Pulp Today

The Writers Block cover art

Writer, filmmaker and raconteur David Avallone talks about and reads selections from classic pulp fiction. And day-drinks. Sometimes with special guests!

We have voluntarily self-rated this production as PG-13. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Listen to the preview trailer!

Also available on YouTube if you'd prefer to watch!


Episode Archive

  • Pulp Today logo

    The Felony Squad, Tie-Ins, and Tough Choices

    Episode Number: 65

    Anyone remember THE FELONY SQUAD? Has Michael Avallone’s well-regarded original tie-in outlived the memory of the TV show it was based on? Listen to a chapter and decide for yourself…

    Episode download: PulpToday065.mp3

    Release Date: May 16, 2022

    Run Time: 14:55
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    Boldly Going

    Episode Number: 64

    To celebrate the premiere of STRANGE NEW WORLDS and commemorate the passing of original STAR TREK artist James Bama, this week’s topic is the novelizations of James Blish. There is a reading from the SPACE SEED short story, and Montalban/Nimoy/Shatner impressions are just barely avoided.

    Episode download: PulpToday064.mp3

    Release Date: May 9, 2022

    Run Time: 14:39
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    Steampunk, the Aviation Pulps and G8

    Episode Number: 63

    Less than two decades after the Great War, writers who lived through it were already turning their nightmarish experiences into high adventure… and fantastic science fiction. Chief among these was Robert J. Hogan, air war veteran, pulp writer, and creator of the indelible G8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES. Bonus: local air traffic provides realistic sound effects during the reading.

    Episode download: PulpToday063.mp3

    Release Date: May 2, 2022

    Run Time: 13:14
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    The Lost Weekend

    Episode Number: 62

    No martinis this time, as the subject is Charles Jackson’s ground-breaking classic about an alcoholic’s five day bender. Also featured: the things you find in old paperbacks, and a telegram from Jackson to Michael Avallone.

    Episode download: PulpToday062.mp3

    Release Date: April 25, 2022

    Run Time: 15:03
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    Gary Phillips Comes to Harlem

    Episode Number: 61

    Critically acclaimed author Gary Phillips joins David Avallone to read from, and talk about, Chester Himes’ classic COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, and all things pulp.

    Episode download: PulpToday061.mp3

    Release Date: April 18, 2022

    Run Time: 33:21
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    Defending Civilization at Castle Keep

    Episode Number: 60

    William Eastlake’s dreamlike World War Two classic, about modern war crashing into the priceless relics and art treasures of Europe. In all that destruction… what can be saved? All that, plus a pretty lazy Burt Lancaster impression.

    Episode download: PulpToday060.mp3

    Release Date: April 11, 2022

    Run Time: 13:17
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    The Man Who Was Thursday

    Episode Number: 59

    What does a surrealist Christian allegory have to do with pulp fiction? Everything. G.K. Chesterton’s classic, influential masterpiece, subtitled "A Nightmare", echoes in every spy and conspiracy story you’ve ever read. "The adventures may be mad, but the adventurer must be sane."

    Episode download: PulpToday059.mp3

    Release Date: March 28, 2022

    Run Time: 12:30
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    Super-Chilling… with Kelly Sue Milano!

    Episode Number: 58

    R.L. Stine is a wildly prolific paperback horror phenomenon, and comics writer Kelly Sue Milano (HEX11) joins David Avallone to talk about FEAR STREET SUPER CHILLER: SILENT NIGHT.

    Episode download: PulpToday058.mp3

    Release Date: March 21, 2022

    Run Time: 26:22
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    It’s Superman!

    Episode Number: 57

    Can a serious author write a serious novel about… Superman? Tom De Haven answers that question with a resounding, entertaining, delightful “yes!”

    Episode download: PulpToday057.mp3

    Release Date: March 14, 2022

    Run Time: 7:16
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    Deep Space, Doorways, and the Sense of Wonder

    Episode Number: 56

    Some books open important doorways for you. For David Avallone, one of those was Robert Silverberg’s classic science fiction anthology DEEP SPACE.

    Episode download: PulpToday056.mp3

    Release Date: February 28, 2022

    Run Time: 15:07
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    Winter Kills

    Episode Number: 55

    Richard Condon wrote sophisticated thrillers that were as pulpy as they were smart, and influenced everyone who ever tried to turn conspiracy theories into entertainments. One of his best, WINTER KILLS, centers around the youngest member of the most wealthy and influential family in America… as he tries to figure out who assassinated his brother, the President. Ripped-from-the-headlines catharsis; a pulp model as old as Oedipus Rex.

    Episode download: PulpToday055.mp3

    Release Date: February 21, 2022

    Run Time: 11:59
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    This Gun For Hire

    Episode Number: 54

    Graham Greene was a master of pulp fiction and a great “literary” novelist, and THIS GUN FOR HIRE (originally A GUN FOR SALE) is one of his sharpest. Can you really put up a wall between two aspects of your own talent? And what makes a man a murderer? Big questions.

    Episode download: PulpToday054.mp3

    Release Date: February 14, 2022

    Run Time: 14:39
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    Episode Number: 53

    In memory of breathtaking Italian actress Monica Vitti, today we talk about the iconic character MODESTY BLAISE, and how an entertaining comic strip became a train-wreck of a film, and then an excellent series of spy novels.

    Episode download: PulpToday053.mp3

    Release Date: February 7, 2022

    Run Time: 18:01
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    Be Careful What You Wish For: The Lathe of Heaven

    Episode Number: 52

    Groundbreaking author Ursula K. Le Guin examines the power of dreams and the danger of wishes coming true in her classic novel. The use of Who concert laser show effects in the PBS adaptation is, sadly, not addressed.

    Episode download: PulpToday052.mp3

    Release Date: January 31, 2022

    Run Time: 14:09
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    Science Fiction as Prediction: H.G. Wells and The World Set Free

    Episode Number: 51

    Science fiction writers often try to predict the future, with varying results. H. G. Wells does a terrifyingly good job in his mostly-forgotten 1914 novel THE WORLD SET FREE.

    Episode download: PulpToday051.mp3

    Release Date: January 24, 2022

    Run Time: 15:58
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    Avallone vs. Spillane

    Episode Number: 50

    A reading from Michael Avallone’s THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT A DAME, featuring a missing Shakespeare play and a psychotic private detective who may or may not be Mike Hammer.

    Episode download: PulpToday050.mp3

    Release Date: January 17, 2022

    Run Time: 12:20
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    Strangers on a Train

    Episode Number: 49

    Special guest Stephen Robinson, writer for Wonkette, AV Club and playwright, joins David to talk about Patricia Highsmith’s classic mystery, the Hitchcock film adaptation, and to nerd out on a wide variety of topics. 

    Episode download: PulpToday049.mp3

    Release Date: January 10, 2022

    Run Time: 1:18:21
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    VALIS, Philip K. Dick, and the Healing Sentence

    Episode Number: 48

    A dive into autobiographical science fiction, from the master of broken realities... Philip K. Dick.

    Episode download: PulpToday048.mp3

    Release Date: January 3, 2022

    Run Time: 13:44
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    The Continental Op Dies Hard

    Episode Number: 47

    Setting aside the weighty issue of “is Die Hard a Christmas story?” we ask the more interesting question, “is Dashiell Hammett’s The Gutting of Couffignal a Die Hard story?” Listen in, and hear the most hardboiled final line in all of pulp fiction.

    Episode download: PulpToday047.mp3

    Release Date: December 13, 2021

    Run Time: 14:35
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    Martians and Colonialism

    Episode Number: 46

    H.G. Wells wonders aloud what it would be like to be on the short end of the big stick, in the apocalyptic classic often imitated but never surpassed.

    Episode download: PulpToday046.mp3

    Release Date: December 6, 2021

    Run Time: 14:15
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    Mother Night… and Social Media

    Episode Number: 45

    Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel about how maybe it doesn’t matter who you are inside, if your outside is too convincing. There's a great movie adaptation by Keith Gordon. Listen to this, then go track that down, too.

    Episode download: PulpToday045.mp3

    Release Date: November 29, 2021

    Run Time: 8:42
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    Robert Bloch and Psycho

    Episode Number: 44

    You know the Hitchcock movie, you may even know the sequels, the cable series, or the Gus Van Sant weirdness… but have you read the original, by the great Robert Bloch? You should. Let’s talk about why…

    Episode download: PulpToday044.mp3

    Release Date: November 22, 2021

    Run Time: 21:01
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    Hector Navarro, Warlord of Mars

    Episode Number: 43

    Nerdist’s own Hector Navarro (@Hectorisfunny) joins me to talk John Carter, Tars Tarkas, “planetary romance,” a pretty solid movie sabotaged by its studio… and eventually we get around to a reading from A PRINCESS OF MARS, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    Episode download: PulpToday043.mp3

    Release Date: November 15, 2021

    Run Time: 50:46
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    Life, The Universe, and Everything

    Episode Number: 42

    A special episode to commemorate reaching the cosmically significant Number 42: the brilliant and talented Susy Kane (LODGE 49, HOUSE OF ANUBIS) joins me to read THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by the late, beloved Douglas Adams. The convo quickly turns into the history of British comedy in general and Spike Milligan, specifically, who was the wellspring of everything that followed him, including the work of Douglas Adams.

    Episode download: PulpToday042.mp3

    Release Date: November 8, 2021

    Run Time: 47:38
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    If On An Autumn Morning A Writer…

    Episode Number: 41

    You’re listening to a podcast on Pendent audio. A show you’ve enjoyed before? Perhaps. Or perhaps you are a fan of Italo Calvino, summoned here by a Google search. You check the length. Fifteen and a half minutes? Too long? Or maybe just right...? Perhaps you could listen. Is the chair comfortable? That's key. And the coffee. Refilled? You don't want to run out. Certainly not halfway through a reading of Italo Calvino's metafictional shenanigans and IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER...

    Episode download: PulpToday041.mp3

    Release Date: November 1, 2021

    Run Time: 15:33