The Ephemera

The Pulp Issue.

Summer, 2019 / No. 43
Hartley Lin

The low-grade paper stock and lack of colour of this number’s physical edition are not signs of destitution. Taddle Creek’s present format is, rather, a one-time celebration of the largely defunct pulp magazine. During the first half of the twentieth century, pulps such as Argosy, Amazing Stories, The Shadow, and Feature Detective Cases offered lurid tales of crime, sex, and . . . railroading, and were so popular that surprisingly little shame was attached to reading them.

Pulps took their name from the inexpensive paper on which they were printed, but even that became prohibitively expensive during the Second World War—one of the factors, along with comic books, television, and paperbacks, that lead to the genre’s decline. This left writers of short fiction few places to peddle their wares but poorly circulated literary magazines like this one—a tradition that continues to this day.

Pulps are best remembered for their iconic covers, and this issue’s cover artist, Ryan Heshka, Canada’s modern-day pulp master, does not disappoint. (Interior illustrations are courtesy of George Pfromm, America’s modern-day George Pfromm—possibly an even more exclusive title.) Pulps also are remembered for the questionable quality of their content, and that, lucky reader, is where the comparisons to Taddle Creek’s pulp spectacular thankfully end. So grab a moist towelette to wipe the ink off your hands and enjoy.

With this issue, Suzanne Alyssa Andrew steps down as Taddle Creek’s associate editor. Suzanne first became involved with the magazine as a writer, in 2006, later guesting in the associate spot for one issue before filling the position permanently, as of No. 36. Suzanne recently left Toronto to return to her hometown of Vancouver, where, among other things, she is hard at work on her second novel. The magazine offers Suzanne its thanks for her boosterism and rugged work ethic these past four years. Taddle Creek hates to say goodbye—and apparently so does Suzanne, because she’s agreed to stay on as a contributing editor, keeping the magazine abreast of West Coast happenings. And so, Taddle Creek wishes Suzanne both a fond farewell, and a hearty hello.

Next issue: Taddle Creek returns to its regular format for a three-dimensional extravaganza sure to make you ask, “Wait, are my tax dollars paying for this?” Don’t miss it!