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J.A. Fletcher

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a Pulp! contest!

That's right, folks, we're already here with our fourth Pulp! contest (not including the Halloween special) and for this contest, I want you to write an air story. You know the kind, Tailspin Tommy, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Captain Easy - Soldier of Fortune, Smilin' Jack - well, you get the idea.

Now there are two definite rules for this contest which I want you to follow:

Rule 1.: It must take place ON PLANET EARTH. That's right, this is an AIR story, not a space story, so the action must take place in the skies above our own planet.


Rule 2.: Keep the era in which your story takes place between the 1870s and the 1950s. You can go back that far in the past if you want to make a Jules Verne/H.G. Wells science fiction romance sort of thing, so you have the option of messing around with history a little bit.

So as long as you keep those two rules in mind, you pretty much have free reign over whatever kind of air story. As for length, I would like for it to be under twenty-thousand words, so try not to write a novel. I know some people have been wondering about multiple chapters, so you can post in chapters if you want to, but try to keep them until around the end of the month and then start posting, so they can be fresh in our minds when we read them.

The deadline, like the last one, is midnight on the 30th, but if we're having major problems with time, then we might be able to extend it a little.

Now in air stories, you usually see biplanes, dirigibles, flaming infernos, chattering machine guns, daring stunts, and above all, fearless courage, so extra points if you add some of those things.

One last thing - I want you to add a love interest, a little romance if possible.

Now I know you guys are in a hurry to get started, so good luck!

11/2/2010 . Edited 11/2/2010 #1

Sounds good, but any particular reason you've got time period restrictions? Seems to me an "air-"/"skypunk" story could take place in an entirely fantastic or retrofuture setting as well as an alternative "real" one.

Just sayin'. ;)

11/3/2010 #2
J.A. Fletcher

I see what you're saying, but I made those time periods because while yes, it could be entirely the same as a retrofuture, I still want it to follow the basic flow of when these stories started appearing in magazines. I guess instead of writing as if for a pulp magazine, I want it to be more of a tribute to pulp fiction and its beginnings.

11/3/2010 #3

Pulp fiction used both of the sort of settings I mentioned endlessly. By mere dint of writing for the contest, we are paying "tribute to pulp fiction and its beginnings," so I don't see why limiting the stories to the time that genre was on its rise and at its zenith is necessary. I wouldn't say it's a crippling limitation, but it is one all the same. But do what thou wilt, I guess.

P.S. I'll try and whip up something. Maybe if I start entering these contests more myself, others will follow in my footsteps. Or not.

11/3/2010 . Edited 11/3/2010 #4
Cam S

My muse has its teeth buried in my arm until I come up with something for this. I think I know what I'm doing...though the time restrictions make it a little rough. I'll see what I can whip up, though.

11/3/2010 #5

Okay, J.A., I may have misunderstood what you wanted for this contest. Is this contest for WWI/II era Ace Pilots and Red Barons duking it out in the skies? Or is it one with a World In The Sky where The Sky Is An Ocean with Sky Pirates, Floating Continents, etc., Cool Airships and Zeppelins From Another World (doesn't actually mean they're from another world)? Or are you allowing for both, or some sort of combo? You should clear this up.

Check out the tropes I provided if you need clarification about what I'm talking/asking about.

11/3/2010 #6
J.A. Fletcher

Yes, that's what I meant, those are all great. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

11/3/2010 #7

Alright, fantastic. I'll see what I come up with.

11/3/2010 #8
Cam S

Hmm...my idea was closer to "Sky Captain and the World of Ravenous Zombies." So, not as many opposing aces; but I figure that a story with at least one Fighter Ace and Necomantic Influenza (Necromantic Nazi Influenza) will be fine, right?

11/4/2010 #9
J.A. Fletcher

Sounds good, Cam!

11/7/2010 #10
Lord Monbodo

I'm thinking zepplin crew escorts wealthy patron to lost world and fights Nazis along the way.

11/7/2010 #11
J.A. Fletcher

Sounds terrific.

11/8/2010 #12

What's cool is that this contest is in line with a short story I was already planning to work on! That said, my story was going to take place in a more fantastic setting (i.e. not in the "real world"), so I'm not sure if I should try to squeeze it in for this contest or not. Also, I've been working on a personal project during my ill time and I'm still kinda wrapped up in it...

I'd love to enter, but I can't absolutely guarantee it. Can't wait to see what'll pop up in this contest, though!

11/10/2010 #13
J.A. Fletcher

I certainly hope you'll be able to, DeepSeaDragon!

11/10/2010 #14
Michael Panush

Hey guys. I couldn't stop thinking about this story and the last really good series I did, Arkham Academy, which was good, but still basically Lovecraft fanfiction. I wanted to do a school story crossed with pulp like that, but of my own design. So I decided to set it on a floating city in the 1920s, and have lots of the zeppelins and biplanes and such. So, here's the first chapter, and I hope you enjoy it.


11/14/2010 #15
J.A. Fletcher

All right, looks pretty good. I'll read it as soon as I get the chance.

11/15/2010 #16
J.A. Fletcher

So how are we all coming along?

11/17/2010 #17
Lord Monbodo

I'm sorry to say there's no way I'll be able finish my story on time.

I wish you all good luck, and look forward to reading your stories.

11/21/2010 #18
J.A. Fletcher

That's unfortunate. Thanks for considering it, though!

Just a word of advice - always keep trying, even if you don't think you have enough time - remember that Frankenstein was written in a weekend!

11/22/2010 #19
J.A. Fletcher

Okay, the contest ends tomorrow at midnight. How are we all doing?

11/29/2010 #20
J.A. Fletcher

The contest has officially ended, with the same results as the Halloween contest. As I understand, Shell and Cam were going to submit something, so where are you guys at? If not, then I'll have to declare Cthulhu winner by default (sound familiar?). By the way, Cthulhu, good job on the submission.

12/1/2010 #21
Michael Panush

Well, I'm sorry it ended up this way, but I'm glad you liked my story.

12/1/2010 #22

Nothing came of my idea, so unless Cam has something (story- or contest idea-wise), Mike gets to host again.

That said, I'd like to request that, while the contest itself need not be wholly centered around the idea, an effort be made to celebrate the Christmas season. Cheesy, I know, but why not?

12/1/2010 #23
Lord Monbodo

A small Sol Invictus reference shouldn't be too hard.

Anyway, with finals wraping up over the next week, I hope to have plenty of time for the next contest.

12/1/2010 #24
J.A. Fletcher

I think it's a swell idea, Dreamshell. But I thought Cam was supposed to host the next contest.

12/2/2010 #25
Cam S

I am, but you know what I have right now? Thesis hours, a 25-page research paper on the role of Donna J. Harraway's Cyborg Theory in Gibson's Bigend Trilogy, and the prospect of grading somewhere between 20 and 40 Freshman Comp finals, as well as TA-grading three painful-looking screenplays.

And those are only the obligations I'm getting paid for. I'm not going to have any free time until the 20th of December, at the earliest.

Could I potentially run a contest after the Christmas Contest?

12/5/2010 #26

Fine by me, Cam, you can run a simultaneous/alternative contest alongside (not with) whoever wins Mike's next one.

Speaking of; Mike, please get back to me about what you want the next contest theme to be so we can get #5 started! ;)

12/5/2010 #27
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