Books, Culture and Society

Audio Book Dramas Return To Pulp Fiction’s Roots And The Rise of American Hero’s

Before the Civil War forever redefined America's perception of its future, serialized stories abounded with characters that evolved into a sturdy, stalwart, American hero.

Audio Book Dramas Return To Pulp Fiction’s Roots And The Rise of American Hero’s

Tiffany Holmes , is working to reintroduce Stories From the Golden Age, a line of 80 books and multi-cast, unabridged audio books, featuring 153 stories written by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1930s and 1940s, using his own and any of the 15 pen names he used. http://www.goldenagestories.com

Before the Civil War forever redefined America’s perception of its future, serialized stories abounded with characters that evolved into a sturdy, stalwart, American hero.

The idea of the American hero started back in the 1850s in New York. They shared many characteristics of their birthplace. This vibrant, a little vulgar and contemptuous, enough to be provocative, just enough out of control, proved to be intriguing. New York was also the Geo center of newspaper and magazine empires that serviced readerships across the nation from east to west and beyond the Atlantic.

The more aggressive competitors in New York’s publishing industries were well aware that the masses were not reading the proper, austere Evening Post or the sanctimonious Tribune. They were reading The New York Ledger, a weekly publication that was part newspaper, part magazine. Ledger owner, editor and publisher Robert Bonner, notorious for wild advertising stunts and fierce competition for subscribers, excelled in adapting his paper to give his readers what they wanted. And what they wanted was to escape, even if only for a vicarious hour, from their brutal individual realities. Bonner gave them exactly that, enthralling serial stories set in faraway places, under bylines including top-name writers of the day such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Dickens, weaving harrowing tales of tragedy, adventure and derring-do.


With the popularity of the Ledger and its imitators, the stage was set for the next phase of sensational storytelling to sweep the nation. The dime novel format benefited from the confluence of three major factors as the War between the States was about to erupt. Giant technological advances were being made in mechanized printing, the emergence of efficient cross-country and transatlantic shipping, and increasing literacy in a younger, forward looking America.

Emerging in 1860, Dime novels sold at newsstands and at dry-goods stores, aimed directly at younger blue-collar workers and juveniles. Their tales of the untamed West, detective stories and historical romances became so popular that Confederate and Yankee soldiers reportedly swapped editions with each other before engaging in battle.

By the turn of the twentieth century, after nearly fifty years as a staple source of entertainment and industry profit, the dime novel began to fade.


But once again, New York was not ready to surrender its reign as publishing capital of the Western world. This time, the man responsible for not only reviving popular fiction but transforming it into something entirely new was a former telegraph operator from Augusta, Maine, Frank Andrew Munsey. He came to New York in 1882 determined to become a publisher and adopted a simple maxim, “The story is more important than the paper it is printed on.” Other publications of the time, such as Harper’s, Scribner’s and The Century, were printed on glossy or “slick” paper made of pricey, rag content stock. Munsey calculated that if he used much cheaper pulp paper, sometimes referred to as
“newsprint,” he would be able to offer a cheaper product to a vastly wider audience. He could even give readers a suggestion of value for money by giving the magazines a vivid four-color cover printed on art paper and still sell his pulps at ten cents, less than half the price of a typical slick.

And he was right! It was a calculation that would make Munsey’s fortune and revolutionize publishing.

Thus, in December of 1882, Argosy was born. So, too, was the pulp fiction era, a phenomenon that would span another seventy years and fuel another billion dreams.

With their harshly provocative titles, depictions of heroes saving damsels in varying forms of unlikely distress and exploits in strange and foreign lands, the pulps were daring and dangerous, taking chances again and again where literature had never gone before. And thus they remained, throughout the rise of hard-boiled detective stories, the haunting tales of the Old West. The birth and cultivation of the golden age of science fiction and fantasy, ignited within the pages from astounding and unknown writers such as the young and remarkably talented L. Ron Hubbard and a handful of like-minded, like skilled giants of the day.

At their zenith, over thirty million Americans read the pulps each month, and a driving literary force headlining most all genres of magazines with more than a dozen pen names was L. Ron Hubbard. His skill and expansive imagination made him one of the most productive and prolific writers of the era, with over two hundred published short stories, novelettes and novels to his credit, spanning the genres of science fiction, fantasy, western, detective, air and sea adventure, mystery and romance.

Without the pulps, one could rightly say we would not have the American heroes that we have today. Had Frank Munsey not taken a chance over a century ago, we might not have the Man of Steel to look up to the sky for nor Dr. Indiana Jones to turn to in a time of need. These heroes embodied characters with strength, determination and a sense of urgency, they tended to punch first and ask questions later, and they always got the job done.

Related Articles

Pulp Fiction Audio Book Mysteries
Pulp fiction mystery stories began appearing in publications such as Amazing Stories, Argosy, Black Mask, Dime Detective and Weird Tales and a renaissance of reading began to take off during the early 1920s which lasted for about thirty years.

Caution, Dangerous Women Inside! Pulp Fiction Audio Book and E-Books Create Suspense
Who doesn't love good story telling with adventure, romance, mystery, action, fantasy and dangerous women! Pulp fiction stories abound with these pulse moving, character driven narratives.

Historical Best Selling Pulp Fiction Stories Meets 21st Century Audio and E-Books
In the late 1890s an American publisher named Frank Munsey once wrote, "A story is worth more than the paper it is printed on!" And he was right! For the next 50 years he created a reading frenzy with publishing dime novels on inexpensive high acid paper.

Vintage Pulp Fiction and Modern Fiction Stories
Although the depression was a great time for reading the pulp fiction magazines the have much earlier beginnings in the 1920s and 30s and was generally considered to have begun with Frank Munsey and the revamped Argosy Magazine. Pulps were generally thought of a American but Britain also had a similar pulp with the Pall Mall Magazine.

Pulp Fiction Fans Take a Dangerous Ride on “The Carnival of Death”
After the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which many consider the prototype of the carnival, traveling carnivals toured the United States offering their amusements and attractions at state and county fairs.

Looking For More Information?

Make sure to explore other articles in the Publishing category or contact us to suggest a website or a service to review.

Available In AustraliaService Availability: Most of the services mentioned by this website are available in Australia. These include Victoria (Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Shepparton-Mooroopna, Melton), NSW (Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Orange, Central Coast, Wagga Wagga), Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Thuringowa, Toowoomba), South Australia (Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Whyalla), Western Australia (Perth, Albany, Port Hedland, Broom, Karratha, Mandurah, Geraldton, Bunbury), Northern Territory (Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) and Tasmania (Hobart, Launceston).

Tell us what you think!

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.