Pulp fictions

The first paperback books appeared just before World War 2, but they truly came into their own after the war. Picking up on the energy and style of magazines like Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Weird Tales - many of which could sell over a million copies of an issue - they quickly became a part of the cultural landscape in Europe, the UK and North America.

The technology of four-colour printing and lamination developed for for military maps made the paperback cover eye catching and also  kept ink from running when people would examine the covers of the book.

The subject matter ranged from crossword puzzles to soft porn to what would later become canons of 20th century literature, including the first appearances of Beat writers like William S. Burroughs...

The Beats were far from the only amazing writers who first found readers around the racks in drug stores, train stations and department stores.

Paperbacks took words and ideas
to stores and streets where people lived
and worked. The impact of the writing was enormous, but their effect on society did not stop at the edge of the page.

Paperbacks would become the basis of hundreds of movies made around the world, extending their impact deeper and deeper into people's lives.

These books, and the publishers who printed them would challenge censors, present new ideas and open eyes and ears to new possibilities. The imagery, themes, colours, subjects and language would change the world. Writing, painting, film and even popular music would never be the same.

How cool is that?

Here are some excellent places to see more and learn a lot!



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