Happy New Year and welcome to the future! Whenever we start a new year, I always like to go back and see what people thought the future would be like. While a visitor from the 1950s would be astounded by much of what we take for granted in 2020, they might still wonder why we don’t have a single lunar colony.
Here are just a few examples of what the pulp era expected from the future:
Are you scared of snakes? If so, you’re not alone. According to 2001 Gallup Poll, 56% of Americans said they were scared of snakes. By comparison, only 45% of Americans said they were scared of public speaking while 41% said heights. Only 36% said they were scared of spiders and only 7% were frightened by the prospect of going to the doctor.
There are nearly 3,000 different species of snakes in the world and only 25% of them are poisonous. Most snakes are harmless and even the poisonous ones usually won’t strike as long as they’re left alone. But people will always be scared of snakes. The sound of a hiss is enough to send most people into a panic.
Back in the pulp era, snakes used to regularly appear on the covers of magazines and paperbacks, often being held by a cultist or threatening a bound victim. When it comes to pulp art, snakes are never good news. Take a look:
The end of the world has always been a popular subject, as you can tell by looking at the artwork below. Some of these were done for magazines and some of them for paperbacks but what they all have in common is that they deal with the end of the world as we know it.
Presented for your consideration, pulp art of the apocalypse:
Fantastic Adventures was an extremely successful and influential pulp magazine that was published from 1939 to 1953. They published a combination of fantasy, horror, and adventure, all distinguished by a more light-hearted approach than some of the other pulp magazines of the era.
Even better, Fantastic Adventures was one of the few pulp magazines to give proper credit to its cover artists: