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The True Golden Age of Pulp Fiction Mystery

Though always the sharp and analytical mind, Sherlock Holmes never saw it coming!

The True Golden Age of Pulp Fiction Mystery

Frederick Hail is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning through audiobooks on cd collections from http://www.goldensagestories.com.

From America, in the pages of the Pulp Magazine Black Mask, came the shattering of the refined and ornate mystery. These thrilling pulps, full of sensational violence and raging plot, told of a witty world of sultry gals and private eyes who would rather crack knuckles on enemy skulls than talk the polite symmetry of clues amongst cowering dinner guests drinking port. In essence they told of a different world, one more unrelenting and tough. It wasn’t the “who done it” of keen inquiring minds but a bare knuckled expose of murder and mayhem and the men and women who fought it.

Led by Dashiell Hammett, author of the Maltese Falcon, the Hard-boiled School of crime writing challenged the conventions of detective fiction with an emphasis on stories not rooted in pedigree, stories not birthed on an old English manor amongst Earls and Lords, but on the American mean streets where cops carried guns close to their hearts and the bad guys would rather say it with bullets. Hammett, Carroll John Daily, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, James C Cain, and many others created a new and more intense way of writing crime fiction. These hard-boiled writers influenced cinema in the forties and fifties in what became known as film noir: a golden age of Hollywood cinema immortalized by such great actors as Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum.

Galaxy Press, through audio dramatization and books brings us back to this golden era of the mystery pulps through the writings of Ron Hubbard whose stories, written in the hard-boiled style, are action centered and full of criminals and the men and women who hate crime. Stories like the Brass keys to Murder, Dead Men Kill, Murder Afloat and The Blowtorch Murder showcase heroes bold and dashing in the face of unrelenting danger and mayhem. The Villains are painted as they were: grotesque and vividly twisted so when they were faced they were faced in the hearts of all engaged readers who longed for their heroes to overcome the corruption that was seemingly all persuasive. Because of the economic unrest and underworld crime syndicates that were stark realities in everyday newspapers these pulps allowed readers to find hope in the chaos and adventure in the fear. This tough minded goodness was one that every day Americans could identify with.

Though dealing with true and violent themes, Hubbard never forgot that the pulps were also to entertain, to offer escape and to sweep the reader away into a world of intrigue and romance. Though the zombies and blow torches rage there is always a pulpish flair that make the stories fun and highly readable. Where hard-boiled novels often dealt with pessimistic themes of urban chaos and alienation, the mystery pulps are action adventures from start to finish. One gets both a dose of life as it is, gritty and tough, but also of life as it’s longed to be lived: bristling and fun. It reminds us that faced with evil we can still laugh and hold on tight for help will soon come.

Raymond Chandler in his famous essay “The Simple Art of Murder” told of how the American hard-boiled school of writing created a crime fiction that more akin to the real nature of crime than the detective story that was heavy on convention but reduced the “infinite cruelty of murder” to an abstract puzzle of clues. According to Chandler “murder had now been taken out of the Venetian Vase and dropped into the alley”. We are paradoxically, yet wonderfully, reminded that these stories could also be fun and rich in adventure and therein lies part of their timelessness. Though murder was never something to laugh at or enjoy, the triumph over such cruelty was.

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The Golden Age of Pulp Fiction Magazines
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The dive bomber had gone over the hump, nose pointing straight at the earth, eighteen thousand feet down, engine on full, building up to terminal velocity when the resistance of the wind equaled the downward drive of the wide-open throttle. (Excerpt from L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction story, "Dive Bomber")

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