This semester I’m in a science fiction class, and we went to the special collections library at UGA to look at their collection of science fiction pulp magazines. Pulps were cheap fiction magazines that were put out in the late 1800s and 1900s, and they really helped the sci-fi community grow in the early and mid 1900s. My group looked at the pulp magazine Startling Stories from 1942 and 1943. I specifically looked at the magazines that came out from January to May in 1942. I found parts of my pulps particularly fascinating in the ways they illustrated science fiction, revealed cultural changes from then and now, and offered insight on the writing life. I thought I’d share some pictures I took that help explain a little more about what I mean.
A typical cover of a science fiction pulp looked like this. I love the colors and imagination that went into it. I especially love the woman flying the spaceship. Although a classmate made the valid point that most of the people on the covers were white men and women, now I like to think covers of the pulps would be a little more diverse.
I thought the recent Gillette commercial was pretty awesome for encouraging men to break away from toxic masculinity and inspiring new generations of young men to be better people. They also pledged to donate one million dollars each year for the next three years to nonprofits like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. You can read more about what Gillette is trying to do here. That is why I find this picture depicting an ad for Gillette in 1942 all the more interesting. I think it shows how advertisements have changed over the years, especially in regards to how companies advertise to men and women. We still have a long way to go in terms of how America views and expresses gender, but I’m glad we have 2019 Gillette and not 1942 Gillette.
Finally I wanted to show this little snippet that as a writer I found interesting. I don’t have much to say on this except yes! Sometimes I feel discouraged as a writer because all the published authors out there are just so good (how do I possibly expect to compete with them?), but apparently writers in 1942 had this same fear. Seeing this actually encourages me to just put myself out there and write. I have to say I’m not in it for the fame and riches that this pulp seems to think awaits all new writers, but it would be a nice perk!