Archive for February, 2011

The Tides of Lust/Equinox by Samuel. R. Delany (Lancer Books, 1973; Masquetade Books, 1994)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is Samuel R. Delany’s first pornographic novel, written between Nova and Dhalgren, the two SF novels where the sexual content broke the barriers of the genre and shocked and delighted critics and fans.

Delany wrote Equinox (the intended title) in September, 1968 with the intention of publishing it with Los Angeles-nased Essex House, a short-lived imprint of Milton Luros’ successful Brandon House,  that was issuing “literary erotica” from the likes of Charles Bukowki, Philip Jose Farmer, Michael Perkins, etc., at the quirky editorial hand of Brian Kirby (later of the Los Angeles Free Press).  Packaged as smut, smut readers did not buy these books well within that market and by the time Delany had his manuscript ready, Exxex House was kaput.

Delany didn’t find a publisher until 1973, with Lancer Books, which titled Equinox as The Tides of Lust. Lancer went out of business months later.

Delany write his second porn novel, Hogg, right after, and that one was not published until 1994 with Black Ice Books.

Because of his status as a major Sf writer, The Tides of Lust was reviewed by the mainstream media and met with favorable reviews, despite being ground-breaking in its sexual content with rape, S/M, sexual slavery and pedophillia.

Delany was not afraid to publish porn under his own name, as were other SF writers protective of their present and future careers.  Delany was a respected fiction writer and literary/cultural critic, so his publishing hardcore erotic works has always met with strong mixed reactions from fans and critics.

Delany is a lot like George Bataille in that sense: a serious thinker and word master who also explores the dark sexual side of the self and unafraid of public reaction.

Equinox/The Tides of Lust is not as fetish and graphic as Hogg of The Mad Man, Delany’s third porn novel, relying more on dialogue to describe the sexual activity, but it does have its “shocking” elements…

An unnamed African-American captain of a sailing yacht, the Equinox, travels the world with two sexual slaves, a 13 and 15 year old brother and sister whom he “purchased” six years ago to tend to all his sexual needs, and to please guests on board the boat.

When Richard Kasak reprinted the novel in 1994 through his Masquerade Books imprint, the publisher succumbed to the PC pressures against pedophile literature, yet mocking it: they added 100 years to all underage characters, hence the brother and sister sex slaves are 113 and 115.  Other minor characters are 106. (Kiddie porn is rampant in Hogg, the narrator is an 11 year old boy, the sex slave of a biker.)

When UK publisher Savoy House published The Tides of Lust, 2,000 copies were seized and destroyed by the British authorities and the publisher was jailed.

Is this a Transgressive Novel? It was at the time, and having read Delany’s other smut novels, Equinox is somewhat tame by comparison.

The structure is similar to The Einstein Intersection: chapters that start off with arcane quotes from various and wide-reaching sources.

Torrid Cheat by Orrie Hitt (Chariot Books #212)

Posted in crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on February 27, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks


This a fairly rare, hard-to-locate Hitt. Like Panda Bear Passion and Cabin Fever, we have looked high and low for this title; the unstoppable kind Lynn Munroe found one for us, and we were delighted with the tawdry cover.

Torrid Cheat is a curiously uneven novel from Hitt, and obviously there were deep editorial cuts: the book is a slender 128 pages, maybe 40,000 words.  It has 11 chapters, unlike Hitt’s usual 13-14 chapters and 50-60,000 words. About 3/4th into the story, we can tell there was a 10-15K word chunk sliced out by the red pen, making the jump uneven.

Rare, but alas not a remarkable story from Hitt, with a lot of his usual tropes: the younger woman marrying an older man with some money and property, and her scheme to kill him and get her hands on it. Usually, these Hitt femme fatales find a guy to be the patsy; in this case, she’s the killer and the guy figures out her murder plot.

The protagonist is Frenchie, a 19-year-old regular guy who works in a bottle factory during the work week and on the weekends, a p/t job at a gas station owned by a 50-year-old ,man, Pops.  He dates Pop’s 18-year-old daughter, Betty. Betty gets pregnant and they marry.

Pop’s recently re-married to a sultry redhead who is 28 named Bertha. On his wedding day, Frenchie gets seduced by Bertha and they carry on the affair for months.

One day Bertha and Pops go to the lake for a swim and he drowns. The whole thing seems suspicious. Yeah, his wife killed him, that much is obvious.

An okay read.

A good book for any collection as a rare item and a cool GGA cover.

Sex Fiend by L.T. Woodward, M.D. aka Robert Silverberg (Monarch Books, 1961)

Posted in Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on February 26, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

We have wondered if these fake sexual case histories were ever used in research papers, or caused anyone to believe there were actually real people out there as found in the plethora of these type of books that were churned out in the 1960s-70s.

Robert Silverberg composed about a dozen of these as L.T. Woodward, M.D., covering topics such as the virgin wife, sex techniques in marriage, sex in the army, sex in college, lesbians, etc.

Sex Fiend covers sex crimes, often sex that leads to murder, such as the chapter called “Teenage Thrill Killers” and “The Peeping Tom Murders.”  Nympho,mania, lesbiana, and ;psycho doctors are also found.

Basically, this is a collection of sort stories around a theme, framed as case histories lacking academic methodology, clinical ethics, theory, and all the other stuff one finds in true case history studies.

But so what? This is entertainment, a breezy cheap paperback that shows us publishers then and now will print anything if there’s profit…

Philosopher of Evil: The Life and Works of the Marquis de Sade by Walter Drummond aka Robert Silverberg (Regency Books, 1962)

Posted in Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on February 26, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In the 1960s, Silverberg was penning just about as much non-fiction as he was writing softcores, SF, and whatever else.  He used a number of pen names, writing books for the YA and trade market in history, anthropology and oceanography, as well as a dozen sexual case histories and research as L.T. Woodward, MD (after the success of Masters and Johnson, publishers put out both real and fake sexology studies in droves).

As Walter Drummod, Silverberg wrote two curious titles for Regency Books: this biography of the Marquis de Sade, and one about how to invest and spend money wisely.

Regency Books was owned by William Hamling, part of the Greenleaf/Cornith arm, and edited by Harlan Ellison.  Ellison published two of his early books with the imprint, Gentlemen Junkie and Memos from Purgatory. Interesting note:  Regency originally published Jim Thompson’s The Grifters. Ellison did have an eye for what was good.

Philosopher of Evil is written for a general audience, not academic; too bad as sometimes we wished for sources of quoted material. But this was a quickie paperback meant to entertain and at times, excite with graphic descriptions of de Sade’s personal sex life and the depravity found in his novels.