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So the 'welcome' thread doesn't get mired with debate, I'll start this thread here. Mods, feel free to delete if you don't like the idea, and I'll move my question back to the welcome thread. As a brief caveat: Pulp is a loose at best definition, and everyone has different ideas as to what it encompasses and doesn't encompass, besides a loose canon of middle-ground works that everyone can agree on.

dreamshell: In your opinion, why would 'The Colour Out of Space' specifically qualify as pulp-influenced more than Heinlein would? In my opinion, and I don't mean this in a perjorative sense, pulp isn't about ideas so much as it is about stories. Ideas do appear, but they're more plot-advancements or McGuffins than they are explored for their own merits. I'd argue that Lovecraft's story is all about the merit of the idea (however feverish the storytelling is--that breakneck tone is definitely pulp-influenced), whereas Heinlein's stuff that I have read is more about the storyline, and using alien races as a substitute for social criticism.

JMO, of course!

1/19/2010 . Edited 1/19/2010 #1

Thread works for me, filmchick. Saves me the trouble of making it. =P

I can't expound upon my comment in the Grand Opening thread very much; it's mostly just a visceral reaction (of which I have a lot). I suppose you may be right, I've not actually read overmuch Heinlein (though I LOVE A Stranger In A Strange Land, especially Jubal Harshaw's witticisms).

...Hmm. Come to think of it, I guess he is pretty pulpy, huh? I guess it's just his popularity in the sci-fi community that made me doubtful. I don't necessarily think that one's familiarity in the "mainstream" decreases one's "pulpiness," but there is some sort of connection there. But now that I mull things over, I guess he does utilize a lot of the same basic features.

So... debate ended? A winner is you. ^_^

1/19/2010 #2
Doctor Vile

Heinlein was involved directly in pulp at some point. I'm fairly sure he wrote for Astounding when Campbell was editor.

In any case, while he was at least associated with that group, calling him a pulp writer would be pushing it. He's usually included in that holy trinity with Clarke and Asimov, people who defined mainstream sci-fi for the most part. But there is definitely an overlap, and we shouldn't compartmentalise with our definitions here. Just to expand upon your point, filmchick, I think good sci-fi should always start with an idea (preferrably in science!) and then extrapolate it to see where it leads. Bad sci-fi starts with the political or social allegory and then adds in sci fi tropes. I wouldn't necessarily say that pulp excludes either, and indeed Heinlein was guilty of both over the course of his career.

1/27/2010 #3
Jave Harron

Heinlein did come from a pulp background, but did start what we call hard scifi nowadays, oddly enough.

It's ironic, though, that Heinlein was friends with one of the worst pulp and scifi writers of his time, L. Ron Hubbard.

1/27/2010 #4
Doctor Vile

I haven't read any of Hubbard's fiction but I did subject myself to his dianetics stuff in order to prep for writing Fractal. In one of the chapters I reference the Babalon Working that L. Ron Hubbard actually participated in.

In my Crowley essay I put forward the idea that Scientology is actually a Crowleyesque prank designed to drag organised religion into disrepute. Funnily enough, Crowley was actually the first person I know of to denounce Hubbard as a professional charlatan.

Hubbard also had a run in with another of my heroes, Bill Burroughs, who at first was quite taken with Hubbard's dianetics. However, sharp as ever, he quickly fingered Scientology as totalitarian and ended up being one of the first people to feud with the religion.

1/28/2010 #5
Cam S

I do remember hearing that Hubbard and Anton LeVay were good friends, and would trade church members who "just weren't working out." Which is, quite possibly, the most surreal thing I've ever heard.

Also, not sure Heinlein was involved, as the story says, but I quote:

Scientology is bullshit! Man, I was there the night L. Ron Hubbard invented it, for Christ's sakes! (...) We were sitting around one night... who else was there? Alfred Bester, and Cyril Kornbluth, and Lester del Rey, and Ron Hubbard, who was making a penny a word, and had been for years. And he said "This bullshit's got to stop!" He says, "I gotta get money." He says, "I want to get rich". And somebody said, "why don't you invent a new religion? They're always big." We were clowning! You know, "Become Elmer Gantry! You'll make a fortune!" He says, "I'm going to do it.

--Harlan Ellison

1/29/2010 #6
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