Sturgeon’s Law vs. The Pulps Tracking Page

Because people have used Sturgeon’s Law to defend the pulps (“People only say the pulps were bad because 90% of everything is bad!”), I decided to start tracking the quality of the pulps I review at Castalia House on Fridays. I won’t be putting these ranking with the actual reviews, because the point of Short Reviews is to get people interested and check out the pulps, not to declare how they stack up against some metric. But I still thought it would be worthwhile to continue tracking to see if, after several magazines, I ever hit some trend of anything remotely close to 90% of the pulps being bad.

The difference between this list and the OP is that I will also be including the G-Men Detective Stories I reviewed.

Note that these are ONLY for stories I’ve covered in Short Reviews, otherwise you’d see several books by Burroughs, Brackett, and Kline listed in the Exceptionally Good/Very Good categories.

Exceptionally Good: 17

  • The Moon that Vanished, Leigh Brackett
  • Black Amazon of Mars, Leigh Brackett
  • Stalemate in Space, Charles L Harness
  • Queen of the Martian Catacombs, Leigh Brackett
  • Priestess of the Flame, Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • Raid on the Termites, Paul Ernst
  • Enchantress of Venus, Leigh Brackett
  • Coming of the Gods, Chester Whitehorn
  • Raiders of the Second Moon, Basil Wells
  • Red Witch of Mercury, Emmett McDowell
  • The Bubble Dwellers, Ross Rocklynne
  • Lorelei of the Red Mist, Leigh Brackett & Ray Bradbury
  • The Martian Circe, Raymond F. Jones
  • Moon of Danger, Albert de Pina
  • The Swine of Aeaea, Clifford Ball
  • The House Where Time Stood Still, Seabury Quinn
  • The Vanishing Venusians, Leigh Brackett


Very Good: 23

  • Miracle Town, William F. Temple
  • I Like You, Too, Joe Gibson
  • Asteroid of Fear, Raymond Z Gallun
  • Garden of Evil, Margaret St. Clair
  • SOS Aphrodite, Stanley Mullen
  • Hellhounds of the Cosmos, Clifford D. Simak
  • Vulcan’s Workshop, Harl Vincent
  • Captain Midas, Alfred Coppel Jr
  • Cosmic Yo-Yo, Ross Rocklynne
  • Mists of Mars, George A. Whittington
  • The Spider Men of Gharr, Wilbur Scott Peacock
  • Grifters’ Asteroid, HL Gold
  • The Sword of Johnny Damokles, Hugh Frazier Parker
  • The Last Monster, Gardner F. Fox
  • Juggernaut of Space, Ray Cummings
  • Quest on Phoebe, James R. Adams
  • Mo-Sanshon!, Bryce Walton
  • And Then There Were None, Eric Frank Russell
  • Death by a Dusty Blade, Frank Johnson
  • Thieves’ Blueprint, Ronal Kayser
  • Comrades of Time, Edmond Hamilton
  • The Sandhound Strikes, Ross Rocklynne
  • The Devils of Po Sung, Bassett Morgan

Pretty Good/Okay: 22

  • Softie, by Noel Loomis
  • Reverse English, John S. Carroll
  • Date Line, Noel Loomis
  • Cosmic Jackpot, George O. Smith
  • Yesterday’s Doors, Arthur J. Burks
  • Duel on Syrtis, Poul Anderson
  • Peril Orbit, C.J. Wedlake
  • Action on Azura, Robertson Osborne
  • Signal Red, Henry Guth
  • Ordeal in Space, Ralph Sloan
  • The Giants Return, Robert Abernathy
  • Battlefield in Black, George A. Whittington
  • And the Gods Laughed, Fredric Brown
  • Beer Trust Busters, AR Stuart
  • Mutiny, Larry Offenbecker
  • The Venus Evil, Chester S. Geier
  • Vassals of the Lode-Star, Gardner F. Fox
  • Too Smart to Die, George Antonio Wetter
  • Panama Peril, Jean Francis Webb
  • The Happy Castaway, Robert E. McDowell
  • Smoke Fantasy, Thomas R. Jordan
  • The Stratosphere Menace, Ralph Milne Farley

Okay/Not So Good: 14

  • The Referent, Ray Bradbury
  • Galactic Heritage, Frank Belknap Long
  • The Diversifal, Ross Rocklynne
  • The Envoy, Her, H.B. Fyfe
  • The Star Saint, A.E. Van Vogt
  • The Starbusters, Alfred Coppel Jr
  • Madcap Metalloids, WV Athanas
  • Prodigal Weapon, Vaseleos Garson
  • Formula for Conquest, James R. Adams
  • The Little Pets of Arkkhan, Vaseleos Garson
  • Pa Howdy Goes Fishing, Laurence Donovan
  • The Metal Chamber, Duane W. Rimel
  • The Quest of Iranon, H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Silver Plague, Albert de Pina

Terrible: 5

  • No Winter, No Summer, Damon Knight & James Blish
  • Square Pegs, by Ray Bradbury
  • That Mess Last Year, John D McDonald
  • The Wheel is Death, Roger Dee
  • The Return of Hastur, August Derleth