Archive for Bedside Books

Illicit Affair – Mark Ryan aka Robert Silverberg (Bedside Book #980, 1961)

Posted in Don Elliott, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on April 12, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks



The fifth and last of Silverberg’s Mark Ryan-pen named books for Bedside, it was also the last of the Bedsides from Valient Publications before switching over to William Hambling’s company, which started with a Silverberg/Don Elliott, Woman Chaser, as Bedtime Books #1201.

Illicit Affair and Other Stories of Flaming Passion and Violent Death is an uneven collection of short fiction from the pulps — some are erotica from lower-tier men’s magazines, some are Manhunt-style crime fictions.

The title story — and probably the best one of the lot — is about a suburban guy who gets blackmailed by the sexy babysitter: pay up or the wife sees the photos of them in the embrace of sinful lust!  he finds out that she’s been doing the same to friends of his she babysits for, so the men turn the table on her.

“Love Hungry Diving Girls” is an odd story about Japanese female pearl divers. “Doublecrosser’s Daughter” is a nifty Manhunt or Trapped story (Silverberg doesn’t list previous publications) is told by a guy in a mob crew out to kidnap and rape the daughter of a man mrked by the mob, but the narrator falls for her, kills his crew for her, thinking they will run away together and…well, seems the innocent girl is not so naive after all.  Predictable, but a well-written, well-plotted fun tale.

“See You in Hell” is about a man seeing revenge on his cheating wife, but things don’t work out — another crime pulp-type story. “Isle of Exiled Women” and “The Girl in the Moon” are somewhat SF-fantasy-ish, but weren’t so good.  “The Sunbather” is a nice little depraved story that Silverberg later expanded into a novel, Lust Demon, which I will get to soon.

The book ends with another Manhunt-type story, “Psycho Killer.”

When readers picked this one up on the newsstands, did they expect a Mark Ryan twisted tale like Twisted Loves or Streets of Sin, only to get a mixed bag of short stories?

The book is okay, good for a read if you can locate a copy.

Sex-Movie Queen – Monte Steele (Bedside Book #1251, 1963)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on April 10, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This little novel has an implausible premise but it is written well enough that you almost believe it.

Paul Nagel is a serious, studious college  student with a needful libido. After a quick encounter with a girl, he goes into a bar to get a drink.  In the men’s bathroom, he reads on the wall: “Eve Sloan–hot stuff, call anytime.”  What the hell, he calls, and a woman’s sultry voice tells him to come on over.

So he does, and she is hot stuff, a former Hollywood starlet down on her luck, she says.  They have a romp and Paul feels dirty but satiated.

He meets a nice girl in the dorms, Julie. She likes him and she’s a virgin and thinks it’s time for her to lose her cheery and gives Paul the honor.  After that it looks like love; Paul is happy to have finally met someone he can feel for, and no longer has any desire to go visit Eve.

Eve doesn’t seem happy, and she informs Paul she will ruin him if he does not do her bidding.  She shows him photos and 8-mm film of their sexual sessions; she tells him these photos will go to his parents and to the school officials, who will surely expel him on moral grounds.

What doe she want?  For him to “act” in stag reel films with porn actresses and other college girls roped into this blackmail game.

Seems like an elaborate way to get out of paying people to “star” in adult films.  Eve tells him the same happened to her — her legitimate acting career was ruined in Hollywood when she got herself caught up in the racket, and now she does the same thing to people — with her hood husband — as revenge and a way to make money.

A quirky story but worth the read, and, as I found with Atomic Blonde, Monte Steele, whoever he was, is a cut above the rest of his contemporary sleazemesiters, in league with Silverberg,  Block, Westlake and Hitt.

Passion Pirate – George Baker (Bedside Book #1228, 1962)

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

It seems Bedtime/Bedside Books had three owners in its short life from 1959-1963.  It was a pioneer in sleaze, and Robert Silverberg’s association with them as David Challon and Mark Ryan was impetus for William Hamling to start Nightstand Books, starting with Silverberg’s Don Elliott novel, Love Addict.

Owned by Valient Publications, when Hamling bought the company out in 1961, Bedstand was changed to Bedside and was owned by Pert Publications, one of Hamling’s many shell companies. Looking at Victor Berch’s Bedstand/Bedside Checklist in Books Are Everything#20, the Haling run started at #1201 with Silverberg’s Don Elliott Woman Chaser, and went to #1224, Lawrence Block’s Andrew Shaw Gutter Girl . All the bylines were Cornith regulars: Dean Hudson, Alan Marshall, Clyde Allison, Al James, etc.

From  #1225 to #1251, the books were issued by EKS Publishers (seems to be the same as LS Publishers, with Bellringer and Gaslight Books) and the bylines were different.  My theory has been that Hamling still owned the imprint but changed the shell company and pen names to keep the feds off his back for them.  This seemed apparent to me with #1225, Sin Professor by Frank Peters, that read a lot ike Hal Dresner’s writing and had a character named Poltnik in it, for Dresner’s buddy Art Plotnik.

The bylines for Bedside’s end run seemed to all be generic names like Peters, and David Andrews, David Spencer, Jack Lechien.  The only names that I have seen with other publishers is Monte Steele and William F. Frank.

I have purchased a number of these, looking for Cornith styles. When reading Passion Pirate, I at first thought this was an Lawrence Block — it opens, in tight Block-like prose, with two broke drifters seeking out women to use and live with, scouring Greenwich Village.  They are Sebastian Wolff and Earl Dreggs.  They seemed a lot like two similar Lotahrios in Block’s Sheldon Lord Pads Are for Passion.

Reading further, however, I realized this was not Block, and when I got to a scene where a character puts on a record by an Albany-based singer named Plotnik, I realized George Baker was the same as Frank Peters, and this wasn’t Hal Dresner but Art Plotnik.  Plotnik was indicating that he was the author by adding himself in, and making fun of himself, as a character mentions having seen Plotnik in person and was “kind of weird.”

Plotnik was handled by the Scott Meredith Agency, so Bedside was getting its books from the same wellspring as Midwood and Nightstand and who-knows-who-else.

Passion Pirate was surprisingly good, a terse tale with real-feeling characters. Sebastian is the ladies man, a sly devil who seems to be able to hypnotize any woman who crosses his path, causing them to become submissive and hand over their pads, money, and hearts.  His sidekick, Earl, is a lug who seems to only get the leftovers and broken hearts — you know, the fellow who takes advantage of women hurting and on the rebound.

At the top, Sebastian picks up Christine, a 22-year-old Village nowhere girl whose rich Boston daddy is supporting for her a year as she writes poetry and tries to make a name for herself.  Sebastian wiggles his way into her pad and her heart, promising her he knows a literary agent who can get her poems published.

The agent is Cynthia, a married older woman who had a one night stand with Sebastian two years ago and still yearns for him.  She agrees to handle the poems if he agrees to fuck her twice  a week.  She claims her husband or no man has been able to please her since her once time with him.

Many women  seem to be the same. Sebastian is not only a lover, but a fighter, defending the honor of women with his fists, “speaking like an actor,” moving like a panther through the Village streets and bars.  Despite living with Christine, Sebastian can pick up women within an hour, make them fall in love, and break their hearts.  One is Ginny, that Earl runs into — Ginny was Earl’s ex-girlfriend that Sebastian has seduced.  Ginny lets Earl move in with her but she really wants him to get Sebastian back.

A lot of libertine sex goes on, including one gang bang scene with Christine as she fucks five guys in a row to get back at Sebastian’s infidelity.  The scene is more sad than erotic.

The novel ends in that weird way some of early Block books do, but this isn’t Block. I am convinced it is Art Plotnik now.

Woman Chaser by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) Bedside Books #1201

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

KempIn the April 2002 issue of Earl Kemp’s online zine, el, Kemp writes:

In 1961, in an ironic twist of fate, Hamling acquired Bedside Books from New York, completing the circle to where it had all began in the first place. In a further twist, the first Hamling Bedside Book (1201) was Robert Silverberg’s Woman Chaser, by Don Elliott.

Elliott - Woman Chaser

Bedside/Bedstand Books was Nightstand’s competitor, or vice versa, and William Hamling got the idea of getting into softcore because Robert Silverberg sugegsted to Harlan Ellison to suggest it to Hamling.  Silverberg was writing for Bedside as David Challon and Mark Ryan, as I have discussed earlier in this blog.

Under Hamling’s ownership, Bedside started with 1201, so why not begin with Nightstand’s top writer?

Woman Chaser is like watching an episode of Mad Men, the hit AMC TV show set in late 1959/early 1960, about the office antics and outside affairs of Madison Avenue ad men…so much so that I now wonder if the creator of Mad Men read Woman Chaser and borrowed some from this out of print, long lost Silverberg novel.

Like Mad Men, everyone smokes and drinks all day, and the men in the ad office chase skirts, married or not.  The protagonist, Curt, is a notorious womanizer and lead copywriter (like the lead character in Mad Men). He’s 29 and just got married to Nina, a gorgeous magazine writer working on her first novel. He’s been caught, but his pussy chasing days are not over…he can’t help himself…a bra model comes in…he takes her to dinner…she takes him home…he falls asleep…Nina knows, she smells the other woman on him, she knows her husband is a oussy hound, but she forgives him…and keeps forgiving him.

This is a novel about a man cracking up, his life going to hell. But why?  He’s well paid, moving up in the world, has a wife all men drool for…he starts losing it because he tries to fight his womaniaing urge.  He starts to drink too much, he loses weight, his ad copy is average instead of top notch.

In most Elliott/Beauchamp books, it is a woman who cracks up, drinks too much, becomes a nympho or a a whore.  Silverberg turns the tables here.  Curt is a sex addict — he is addicted to the chase and conquest, he needs new women, new pussy, new flesh, that is his drug.  Without it, he becomes sick and crazy.  It does not matter that he has the world’s most beautiful and devoted wife at home — he needs the wild side, he needs sin and gutter filth sex.

Like Dina in March Hastings’ The Drifter, Curt checks into a fleabag motel and tries to commit slow suicide by drinking himself to death.  Was this common in the early 1960s?  His wife Nina and a friend from work find him and save him…

Like Summertime Affair, Man Mad and a few others, with a little tweaking and toned down sex (as if it isn’t toned down enough), Silverberg could have published this book with another publisher at the Young RStime — Dutton, Lippincott, Scribner’s Sons — as a literary novel, it’s that good, and that interesting.  I’m sure Silverberg doesn’t see that, then or now, but this is a gem of a little novel and worth reprinting.

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