A Legacy in Danger
Pulp fiction magazines were a huge part of American pop culture in the first half of the twentieth century. If you have any doubts about the importance of pulp fiction in American literature, here are a few pulp authors you may have heard of: Isaac Asimov, Charles Beaumont, Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, Max Brand, Edgar Rice Burroughs, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Arthur C. Clarke, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, Lester Dent, Philip K. Dick, Philip José Farmer, C. S. Forester, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Erle Stanley Gardner, Zane Grey, Dashiell Hammett, Robert A. Heinlein, O. Henry, Frank Herbert, Robert E. Howard, L. Ron Hubbard, Rudyard Kipling, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard, Jack London, H. P. Lovecraft, John D. MacDonald, Richard Matheson, Johnston McCulley, Ellery Queen, Upton Sinclair, Mickey Spillane, Tennessee Williams, and many others who will be forgotten if their bodies of work are not preserved.
Collectors may preserve physical copies of pulp magazines, but they aren't preserving the literature. The volumes are slid into archival sleeves and stored in a dark place. The magazines are rarely read, and each time they are, they're damaged. Even in their protective cases, the magazines' poor quality pulp paper is slowly disintegrating.
Time is running out to save the works of these authors.
Preserving the Legacy
The iPulpFiction.com Pulp Preservation Project [view demo] is about bringing this wealth of forgotten American literature to the mobile generation. Our objective is to preserve the legacy of an entire class of literature. Many of these stories have never been reprinted since their original publication, making the Pulp Preservation Project a rich research tool for scholars as well as a boon to pulp fans and casual readers.
There will be two sets of classic pulp collections on the site: The free Public Collection of public domain issues and the Premium all-you-can-read subscription service of copyrighted content licensed from premium content holders such as Steeger Properties LLC, Altus Press, and Adventure Pulp LLC.
We do not produce facsimile magazines and we are not magazine collectors. In fact, the magazine itself must often be dismantled in the process of digitally republishing the stories. The process is this:
1) We acquire a magazine. The rarer the issue, the higher the cost of acquisition.
2) The cover is removed, stabilized on acid-free card stock, and then scanned.
3) The interior pages are separated and interior story illustrations are scanned.
4) The text is OCR scanned and the digital manuscript is proofed and edited with academic integrity. We only correct errors. We never censor.
5) Each story is entered into our searchable database and can be read on any device in our exclusive cReader.
Our funding request only covers website development. The scope of this project is staggering, with thousands of magazines to be acquired, scanned, processed, edited and entered into the system. Every dollar over our funding request allows us to purchase and process more magazines in a shorter amount of time.
PUBLIC imprints include:
PREMIUM imprints include:
Risks and challenges
The Pulp Preservation Project faces two daunting challenges:
The first is the issue of copyright. In many cases, the pulp magazines’ owners clearly renewed their copyrights. Sometimes, however, copyright status is unclear and requires time-consuming research. Plus, some authors have legally reclaimed copyrights to their own individual stories.
The project will have two parallel publication tracks: one for copyrighted collections and one for public domain collections. The copyrighted collections will be licensed from their copyright holders and paid for through a premium subscription plan with a nominal fee. The public domain collections will be open to all readers, free of charge.
When in doubt about the copyright of individual stories, we will err on the side of preservation and create digital copies of the works. Literary estates can contact us and have us deactivate any stories in question and we will gladly provide them with digital manuscripts of the works in question.
The second challenge is the sheer enormity of the project. We need to acquire the content, either by purchasing and processing hard copies of the thousands of issues, or by partnering with content owners. We hope to have several hundred stories in our database by the end of the initial development cycle and will then use funds generated by premium subscriptions to pay for continued production and operation.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)