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

    A Little Something Romantic, From Ed Noon

    Episode Number: 22

    Back to basics: I read a few pages of THE VIOLENT VIRGIN, which -- despite that title -- is one of the more romantic Ed Noon novels by Michael Avallone. This one is dad’s tribute to THE MALTESE FALCON. For more Ed Noon goodness, follow @EdNoonPI on the Twitter.

    Episode download: PulpToday022.mp3

    Release Date: June 14, 2021

    Run Time: 9:21
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    Sex, Murder and Actuarial Tables… in DOUBLE INDEMNITY

    Episode Number: 21

    Only James M. Cain could make insurance policies sexy and violent... but he does just that. Give a listen. And ask yourself... is this the most drunk Avallone ever was while recording one of these?

    Episode download: PulpToday021.mp3

    Release Date: June 7, 2021

    Run Time: 9:34
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    David F. Walker reads Donald Goines

    Episode Number: 20

    Note: this episode contains some adult language in the book excerpt. When I started adding guests to PULP TODAY, I knew I wanted to talk to David F. Walker: an exceptional writer, a thoughtful human being, and one of my favorite people to run into on the convention circuit. Here, we talk about our career paths, we talk about Donald Goines, and he reads a passage from CRIME PARTNERS. Then we riff on pop culture – in particular Batman and James Bond --- for a bit, as we do... enjoy!

    Episode download: PulpToday020.mp3

    Release Date: May 31, 2021

    Run Time: 34:25
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    History of the Pulps, Part Three

    Episode Number: 19

    The final chapter of my conversation with acclaimed literary historian JESS NEVINS. In part three, we talk about how the Pulps influence the pop culture of today, "ideasplosions," emotion over logic, and I tell an anecdote about Roger Corman. (Apologies again: the audio gets a little crackly here and there. The challenges of the Zoom interview…)

    Episode download: PulpToday019.mp3


    Release Date: May 24, 2021

    Run Time: 14:19
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    History of the Pulps, Part Two

    Episode Number: 18

    Continuing my conversation about pulp history with acclaimed pop culture historian JESS NEVINS. In part two, we talk about Pulps around the world, sweat mags, the atomization of culture... and what killed the Pulps. (Again, sorry the audio gets a little crackly here and there: the challenges of the Zoom interview…)

    Episode download: PulpToday018.mp3

    Release Date: May 17, 2021

    Run Time: 13:19
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    History of the Pulps, Part One

    Episode Number: 17

    Acclaimed pop culture historian JESS NEVINS educates me about all things pulp... in a wide-ranging conversation that I'll be splitting into multiple episodes. Here we start off with the origins of the form, and the artificial gap between High Art and Low Art. (Sorry the audio gets a little crackly here and there: the challenges of the Zoom interview…)

    Episode download: PulpToday017.mp3

    Release Date: May 10, 2021

    Run Time: 10:16
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    You Can’t Win Part Two, With Salt Chunk Mary

    Episode Number: 16

    Another reading from the 1926 true crime memoir YOU CAN'T WIN, and an indelible character out of hobo legend, Salt Chunk Mary.

    Episode download: PulpToday016.mp3

    Release Date: May 3, 2021

    Run Time: 7:21
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    You Can’t Win Part One, and Mother’s Day

    Episode Number: 15

    Today's book is the amazing crime memoir YOU CAN'T WIN, from 1926. And in its way, this reading of the first chapter is all about the importance of Mothers… so this one was originally recorded for Mothers' Day.

    Episode download: PulpToday015.mp3

    Release Date: April 26, 2021

    Run Time: 10:32
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    What’s Up, Doc?

    Episode Number: 14

    The first great hero of the 1930s pulps: some words of mine, Doc’s first few pages, a fan letter and words to live by. The Man of Bronze, my friends.

    Episode download: PulpToday014.mp3

    Release Date: April 19, 2021

    Run Time: 11:20
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    Pal Joey, John O’Hara, and Some Fashion Tips

    Episode Number: 13

    “If it’s going to happen, it can happen before nine o’clock.” A little funnier and less dark than the usual Pulp, and this one premiered in magazines with nice paper. Never wear a hat indoors. (Sorry I talk about some visuals in this one, but you could look it up on YouTube if you want to see me in a hat…)

    Episode download: PulpToday013.mp3

    Release Date: April 12, 2021

    Run Time: 9:51
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    Tarzan, and Other “True Stories”

    Episode Number: 12

    Did you know Tarzan started in the pulp magazines? Of course he did. I talk about that, and the long tradition of presenting fantastic stories as coming from "true" sources...

    Episode download: PulpToday012.mp3

    Release Date: April 5, 2021

    Run Time: 8:37
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    Red Harvest, and Men With No Name

    Episode Number: 11

    Dashiell Hammett drafts the blueprint for so many 20th Century pop culture heroes with RED HARVEST: a holy text of pulp fiction. Often “unofficially” adapted to film, often imitated, but never done real justice and never surpassed. Meet The Continental Op.

    Episode download: PulpToday011.mp3

    Release Date: March 29, 2021

    Run Time: 8:47
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    Ed Noon and Dead Game

    Episode Number: 10

    Today, it's back to basics and back to Dad: DEAD GAME, the third Ed Noon novel by Michael Avallone. As I like to say, this is the real stuff, the actual vintage poured from the original bottles, with a baseball twist just in time for Spring Training!

    Episode download: PulpToday010.mp3

    Release Date: March 22, 2021

    Run Time: 7:46
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    A Pulp Fiction Mystery Novel

    Episode Number: 9

    All sorts of things are Pulp. We'll get deeper into that as we go along. Here's something which is now considered high literature, but first appeared in a cheap paperback with a lurid cover. The "voice" is not unlike the voice of any private eye novel from the same year (1953). It's the hard-boiled New York City voice, speaking the hard-boiled New York City lingo. I recognize it because my father spoke it, fluently, and I grew up hearing it. Listen, and see if you can guess the author and title. The subject matter may just give it away…

    Episode download: PulpToday009.mp3

    Release Date: March 15, 2021

    Run Time: 15:06
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    Ross Macdonald is the Holy Ghost

    Episode Number: 8

    I read Ross Macdonald's account of the beginnings of his writing career, complete with a special shout-out from Ross to a certain colleague of his who is near and dear to my heart.

    Episode download: PulpToday008.mp3


    Release Date: March 8, 2021

    Run Time: 8:05
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    James Urbaniak and Fante’s Ask The Dust

    Episode Number: 7

    Now with guest stars! My pal James Urbaniak (star of stage and screen, writer, bon vivant) joins me to talk about, and read a funny chapter from, John Fante's Depression Era Hollywood classic, ASK THE DUST.

    Episode download: PulpToday007.mp3

    Release Date: March 1, 2021

    Run Time: 24:19
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    Chandler, The High Window, and Love Poetry

    Episode Number: 6

    I wrap up my Chandler trilogy with a little something sweet from THE HIGH WINDOW. Next time... more authors, more drinking, and now with Special Guests!

    Episode download: PulpToday006.mp3

    Release Date: February 19, 2021

    Run Time: 4:15
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    Chandler, Carmen Sternwood, and the Big Sleep

    Episode Number: 5

    I talk about that time Phil Marlowe met Carmen Sternwood -- 1939’s version of Kim Kardashian -- and reacted how you might expect. Bonus shoutout to Aimee Mann.

    Episode download: PulpToday005.mp3

    Release Date: February 19, 2021

    Run Time: 6:45
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    Raymond Chandler and the Simple Art of Murder

    Episode Number: 4

    “Down those Mean Streets a man must go who is not himself mean.” What makes a great private eye? I drink and read a little bit from Raymond Chandler's seminal essay, "The Simple Art of Murder."

    Episode download: PulpToday004.mp3

    Release Date: February 19, 2021

    Run Time: 7:33
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    The Postman Always Rings Twice

    Episode Number: 3

    Let's talk about literature and poverty and sex and desperation… and why you shouldn’t cast forty years olds in parts written for kids in their twenties. Pour yourself a drink and give a listen.

    Episode download: PulpToday003.mp3

    Release Date: February 19, 2021

    Run Time: 11:39
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    The Maltese Falcon/The Flitcraft Story

    Episode Number: 2

    Dashiell Hammett invented existentialism in 1930, and I'm here to tell you all about it, in a little parable he called "The Flitcraft Story."

    Episode download: PulpToday002.mp3

    Release Date: February 19, 2021

    Run Time: 9:00
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    The Tall Dolores

    Episode Number: 1

    I kick off our literary adventures with a little day-drinking, and reading the first pages of my father Michael's classic 1953 private eye novel THE TALL DOLORES.

    Episode download: PulpToday001.mp3

    Release Date: Feb 19, 2021

    Run Time: 7:53