Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pulpfest Recap

Gina and I got home to Rochester from Pulpfest last night around 9 pm, having stopped in Buffalo to visit with my parents, sister, and grandparents over dinner.

Going to Pulpfest was a wonderful experience, and I'm so glad we went - other than a brief snafu regarding finding the appropriate parking lot, everything went as smooth as glass in terms of getting there, checking in, and settling into our (awesome) 10th story room.

We ended up eating every meal up the street at a place called North Market, as it was a lot cheaper and provided a much greater variety than the hotel would have, and Gina and I have been trying to introduce more new foods into our diets.  Among the places we tried were a Mediterranean place, a Polish deli, a BBQ place, a Belgian waffle bar and an independent doughnut maker.  Everything was delicious, and we ended up taking more photos of our food than we did the show, and we're not normally the type to take endless photos of our food.

I didn't attend quite as many panels as I originally intended to, but the ones I did attend were excellent.  Thursday night I sat in on a discussion of counterintelligence techniques displayed in the Shadow novels of Walter Gibson, Tim King gave a great talk, very informative and lively and he kept it fun as well.

Friday my panel hopping began with a reading from New Fictioneer Jason Scott Aiken, reading his story "The Sword of Lomar" from the new anthology "Swords Against Cthulhu," which was really gripping.  "The Sword of Lomar" takes place slightly before the events of H.P. Lovecraft's "Polaris," and features a flame-haired swordswoman (aren't they all?), Nujah of Lomar, as she tries to stem the advance of the diabolical half-human Inutos.

Following Jason's reading, I was scheduled to run a session of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, which fell
through - no players showed up! It was myself, Rick Thomas and Jeff "Venture" Fournier sitting around telling stories of RPGs past for about an hour.

That night, Gina and I caught the tail end of the talk with Jon Arfstrom, the last surviving artist from the original run of Weird Tales, then enjoyed listening to Chuck Loridans, Jason Scott Aiken and Frank Schildiner discuss the weird tales of Philip Jose Farmer - during which time Gina was carefully writing down the titles of stories that sounded interesting, and whispering to me, "Look for this in the dealer's room tomorrow morning."

After that, we closed out our panel-attending with a discussion of "The Creation of the Lovecraft Mythos" by John Haefele, Don Herron, Tom Krabacher, Rick Lai, and Nathan Madison.  A lot of this went over Gina's head, and it really was geared towards devoted Lovecraftians who knew a lot of what was being covered already, but I do not fault the gents on stage for that one bit - the talk wasn't really intended as an introduction to Lovecraft.

As far as what I bought...well, let me preface by saying I went in with a budget that I set for myself, and a list of things I was specifically looking for.  On the following list, the books I picked up that were on my list are bolded, and the books purchased after I went over budget are italicized.

  • Time's Last Gift - Philip Jose Farmer
  • Hadon of Ancient Opar - Philip Jose Farmer
  • Exiles of Kho - Christopher Paul Carey
  • Flight to Opar - Philip Jose Farmer
  • Hadon, King of Opar - Christopher Paul Carey
  • Tarzan Alive - Philip Jose Farmer
  • Swords Against Cthulhu - various, incl. Jason Scott Aiken
  • Barbarian Crowns - various, incl. Jason Scott Aiken
  • Fall of Cthulhu vol. II - various, incl. Jason Scott Aiken
  • Airship Hunters - Jim Beard and Duane Spurlock
  • Tales of the Wold Newton Universe - Philip Jose Farmer
  • Coffin Kirk - Arch Whitehouse
  • Carnacki: The New Adventures - various, incl. Jim Beard
I might have a slight addiction, and I definitely went in underestimating how much I would want.  

I also picked up the collection "Death Has An Escort," by Roger Torrey, as a retirement present for my father, who retires after almost 30 years at the post office in a few weeks.  He's largely responsible for my interest in the pulps, having introduced me to Tarzan as a very young kid and later taking me to see the '90s film adaptation of THE PHANTOM.  In the last few years, he's gotten really into crime and detective fiction, both vintage and modern, especially stories taking place in unusual times or locales, and over dinner last night we spent quite a bit of time discussing Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane.  Once he retires, he's going to have a lot of free time on his hands, and hopefully more reading material will keep him from driving my mother up the wall.  Personally, I think now would be a great time for him to transition from reading detective stories to writing them himself.  

So that was my first experience at Pulpfest.  I met a lot of really nice people - seriously, really nice people.  I was blown away at how friendly everyone I talked to was.  I got my first opportunity to seriously geek out and discuss H. Rider Haggard...probably ever.  I definitely am already planning to attend next year's show.  


  1. Bill, thanks for your nice review about PulpFest 2015. We're really glad that you and Gina had a good time at your first PulpFest. That's what we work toward, year after year. We hope you'll be back for many, many more Fests in the future.

    Mike Chomko

    1. We're already planning our attendance for next year, Mike.