Archive for the Don Elliott Category

Shame House – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Midnight Reader #440, 1962)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on May 8, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks


We’ve been neglecting Robert Silvberg’s many sleaze titles lately — on his yahoo fan group, Silverberg recently announced that some Don Elliott books would be reprinted; he didn’t say which ones, yet, or the publisher, until things are solid.

Shame House should be a contender for reprinting, and is one of the better Don Elliotts he wrote.  The little novel could have been published in the 1980s and found an audience — it’s about Wall Street, in a way, and stock market speculators and their sex lives.

The narrator is Jack Thorne, a trader who has made his first million by 28.  Having made a $6,000 killing on a shifty speculated trade, he goes to a club to celebrate (even as a millionaire, the daily procurement of money is still a high), looking for a woman to fuck, and crosses paths with beautiful Francine,  who was actually seeking him out, on orders from her “master.”

Continue reading

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.

Escape to Sindom – Don Elliott/Robert Silverberg (Leisure Book #686, 1964)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on February 25, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

for your reading pleasure…

CHAPTER ONE

THE CELL WAS SMALL, HOT, SWEATY, a box with bars on one end. The lone guard sat sleepily at the door to the jailhouse, with his back to the single prisoner. Inside the cell, Val Sparkman clenched his fists and peered anxiously out, thinking of the lovely, full-breasted girl who was waiting for him down Mexico way. Cindy…

Continue reading

Did Lawrence Block Plagarize Robert Silverberg in 1960?

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Don Elliott, Lawrence Block, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I sat down to enjoy one of Lawrence Block’s Andrew Shaw softcore titles from Nightstand, College for Sinners (1960)—as most of the Shaws are enjoyable—and was surprised, perhaps disappointed to discover that the little novel is a direct rip off of one of Robert Silverberg’s titles for Bedstand books, Campus Love Club by David Challon (1959), reprinted in 1962 by Midwood as Campus Sex Club by Loren Beauchamp.

Both books are set in a thinly disguised upper Manhattan institute, Metropolitan College in Silverberg’s novel, unnamed in Block’s, but obviously Columbia University.  Both are about a sexually awkward young man who gets the chance to join an exclusive sex club of undergraduates, called The Libertines(the book was reprinted in 1973 by Greenleaf’s Reed Nightstand as The Libertines).

The Shaw book is not an exact word-for-word replica of the Silverberg Challon book—College for Sinners is told in the third person while Campus Love Club is told in the first, the former a bit more humorous in the narration than the later.  In both books, the protagonists, eager to lose their virginity, employ the services of a Harlem streetwalker; in Silverberg’s, the prostitute does not speak any English and in Block’s, the woman talks in street slang, calling her john “baby” every other sentence.  However, both protagonists are so nervous they are incapable of an erection, thus they do not lose their virginity. Later, both young men in each book take out a campus tramp, a girl who never says no, and are deflowered in that manner.

Note the peculiar similarities when membership of both clubs is explained

“Membership is limited to fifteen—five sophs, five juniors, and five seniors. Each September the juniors and entitled to sponsor five new men for membership…Membership is limited to undergraduates, and you can’t remain a member for more than three years” (Campus Love Club, p. 68-70).

“We have twelve members, no more, no less.,  Four each from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Two men and two women.  Each year four members graduate and four new sophomores are invited to join the society.” (College for Sinners, p. 64)

While the group in College has six men and six women, the group of fifteen men in Campus has a sister group of women comprised of fifteen from Chelsey College, an all-girl’s school that is connected to Metropolitan (like one of New England’s Seven Sisters, Vassar or Smith — the sister college for Columbia is Barnard).

Both sex clubs have an apartment in Greenwich Village for orgies—dues are $20 a month in Campus, $50 a year in College.  Sexual arrangements are the same: no female member may deny sex for a male member, and vice versa. No one spends a night alone.

Both books have similar consequences and wrap-ups. Not exact, mind you — in Campus, the NYPD raids the group’s orgy house after the kidnap and drug a girl and forced her into sex acts, and when a guy comes to rescue her, a fight breaks out…in College, the protagonist finds true love and becomes disgusted with the immoral ways of his collegiate colleagues, so sends an anonymous letter to the Chief of Police,  outlining what happens, what night they can be found, and who these people are.

In Silverberg’s, there is tragedy at the end, the narrator’s life ruined as he goes on without a college degree, the other members disgraced and one committing suicuide.  This is usual for Silverberg whose work — sleaze, SF, or fantasy — has a dark bent.  Campus ends on a more happy note as the protagonist has found love.

But these books are too damn similar to not take note.

So what happened here?

I asked Silverberg if anyone knew he was David Challon back then and he said no – in fact, seems only the past 10-15 years that many of Silverberg’s pen names in sleaze have come to light (there is no mention in a 1978 bibliography, which only lists a handful of Don Elliott books).

Did Lawrence Block pick up the Challon novel and like it so much that he did his version – seemingly plagiarized – and figured no one would ever notice?

No one ever has, until now.

Did he see the Challon manuscript while at Scott Meredith in 1959 and think, Wow, what a story

Did he forget reading it and wrote this one as the concept lingered in the back of his mind?  The books are only a year apart. One might say, well, maybe there was an item in the news about such a club at Columbia or NYU, or a rumor going around — that’s reasonable, but the fact that both protagonists try to lose their virginity the same way, and botjh have erectile challenges while with a hooker, and the rules of the sex clubs are quite similar, are evidence that this is not a coincidence or shared idea in the creative either.

Read both for yourself, if you wish, and you be the judge.

But what the hell, eh…does it matter?

No, it doesn’t. I don’t wat it to seem like I am out to say, “Ha, I caught you in a youthful folly, Mr. Block!”  My interest is academic.

This will be a curious footnote in the history of paperback publishing,

Recommended: Hellcat Hellions on Sin Campus by Dawn Elliott

Posted in Don Elliott with tags , , on December 26, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Olympia Press has recently published as an e-book, Hellcat Hellions on Sin Campus by Dawn Elliott (pen name of Sandra Boise, it seems) and is a wild romp like, or so it claims, like Terry Southern’s  Candy.

The novel also seems to be a core element in an SF time travle yarn called Time Lust.

Is “Dawn Elliott” a take on Silverberg’s sleaze nom de plume, Don Elliott?

Wild Divorcee by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg), Nightstand Books #1542, 1961

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on December 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

An early Nightstand, their 41st published book, reprinted in 1973 as Nowhere Girl, is about 26-year-old divorcee Carol, who has moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles (a large home in Pacific Palasades) to start her life over, single and confused about the ways of sex — she was virgin when she was 22 and married her older ex-husband.

She’s aware of the image a newly divorced woman her age conjures up — sexually available, lonely, on the rebound.  She does not want to be that; however, she finds herself jumping into all kinds of sexual sitautions the day she moves into her new place…

There’s the painter across the hall, who gets get drunk; he’s short and dark and odd looking but she lets it happen and then feels bad the next day. She later models nude for him and they become casual lovers. He is the second man she has ever been with, and finds him an excellent lover. “I never knew it could be that way,” etc.

She picks up a 19-year-old sailor in the city who first mistakens her for a hooker. She’s lonely and curious…

She wanders to North Beach to check out the beatnik scene.  She goes to a club above a small bookstore. This scene is almost word-for-word a similar scene in a Loren Beauchamp novel, The Fires Within — Silverberg has admitted he re-processed scenes from one book to another in his “My Life as a Pornographer” essay. In both scenes, the wandering lost women get drunk, get picked up by several bearded beatniks and a silent girl, go to a pad, pound on bongos, drink wine, dance, and have an orgy.

Then there is a chamber music composer who lives downstairs — six feet five tall, thin, curious, when he plays his music for her, he wants her to whip him with a riding crop, scatch him, beat him, abuse him…and to her surprise, she does.  She does not feel dirty about it, but is curious why a man would want this.

She gets drunk and meets a lesbian and goes to bed with the woman, and again feels guilty after her twilight experience (a similar scene from several Beauchamp and Elliott books).

So Carol runs the gambit of sexual experiences in the free-lovin’ San Francisco, while her ex-husband feels remorse and wants her back.  he comes to see her, drunk, and asks her to marry him again, and then tries to rape her, but the painter saves her.

She starts to drink more and more, confused with her life; angry with men, she plays with the composer, orders him around, treats him like shit, getting her revenge on the male sex, but the guy likes it…

I’ve never been  disappointed with a Silverberg sleaze novel, whatever pen name he uses; he was/is a craftsman and tells entertaining stories. As noted elsewhere in this blog, most are above average, some average, and some are gems of literature.  This one is average, but worth reading.

Nurse Carolyn by Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg), Midwood #65, 1960, 1963

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Beauchamp - Nurse

The last of Robert Silverberg’s Loren Beauchamp books here, I have read and reviewed them all; all were for Midwood except one, The Wife Traders, which was for Boudoir Books and was a truncated version of David Challon’s Suburban Sin Club, discussed here.

Nurse Carolyn is a somewhat dark tale of a naive young nurse in white, Carolyn Wright, taken down the dark path of wealth and S/M.  The first edition, above, has one of Paul Rader’s best art; Rader also did the cover for the second edition, which is less striking but still Rader.

Beauchamp - Nurse CarolynWe first meet Carolyn as a quasi-sexually liberated nurse at Netherlands Hospital, engaged to a young go-getter intern named Dick. (“I love Dick” obviously double-entendre when she says it.)

For two days she took care of a diabetic and multi-millionaire, Cornelias Baird.  He has requested her to be his private nurse at his Long Island estate, at $125 week and free room and board.  For the late 50s, which this is set, that was pretty good wages for an R.N.  The hospital hates to see her go — they have a nurse shortage — but Baird is on the Board of Directors, his family has given gifts to the hospital since its inception, and Baird has suggested he would build a new wing for taking Carolyn away.

To Carolyn, this is only a five-month job where she can save the  money to help with her eventual wedding to Dick.  She does not suspect anything nefarious–Mr. Baird is in his late 50s, and although handsome and tall, he is also sickly and very thin (six-foot-five and 160 lbs).  He seems very old-world and gentlemanly, but behind that mask is a perverted sadist at heart.

He has 12 house staff, several pretty young women in their late teens-20s as “maids.”  One pulls her aside and tells Carolyn to run away fast before it’s too late, before she becomes a sexual slave of depravity like they all are.  Carolyn doesn’t believe it…

The weird thing, Baird looks like an older version of her first love, four years ago when she started out as a nurse, a young rich boy who won her heart and virginity, only to find out he was using her for sex as he was engaged to a high society debutante, marrying her:  Carolyn discovered this truth in the paper.  For Baird, Carolyn is the spitting image of his long dead first wife from the roaring 20s — Carolyn herself is shocked to see how much she resembles the portraits on the wall of his old wife.

One day, Baird talks her into stripping into her undies to play hand ball; one night, he talks her into drinking champagne on the 30th anniversary of his wedding; she gets drunk and he pretends she is his long dead wife and she pretends he is the young man who broke her heart…in a dark and sad moment, they have drunken sex, caught in their own depraved sin fantasies…

There is something seductive about Baird…as much as she tries to tell him no, or quit, his soothing voice hypnotizes her, as it does to the other women on staff, so they all do his bidding to please his sexual needs, such as putting on S/M shows (“carnivals” he calls them) with the maids being whipped then fucked by the limo driver/aide  (a big black guy) and the butler (a genteel man).

Soon, Carolyn forgets Dick and falls in love with Baird, despite his age and health.  Is it his millions, the diamonds and pearls he lavishes on her, the promise of inheriting  his vast fortune if she marries him?  She can put up with his sex shows, a voyeur fetish  he picked up from France in the 1920s; she can watch, but she does not want to participate.  When he demands she put on a lesbian show for him, with one of the other staff women, she refuses, and he gets mad and threatens to fire her — forget his love, he has to have what he demands, and he is not used to being told no.

Is this an erotic play on the nurse genre?  I haven’t read any nurse books. I remember my grandmother had a few Avalon hardback nurse novels on her shelf and looking at them when I was a teenager and finding them sappy and romantically silly, books for girls and women with nurse fantasies in the General Hospital sense.  There was a time when nurse novels were a big thing (1940s-70s) — writers like Peggy Gaddis wrote scores of them, like  Nurse Ellen, as well as more racier Beacon titles like Dr. Prescott’s Secret.

nurse ellenGaddis - Dr. Prescott's Secret

The nurse genre may have a recent infusion of life on TV, with the success of Nurse Jackie on Showtime and Mercy on NBC, about a group of nurses and their loves and woes (perhaps akin to The Young Nurses by Harry Whittington?).

Whittington - Young Nurses

The ending to Nurse Carolyn is probably far more darker than the typical nurse and doctor novels. This one ends in tragedy and blood and depraved emotions.

A fairly good read, on a scale of 1-10 of all Silverberg’s Beauchamps, I would give it an 8.  The best of the Loren Beauchamp novels are, by far, Connie and Meg (both bestsellers for Midwood), then Love Nest (a dark tale of womanizing), Wayward Wife (reprint of Thirst for Love by Mark Ryan), Unwilling Sinner (reprint of Twisted Love by Ryan) — two books Slverberg said he was not paid for by Bedstand, so re-sold to Midwood with slight changes in character names, which was also the case with Campus Sex Club, reprint of Campus Love Club by David Challon (in a few days, I will talk about Lawrence Block/Andrew Shaw’s plagaraism of that book with College for Sinners). A Fire Within was okay; And When She was Bad somewhat typical…

While Sin on Wheels has another great cover by Rader, and is hard to find, I thought the story was disappointing, as reviewed here.

Nurse Carolyn was also reprinted, with minor changes, in 1967 by Cornith/Greenleaf’s Companion  series, as Registered Nympho, under the Don Elliott pen name, with a cover that might be closer to the story than the two Midwoods, although Carolyn is not exactly a “nympho” per se.

Elliott - Registered Nympho

Lust Queen by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg), Midnight Reader #401, 1961

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

LQ

LQ

Another Hollywood novel with a writer as a narrator…but this wrter is not a screenwriter but a pulp hack.

Silverberg had the first Nightstand (1501) with Love Addict, reviewed here, and had the first Midnight Reader (401) with Lust Queen.

I love the “waterbaby” Robert Bonfils cover, a companion to Robert Carney’s Anything Goes.

Anything GoesJoey Baldwin writes detective and science-fiction books and makes an average living. Then his agent gets him a lucrative gig: ghostwrite the autobiography of a 50s star, Mona Thorne, who is making a come-back.  He stands to get $15,000 for the initial job, with a possible $50K more with foreign, film, and other rights.  Big money for 1961!

He’s about done with a sticky divorce and wants to marry his girlfriend, Lisa.  He has to leave her for a few months to go to L.A. and write the book. He assumes he will be put up in a hotel but Mona Thorne wants him to live at her Pacific Palasides estate…and, he finds out the first night, be her sex toy.

This is no Norma Desmond/Sunset Boulevard gigolo situation.  Mona is in her mid-30s, well-fit, well-endowed, tanned, sexy, and likes kinky things in bed.  Joey likes doing kinky stuff he’d never ask Lisa to do.

So begins their business arrangement: breakfast early, work on the book, pool and marinis by four, dinner, Hollywood parties, sex all night, and so on…

L.A. people find Joey fascinating since he’s not a screenwriter. When people ask, “What studio are you with?” they cannot get their minds wrapped around the fact that Joey is not in the game.

The book opens like it’s Silverberg’s autobio:

I was busy making the typewriter move. My fingers were writing as if they had their own private case of St. Vitus Dance, and every time they twitched more nice black marks appeared on the white paper in the machine. I was 40,000 words into the new detective novel… (p. 5)

Writers who have never worked on a manual typewriter do not understand what a physical task it was to use the machine, pressing down on keys, putting paper and carbons in, changing ribbons, matching one’s typing skills to the keyboard of any given typer…some old writers, like Harlan Ellison, still write on manual machines, never having graduated to an electric one (Ellison didn’t like how they hummed) or computer…Silverberg is on a computer now, and online, having embraced the 21st Century…I understand that T.C Boyle still writes on the old Sears typewriter he had when he was first writing.

Joey meets a lot of typical Hollywood characters — the miscle boy models, the shady producers, the jealous actresses…at one party, Joey meets a down to earth TV announcer on a kid’s network and has a quickie outside with her. She also has “small breasts,” unusual in sleaze where all women are at least 37-42 D cups.

Mona gets outrageously jealous over his sex fling…but gets over it…but when Lisa comes to visit him, she loses her mind…

Mona is petty, insecure, clingy, cannot take rejection for a big famous rich star…Silverberg does a good job showing how the famous lived isolated, lonely lives for the most part, outside their films and publicity shots.  I have seen the same with well known actors I have met in Malibu (staying at the home of a certain big produce once and getting to know the neighbors like Bruce Willis, etc.)…one thing Silverberg did’t mention that I find funny is how so many film/tv stars are short…they’re all so damn short..

This is one of the better Don Elliots, I think, up there with Sin Servant, Love Addict, and Convention Girl.  It’s also a dark story of greed and petty jealousy, with quite the violent outcome with a nice Hollywood iroic twist about commercial marketing of tragedy.

Carnal Cage by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) (aka Passion Trap), Reed Nightstand, 1973

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Eliott - Carnal Cage

Carnal Cage is a reprint of Passion Trap (same cover), Nightstand #1521 and the eighth book Silverberg did for Wm. Hamling.

Ah, another academic in trouble because of sex, not unlike Sin Professor. In this case, Jay Blackett is working on his Ph.D. in 18th Century plays and teaching low level (90A) freshman comp courses reserved for T.A.s and instructors.  He’s at Columbia Univ., by the way, and much of the action takes place at his room on 114th Street, the seemingly same building in Campus Love Club, possibly the same 114th Street digs Silverberg and Harlan Ellison lived in during the mid-50s pulp fiction hey day.

Prof. Blackett has been dating another Ph.D. candidate, Susan, but she’s somewhat frigid — in fact, she is afraid of sex and always comes up with excuses to not get into intimate situations with Jay.

So Jay finds an outlet in Nancy, a “low rent” waitress in an all night diner on 115th Street (I think I know the place!).  Nancy likes to get drunk and have wild sex, which is what Jay needs for release, but she is hardly the kind of girl he can bring to academic and faculty functions, or take to the opera and discuss literature with.  He tries to get her to read Othello but she would rather read the true confession magazines she likes.

Nancy is possessive, and wants to see Jay a lot, maybe have a relationship.  She gets drunk and verbally nasty with him, only to come back sober and apologize.  She might not be bright, but she has a body he cannot resist.

Susan finds out jay has been having a girl in his room and she realzies she may lose him if she doesn’t warm up, so one day on a picnic she has some beers and they go skinny-dipping.

Nancy tells Jay about her psycho ex-boyfriend whose in the army and will be discharged soon, and wants to come find her and marry her.  She says he will kill her if she says no or if he find sout she’s been with another man.  Jay thinks she’s making it up for attention but the ex shows up and murders Nancy.  Defending himself with a knife, Jay kills the crazy ex, more on accident, when the dumb grunt charges into the kitchen knife (a similar scene is in Suburan Sin Club).

This was a quick read. I have not yet picked up a Silverberg sleaze novel I didn’t finish; they are all entertaining, some better than others, some gems of genius and some so-so.  I would give this one a B+.

Which are the As and A+s?  I would say:

Love Addict

Man Mad

Woman Chaser

Connie

Thirst for Love (aka Wayward Wife)

Love Nest

Sin Servant

Immoral Wife

Convention Girl

Party Girl

Gang Girl

Sin Girls

The Many Faces of John Dexter 0.5: The Bra Peddlers by Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Books #1568)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Dexter - Bra Peddlers

When Robert Silverberg wasn’t Don Elliott at Nightstand, he was sometimes John Dexter, like every other writer in William Hamling’s stable was at one point or another.  People must have thought Dexter — like Don Pendelton  or Ellery Queen — was the most prolific pulp writer in the galaxy.

While Joan Ellis’ Gay Scene had bra models, The Bra Peddlers is about Madison Avenue ad men scheming to sell a new product from Venus Bras: the Up-Cup, a falsie bra that will make flat-chested woman rise, or women who are too big squished down to conventional, less “cow-ish” size.  The material, when touched with clothes over, will fool any person that it’s a real breast — they even have nipples!

Ted Griffen gets the account, moved from sporting goods — it’s a big promotion, and he’s in line to take over the company when the Boss retires, or keels over.  Thing is, he soon finds out that part of the unspoken deal is that Ted’s wife will sleep with the Boss whenever he feels the urge.  Seduced by big money and a future mansion, Ted and his wife, Hazel, agree to this, much to Hazel’s dismay.  But she fears her husband may get fired if she says no, and she does want a better life for her kids.  This is a common softcore theme: women sleeps with the boss or clients so better her husband’s job position…one of Silverberg’s Mark Ryan books, Company Girl, is about this, which I will get to next month, I hope…

Ryan - Company GirlBesides, she has cheated on Ted and he knows…she doesn’t know that he has regular extra-marital sex: there’s his secretary, who comes in and lays on the couch when he needs it…Ted justifies sex this way: with his wife, it’s about ten years of marriage and love; the secretary is just for tension release in his high-tension job.

There’s the occasional woman here and there, too, like one of the senior copywriters, now on the Up-Cup account, who wants to re-kindle an affair that ended three years ago.  Ted has no interest, so this woman sets out to destroy him.

Another copyrighter, a 26-year-old “frigid virgin,”  breaks down at the Christmas party after too much booze, wondering what is wrong with her, why he goes frigid whenever a man tries to make her.  Plus, she feels digusted by the whole advertising biz and the lies they push on the public.  All she wants is to be a houswife and mother, but how will she ever get a husband and have kids when she is afraid to try sex, or has no desire for it?

Ted, drunk too, says he will de-flower her in his office for her own good.  At frst she resists but then gives in, and feels disgusted after.  Over the holiday weekend, she commits suicide.

There seem to be a lot of suicides (Sin Servant, Convention Girl) or attempted suicides (Connie, Unwilling Sinner, Party Girl)  in Silverberg’s softcores, not unlike the suicide in Thorns and other SF works.

The Bra Peddlers is not as good as his other Mad Ad men novel, Woman Chaser, reviewed here, but it is a good, very swift read. I got through it during the one and a half hour train ride to Tijuana. Like Woman Chaser and Orrie Hitt’s Tell Them Anything, reviewed here, these books all read like epsiodes of AMC’s Tv show, Mad Men.

After the suicide of the copywriter, Ted does start to garner a conscience and guilt…and when a lab report comes back that indicates the material in the Up-Cup may cause breast cancer, he decides not to bury the info — but Venus Bras and his Boss do: they are willing to take the chance of harming women in favor of the revenue the product will bring in.

Yep, Ted loses his job. He doesn’t care.  He goes home.  His wife thinks he was fired because sh erefused to sleep with the boss anymore, but he tells her otherwise.  They decide to give their marriage a second go without the temptations of money and material things.

The 1973 Reed Nightstand reprint is The Venus Affair by Jeremy Dunn (John Dexter’s 70s name).

Nightstand - Venus Affair