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

    J.G. Ballard: Genre As Art

    Episode Number: 72

    On the season finale, we read and talk about J.G. Ballard’s intro to his classic novel CRASH, in which he defends science fiction – a pulp genre – as a legitimate and worthwhile literary pursuit. Expanding his argument to encompass other disrespected genres could serve as the thesis statement of PULP TODAY.

    Episode download: PulpToday072.mp3

    Release Date: August 15, 2022

    Run Time: 18:14
  • Pulp Today logo

    Faces, Masks and Cities of Glass

    Episode Number: 71

    Paul Auster uses the detective genre to investigate questions of identity, story and reality itself in CITY OF GLASS, the first novella in THE NEW YORK TRILOGY. In a P.I. story… the first initial is “Private,” but does that second initial stand for Investigator, Eye… or I?

    Episode download: PulpToday071.mp3

    Release Date: August 8, 2022

    Run Time: 19:44
  • Pulp Today logo

    Even Babysitters Can Be Detectives

    Episode Number: 70

    Returning guest Emily Edwards, author of the upcoming detective novel Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man, and host of the hilarious podcast “F*ckbois of Literature,” introduces us to the Babysitters’ Club Mysteries with #12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost. It’s exactly what you think.

    Episode download: PulpToday070.mp3

    Release Date: August 1, 2022

    Run Time: 45:53
  • Pulp Today logo

    Hell… and Conventions

    Episode Number: 69

    As San Diego Comic Con 2022 approaches, David Avallone reads from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's INFERNO, which connects the dots between fan conventions and eternal suffering.

    Episode download: PulpToday069.mp3

    Release Date: July 18, 2022

    Run Time: 14:09
  • Pulp Today logo

    Vera Caspary’s Laura

    Episode Number: 68

    A great mystery novel with multiple narrators, turned into a great film with just one. David Avallone discusses the life and work of Vera Caspary, blacklists and greylists, and the impossibility of reading this book without imitating Clifton Webb.

    Episode download: PulpToday068.mp3

    Release Date: July 11, 2022

    Run Time: 13:14
  • Pulp Today logo

    Andrew Vachss vs. the Worst People in the World

    Episode Number: 67

    Like Dashiell Hammett, Andrew Vachss walked the walk before he sat down to write about crime. Unlike Hammett, Vachss was able to write explicitly – honestly – about the kind of monsters who walk the earth disguised as ordinary people.

    Episode download: PulpToday067.mp3

    Release Date: June 13, 2022

    Run Time: 13:10
  • Pulp Today logo

    Swashbuckling with Horatio Hornblower

    Episode Number: 66

    Sixty-six episodes in, and we still haven't gotten around to a single swashbuckler pulp. We correct that oversight with today's reading from C. S. Forester's classic Royal Navy hero, in his first adventure. Bonus: what does swordplay really sound like?

    Episode download: PulpToday066.mp3

    Release Date: June 6, 2022

    Run Time: 14:15
  • 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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo


    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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
  • Pulp Today logo

    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