East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Other People’s Pulps – Two by Jess Nevins


strange_tales_of_the_centuryOne of the best catches in my Lucca expedition was Strange Tales of the Century, by Jess Nevins.
This massive 500+ pages trade paperback is two things into one – and both are just great.

Strange Tales of the Century is a supplement for the Spirit of the Century roleplaying game of pulp action and adventure.
As such, it offers the reader a wide selection of characters, options, new stunts and perks and what not.
It also details the world between 1935 and 1951 from a pulp-fictional point of view.

I personally do not play the FATE System or Spirit of the Century, but the sourcebook is flexible enough to act as a much needed supplement for the old Aeonverse game Adventure! (that’s how I’m going to use it), or as a sourcebook for any other pulp/adventure game.

But there’s much more – Nevins, a well known historian of the pulps and more generally of popular literature (we’ll get to that), fills the book with a true encyclopedia of pulp characters. For each proposed gaming archetype, we get a nice selection of literary examples and variations on the theme. This, together with the bibliography, is enough to make a pulp fan to scream in joy (and financial pain).
The author pulls his references from a world-wide survey of the pulps – so yes, you get lots of Other People’s Pulps in there.
Mounties and Legionaries, Spinster Detectives and Planetary Heroes, Big Game Hunters and Brains in Jars, here’s everything – and then some!
Reading and digesting this book will take weeks – but it will be well worth the time.

indexStrange Tales of the Century is also an ideal companion to Jess Nevins’ acclaimed (and expensive!) tour-de-force, his Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana which Monkey Brains Press published in 2005.
The 1200 pages hardcover weights a ton, has a wonderful (and probably bulletproof) cover, and gives us a complete rundown of all the heroes (or anti-heroes) of popular literature of a fantastic bend from the Victorian Era, and from all over the world.
I got my copy back in the day – and it was with a certain surprise I found (as I looked for the picture you see here on the right), that the current selling price of the tome is 357 euro through Amazon.it.

Both volumes will now make a fine display of themselves on my bookshelf – and they will be a continued source of inspiration and wonder.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

3 thoughts on “Other People’s Pulps – Two by Jess Nevins

  1. If you knew how much I envy you the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana.
    I spotted this book but it costs too much.
    If you need some easy money you should consider reselling your volume, not kidding.
    On amazon.com a used one costs $197.00


    • Yes, it’s commanding some pretty high prices.
      But I’m not so desperate yet 😀
      And actually, it is such a great resource, that it would be one of the last books I’d put up for sale in case of necessity.


  2. Pingback: (Belated) Jumble Spoiler – 10/30/14 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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