I'm going to try an oddity for my first nomination.
Most of the better known examples of this genre came from the cheap popular literature written between 1900 and 1950. They frequently appeared in rather lurid poor quality magazines printed on very low quality "pulp" paper.
"The Vintage Library" gives a reasonable description of what is meant by this area:
"Pulp fiction must be given some credit for the evolution of literature and popular fiction heroes of today. Many authors that got their start in the pulp magazines grew to be great writers that changed the landscape of popular fiction. Writers such as Carroll John Daly changed the detective fiction story from the staid whodunits popularized in Great Britain to the more "hard-boiled" version where the bad guy was bad and the detective was tough and street-smart.
"Edgar Rice Burroughs was another pulp writer, who helped to define the science fiction story into what it is today. The other well-known alumnae of the pulps include Max Brand, H.P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ray Bradbury. And of course, there were the legions of other authors, less well-known today, that had an equally important hand in forming popular fiction.
"Even though some details are dated because of social, technological, and historical developments, the stories found in the pulp era are still an entertaining read. They still offer action-packed adventure, on par with any of today's television shows, and heroes who are lively, entertaining characters."
Would they be worth discussion in a book club? Well there is at least one PH.D Thesis on the subject by David Ellis Morgan who asserts that this type of writing provided a voice for the "marginalised" of society and has evolved into "new forms and technologies of a contemporary culture". I think that one can go down many other roads as well with this type of literature.
Last edited by fantasyfan; 03-19-2013 at 12:57 PM.