Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hard SF: More than Crunch

The debate about hard science fiction rages on, centered around the idea of scientific accuracy. Many Campbell accusations were spilled, and rightly so, as it was the fans who became the Campbell writers who ran Dr. Satan out of Weird Tales, ran Lovecraft out of Astounding, and ran Amazing out of good standing, all because each lacked the crunch of scientific accuracy. Yet the debate between hard and soft science fiction reaches further back than the birth of modern science fiction in 1937.

In 1909, Maurice Renard wrote in Le Spectateur an analysis of the emerging scientific-marvelous stories. Tracing the birth of scientific-marvelous from Edgar Allan Poe, Renard noticed that the scientific-marvelous had two defining characteristics: a scientific principle and the extrapolation of that principle into the unknown. Taking sight on Jules Verne, Renard said:
It's all about, for example, having the idea of a time machine to explore time, and not about a fictional protagonist who has managed to construct a submarine at a time when real engineers are hot on the trail of such an invention. And I strongly assert that this, in essence, is what differentiates Wells from Jules Verne--two writers so frequently lumped together. Jules Verne never wrote a single sentence of scientific-marvelous. In his time, science was pregnant with many impending discoveries; Verne simply supposed them already born before they actually were. He only barely extrapolated on discoveries that were already on their way to seeing the light of day.
Verne lacked the extrapolation of the unknown, even though his stories were full of scientific accuracy born from endless research. His stories were never among the scientific-marvelous. Verne even denied that his works were ever supposed to be read as scientific. And while Renard held H. G. Wells up as the man who "[fleshed] out the themes of the scientific-marvelous," he also pointed out that many of Wells' scientific romances, like Verne's, fell short of inclusion into the genre of the scientific-marvelous.

Using Renard's definition in the present day allows us to make the following determinations: The Martian by Andy Weir is not hard SF, for hard SF in the traditions pre-pulp was “all about extending science fully into the unknown, and not simply imagining that science has finally accomplished such and such a feat currently in the process of coming to be.” The Martian has significant scientific accuracy, but it is all emergent engineering and not the extending of science fully into the unknown. John C. Wright’s Count to the Eschaton sequence is far more fanciful than The Martian, but it is true hard SF as it takes the vast distances between worlds and postulates what might be needed to create a polity between them. In fact, it is possible for scientifically implausible "soft" science fiction to still be hard, if, among its flights of fancy, it establishes one scientific principle and runs straight into the unknown with its implications.

Not all that crunches is hard.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Accuracy vs. Realism in Science Fiction

As Campbell and Pulp supporters squared off over recent posts critical of Campbell writers, I wanted to dive deeper into what exactly was inside the Campbell revolution that Pulp was rejecting. Hard SF has been around since Verne, Poe, and even Kepler, so it could not have been the accuracy required by Campbell that is the cause of contention. Looking at Campbell's fantasy magazine Unknown/Unknown Worlds and one of his protege's attempts to turn the Shadow into Shadow Mystery, I noticed a trend away from the heroic to the everyday, as literary realism became more prevalent. It was also literary realism which the Futurians embraced at the end of the Campbelline Age, giving birth to the assumption that science fiction must contain social commentary.

I posted my first attempt to write this up at the Castalia House blog:
On the current Campbel/Pulp argument: 
1/ Mulling over the difference between accuracy and realism. The drive to make a story better fit science, geography, or culture is a long-standing tradition, seen in the pulps, in Verne, and even earlier. It is possible to be fantastic and accurate, as the Shadow and Louis L’Amour show… 
2/ Realism, however, is the idea that only the stories of the everyman and that only everyday and banal activities and experiences are worth writing about. This idea is anathema to any sort of fantastic literature. The adoption of this idea, typically in 20 year cycles, has driven down sales in sff. 
3/ PulpRev has recently come under fire by Campbell fans for its criticism of Campbell writers. It is not the accuracy of the Campbell writers we object to, but the realism of those writers. That realism allowed more fanatical realists – such as the Futurians – to enter the genre… 
4/ It is this increasing drive toward realism that it is the source of SFF’s current woes. Almost every major reaction against Campbelline writing is a step further towards realism, further away from heroes and great deeds. Oddly enough, it is the accuracy of the Campbells that the realists protest. 
5/ There is room under the Pulp umbrella for the accuracy of Campbell-style writing. There is no room in fantastic literature for realism.
Fortunately, Misha Burnett chose to answer:
I see your point, I think, regarding accuracy and realism, although I would probably define the words a bit differently than you do. 
What you are calling accuracy I would call consistency, and would divide it into internal and external consistency. 
It’s external consistency that the Futurians were hung up on–they wanted stories in which Mars was described they way that the current astronomical theories described Mars. From a standpoint of internal consistency, however, it doesn’t matter is Burrough’s Barsoom resembles modern theories of the conditions on Mars, what matters is that the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom are always dead sea bottoms, and we don’t suddenly encounter an ocean of liquid water when going from Helium to Thark. 
Regarding what you call realism, I think the issue is even more complex. I don’t believe that ordinary people and their quotidian concerns are incompatible with either the fantastic or the heroic. 
In fact, I would say that the defense of the banal activities and experiences of ordinary life is the basis of heroism. Frodo and Sam were not fighting for a life of adventure, they were in Mordor precisely because they wanted the Shire to remain quiet and simple.
I think that the issue you take exception to is not the inclusion of ordinary people in adventure literature, but rather the assumption that “ordinary” perforce means the lowest common denominator. 
I personally believe that heroes are just ordinary people who have found themselves in extraordinary situations and have found it in themselves to rise to the occasion, and that great deeds are generally preformed in defense of a life filled with banal and ordinary.
Iron sharpens iron, and it is what Misha is calling external consistency that best explains the idea of accuracy I was searching for. And his comments about the nature of heroism are important to mull over. It is not the exaltation of the lowly in realism that is anathema to fantastic literature, but the idea that only the mundane, the lowly, and the everyday is worthy of literature. Realism as a literary movement excludes heroism, assumes that great men do not exist, reducing everything to determinism.. Realism, as a movement, seeks to eliminate the fantastic entirely. Realism is often seen as despair.

It is not the accuracy or the external consistency of the Campbelline Age which I have a problem with; rather it is the determinism, the despair, and the assumption that only Campbelline style works are legitimate fiction that I see as the founding mistake of modern science fiction.


Don't forget, Three for Three on Friday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Three for Three!

What's Three for Three?

We've had book bombs before in Pulp and Puppydom, but there are other ways to help out your favorite authors.  Jon Mollison over at Seagull Rising explains how:
One of the easiest, cheapest and fastest ways to show your support for an author is to write an Amazon review. The algorithms that operate in the substrate of that website use the reviews a book has to determine how strongly it sells that book to random shoppers. As a result, even a few reviews helps push the sales of a book, and push it up in the rankings. The best part is that reviews are permanent fixtures, so they continue to operate, whereas sales represent a short term bump. 
To that end, I'm calling for a review bomb. Here's how it works: On March 3, write three sentences to describe three books. 
That's it. 
Choose three titles off the list of books you've read. Spread the word, boost the signal for your favorite authors, particularly the smaller independent authors and those who are Pulp Revolution friendly. 
It sounds simple, but it will have a big impact. So spread the word: Three for three on 3/3.
On March 3 (3/3), help your favorite writers out. Write three sentence-long Amazon reviews for three books. Your choice.

Edgar Rice Burroughs: Entertainment is Fiction's Purpose

We live in an age where the proper role of science fiction and fantasy, according to the publishers and critics, is propaganda. Where the color of an author's skin and who is playing with her genitals at night is more important that the quality of the work. Where each new day, another group of people issue their own version of the fourteen words, trying to ensure the future and existence of white people, black people, gays, STEM majors, etc.. in science fiction, fandom, and even the greater society as a whole. The audience must learn, must be taught, must embrace whatever virtue is being hawked from the shelves this week. So many words are spent on what the audience ought to read, without a thought on what the audience wants to read.

So the audience, as usual, walks away, seeking their diversions elsewhere.

Recently, Sad Puppies became a voice crying in the wilderness, "Where the hell is the fun?" And, like the arrival of any prophet, the stones flew.

This is not new. Back in his prime, Harlan Ellison had to remind the authors of his own day that before one could educate, they first had to entertain. And for those who treat politics like football, Uncle Harlan is on the other side of the aisle from your typical Puppy.

Science fiction and fantasy have had to repeatedly learn over and over again Ellison's lesson. The genres have only survived the repeated downturns by embracing adventure and entertainment instead of the propagandist's scolding. But the lesson never sticks, so every ten years or so, the field must learn it again.

Unfortunately, this mulish tendency to lecture from the paperback has its roots in the birth of modern science fiction. Whether it was Gernsback shilling for science education, Campbell for technological progress, or Pohl for social progress, science fiction was split off from the rest of fiction by people who wanted it to server some greater good. But even back then, there were giants championing the cause for the reader.

In the course of giving advice to would-be authors, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote in Writer's Digest in 1930:
Except for purposes of entertainment, I consider fiction, like drama an absolute unessential. I would not look to any fiction writer, living or dead, for guidance upon any subject, and, therefore, if he does not entertain, he is a total loss. 
Every possible advantageous function of fiction may be found in history or biography, but for pure entertainment and mental relaxation nothing can take the place of fiction and drama, with the advantages all on the side of fiction since it may be had economically and in comfort at home. 
The man who takes himself and his work too seriously is certain to attempt something for which he is not fitted, with the result that he soon loses whatever following he may have created, or if he is a beginner, he never achieves any such following. 
In fiction the reader has a right to expect entertainment and relaxation. If obscenities entertain him he can always find fiction that will fulfill his requirements. If he wishes to be frightened or thrilled or soothed, he will find writers for his every mood, but you may rest assured that he does not wish to be instructed. He does not wish to have to think, and as fully ninety per cent of the people in the world are not equipped with anything wherewith to think intelligently, the fiction writer who wishes to be a success should leave teaching to qualified teachers and attend strictly to his business of entertaining.
If this article leaves any thought with you, I hope it is that the profession of fiction writing should be carried on upon a high plane of business integrity and professional ethics, without any vain and silly illusions as to the importance of fiction outside of the sphere of entertainment.
He who has an ear, let him hear...

Pulp Radio Wednesday: The Green Hornet - The Unexpected Meeting

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Johnny Fox: The Fall of #GamerGate & Sad Puppies

QuQu, Dan Wolfgang, and JimFear138 talk for hours on the similarities between Gamergate, Sad Puppies, and the Pulp Revolution. Pulp fans should pay attention to the last third of the podcast.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Geek Gab: A Conversation with John C. Wright, Razorfist, and Jeffro Johnson

As I owe both the Puppy of the Month Club and Castalia House a number of articles this week, posting here will be more Instapundit-style until the weekend.  Don't worry, I am working on a few ideas on New Wave, Campbelline vs. Futurian movements, and continued exploration of the trope described in this post. Unfortunately, the ideas need a little more time in the oven on top of time being a bit of a scarce resource this week. Fortunately, this weekend was a treasure trove of pulp and sci-fi conversation.

First on the list is Geek Gab's special episode with John C. Wright, Jeffro Johnson, and Razorfist as they talk pulps. I hope that each guest can return soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vote In the Planetary Awards!

The Planetary Awards are now open for voting:

Vote for the best stories of 2016

We’re expanding the voting pool for the awards this year, so read this entire post to find out if YOU are eligible to vote.
But first, here are the 2016 stories nominated by book bloggers across the internet:
Short Stories / Novellas
“Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in Thune’s Vision
Awakening” by Susan Kaye Quinn
“Edge” by Russell Newquist, found in Between the Wall and the Fire
“The Gift of the Ob-Men” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in Cirsova #1
“The Glass Flower” by George RR Martin, found in Volume 2 of Dreamsongs  [DISQUALIFIED]
“Images of the Goddess”by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in Cirsova #2
Paper Cut by Aeryn Rudel, found in Issue 1 of Red Sun Magazine
“Purytans” by Brad Torgersen, found in the July-August issue of Analog Magazine
Arkwright by Allen Steele
Babylon’s Ashes by James SA Corey
The Girl with Ghost Eyes by MH Boroson [DISQUALIFIED]
Hel’s Bet by Doug Sharp
The Invisible City by Brian K Lowe [DISQUALIFIED]
Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani
The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier
Swan Knight’s Son by John C Wright
How to vote:
If you were part of the nominating process, you don’t need to cast a vote. We will assume that you want to vote for your nominee(s). If you want to change your vote, or cast a vote in a category where you didn’t nominate, then post your new vote in the comments section below.
If you were NOT part of the nominating process, put your vote on your blog, podcast, or youtube channel.  Then, leave a comment on this page, so we know to count your vote. You get one vote for best short story and one for best novel, but you don’t have to use both votes if you’re only interested in one category.
NEW RULE THIS YEAR:  Although the nominees were chosen by the book blogging community, we’re allowing ANY blogger, podcaster, or youtuber to vote for the winners! We want food bloggers, travel bloggers, cat bloggers, dog bloggers, and anyone else who’s willing to publicly share about the book or short story they think is the best.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Don't Split the Party: Conan's Motivations

One of the pure delights of my introduction to pulps as pulp fiction and not individual stories was reading the game bloggers that Jeffro Johnson introduced as part of his Appendix N discussions. Not only was the insight into gaming interesting, but they, as a whole, thought deeper and harder about what made science fiction and fantasy than, say, Tor.com. The best lit crit and the clearest voices telling why the old tales entertained so well was not being done inside the SFF community.

For example, take a look at yesterday's post from Rick Stump, a table-top gamer with more years in that saddle than I have in life:
  It seems that 'because he wanted to' or 'because it is his job' just don't strike contemporary writers as actual motivations, jowever, so they invent really huge events to motivate characters.
  Look at the Bond movies. The first several were '...007, your mission is...'. These days? Every trailer might as well open with a voiceover proclaiming, 
  "This time, it's personal!!!!"

  But the pulps didn't have this problem!
  To the pulps doing something hard because it was hard was the default. Valuing any life over riches was the hallmark of a hero - being conflicted over saving a life versus becoming wealthy was a sign of moral weakness. Men saved women from peril because that is what men do.
It is a wonderful post on Conan's motivations as seen through his portrayals in the books and movies, that addresses questions that writers and players might have. Insightful and inciteful, this is a must read for pulp fans.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Seagull Rising: Three for Three: A Pulp Revolution Call to Arms

Seagull Rising: Three for Three: A Pulp Revolution Call to Arms:
One of the easiest, cheapest and fastest ways to show your support for an author is to write an Amazon review. The algorithms that operate in the substrate of that website use the reviews a book has to determine how strongly it sells that book to random shoppers. As a result, even a few reviews helps push the sales of a book, and push it up in the rankings. The best part is that reviews are permanent fixtures, so they continue to operate, whereas sales represent a short term bump. 
To that end, I'm calling for a review bomb. Here's how it works: On March 3, write three sentences to describe three books. 
That's it.
Choose three titles off the list of books you've read. Spread the word, boost the signal for your favorite authors, particularly the smaller independent authors and those who are Pulp Revolution friendly. 
It sounds simple, but it will have a big impact. So spread the word: Three for three on 3/3.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Writing for the Pulp Houses: Black Mask

While writing advice is a dime-a-dozen, advice from the pulp editors on their house styles may prove more useful for a writer seeking to incorporate elements of the pulps into their stories. These editors molded the styles with an eye for what sold their magazines - and what did not.

Today, we turn to Black Mask, where Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler made their home. Established by H. L. Mencken, the magazine offered "the best stories available of adventure, the best mystery and detective stories, the best romances, the best love stories, and the best stories of the occult."

Editor Joe Shaw offers this advice, in the May 1934 edition of Writer's Digest:
Long descriptive openings are for the most part taboo. For that matter these too often tedious stretches have little place in any part of a rough paper story of today. 
Start your story in action if you can do so quickly. Identify your characters so that the action will be understandable to the reader; and keep it moving all the way to the end. To accomplish this, it is not necessary to stage a gun battle from start to finish, with a murder or a killing in every other paragraph. You can keep it alive and moving, when sympathy is once aroused, by tension and suspense, through dialogue or other form of plot development, when action is absent. Action in one form or another is, however, pretty generally in demand. 
Logic and plausibility are much abused terms. As a matter of fact, although they are at times mentioned editorially, in by far the greatest volume of crime and detective fiction they are completely disregarded, while rapidity of motion, exaggerated menace and exaggerated action are substituted in their stead, and, let it be said, with the apparent approval of many readers of the crime magazines today. 
While it must be admitted that their use can produce the strongest possible emotional effects-since the happenings carry the illusion of reality-the danger lies in the fact that unless skillfully employed, their demands tend to clog the smooth, swift run of the story.
After all, their acceptability depends upon the treatment, upon the manner in which the material is presented to the reader. If it is done in such a way as to seem logical, the writer has little further worry in that regard and he may speed up his action as much as he sees fit. Where plausibility enters the question, the writer merely has to have his characters move and talk, act and react as real human beings would do in like situation, however imaginary, and his task in that respect is done. 
In addition to these elements there is one general principle that is quite fundamental. Unless you have a clear mental picture yourself, you can scarcely expect your reader to get a clear, understandable impression of your thought. If your own ideas are undeveloped or confused, your purpose in your story unclear in your mind, its presentation will not be less so. Thus it would seem that word choice and arrangement, diction if you will, come secondary to clear thinking. If your mental image is clear, you will have no difficulty in expressing it in the simple language and simple technique of rough paper fiction.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Writing for the Pulp Houses: All Detective Magazine

While writing advice is a dime-a-dozen, advice from the pulp editors on their house styles may prove more useful for a writer seeking to incorporate elements of the pulps into their stories.  These editors molded the styles with an eye for what sold their magazines - and what did not.

Today's advice comes from All Detective Magazine, a pulp specializing in weird menace tales, or action detective stories with a diabolical threat looming over the characters.

Editor Carson W. Mowre instructed prospective writers.
Our crime stories must have a direct emotional appeal for the reader. The first way of gaining this end is the creation of a hero with whom the reader would like to and can identify himself. Once he is living the story vicariously, the most primary play upon his emotions is suspense. Work toward that sensation of something about to happen, the mounting fear. Menace is the strongest method of creating suspense. Draw the antagonists of the hero as such resourceful, diabolical characters that the reader fears the outcome; draw the crimes of the antagonists so vividly, stressing the physical horror, that fear of this fate grows in the reader. Make him feel the crime, not as plot development, but as the ghastly reality. Color helps suspense: characters and situations which in themselves are exciting to the emotions. The bizarre is another aid: freakish, monstrous, fantastic criminal actions given an aspect of plausibility. Criminal actions which could but don’t happen. Avoid the stock in character and situation.
Menace must be so strong that the reader following the hero vicariously is really frightened lest he can’t extricate himself. Villains who are mere thugs are taboo; they must be resourceful, diabolic. Motives and actions may stretch plausibility, but must always seem possible. Heroes must be of such colorful nature that the reader easily identifies himself with them and wants to follow along. Action must be very vivid, with such great detail that the emotion of fear is heightened. Not action merely to advance the plot, but to serve an emotional purpose. One crime made so horrible that fear of another hangs over the reader strongly. 
From: Dent, Lester. Hell in Boxes: The Exploits of Lynn Lash and Foster Fade. Altus Press. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Ages of Science Fiction

Proto-Science Fiction - From 1634 to 1863 - From the Publication of Johannes Kepler's SOMNIUM to the publication of Jules Verne's FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.

The Age of Scientific Romance - 1863-1912 - From the publication of Jules Verne's FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON to the publication of Edgar Rice Burrough's A PRINCESS OF MARS

Radium Age - 1912-1924 - From the publication of Edgar Rice Burrough's A PRINCESS OF MARS to the hiring of Farnsworth Wright at Weird Tales.

Golden Age of Pulp - 1924-1937 - From Farnsworth Wright's hiring at Weird Tales to John W. Campbell's hiring at Astounding.

Campbelline Age - 1937-1954 - From John W. Campbell's hiring at Astounding to the publication of Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations."

Golden Age of Science Fiction - 1954-1967 - From the publication of Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" to the publication of the DANGEROUS VISIONS anthology.

New Wave - 1967-1971 - From the publication of the DANGEROUS VISIONS anthology to the death of John W. Campbell

The Crazy Years - 1971-1979 - From the death of John W. Campbell to the Thor Power case.

The Lost Years - 1979-2005 - From the Thor Power case to the publication of John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR.

The Current Era - 2005 to the present - From the publication of John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR to the present.


This is a proposed framework for the history of science fiction, with names and dates subject to change by research.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Writing for the Pulp Houses: Popular Publications

While writing advice is a dime-a-dozen, advice from the pulp editors on their house styles may prove more useful for a writer seeking to incorporate elements of the pulps into their stories.  These editors molded the styles with an eye for what sold their magazines - and what did not.

Today's writing advice comes from Popular Publications' Editorial Director, Rogers Terrill, who discusses the emotional urgency he wanted in the Westerns and detective stories for his magazines:
“Primarily there must be real emotion in our stories; in addition to the physical conflict, they should have emotional drama. A story, for example, on which conflicting forces are at work, in which the hero has strongly conflicting desires, where he must make a choice that will reflect his true character, his most vital interests and desires require one course of action, but a debt of honor demands sacrifice of his own free will. And while he is sorely tempted to protect his own interests, his better nature triumphs.”
To sell to Detective Tales, writers were expected to meet these requirements:
Heart interest and human emotion are the special requirements. Stories should be strongly melodramatic, the characters should be very real and appealing, and situations should deal with the poignant phases of crime. Of course there must be an important important detective character, but in the shorts he does not need to be the lead. An O. Henry twist will help you make a sale. But keep away from the hardboiled gangster stuff; the editor is looking for the glamour and the old Jimmy Valentine spirit of crime-detection and punishment, when crime was not merely a racket and a detective could be clever and daring; and the criminal might even have a bit of the Robin Hood in his makeup. The time should be the present, of course. It is merely the spirit of the scene that the editor suggests you give a romantic touch to.
Rogers Terrill explains further:
“The menace must be strong. The crime must be murder. And it should be of a bizarre type—or something weird, eerie, out of the ordinary. A series of unexplained crimes makes for a strong menace-buildup. (These would, of course, be explained in the end.) The detection must of the action type—never the deductive type, with the following of clues leading the detective into danger, narrow escapes, and any sort of thrilling action complication.”
In these editorial requests, one finds strong parallels to Lester Dent's Master Formula.  And, since Detective Tales was often described as detectives vs. devils, fans of Weird Tales might find these pulps of interest.


All quotes taken from:

Page, Norvell W.. When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page . Altus Press. Kindle Edition.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bakemonogatari's Mayoi Snail and Kishotenketsu Structure

If you've read my review of Bakemonogatari Part 01 over at Castalia House, you'll know that I am not a fan of "Mayoi Snail." Not only do I find it a slow story hobbled by Koyomi's need to be clever and the long wait for Hitagi to return with the solution to Mayoi's mystery, I have long grown tired of the anime tropes that pop up here, specifically lolicon, skinship, and pain paying for wandering hands. The pulp mystery behind "Hitagi Crab" is more to my tastes. However, some of my criticism of "Mayoi Snail" is because I didn't completely understand the story.

This is no fault of translator Ko Ransom, I found the translation job to be excellent, delightfully lacking in the fetishizing of the Japanese language often imposed on works by the expectations of anime and manga fans. Furthermore, there wasn't the funny word order that often comes from literal and direct translation of Japanese grammar, as I have seen time and time again in fansubs and fan translations of light novels such as A Certain Magical Index and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Rather, as a foreign reader, I did not recognize the Chinese-influenced structure of the story, known in Japanese as Kishotenketsu.

Originally developed in Chinese four-line poetry, the kishotenketsu form was adopted by narrative story and even formal academic essay. For those familiar with Japanese visual culture, the 4-koma, or four panel comic strip, represents the most familiar application of kishotenketsu structure. Whether argument or gag strip, the story is divided up into four parts:
The introduction: The characters, setting, and situation are introduced. 
The development: Themes and events in the introduction are built upon and developed in more depth. 
The twist: An unexpected event illuminates everything that happened before in a new light. 
The conclusion: Not only does this wrap up the dilemma of the story, it explores the consequences of the twist.
This allows a story to be told without the overt conflicts inherent to Western structures, most of which originate in Classical Greek theater. Because of this, kishotenketsu structure is the main structure in slice-of-life anime (Azumanga Daioh, K-On!, Hidamari Sketch, etc.), and can be seen in many of those shows' roots in 4-koma comics.

Kishotenketsu can be applied to "Mayoi Snail" as follows:
Introduction: Koyomi and Hitagi are in a large park, where they see a lost girl, Mayoi. 
Development: Koyomi tries to help Mayoi find her home, but no matter how long or how far they go, they never find it. Hitagi is worried about an aberration affecting Mayoi and leaves for help. Tsubasa appears, scolding both Koyomi and Mayoi. 
Twist: Hitagi returns, telling Koyomi that not only is Mayoi the aberration, she had not once been able to see Mayoi. Only those who are unhappy can see a Lost Snail aberration. 
Conclusion: Hitagi and Koyomi are able to return Mayoi to her house, ending the effect of the aberration on the ghost girl. Koyomi comes face to face with some of the issues in his life - and the fact that Tsubasa's unresolved unhappiness is a ticking time bomb.
With this greater understanding of technique, "Mayoi Snail" does rise a notch or two in my esteem, but not enough to displace "Hitagi Crab" as my favorite Bakemonogatari short story.

Cirsova Defines Pulp Revolution

In response to a dismissal by another magazine editor, Cirsova lays out what Pulp Revolution is:
We are not using the pulps to recapture kitsch; we are not using the pulps as a trope-mine. What we are doing is going back to some of the exemplary authors from that period and using them as a starting point. Not to ape them, but because we love them – we love the stories they told, the characters they brought to life, and the vivid colors in which they painted the exciting futures and worlds of the unknown. 
We are not hell bent on re-inhabiting the past; we are using it as a launching point to go off in new directions. We do not ignore nor do we deny the influence of writers who are not from the pulp eras. 
The Pulp Revolution today has only a tenuous link to the ‘pulp revolution’ of the 70s. That pulp revolution was part of the climate that inspired things like D&D by bringing a bunch of pulp writers who had fallen into semi-obscurity back into the forefront via paperback reprints, pastiches and homages. But that was 40 years ago. That was a generation ago. Many of us were not even alive in 70s, much less old enough to been a part of that resurgent wave of fiction. Do not assume that because people got interested in the pulps 40 years ago that everything is all good and people don’t need to get interested in the pulps again. There was not an unbroken cultural continuity that kept those works and authors in the public conscious. Do not assume that we are only talking about Burroughs, Howard or Lovecraft. Do not assume that because you have old works sitting on your shelf that people today know about them or worse that new people do not need to be told about them or should not be excited about them.
Read the read here.


UPDATE: And Jesse Lucas adds his own spin at his blog.

1. Pulp Revolution is not New PulpThey're doing their own thing. That's fine. We're not trying to claim their authors, style, or successes. At a basic level, New Pulp focuses primarily on the aesthetics of early 20th-century pulp magazines, while Pulp Revolution seeks to imitate the themes. I won't say more about New Pulp because I'm not trying to define them. I just want it clear that we're separate movements with separate goals and very little member overlap. 
2. Pulp Revolution is not a Puppy movementWe are not Sad or Rabid Puppies. We're the people that saw what they were doing, and said, "less activism, more content." I don't care about awards, Hugo or Dragon, and while some authors/bloggers involved with PulpRev have had past connections with Puppies, we're all pretty tired of that now. 
2a. Castalia House Blog is not Vox Day.The bigggest PulpRev hub at the moment is at Castalia House Blog. While this may seem to contradict point 2 above, CHB is very much Jeffro's creature ever since the Appendix N series. Note the recent spate of articles critical of Campbellian SF, with a Submissions page on the same site that calls for a return of Campbellian SF.
Regarding 2a., as one of those heavily critical of Campbell, I must echo Jeffro here: "Oops."