Spare A Dime

As Dime Pulp enters its third year, a minor readjustment to our ambitious program has proved necessary. Conceived in the first year of the pandemic, Dime Pulp was able to gather up ideas and sketchy outlines that had been searching for an outlet for many years. A Serial Pulp Fiction Magazine much like those that appeared in the 1920s and 30s seemed like an ideal plan to incorporate this miscellaneous material. With a backlog to seed the project in the serialization of two previously published novels (The Last Resort and On The Road To Las Cruces, both by Pat Nolan) and a motley collection of short stories, false starts, and serial pulp concepts, Dime Pulp was launched in January of 2021. The idea was that the completed material would keep the project afloat and ease the burden on the new episode being scripted on a monthly basis. In the first year Dime Pulp was able to produce 12 issues, usually on time, at the beginning of each month. The same schedule was projected for the second year of Dime Pulp. However without the reserve of material and unforeseen production glitches, the schedule proved more difficult to accomplish. As a result, 2022 saw only 10 hard fought issues of Dime Pulp. The solution was to reformat the posting schedule and publish Dime Pulp every 45 days resulting in a projected 8 issues per year. This will give the writer(s) a little breathing room to craft their cliff hangers.

In 2022 Dime Pulp brought aboard two new serial pulp fictions to expand the variety of the fare offered. Just Coincidence could be characterized as the “Dark Knight meets Shakespeare,” and Cheése Stands Alone, a steampunk epic that takes place during the extended reign of an immortal Victorian regency. As well, Dime Pulp’s longest running pulp serial, Better Than Dead, a 1940s detective pot boiler that began in Volume One, Number 1, reached its 99th episode with no end in sight in the continuing shaggy serial adventures of a luckless Lackland Ask, Confidential Investigator. Year 3 of Dime Pulp will see fewer issues but the same resolve that made the first two volumes entertaining serial pulp fare will persevere.

The first issue of Dime Pulp hit the virtual stands a little over 24 months ago. Along with its monthly issues, there followed the growing awareness that Dime Pulp is hardly exceptional in its pulp noir crime fiction nostalgia. Every nook and cranny of the cyberverse seems to teem with innovative content, collector artifacts, facsimiles, classic and not-so classic reissues, original noir pulp crime fiction publishers, blogs and venues, critiques, expositions,  and abstracts of the genre, opinion, and not a little homegrown scholarship of a unique style spawned in the pulp pages of dime magazines of the 20th Century’s early decades, and which more than adequately support the current fad.

Dime Pulp got in the swim with the idea of promoting a serial fiction showcase as a digital replicate of the popular pulp magazines of the 3rd decade with offerings of short stories, novellas, novels as bite sized serial fiction episodes with the flair of the imaginative that makes that genre so entertaining.

In it’s first year of publication, Dime Pulp began the serialization of three novels starting with Colin Deerwood’s late 30s detective story, Better Than Dead (still active), Pat Nolan’s Lee Malone adventure, The Last Resort (now complete), and his Western novella, On The Road To Las Cruces (currently in progress). In its second year of publication, Dime Pulp is thrilled to be again featuring Helene Baron-Murdock’s wealth of mythic mayhem with which to entangle Detective Jim Donovan in her series of short stories under the rubric of Hard Boiled Myth.

As Volume Three of Dime Pulp picks up speed, look for more from Phyllis Huldursdottir’s  steampunk adventure featuring Airship Commander Lydia Cheése (pronounced “Chase”) in Cheése Stands Alone in a world where everything went slightly sideways in 1893. Coming soon is a new crime fiction from Thierry Le Noque, a contemporary tale set in Northern California titled Die Like A Man. Also in the queue are Rich Staring’s distinctive approach to crime writing featuring amateur sleuth, Don Coyote, and his oft reluctant partner, Saundra Pansy in The Man From La Mirada Perdida. As well, Roxanne Grovner’s PH Factor and her Phoenix based private eye, Henri St. Croix. And hoping to make the cut is Ryan Carson’s Runn & Hyde featuring the crime sleuthing duo of Carole Runn, former social worker, now paralegal, and Sonny Hyde, ex-con and florist. Dropping A Dime will also return under editor Perry O’Dickle’s  able direction.

Volume One’s short stories, novels, and commentary are now available in their entirety as archival pdfs for those who wish to catch up, reread, or simply did not have the patience to read them as serials. Under the menu heading Dime Pulp Yearbook 21 are the full stories and complete (to a point) novels posted in the first twelve months. Included are The Complete Last Resort, A Lee Malone Adventure, the first sixty-five episodes of the ongoing cliffhanger, Better Than Dead, and four complete short crime stories from the Hard Boiled Myth cauldron. Also included is Patton D’Arque’s short story, Gone Missing, featuring two grumpy and dangerous ex-cops, and  the complete 2021 Dropping A Dime columns.

There is no doubt that Dime Pulp is a self-conscious facsimile of a bygone pulp literature operating on the fringe of a larger nostalgia network of cliffhanging serials and improbable denouements. For the editor and authors of the Dime Pulp serial novels and short stories found here they represent what Laurence Sterne might have deemed a hobbyhorse. Dime Pulp Is grateful for the attention of the various visitors to the site. There is always the hope that they will return. To that end Dime Pulp will continue as long as it can, publishing its own distinctive brand of pulp entertainment.

Please note that all written material on this site is © copyright by the authors.

Gallery: Volume Two Covers

What is pulp fiction, anyway? Immediately the lurid color illustrations of pulp magazines covers depicting a damsel in some sort of distress or at least dominating the picture plane and advertising an unspoken prurience come to mind. For many, the bygone era of pulp fiction was reading entertainment before movies, radio and then television replaced that particular skill. No one reads anymore, but despite that fact, writers still write. The kind of fiction that appeared in the pulp magazines of the 20s, 30s, postwar 40s is still being written but it has been resurfaced and streamlined to reflect much more of society and the world at large than the underworld demimonde that was largely the subject and landscape of the pulp genre’s narrative. Whatever designation anyone might want to tack on to it, pulp is a unique American prose style based on the economy of storytelling needed to fit into the word count constraints of the magazines that published them. Many of those pulp writers were also journalists skilled in succinctness and cutting to the chase. While much of the writing could be considered uncouth, déclassé, or trash, the penny-a-word hacks churned out a kind of fantastic storytelling that’s been around since practically the invention of writing (if one is to believe Mikhail Bakhtin). In more modern times it can be traced to the serials of Alexander Dumas appearing in the popular press and the cheap editions of Jules Vern’s fantastical adventure novels. Crime fiction itself has an American origin, in Baltimore, from the pen of Edgar Allen Poe. The superstars of that genre, Hammett, Chandler, and Gardner, were published in the highly respected Black Mask Magazine but also in magazines like Dime Detective, and Spicy Detective. To get an idea of how those stories stand up to today’s postmodern standards, Otto Penzler’s anthologies, The Big Book of Pulps and The Big Book of Black Mask Stories are a good place to start. An abundance of irony and a certain cynicism set the requisite tone. There are only bad people and less bad people and they don’t even think of themselves in that way. The modern gaze is blurred in discerning right from wrong because we inhabit the age of relativity. It’s all very dark, particularly after the war, some might even say “noir.” Crime fiction and westerns are where the tough hombres and mujeres live, lines are drawn in the sand or around corpses and someone is always on the wrong side (or so it seems). In the early pulps, those shady characters were roughly drawn, sketchy, succinct, the dialogue terse, wisecracking, the action constant.

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