Pulp Heroes II (Photo credit: Terry McCombs)
English: Cover of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, featuring Master Mind of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Italiano: Copertina della rivista Amazing Stories (1927) con La mente di Marte (The Master Mind of Mars) di Edgar Rice Burroughs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Photo credit: Cherry Crimson)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I love pulp fiction. I spent many days of life lost on an alien world or solving mysteries as a gumshoe: all in the pulp pages. It’s not the best, highest quality, literature to be sure, but it’s fun and a great escape.
Maybe the greatest pulp writer of the all was Edgar Rice Burroughs. My grandmother hooked my dad on him when he was a teen, and my dad did the same to me. Seeing as how it’s a family tradition I plan on introducing my sons to his works as well. He wrote hundreds of stories and never assumed he was anything but a story-teller. In fact he felt he was a terrible writer.
Like so many of the great pulpsters he not only wrote but he was able to make a living at writing. As I’m reacquainting myself with writing that is become as impressive to me as the sheer volume of his work.
If you don’t know his work here’s the wiki on him:
Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois (he later lived for many years in the suburb of Oak Park), the fourth son of businessman and Civil War veteran Major George Tyler Burroughs (1833–1913) and his wife Mary Evaline (Zieger) Burroughs (1840–1920). His middle name is from his paternal grandmother, Mary Rice Burroughs (1802-ca. 1870).
Burroughs was educated at a number of local schools, and during the Chicago influenza epidemic in 1891, he spent a half year at his brother’s ranch on the Raft River in Idaho. He then attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then the Michigan Military Academy. Graduating in 1895, and failing the entrance exam for the United States Military Academy (West Point), he ended up as an enlisted soldier with the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. After being diagnosed with a heart problem and thus found ineligible to serve, he was discharged in 1897.
Some seemingly unrelated short jobs followed. Some drifting and ranch work followed in Idaho. Then, Burroughs found work at his father’s firm in 1899. He married childhood sweetheart Emma Hulbert in January 1900. In 1904 he left his job and found less regular work; some in Idaho, later in Chicago.
By 1911, after seven years of low wages, he was working as a pencil sharpener wholesaler and began to write fiction. By this time Burroughs and Emma had two children, Joan (1908–1972), who would later marry Tarzan film actor James Pierce, and Hulbert (1909–1991). During this period, he had copious spare time and he began reading many pulp fiction magazines. In 1929 he recalled thinking that
…if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines. Full text