Archive for August, 2009

Campus Hellcat by David Challon (Robert Silverberg), Bedstand Books, 1960

Posted in pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on August 31, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Challon - Campus Hellcat

Not a review yet, but a note to note that I have finally located a copy of this book and glad I did.  I see that it is a collection of a couple of novellas and short stories, similar to Illicit Affair by Mark Ryan Bedstand, 1960).  I wonder if it was Sileverberg’s or Bedstand’s idea to publish a collection rather than a novel for both?  These are all previously published works from various pulps and men’s magazines in the 50s.

I have one fnal Challon to locate, Suburban Affair, and then my David Challon/Robert Silverberg collection will be complete —

French Sin Port (Bedstand, 1959)

Campus Love Club (Bedstand, 1959)

Campus Hellcat (Bedstand, 1960)

Suburban Sin Club (Bedstand, 1960)

Suburban Affair (Bedstand, 1960)

Man Mad (Chariot, 1959)

Challon - Suburban Affair

Re: Orrie Hitt

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on August 31, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I started Hitt’s Warped Woman (Novel Books, 1962) and can’t put it down. In fact I have altered my plans today so I can kick back and fnish the damn thing.

That’s how **&%#$!@ good it is…autobiograophical in certain ways (the narrator lives in a small upper NY state town and makes his living writing tawdry paperback novels), it makes me wonder how much Hitt influenced Charles Bukowski.  I know Bukowski was influenced greatly by John Fante, but I see shades of future Bukowski in Warped Woman.

More later…

Hitt - Peeping Tom

For now, some Orrie Hitt biograophy over here.

Warm & Willing by Jill Emerson (Lawrence Block, Midwood Books)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Emerson - warm and willing

Robert Silverberg wasn’t the only man writing a plethora of lesbian titles under female pseudonyms — Lawrence Block had him beat.

In fact, Block’s first sale, in 1958 (at the age of 19 -20) was the lesbiania novel, Strange Are the Ways of Love by Lesley Evans (again that pun with the first name, like Leslie in Longman/Silverberg’s Sin Girls).  And here you tought Mr. (Ms?) Lawrence Block started off as the great crime fiction writer he is today…

Evans - Strang are the ways of love

He only used that pen name once — he then went on to be Sheldon Lord at Beacon and Midwood, Andrew Shaw at Nightstand, and then Jill Emerson at Midwood for several titles — one, Enough of Sorrow, is considered a lesbian classic, and has been excerpted in a Cleis Press anthology, Lesbian Pulp, where no mention is made that this is a man writing as a woman — as all the other writers in that book are actual women (and lesbians) it seems Block duped the editor, which attests to his skills as a writer.

Enouigh of Sorrow lesbianpulp

He later switched lesbian and bi-sexual novels to Putnam in the 70s, such as the explict The Trouble with Eden, about swingers.

Emerson - troible with Eden

As Dr. Benjamin Morse, he wrote the faux sexology studies The Lesbian and The Sexually Promisciuous Female (discusses lesbianism and bi-sexuality) akin to Silverberg’s L.T. Woodward, M.D.’s Twilight Women, for the same publishers (Monarch and Lancer).

Morse - Lesbian

In a funny act of postmodern reflexivity, in the Andrew Shaw novel, Butch, a confused woman sees and buys Morse’s The Lesbian on a newsstand; after reading it, she realzies this is what she is and sets herself on a stange sexual journey (such references to other books is common in the Shaws and Sheldon Lords, plus a continuous ref. to a film/book, The Sound of Distant Drums).

BUTCH

So: a fake gender study influences a fictional character’s life path…this begs a question with moral and ethical undertones: did any actual women read The Lesbian at the time and were influenced by what was fiction masquerading as fact?

Back to Warm and Willing

This certainly is Block’s style (another one, by Sheldon Lord, The Sisterhood, I’m not sure) and is set in Greenwich Village — so lush is the detail (and in other Block books) we know Block loves this part of New York, and lived there at the time (he may still).

The protagonist is Rhoda, 24, just out of a loveless marriage (usual set-up for many lesbian novels).  Why did she marry?  She thought that’s what young women do by age 22.  But she did not care for sex, did not love her husband.  She was “frigid.”  She let her husband go out and have affairs.

She works in a gift shop in the Village, lives in a small room nerby, lives an uneventful, invisible existence until one day a 28-year-old blonde, Megan, comes in to buy a gift (for the woman she juts broke up with, we later find out).  There is an odd connection.  Megan comes back the next day and asks Rhoda out to lunch.  Rhoda accepts, and she has no idea Megan is gay.

Later, Megan lures Rhoda up to her apartment on the West Side and plies Rhoda with scotch and proceeds to tell her that Rhoda probably doesn’t know, but the reason she could not enjoy sex with her ex-husband is because she’s a dyke, in the closet.  Megan “knows.”  Rhoda is shocked. But Rhoda lets Megan have sex with her and the doors to escstasy com flying open and Rhoda has never felt such “release” before.

She moves in with Megan.  Megan is an interior decorator.  They hang with a group of lesbians at lesbian-only Village bafrs and events.  At a party one night, a tall woman, a trust fund baby, a 19 year old girl named Bobbie, dances with Rhoda all night because Megan does not like to dance.  Megan gets very jealous.

Then Rhoda gets jealous of any woman that pays Megan attention.  Soon the two are living in constant battle of distrust, they fight and argue, etc.  They are like any straight couple: the same issues of insecurity and fear.

Megan turns to Bobbie for love, and moves in with Bobbie, and whioe it seems magical at the start, the two are worse than Rhoda was with Megan: constant fighting and jealousy.

Rhoda sees a lot of “disfunction” among the lesbian crowd: attempted suicides, infidelity, going from one meaningless relationsip to the next, hurt feelings…thinking she may have made a mistake, one week while Bobbie is out of town, Rhoda acceopts a dinner date with a man who comes in to the store.  She decides she will sleep with him and find out if there is passion, if she’s not gay…

Now, this book was published in 1964 — had it been 10 years, five years earlier, the set-up would have been obvious and common: Rhoda would sleep with the guy, stars would fly, she’d fall in love and marry the man, denouncing her lesbian past.  But that was for Beacon and Nightstand books…for Midwood, Block takes a funny turn —

Rhoda stops the man from sex, half way through foreplay.  She admits to him that this was an experiment, but she says she feels nothing and does  ot find the male sex attractive.  She says she will go through with it for leading him on but he says no, he says, “Go away.”

So Rhoda leaves — back to her apartment with Bobbie, back to her lif as a realized, maybe empowered lesbian.

Well-written, well-crafted, maybe a tad slow in parts — I was disappointed that none of the Block/Shaw/Westlake/Marshall/Lord in jokes were absent from the text, but perhaops Jill Emerson, being a lesbian, did not hang with those “guys.”

Saber Books – Sex Life of a Cop – Sanford Aday

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sex Life of a Cop

This nifty little Saber Books novel, Sex Life of a Cop, was instrument in putting its publisher, Sanford Aday, in hot water and almost behind bars.

Aday was an unsuccessful novelist — out of his ten written manuscripts (housed in the special collections at Cal State, Fresno, only 2 were published. Part of it was his books were too racy for the mainstream,.  Frustrated, he started his own press, with three imprints: Vega, Saber, and Fabian.  These books often pushed the enveloped when it came to incest, homosexuality, and detailed sex acts.  As such, the cops and goveerment were after him for obscenity.

He  vigorously fought against censorship. He faced several charges in Hawaii, Arizona and Fresno. Then, as a jab to the local cops, he published Sex Life of a Cop, by an alleged former cop, publicizing the book as being a true account of how cops are crooked and take liberties with the law and sex.

Well, you don’t do that without pissing off the powers that be, so they really went after him. In the 50s-60s, the First Amendment and freedom of opinion/expression did not exist when it came to the law guys — after all, Jim Morrison was arrested on stage in New Haven when he made fun of the cop who maced him backstage.   Lenny Bruce would get arrested when he made fun of the cops in the clubs where he he did his act.

Saber and the other imprints mostly seemed to publish unknown pen names. They did publish one Orrie Hitt, Love Princess, and one by John B. Thompson, Hard Way.

He was eventually tried and convicted along with associate Wallace de Ortega Maxey for shipping an obscene book into Michigan in 1963. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and fined $25,000.

The conviction was eventually overturned.

Sex Life of a Cop by Oscar Peck was the only book of seven deemed obscene by the jury.

Other Saber Books —

Saber - Depraved Debutante

Strange Three

Saber - Vicious Vixen

Saber - karla

Hitt - Love Princess

Saber - So Wild the Flesh

Pulp Nurses! Sleazecore Nurses! Nympho and naughty nurses! Nurses in lust and love and sin!

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Beauchamp - Nurse CarolynBeauchamp - Nurse

Johnson -  Nympho Nurse

nurse dude ranch

nurse ellen

Nympho Nurse

Whittington - Young Nurses

Hitt - Man's Nurse

nurse - palm beach

Nurse Luxury

Nurse Pirate

Campus Queen by Ursula Grant (Midwood 33-682, 1966)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Rader - Campus Queen

As often is the case with me, I initially acquired a copy of Campus Queen because of the nifty Paul Rader art.

Campus Queen fits a double-bill for my wanting to read/review sleaze books that are lesbian or college-set for the next week or two — this one is set on campus at a city university that is an “Ivy League” and seems that it could be Yale or Brown.  And there’s lesbian action — bi-sexuality if you want to get technical.

Previously, I suggested that “Ursula Grant” was one of Julie/Joan Ellis’ pen names, like Linda Michaels and Randy Baker that are Midwood exclusive.  This was upon a quick look at the prose, and there seemed to be some Ellis-like sentences.

Now that I have read it, I know Grant is not Ellis. Have no idea who Grant is, pen name or not. Grant is not a man in drag, this I am almost certain; this reads with a touch of sensitivity that (and I could be wrong) has the female pen all over it.

Grant seems to have only written three stand-alone novels and a couple Midwood Doubles…in fact, I’m, guessing Campus Queen was meant to be a Double because it’s short — 138 pages and small trim size book, is about 35-40K words.[1] For some reason, Midwood made this a book of its own — and I have several 1966 [2] Midwoods that are short and small sized (e.g., March Hastings’ Barbie), so perhaps these were trying out new formats as publishers are liking to do. (The very early Midwoods were digest-sized like Nightstand and Newstand Library, then switched over to standard mm ppbk.)

Campus Queen is an elegantly-written co-ed/dorm/lesbian story that’s not all that original yet still a joy to read.  Nancy Malone is a 19-year-old undergrad wo is eager for experience and shares a dorm with Elizabeth, who has traveled the world and went to boarding school, where she learned, among other things, lesbian sex.

Both girls date guys, and talk about their experiences.  Elizabeth tells her how men from different countris are in bed — Greeks are rough, French are gentle, etc.  They share the same bed because it’s winter and cold, and their bodies are close, but it seems innocent.  One night, Nancy says she wonders what sex with another woman is like and Elizabeth says it’s great, she’s done it, do you want to try?  Nancy is shocked at first but she gives in to twilight sin:

Boldly, she rose to meet her roommate’s naked body\[…]Elizabeth began to move her hands and herRader Girl 2mouth danced over [Nancy’s] body [which] glistened with caresses, her breasts and her belly glowing with warmth […] Nancy discovered the primal rhythms and let her body pick its way to movement, let her hips slowly revolve, let her legs thrash until her heels dug into the mattress […] She was on a rollercoaster that was climbing to the dizzying heights of that first big hill […] She heard herself scream, fingernails digging into Elizabeth’s back and clinging for dear life. (51-52)

Had this little book been published in 1959-61, that third sex scene would have been less descriptive.  And a man does not write lesbian sex like that.

So begins their life as lovers, and like lovers in a cramped living situaion, they fight and bicker.  Elizabeth likes to have sex with many boys and Nancy doesn’t mind.  They don’t compete over men, until Nancy corsses path with

Timothy Forrest, visiting professor in literature, was [the university’s] catch for the year and one of the most celebrated poets in the country.  At the age of 21 he had published his first volume of poetry and became the center of a full-blown literary controversy.  The critics who thought he was prodigiously brilliant had fought vrbal duels in the literary quarterlies with the critics who found him precocious. And dull. (63)

Nancy meets him at the commons and he seems interested in her and she wonders why some famous poet, only 25, would like her.  She says she and her rommate wanted to take his class next semester but they cannot because they are nit juniors.  He says he can swing it to get them in and he does.

Elizabeth is jealous that the poet likes Nancy…she decides that she wants the poet and this angers Nancy.  There is arguing, hurt feelings, but in the end — as these books often end — Nancy winds up in bed with the poet/prof and “it was good. It had never been so good.” (138)

I look forward to reading Grant’s other Midwoods, especially Boss Lady

Grant - Boss Lady

Notes

1. For those interested, most Midwood novels were 50-60K words (200-240 manuscript pages, 158-184 book pages), and pay was $1000-1200, depending on who you were, your history with the company, how well your books did.  Midwood Doubles clocked in at 40K words (140-160 manscript pages, 120-130 book pages) and paid $900. Midwood Triples were 30K words (100-120 manuscript pages, 90-110 book pages) and paid $750.  Info courtesy of Barry N. Malzberg, who wrote some Midwoods as Mel Johnson.

2. It’s always curious to read a book published the same year one was born…puts things into perspective.

Harry Whittington’s Softcores

Posted in crime noir, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Whittington - Dexter - Passion Burned

The great thing with the Greenleaf/Cornith books, is you never know what you might get, especially with house pen names, since you don’t know who wrote it, and the covers and blurbs often do not match the story…there will be sex, sure, but you may get a detective noir, a murer mystery, a mob story, a romance…Lynn Munroe talks about Harry Whitting’s 38 softcores here.  This is what he says about the above, Passion Burned, which is

…about loneliness. Lots of other things happen, including the shooting pictured on the cover, but at its core it is a tale of two lonely, heartsick people. Don’s wife has died in childbirth, and he drifts from town to town trying to fill up that huge emptiness in his heart. He meets Ginny, who reminds him of his late wife. Ginny’s husband Paul is one of the first men drafted in the Vietnam War (“a war nobody wanted” is how Whittington describes it here.) He is gone after only three blissful months of marriage, leaving Ginny alone and despondent, aching to be held. Don wants to hold her. We learn from David Wilson that this story was also sold to DARING ROMANCES, and PASSION BURNED is a romance, spiced up a just a little and passed off as a sleazy paperback. Don may be screwed up emotionally, but all the women in the book want him. The way he is described we imagine he has a manly voice as deep as Cal Meacham in THIS ISLAND EARTH…

Whittington - Taste of Desire

Or Taste of Desire:

Using the same logic that states that a great writer churning out a novel a month for three years is bound to write some clunkers, it follows that he should write some great books too. Several of the hardboiled stories on this list approach that designation, but THE TASTE OF DESIRE is a surprise because it is not a mystery, not a hardboiled murder yarn. But it is a fine story. On our previous catalog, writing about a book called FIRES OF YOUTH, I proposed a theory that certain “sleazy” paperback originals, if reprinted by a prestige publisher with a different title, would be hailed as great literature and win awards. THE TASTE OF DESIRE is one of those paperbacks. Involving and professionally written, this is a story about a country high school boy named Calder Fenton and his beloved hound dog Fanny. Calder’s Dad is a no-account drunk. Calder falls for the rich landowner’s daughter Lu Ann, who spends winters in Cottonseed County. Whittington never names the state this takes place in, but the nearest big city is Jacksonville.

Whittington - Dexter Blood orgy

And this:

guy drops his girlfriend off for some shopping at a department store. He waits in the car. She never comes back out. Cornell Woolrich wrote stories like this called “All at Once, No Alice” and “You’ll Never See Me Again.” Harry Whittington wrote one too, but this is like Woolrich on crank. Harry wrote the tense mystery story called “The Crooked Window”, published by SHELL SCOTT MYSTERY MAGAZINE in 1965. That same year – apparently no one noticed this in 1965, and never noticed it until now – he expanded it as a fast-paced John Dexter Nightstand. The editors there retitled it BLOOD LUST ORGY, a very intriguing title until you read the book and notice there are no lust orgies and very little blood. But there is a gripping story, well told by a fine writer, and to tell you all the surprises and twists would only spoil your fun.