Pulp Cover


Starwater Strains Cover
Orb Books,
August 2005
Asimov's cover, March 2004
March 2004
  • First publication
    • Asimov's, March 2004
  • Wolfe collection(s)
  • Other anthologies
    • Year's Best SF 10, David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds., 2005
    • StarShipSofa Aural Delights No. 120 (audio version online), 9 February 2010

Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Starwater Strains

"Pulp Cover" is about the covers I love on Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Planet Stories. Not to mention Amazing Stories, that truly amazing magazine. If you're at all familiar with those old pulps, you'll be way ahead of me when you read Pulp Cover.

Tangent review

"The 'Pulp Cover' of Gene Wolfe's title isn't apparent until the end of the story, where it serves as an example of how fiction fails to describe the real world. The narrator, a mild mannered furniture salesman with moderate ambitions, falls in love with the boss' daughter, only to lose her to a Yale man with brains, looks and money. There's something wrong about this particular Yalie, but our narrator is unable to stymie the suit.

"Wolfe pulls off quite a feat in the story: he plays it straight but somehow lays a patina of humor over the plot. It's a fifties-era story in a pedestrian setting that still leaves you with a creepy sense that there's something not right with the world. It sits somewhere at the intersection of Jane Austen, H.P. Lovecraft, and 'Leave It To Beaver.'"


What would happen if aliens really abducted and impregnated a woman?


  • Sources of quotes
  • Meanings of names
  • References to other works
  • Theories about what happens under the surface, what the narrator isn't telling us, who the narrator is and when and why s/he is telling the story, what the whole thing "means," etc. If there are multiple or competing theories, each one should be given a name with a three-bang (!!!) header; if the page begins to get out-of-hand from the size of these, as could happen in a few cases, they should be shuffled off to their own page(s).
  • Etc.

Unresolved Questions

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