April 13th, 2013

A Day at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention

I spent the bulk of today at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. It's a convention devoted to the old pulp magazines and to older, lovingly-preserved paperbacks. There are also several companies with reprints of the old pulp magazines, and even several that have tried to extend the old pulp series, or create new ones.

These are my type of people, even more so than the ones I see at science fiction conventions. These are people who love the smell of old books, who love the action-oriented heroes of a less sophisticated and less cynical era.

I missed the pulp era, and know its heroes mainly from second-hand copies of 1979s reprints that I bought mainly at Toad Hall, a local used book and record shop I frequented in my early teens. My tastes were much less sophisticated back then, and Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Doc Savage, the Saint, and to a lesser extent, the Shadow, were heroes that made the trials of growing up book-smart in a working class part of a mainly working-class town during my teen years go away for a few hours.

I don't read those heroes much anymore. My tastes have changed, maybe gotten more sophisticated and cynical too. I still savor the memories, though, and keep a collection of books from some of my favorite pulp heroes.

The convention was much more focused on the dealer room than most science fiction cons are. There were fewer panels, and the con suite didn't open until 5pm, after the dealer room closed. That was a bit of culture shock. Nevertheless, it was a fun day, a nostalgic day.