The Aviation Age had begun in earnest during a period when pulp writers have been producing popular stories for a new literary genre recognized as “Air Adventure.”
The U.S. Post Workplace Department had already scheduled transcontinental airmail service between New York City and San Francisco. Barnstorming pilots and Arial demonstrations were immensely popular. In the course of the 1930s the National Air Races supplied spectacles of speed and courage as contestants raced more than a ten mile course.
These courses were marked by fifty-foot high pylons that set the limits for pilots as they sped across the countryside. The higher speeds and tight turns tested a pilot’s ability as audiences on the ground marveled at the roaring sight of planes approaching air speeds as high as 300 mph.
Identified as “Closed Course” races, crowds in grandstands could simply watch the action simply because the planes flew at a low altitude. These races had been crowd pleasers and lucrative venues for pilots hunting to demonstrate their ability for potential employers. But the much more frequent type of flying events was “Point-to-Point” races. Less popular due to the fact that audiences were typically confined to grandstands at the beginning line or finish line, these races offered but a glimpse of the action. The challenge of long distance racing was partly responsible for highlighting the industrial possibilities that the airline sector were quickly to embrace.
The reputation of these races inspired a complete new genre of writing “Air Adventure Stories” and a generation of writers creating barnstorming, hair-raising aerial adventures that captivated readers of all ages. Pulp fiction writers such as C. M. Miller, L. Ron Hubbard, Harold F. Cruickshank and Steve Fisher, to name a few, often wrote from their personal private aviation knowledge and this permitted the reader to savor every single nuance of the story.
The National Air Races would not regain its recognition following Globe War II but by 1939 the air races had been already deemed as something nostalgic from our recent previous. Technological advances on airplanes and the onset of Globe War II would modify forever the dynamics of the airline industry.
But for the pulp writers of the 30s and 40s the era of air races and barnstorming pilots would usually represent the heroism and ingenuity of the American spirit. But now, these stories from the golden age are entertaining a new generation of pulp fiction fans. These many great tales of danger and excitement offer a pantheon of heroes from a time when guys braved danger in the darkest jungles, on turbulent seas, or on hurtling wings! The significance of these reprints has not been lost on pulp fiction fans who treasure the swift action and solid writing from these early prolific writers. So, come fly with a pulp fiction writer!