My Bookshelf: The Pulp Jungle by Frank Gruber

My Bookshelf

The Pulp Jungle, by Frank Gruber

A fascinating collection of colourful  reminisces of the Frank Gruber‘s years as a writer, covering his years in New York from 1934 to 1943, as he struggled to–and eventually succeeded–in establishing himself in the highly competitive world of the pulps.

Regrets? Gruber had a few,  but when you’re an aspiring writer in what was often a dog-eat-dog field, you do what you gotta do, paying your dues and writing your ass off.  And it seems to have paid off–he may not have been an A-lister, but in his long career, Gruber churned out over 400 short stories and novellas, over fifty novels, over 150 screenplays and TV scripts, and more than 150 articles. He also created a slew of note-worthy sleuths and private eyes along the way, including Oliver Quade, Johnny Fletcher and Sam Cragg, Simon Lash and Eddie Slocum, Otis Beagle and Joe Peel, and Shotgun Slade.

So if Gruber toots his own horn a little, well, at least it’s justified honking–he made a living doing what he loved. And along the way, he offers plenty of tales from the trenches, as well as mostly fond reminisces of fellow writers like Max Brand, Erle Stanley Gardner, L. Ron Hubbard and so many others. 

Wannabe writers will also appreciate his no-bullshit thoughts on editors, word counts, plotting, discipline, the loneliness of writing, and in particular his own Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories

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  • “I’ve long been meaning to read this short, breezy remembrance of Gruber’s pulp writing days, but in some ways I feel as if I already have. It’s been quoted and referenced in virtually every pulp history I’ve ever read, from Tony Goodstone’s The Pulps (1976) to Ed Hulse’s 2018 revision of The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction.”
    –Steve Scott (November, PulpsScans)


THE PULP JUNGLE Buy this book
Gruber, Frank,
Sherbourne Press, 1967.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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