RE: RARA-AVIS: Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers

From: Alan K. Rode (
Date: 11 Oct 2007

Contractually, the publisher usually has the hammer on a book like this although I don't know who precisely came up with this particular title.


One would think that "specialists in the field" are actually who they say and think they are. This anointment should include not being easily misled.


Exhaustiveness aside, what's important about a non-fiction book is the quality of the content, not the title.




Alan K. Rode




From: [mailto:] On Behalf Of Jess Nevins Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:15 AM To: Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers


-----Original Message-----
>From: "Alan K. Rode" <arode@socal. <>>
>I think Lee's introduction speaks for itself. Also: a book title, more
>than not, is what a publisher believes what will allow the house to sell
>books rather than a precise content identifier. This practice tends to be
>extremely noticeable with non-fiction.

True, but both writer and publisher need to be careful when they phrase their title, so as to not mislead both the general public and the specialists in the field. When you use the word "encyclopedia" you implicitly lay claim to exhaustiveness, and when you use the phrase "pulp fiction writers" you implicitly claim you are going to be covering writers of pulp fiction. If you aren't exhaustive and end up covering many writers whose work didn't appear in the pulps, while neglecting prominent writers whose work did appear in the pulps, you'd better have a very good explanation and put it at the beginning of your introduction, not tucked away in one sentence at the end of a long history of pulps and pulpish fiction.

Jess Nevins, author of the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana
(in the introduction to which I addressed the exhaustiveness issue) and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes (in the introduction to which I address both the exhaustiveness issue and the "pulp heroes" issue).


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