • Level of Characterization

    Low. The emphasis is on plot and adventure so stock characters are used--the hero, the damsel in distress, the alien monster.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    High. An adventure story has a well developed plot and Pulp Sci Fi is no exception. While the plot may not be complex or inventive, it is nonetheless central to the effectiveness of the story.

  • Level of Violence

    Moderately high. Violence is a part of the adventurous stories on alien planets, but it tends to be the hero triumphing over aliens and feature colourful alien blood.

Related Science Fiction subgenres




    Retro-futurism. A more modern sub-genre that celebrates this Pulp Sci Fi sub-genre and focus on reviving the pulpy style.

Pulp Science Fiction isn't for you if...

If you like meaningful stories. If you are put-off by the now cliché macho man/hero and damsel in distress scenario.

Popular Pulp Science Fiction