Pulp Books

Pulp! For me, this refers to ‘books I pick up in book stores that are more or less obscure’.

However, I’ve also read some more well known books, so this definition is more ‘sci-fi/horror/fantasy/genre books which are printed as mass market paperbacks and are often overlooked in the mainstream market’. And ‘unlikely to be sold in bookshops currently’.

Pulp is always genre fiction, at least. That part is always true.

I’m marking if it’s ‘problematic’ because that’s another staple of pulp- it’s often ‘from another time’ and thus lacking, er, social grace about some issues.


On a Pale Horse, Piers Anthony

☆☆☆☆☆- 0 stars

Problematic: Sexism, racism, excusing pedophilia, weird sex things……

The concept and plot hook are fantastic. The rest needs to go, immediately.


The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin

☆☆☆☆☆- 0 stars

Problematic: big user of the racist ‘noble savage’ trope, with some sexism in there too

I hate this book and everything about it, to be honest. It’s not even fun.


The Immortals, Andrew Neiderman

★★☆☆☆- 2 stars

Problematic: weird sex things, quite dismissive of women

This is the story of one woman and her horrible, increasingly abusive husband who is forgiven in the end, but it’s cheesy light sci-fi/fantasy nonsense which has fun moments.


The Silicon Man, Charles Platt

★★☆☆☆- 2

Problematic: not really, not to my memory. Weird!

Really more the author thinking about virtual reality than something with a plot, and fairly forgettable beyond that.


Perfect little angels, Andrew Neiderman

★★☆☆☆- 2

Problematic: weird sex things, weird writing of teen girls

Though fun as a concept, doesn’t really use the whole ‘mind control’ thing as well as it could have.


Time Travelers strictly Cash, Spider Robinson

★★☆☆☆- 2.5

Problematic: No!

The first book is far better, but this one has some good stories. Mostly the one about the psychic talking dog who works as a DJ.


The Omen, David Seltzer

★★★☆☆- 3

Problematic: well, it’s very christian, but not really

A classic, but not particularly scary. You’re really better off just watching the film.


High-Rise, J. G. Ballard

★★★☆☆- 3.5

Problematic: it’s based on Freud philosophy. So, yes. Weird sex things, reductive view of women, rape

A classic, with good social commentary mixed with stuff I personally disagree with. Best opening line. Tense and wild and quite unique.


Only Child, Jesse Osburn

★★★★☆- 4

Problematic: not to my memory

Easily could have been an 80s classic horror film, with dumb plot points, secret cults, and murder drama.



LINK angels series, Lyda Morehouse

(Book 2) (Book 3) (Book 4)

★★★★☆- 4.5

Problematic: there’s some backwards talk of gay men/a possibly trans character, but it’s language use, and he’s accepted by the cast without thought

Retro-futurism and technology, a cyberpunk with a strange and enjoyable vision of the far future… Mixed with some Universal Unitarianism for good measure.


Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, Spider Robinson


Problematic: a gay/cross-dresser is talked about with some outdated terms but is accepted by the group

A real soft yet masculine short story collection about weird people and their weird home and friends as family.


Mallworld, Somtow Sucharitkul


Problematic: in the future, everything is legal. Weird sex things, pedophilia

Utterly wild vision of the distant future and a wide array of stories set in it. Retro-futurist with plenty of novel ideas (bad, but novel).


Max on Earth, Marilyn Kaye


Problematic: The alien girl having short hair is seen as the height of scandel? Not really anything

God this book is so strange and abnormal and that’s what makes it delightful. Just a stupid book about an alien who’s half human and trying to understand human emotions, and the normal teen she’s befriended who must suffer due to this.