Sunday, March 07, 2021

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Top-Notch Magazine, First May, 1931

Yep, just polin' down the river on a raft with a machine gun. Think what a different book THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN might have been if Huck and Jim had had themselves a machine gun. They might have had some real adventures then. But not to get too far afield here . . . TOP-NOTCH had some good authors, as you'd expect from a Street & Smith pulp. In this issue are stories by James P. Olsen, George Allan England, house-name Valentine Wood (with a Kroom, Son of the Sea yarn), and Warren Elliott Carleton, among others. Not big names, but Olsen was always dependable no matter what the genre and quite a bit of England's work has been reprinted. Despite its name, I've never considered TOP-NOTCH to be in the upper rank of pulps, but I'm not sure why I feel that way, since I've read very little of what was published in it, mostly just the few stories that Robert E. Howard had there and the Ozar the Aztec stories written by Walker A. Tompkins under that Valentine Wood pen-name. (Speaking of that, the final Longarm novel I wrote, LONGARM AND THE BLOODY RELIC, was inspired by those Ozar stories and has a character in it, a ship's captain, named Valentine Wood. For whatever that's worth.)


Robert R. Barrett said...

Although I've always liked TOP NOTCH, I've never set out to collect the title, but still have quite a few. I am especially fond of OZAR THE AZTEC and KROOM SON OF THE SEA stories and have all of both. Great stuff!

James Reasoner said...

I really enjoyed OZAR THE AZTEC, but I've never read any of the Kroom stories. I ought to see if I can find them.