With summer, come lazy days on the beach, in the garden, or in transit to your holiday escape. Wherever you find yourself this summer, you’ll want a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other. To help you stack your sidetable we’re offering a $2 discount on pre-orders of Issue 11, featuring Matthew Hooton, Robert Jeshonek and the last episode of Allaigna’s Song: Overture, due out July 1st, just in time for Canada Day!
Issue 11, Summer 2016 $12.99 ebook $2.99
And if you need reading material before July, we’ve dropped the prices on Amazon.com for our Summer 2014 and Summer 2015 issues to $2.99 each for the month of June as well. Stock up your e-reader and save!
Our contest judge is Bob Thurber, master of short fiction. To inspire you to inspire him, here are a few paragraphs from ‘Wager’, the first of his stories to be published in PulpLiterature.
I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum. The truly important people are Tony and Phil. You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil. The poor bastard’s a wreck, jittery from lack of sleep, fuelled by too much coffee. He hasn’t bathed, shaved or eaten since Thursday’s late afternoon breakfast, when he was chewing on a slice of rubbery bacon, commenting to Tony, his roommate and life partner, how premium quality, centre-cut bacon really should not be cooked on a paper towel in a microwave.
That’s when the phone rang and Phil answered.
The caller’s voice was flat, cold, nonchalant to the point of sounding breezy. It was a voice right out of a Hitchcock thriller, in that moment right before some woman screams. After a brief, rather one-sided conversation full of ugly and melodramatic references to shattered bones, torn flesh, broken teeth, the caller said, “Imagine how it’s going to feel to have both your eyes scooped out with a soup spoon, you deadbeat faggot.”
Want to read the rest? You can pick up the ebook version of Pulp Literature Issue 3 for just $2.99 for the month of June, and the print version is $3 off as well! Click here to order.
We love summer! After all, Pulp was born on a sunny deck on Bowen Island in July of 2013, and our earliest graphics featured books and beer on the beach. While we eagerly await issue 7, we thought we’d celebrate the start of summer by offering back issues of last summer’s offering, Issue 3, on sale for the month of June.
For this month only you can get the Summer 2014 issue, with stories by Governor General Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod, Hummingbird Prize judge Bob Thurber, as well as Laird Long, Deborah Walker, Conor Powers-Smith, Fred Zackel and more. Only $12 for print, and $2.99 for ebooks both here on our website and on Amazon. Crack open a cold one and get a head start on summer reading now!
Pacing is a tricky learning curve for some, like me. Other writers seem to have an intuitive feel for it and know just when to give us that beautifully painted descriptive passage that informs character and even moves the story along. Whenever my co-editors Jen and Sue read their work during our Writing Circles sessions, I’m always gobsmacked at the brilliance of their pacing.
How often we read this criticism of novelists and short fiction writers: “Too much description.” Although sometimes that’s right on, more frequently I find that description is misplaced. One of the ways a master storyteller shows his or her skill is by knowing where a descriptive passage works, and where it must not set one painted toe.
And it’s worth learning where in story structure these places are. For example, during the quiet moments where the character is finding that he or she is not what she was, description adds to the importance of the moment, and of course you want to get out the brush and paints when you’re drawing out a reveal moment (the unopened letter’s in his hand, the stranger’s on her doorstep). GG winner Joan MacLeod nails the placement in her perfect story ‘The Salt Tour’ in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature. Best selling thriller writers like Lee Child are masters at knowing exactly when to use description and figurative language and you can examine a book chapter by chapter to see where he’s placing action, description and figurative language. For a perfect example of description informing plot, conflict, and character, take a look at the moment Harry Potter first enters Hogwarts dining hall.
I think of description like caesura in music. Stop on the wrong bar, it’s a hand in the face. When it’s rightly placed, wow.
Today’s interview is with the wise and witty Mouse from Sylvia Stopforth’s cautionary tale ‘Dragon Rock’, adapted to graphic novel format by Mel Anastasiou and first seen in issue 3.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? A hot, freshly steeped pot of tea; a companion who can accurately define the word “humble.”
What is your greatest fear? Being stepped on.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? An inability to see past the obvious. A lack of imagination. A tendency to mock … which can, on occasion, prove dangerous.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? The tea is getting cold.
What is your most marked characteristic? Not suffering fools gladly; also the delightful hint of sulphur on my breath.
Who are your favourite writers? Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux); Leo Lionni (Frederick); EB White (Stuart Little); Brian Jacques (Redwall). I am also fond of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy; he had a good grasp of species hierarchy.
How would you like to die? I should like to die of a surfeit of satisfaction.
What is something we’d never glean about you from ‘Dragon Rock’? I am fond of clocks, and loathe farmers’ wives.
Sylvia Stopforth is a university archivist and research librarian whose fiction has appeared in Room, The New Quarterly, and Pulp Literature. She has had a smattering of book reviews published, as well as an essay in an anthology, Shy (University of Alberta Press, 2013). For ten years she has served as a regular column editor for BC History Journal. Sylvia lives near the ocean with her husband.
You can find the delightful Mouse amid the pages of ‘Dragon Rock’, in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulp Literature.
Today we reach into the cosmic handbag and pull out an interview with Deborah Walker’s ‘Aunty Merkel’ from Issue 3.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? When you get to my age, my dear, the greatest happiness is in watching your family do well.
On what occasion do you lie? I never lie. Sometimes the world lies, but there are ways of getting around that.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I wouldn’t say I overused any expression. But ‘least said, soonest mended’ is a phrase I might mention, from time to time.
What is your most treasured possession? Mr Tegmark, my darling Sphynx cat. I’ve had him forever.
What is your most marked characteristic? Fortitude in the face of entropy.
How would you like to die? I don’t really think that question’s applicable to me, my dear.
What is your motto? To know the future is to change it.
Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in the country, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog. Her stories have appeared in Nature Magazine’s Futures, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction and The Year’s Best SF 18.
‘Aunty Merkel’ can be found in Pulp Literature Issue 3, Summer 2014, available on our Kickstarter page.