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Five Pulp Fiction Novels for 20 Cents

Five Novels Monthly was a popular pulp adventure pulp that lasted 208 issues, running from February 1928 to January 1948. However, the name of the magazine begs the question with today's readers: "What do you mean by 'novel'? And how did you get five of them into 162 pages?"

Five Pulp Fiction Novels for 20 Cents

Frederick Hail is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning through audiobooks on cd collections from http://www.goldensagestories.com. Galaxy Press Publishing, publisher of “The Golden Age Stories” and all genres of pulp fiction stories and novels, offers a convenient subscription service, so you never have to miss an issue. It’s a pulp fiction lover’s dream!

The 1930s was the era before the paperback explosion created a standard size of what people expected from a novel. America’s reading habits for popular thrills in the ’30s came from the pulps, and the pulp editors wanted their readers to feel they were getting their ten, twenty, or twenty-five cents’ worth . . . thus, the grand term “novel,” used for any story long enough for a reader to really sink into.

“Novels” could mean anything from an eighty-page feature of 40,000 to 60,000 words, usually reserved for single-character pulps like The Shadow and Doc Savage, but more generally referred to the 20,000 to 30,000 word pieces found in Five Novels Monthly and other “Novels” magazines: Smashing Novels Magazine (to which Hubbard sold “Loot of the Shanung”), Complete Novel Magazine, Five Western Novels, and the incredibly specific Complete Northwest Novel Magazine (which managed to run for over twenty issues).

Stories in the range of 10,000 up to 20,000 words were graced with the attractive term “novelette.” It was this size of adventure that Magazine Publishers, Inc. used for its “Ten Series” magazines, each featuring ten complete novelettes: Ten Detective Aces, 10 Short Novels Magazine, 10 Action Adventures, Ten-Story Love Magazine, and 10 Story Mystery Magazine. And since each issue only cost a dime, Magazine Publishers could proudly claim “A Cent a Story!” on their covers.

“Sea Fangs,” an exciting contemporary naval adventure, marks a small but important milestone in L. Ron Hubbard’s career as a professional writer for the pulps. Hubbard had just started making sales to the story magazines that filled that racks at newsstands, coffee shops, and candy stores across the nation – his first appearance was “The Green God” in Thrilling Adventures for February of 1934.

With “Sea Fangs,” Hubbard made his first sale to Dell Magazines’ Five Stories Monthly, which appeared in the June 1934 issue. His fast and exciting storytelling made him an immediate hit with readers (“How about another Hubbard air story? I sure go for those air things of his – they’re swell,” gushed one reader in the “What Do You Think?” letters page of the June 1937 issue) and he was soon one of Five Stories Monthly’s most popular contributors, joining other famous pulp luminaries E. Hoffman Price, Ralph Milne Farley, Paul Ernst, and Steve Fisher under the editorship of Florence A. McChesney. Other regulars in the magazine who haven’t gone on to as much fame, but entertained readers nonetheless, were Philip L. Scruggs, William Bruner, and John Murray Reynolds.

Hubbard next appeared in the September issue with “Twenty Fathoms Down,” another sea tale, and during 1935 published eight stories in the magazine – including two in a single issue, which required one of them to go under a pseudonym. Five Novels Monthly featured adventures of many genres: sea stories, aerial thrillers, pirate yarns, westerns, and the exploits of tough detectives whose “guns barked death!”

Depression-era readers were looking for a bargain, and in the pulps they definitely found one. You could call them “cheap thrills” – except that the thrills were truly great, and they still are today.

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