Why We Need The #PulpRev

Reading in Cadiz
Reading in Cádiz by Kamil Porembiński is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The world is a dark place. There is evil everywhere; the little evils we endure every day, as well as the great evils. For some people (myself included), the darkness seems be ascendant most of the time. This perception can cause someone to lose all hope and break them. Every day the darkness claims more people. No drastic action is necessary; simply giving up or ceasing to hope is enough. The darkness kills the drive to improve or succeed or create. It robs the world of a person’s full potential.

We see enough of this darkness every day. And enough is enough.

When we sit down to crack open a book, we need an escape, even a short one. We do not need more darkness thrown in our face. We need hope. Light. Joy. That is why we need the Pulp Revolution.

We can find any number of books that crush hope or push the reader into the darkness. Where are the books that rekindle hope and bring light? There are many of them and they come from many different genres and authors. However, the brightest beacon that currently exists is the Pulp Revolution.

These are stories with heroes overcoming villains. Stories of people with honor and loyalty. These are stories that bring a small glimmer of hope. These are good stories that inspire. These push back against the darkness that threatens to engulf our lives.

If I may quote G.K. Chesterton…

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.”

Possible Objections & Responses

What about family? Friends? The Church?
– Sometimes people let you down. A story is eternal. Once it is written down, it stays the same (unless you are George Lucas).

Are you saying that only stories with happy endings are acceptable?
– No. Some stories are a little darker and that is fine. What I am against are the misery-fests that infest modern “literary” fantasy and sci-fi.


3 thoughts on “Why We Need The #PulpRev

  1. This is timely to what I’ve been thinking about earlier this morning. The story I’m writing right now has elements of darkness in it and I’m figuring out how to balance that so bringing in hope/light isn’t forced but seems as much a part of the world as the darkness itself. (Happy endings can sometimes seem dreadfully forced, as much as some grimdark can seem forced).

    I was considering that the thing which distinguishes the “misery-fests” (an apt term) that pervade SFF right now, especially after the popularity of R.R. Martin’s series, is the difference in how to present and project humanity’s nature. Misery-fests firmly believe in the idea that the human being’s soul is essentially an anti-hero and that darkness cannot be defeated because it is inherent in every human, thus giving up to this. Humanity in these stories are defined by a pessimistic view towards the futility of the character efforts, regardless of their attitudes. Potentially this might be a mind-trick corruption/extreme subconsciously created by a writer’s awareness that they are technically in control of what happens in the world and to the characters.

    Taking this understanding and flipping it to understand further, humanity can be defined in an optimistic view that humans are capable of making any effort at all against darkness (internal or external) and it is this capability that creates the sensation of hope in our morphic resonance. It is hope because it is a fight against the apathy of the prior extreme (giving up) and perhaps still a futile effort when the bounds of perception exceed humanity into the stars and beyond (which is mostly unknown), but it is still an effort that can be made and the sheer fact that effort can be made suggests that it isn’t futile in some way. Humanity is defined by their ability to make a difference, their free will to act against the darkness… or with the darkness.

    It’s the same deal with happiness at a smaller scale. Perspective and perception define happiness for individuals, a mental game with high stakes that can change on the flip of a dime.

    Misery-fests frequently fall into the trap of being determinist when it comes to a human’s will. It is a dark outlook that humanity’s fate is set to always give in and fall to the negative and horrific aspects of our world and the ability to courageously fight and display light and strength is berated as less-than or pointless in turn. I don’t believe that this drive is analyzed by the people writing these misery-fests because each story is dependent on characters capable of fighting and trying to be proactive in order to create dramatic conflict…… Those writers just choose as the creator of their world to kill those people within it, to kill the hope and inherent strength of humanity’s consciousness. That is their choice in the perception struggle and their attempt to blackpill others.

    So that’s where I am right now on this topic. Still contemplating because whatever conclusions I come to will influence the creative decisions I make in my own stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that this line in your comment…

      “Misery-fests frequently fall into the trap of being determinist when it comes to a human’s will. It is a dark outlook that humanity’s fate is set to always give in and fall to the negative and horrific aspects of our world and the ability to courageously fight and display light and strength is berated as less-than or pointless in turn.”

      …is the key to the difference between a misery-fest and a dark story. In a dark story, it might not end nicely, but the characters at least fight against it and they believe in their struggle. They may ultimately fail, but their ability to persevere against the darkness is inspiring and uplifting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Nerd Life: Aim Away From Face – Of Wolves and Men

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