I’ve always had respect for the Pulp genre of literature, stemming from reading the history of both Asimov and L’Amour, both with rich history in the pulp world. So when my wife saw The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps: The Best Crime Stories from the Pulps During Their Golden Age — The ’20s, ’30s and ’40s she pointed it out and I grabbed it.
The copy I got is soft cover, and the pages are quite fittingly pulp paper. The stories are written in 2 columns per page, similar to a magazine or newspaper. There are about 1200 pages, and it’s divided into three sections, The Crimefighters, The Villians, and The Dames. Each section has a forward, describing the mindset for each type of story. Additionally, many of the stories have small prefaces, pointing out interesting bits about the author, character, or type of story.
On the whole I’m enjoying the book. The editor tried really hard to present a sample of what was printed at the time, rather than compile a “best of”. This means there are some fairly poor stories, and this is pointed out. Interestingly, some of the poor ones are by authors who later became very good, and often famous.
If you like the genre, this book is required reading. If you have respect for the genre, get it and read some, it’s good for you. If you don’t like short crime stories at all, this book will easily prop open any door you lean it on.