Slaves to Sin – S.N. Burton (Gaslight Book #134, 1964)
Previously, I has noted that Robert Silverberg’s Campus Love Club and Lawrence Block’s College for Sinners were extremely similar. I debated on how this happened — did Block pilfer from Silverberg, was there a news story that the two writers based their books on, did the Scott Meredith Agency create the storyline and give it to them both?
Last summer a reader of this blog suggested I check out S.N. Burton and I did, and found Brutal Passions to be an excellent novel. I picked up two more Burtons — Forced to Sin and Slaves to Sin — and noted on the title page of Forced, that the byline was Ken Kane. L.S. Publications has several Kane titles under the Bellringer and Gaslight imprints so I picked some of those up.
Glancing through them all, it seemed like there were style differences. Was Kane Burton? Were both pen names for an unknown writer?
Today I sat down with Slaves to Sin and as I read the opening, I felt like I had seen it before:
It was a hot September afternoon just before my sophomore year at East Coast Junior College was about to open, and I was lying in the sack in my dormitory room, fourth floor of James Hall, overlooking the noise and clamor of Amsterdam Avenue. The room was dusty and bare, like a shell waiting for its occupant to climb in. (p. 5)
When I got to the narrator’s name, Jeff Burnside, I thought, Wait a minute…
I picked up the second version of Silverberg’s book, Campus Sex Club by Loren Beauchamp (Midwood F206, 1962), and read the opening:
It was a hot September afternoon before my sophomore year at Metropolitan was about to open, and I was lying in the sack in my dormitory room, fourth floor of Hendricks Hall, overlooking the noise and clamor of Bryant Avenue. The room was dusty and bare, like a shell waiting for its occupant to climb in. (p. 5)
In the David Challon Bedside edition (1959), Campus Love Club, it is Columbia Univ. (Note: Silverberg told me he was never paid for this book, as well as a couple of others, so re-sold them to Midwood with various changes.)
Yes, Slaves to Sin is a rip-off, plagarized edition of Silverberg’s book. Not exactly word-for-word — Burton changes little things here and there, adds in a sentence or two, leaves out some parts from Silverberg, but it is essentially the same damn book. Burton keeps all the character names, however.
This makes me wonder if Brutal Passions is an original or a stolen wor, and any other Burton title. I do know Gaslight did originals, such as Orrie Hitt’s Male Lover, which wasn’t that great a book for Hitt.
Yet another curious footnote in the publishing history of vintage sleaze. The question now is: are there are other books that tell this same story of a campus sex club?