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This was a widespread source of affordable fiction in the first half of the 20th century. They were essentially regular periodicals printed on cheap paper featuring original text stories. (In contrast to the slick magazines, on higher grade paper)

Inside these mags were stories of almost every genre possible depending on a particular magazine's focus. While the Action Adventure series in the spirit of Indiana Jones and Tarzan and proto-Superhero (like The Shadow or Doc Savage) series are best remembered today, there were vast varieties like science fiction (like Amazing Stories), crime & detective (like Black Mask), horror (H.P. Lovecraft's stories) romance and many others.

Very few involved, including the writers who often were paid a penny a word, thought the fiction created had real value the way novels often tried to. But the stories were at their best in the wild scenes of furious action, and influence their descendant media to this day. Many Dead Horse Tropes were new and original in the pulps. For instance, the Superhero and Spy Hero stories like James Bond owe a lot to the medium's influence.

Eventually, it was killed off by competition from movies, comic books, television and the paperback novel, newer forms of affordable entertainment.

See also Two-Fisted Tales, works directly inspired by the pulps. Compare with Dime Novel. Space Opera, Planetary Romance and Sword and Sorcery became distinct genres in the pulps.

Not to be confused with the band called PULP. The movie Pulp Fiction derives its title, and some of its style, from stories in pulp magazines.

Examples of Pulp Magazine include: