Vintage Pulp Mar 10 2020
A MEDICAL ISSUE
When I ask you to disrobe it doesn't seem like you get excited the way you used to.


The sprawling 1925 medical novel Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1926, but no book was so lofty it couldn't be reworked to fit the pulp paperback aesthetic of the 1950s. We read this way back when we attempted to go through the entire Pulitzer list in order. Some of those books were amazing, like Edna Ferber's So Big, and others made us almost abandon the project. Arrowsmith was somewhere in the middle for us. The subtly sexual art by Barye Phillips fits this classic, because the main character Martin is sort of a serial romancer who can't stick with one woman even when he tries.

Did we ever finish that Pulitzer list? No. Once we learned that even among the best books ever written some are markedly better than others, we began skipping ahead and finally stopped after To Kill a Mockingbird and The Edge of Sadness. Those two very different and indescribably awesome novels completed our interest in deep examinations of the human experience. After those, we wanted to have fun when we read. We moved on to the frights, thrills, and speculations of horror, vintage crime, and sci-fi, and that's where we mainly reside today. But Arrowsmith was interesting and we recommend it for a compelling read. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 29 2009
HANGING LOOSE
Women who shed excess weight can enjoy a brighter future.

The above cover can be interpreted a couple of ways. It’s possible the man is the hero, and he’s trying to lead the women on an escape from prison, but it seems more likely he’s just a coward who, in his terror, is about to drag the women to their doom. The metaphors go deep, but whatever the case, we love the art. Adventure began publishing in 1910, and was home to many respected artists and authors, not least among them novelist Sinclair Lewis, who in 1930 became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature (he had won the Pulitzer earlier but declined it). While he was an editor at Adventure he helped create a novelty identity card that was included in issues of the magazine. Readers carried the card, and if they were killed, whoever found the card would notify the magazine, who would in turn notify the reader’s next of kin. The idea was a flight of pure fancy, but also a stroke of genius, and the cards became such a powerful idea that a group of reader-travelers formed the Adventurers Club of New York in 1912. That club led to similar clubs being formed in other cites. A cursory check on the trusty interweb reveals that at least one—the Los Angeles chapter—survives today, so if the magazine cover has inspired you, there’s a place you can meet with like-minded types. Who knows? With a little effort and good fortune, maybe you’ll get to escape from prison on a bed sheet yourself one day.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 26
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
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