Archive for the lesbian pulp fiction Category

Libby Sin by Orrie Hitt (Chariot Books, CB1617, 1962)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on October 2, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The titles ol’ Orrie did for Chariot Books (and later New Chariot Library when the outfit moved to Los Angeles) tended to be mediocre, manuscripts he probably was unable to sell to Beacon or Midwood…or they were revised versions of other books about hotel managers, nudie pic models, and tough guys.

Libby Sin is about a 22-year-old voluptuous stripper who acts like she loves men on stage, but loathes them off, preferring the sexual interest of women only.  This mostly has to do with her two bad experiences with men when she was younger: one a rape and one a broken heart.

But that could change with Harry Gordon, the owner of a club that’s hired her traveling act for a longer stay.  He’s a lonely, wealthy man whose wife contracted polio and is bedridden, almost comatose, having had two heart attacks.  He is too noble to have turned his wife away to a home or nothingness.  This touches Libby, and she thinks she could go straight with him, until the night she gives herself to him and he flips out, calling her a whore, a tramp, everything else for “seducing” a married man and being easy…

Now she knows why she prefers women…one is a new girl that Libby is training to be a stripper and sharing Libby’s motel room, then bed…although the girl is confused about the third sex…

Not one of Hitt’s best, but not his worst either. He does spend some quality prose time getting into the head and motivations of Libby.

One cool aspect of the Chariot Books is that they often included interior photos of models…

Enough of Sorrow by Jill Emerson aka Lawrence Block (Midwood Books, 1965)

Posted in Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on September 21, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lawrence Block stopped writing as Andrew Shaw and Sheldon Lord by 1964, but he kept at the lesbian novels as Jill Emerson with two titles, Enough of Sorrow and Warm & Willing. As previously noted, Block would use his Emerson pen name for more commercial, hardback womens and erotic fiction.

Enough of Sorrow exhibits much more maturity in authorship and seriousness in theme than previous lesbian titles by Block, as Leslie Evans, Benjamin Morse, Ben Christopher and Sheldon Lord.

The novel opens with a depressed and lost woman, Karen Winslow, who checks into a cheap New York City weekly rooming house with the plan to commit suicide. She is pregnant and the married man who gave her the baby skipped out when she told him, leaving her alone to deal with a child.  She is saved by a neighbor amd wakes up in the hospital alive, but told she lost the fetus.

She later gets an apartment and meets a new tenant named Rachel. The two become friends, then lovers. Karen realizes she may have been a lesbian all the time, never knew it, maybe this is why her relationships with men were always bad.  She and Rachel (Rae) move in together and are happy lovers for a while. Karen gets a job as a receptionist for a talent agent who deals mostly with TV and bit actors and exotic dancers.

Karen starts drinking a lot, a gradual downswing from too such social drinking to drinking at home and then needing booze to function. Rae is worried,. Karen says it is no problem until she tries three dry days sober.  It is hard at first, then hellish, as she cant type at work and she has a headache and the shakes.  On the third day she gives in to her addiction and gets sauced, comes home and fights with Rae, then goes out on a bender, hitting up a number of lesbian bars, dancing, making out, and fingering all kinds of dykes, from lipsticks to bulls to skinny young girls exploring the scene.  She wakes up in bed with a drooling, snoring bulldyke and runs out…when she gets home, Rae has left a note saying she needs some time away from these troubles.

The passage about the evils of booze eminded me of Block going into the same issues with his Matt Scudder character, who destroyed his life with booze and then went to AA. It makes me wonder about Block and alcohiolism, if this is personal ‘… and I am sure Block has talked about it somewhere, I have just not seen it. MMaybe not… this is from wikipedia;

Though it’s been suggested that Scudder’s struggle with alcoholism is in part autobiographical, Block has repeatedly refused to discuss the subject, citing AA’s own tradition of anonymity.

Eventually, Karen does win her battle with booze and disasterously sleeps with an actor she knows, an older man in his 60s, to determine if she is really gay or bi or whatever.

The book ends on a somber note, with Karen finding the strength to move on, move to anther city, and to say enough of sorrow, time to live.

Not a bad little book…would have preferred a darker ending, more in a Block tradition, but this is a moral lesbian tale…

Sex Substitute by Eve Linkletter (Playtime Books #770, 1966)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on August 24, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one came in the mail without a front or back cover.  It’s a lesbian novel by Linkletter. I happened to also catch on cable the movie, Monster, as I was reading this, and they are oddly similar: about butch lesbians searching for love in a prejudiced world.

Sex Substitute is the diary of a 35-year-old woman named Peggy, a “butch” lesbian who has a thing for young lipstick lesbians, who keeps getting hurt and betrayed, often when a lover turns to a man, as we see in the first chapter. She’s worried about being one of those old lonely dykes who chase young tail.  Her rival and friend, a woman named Johnny who hooks on the side for money, tells Peggy that true love and ever-lasting lesbian relationships are impossible for women like them, and she should take the “love them and leave them” route.

Peggy still believes she may one day meet a woman she can be with forever, even marry.  She picks up a young girl walking down the road named Sheila.  Sheila has just jumped out of a car of a man who tried to rape her.  Peggy expounds on the evils of the penis and how women don’t need it. Sheila is naive, a virgin, and has no idea Peggy is a lesbian.

They become friends, and Peggy has her designs on the heterosexual Sheila: she will turn the girl to the joys of the third sex.  Over the course of months, Peggy falls desperately in love and dares not make an overt move for fear she will lose Sheila.

Peggy shares a house with her younger brother, Ray; their parents died and left them some money and a home, which is why Peggy can afford to help Sheila and spend her time drinking and hanging out at lesbian bars.  When Ray and Sheila meet, it is love at first sight, and as much as Peggy tries to keep them apart, Ray winds up asking Sheila to marry him and she accepts.

In a drunken rage, Peggy attacks Sheila and tries to rape the girl, but Sheila fights her off, and agrees to forget the incident if Peggy mainatins herself.  Ray has no idea his sister is gay and would disown her if he knew — which he eventually does.

Having the love of her life marry her brother send Peggy into an alcoholic, suicidal downfall; she gets into a car accident and later tries to kill herself.  But no fear — she does find some love at the end, when she goes to see an old flame she broke up with because the woman wasn’t young anymore.  Peggy realizes if she is going to have gay love in her life, she can’t be picky about age, and the young lipsticks are no longer for her.

At times trite, this is a pretty mature novel about butch lesbian lifestyles, and I’m surprised not to see it on the lesbian classical pulp lists, perhaps an oversight for having been published by schlock house Neva/Playtime, which had an address in Vegas but was really run out of Florida.

There’s a powerful section where Peggy remembers her father visiting a mulatto hooker he was in love with, and the atmosphere of bigotry at the time (and still exists).

If you can find a copy, this is recommended along with Linkletter’s others recently read: Taxi Dancers, Our Flesh was Cheap, and The Gay Ones.

There are about five or so other Linkletter books we will look at soon as well…

The Gay Ones by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books, Z-134, 1959)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sanford Aday’s Fabian and Saber imprints were the first of the sleaze paperbacks to seriously publish explicit books about gay men, years before Greenleaf jumped into that untapped market.  Even the lesbian titles did not have the moral endings that stated the third sex route was a sin, the way the Gold Medal titles did.

Linkletter’s third book for Fabian is about gay men, cross dressers, drag queens, lesbians and the gender-explorers of the tawdry New Orleans nightclub crowd in the 1950s (the same crowd that Lee Harvey Oswald had hung around with).

The novel opens with ten-year-old Jerry confused by his feelings — he’s an introvert who likes to try on his mother’s clothes and lipstick. His mother always wanted a daughter so she encourages this (the same way Ernest Hemingway’s mother did, because she too wanted a daughter and called Hemingway “Ernestina”).  He befriends a nine year old girl nextdoor, Norma, and they have fun, play house, etc., but a year later she moves to California. They vow love. They write to each other for years. In high school, a gay boy comes on to Jerry and Jerry is appalled, and the gay boy says Jerry just doesn’t know what he is.

Continue reading

Strange Are the Ways of Love – Lesley Evans aka Lawrence Block (Crest Book #s336, 1959)

Posted in Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on June 19, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lawrence Block talks about this book in one of his writing tomes, how at age 19 he studied the numerous paperback lesbian novels on the market and wrote this one for experience and a paycheck. (The same year he published his first Midwood, Carla, coming up next.)

Strange Are the Ways of Love opens, and is almost similar to, 69 Barrow Street.  Jan, a graduate of Indiana University, comes to Greenwich Village for a summer stay at he aunt’s apartment on 54 Barrow Street.  She has secret lesbian yearnings, and has had some experiences, but feels tormented about it in mid–West America…she figures if she goes to the Village where gays are accepted, she might meet the woman of her dreams.

Instead she meets Mike, a singer/songwriter who sweeps her off her feet, confusing her with bi-sexual feelings, and through Mike she meets Laura, a gay woman who sweeps her off her feet, and thus we have the drama we see on the cover art.

This one is better than many of the very early Andrew Shaws that Block did for Nightstand, maybe because there was a solid market he wanted to crack rather than producing manuscripts fast.  It’s not an amazing story, and has a patent happy ending with Jan eschewing her gay feelings and running into Mike’s arms forever, as the market needs necessitated.

He only used the Lesley Evans pen name once — “Lesley” being a pun on lesbian.  His main female pen name would later be Jill Emerson.

Recommended: Submissive Games for Tender Trollops by Valerie Gray (Ophelia Press, 2010)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction with tags , , , , , , on May 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lesbian BDSM tales by Valerie Gray.  Done in a way that it reminds one of Sloane Britain.

Wayward Girl – Orrie Hitt (Beacon #288, 1960)

Posted in Beacon Books, lesbian pulp fiction, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one is far better than Orrie Hitt’s other juvie novel, The Torrid Teens — both published in 1960 although Wayward Girl was a month or two before Torrid Teens, as tis is Beacon #288 and Teens #294 (we’re talking a month difference here).

The wayward girl is  young Sandy Greening and he white trash nowhere life — she was raped by a neighbor at 14 but liked it, started running with a gang and prostituting at 15, got hooked on heroin (but not too badly) at 16.

Her father is in prison for trying to hold up a gas station and her mother is a lush who runs around with criminals and bad boys.  She in turn runs around with a street gang, is not quite a “deb” but makes herself available for the use of the club house, where she sometimes brings her johns.

She works part time in a deli, where she meets out of town men or dock workers who pay her $5-10, sometimes $20, for a lay.  She believes in giving men what they pay for and sometimes enjoys it.  She wants to work her way up to a high class $100/night call girl and lead a nicer life.

One night an older man offers her $25 and she goes to his hotel room but it’s a police sting and she’s arrested.  She was witness to a murder in a rumble the night before (a rival gang gang-raped one of their debs) but she plays dumb.

She is sent to a special reform school for first offenders, much better she is told than most reform institutes for young women, and far better than prison.  There, she goes cold turkey off the heroin and it’s a hellish two weeks before she kicks it.

Some of the other girls are pregnant, in for drugs or hooking, and half seem to be lesbians or dabbling in the third sex for lack of men.  She vows never to go that route but she is blackmailed into lesbiana by one of the house-mothers, who holds her future well-being in lock.  Still, Sandy finds she enjoys the forced kisisngs and lickings of another woman — “Sandy had never dreamed of the completeness of this kind of love” (p. 92).

She is given a weekend pass to stay with a family in town, only to find that the man of the house — a fat slob of a guy — expects sex from her, or else he will tell the house-mother to give her a bad report and have her sent to regular jail.  He is paying the house-mother $25 for every girl she sends for him to have sex with.  Sandy sees it ironic that she was convicted for prostitution only to be pimped out by the state employees who are supposed to be “reforming” her as a good citizen of society.

The slob’s son, 19, however, falls in love with Sandy and wants to marry her, but she can’t see how he can feel that way for a girl like her, especially if he ever found out she was sleeping with his father.

When Sandy is released, she goes back to work at the diner where men are expecting her to return to doing $5-10 tricks, and where her gang mates expect her to return to the Life of rumbling and shooting heroin.

Sometimes at tad preachy and moral, this is still an excellent read, even with the sappy happy ending.  Hitt seems to be writing a book made-to-order for Beacon, as the storyline is similar to others, but here he does an excellent job.

On the Hitt Scale, a 9.2.

21 Gay Street – Sheldon Lord aka Lawrence Block (Midwood #55, 1960)

Posted in Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on April 25, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

First, 21 Gay Street is a real address:

In Block’s novel, the brownstone apartment complex at the address in the center of most of the action.  Joyce Kendall, fresh from Ohio and a graduate of Clifton College (setting of many Andrew Shaw campus Corniths), ready to start her job at Armageddon Publishing, rented the place sight unseen from an ad in a paper. She wanted a furnished apartment when she arrived in Manhattan, prepared to take the publishing community over by a storm.

She meets three neighbors: Terri Leigh and Jane Fitzgerald, two lesbians who live and love together; and Pete Galton, a former PR writer now taking time to write his first novel, which isn’t coming along as he had hoped.

Joyce is disappointed in her job — Armageddon does not publish literature but pulp magazines in the true confessions, romance, and men’s adventure genres.  She thought  she would be a first reader of manuscripts — which she is — but mostly she does letter typing and filing.

Joyce is lonely and bored.  ane and Terri have third third sex eye on her — she’s cute, she is unattached, is she gay or in the closet?  Jane incites Joyce to dinner.  When Jove makes the moves on her, she freaks out and runs to another neighbor, Pete, who has been rude to her. She asks Pete to take her to bed, so she knows she is a woman desired by men.

Pete takes her to a wild party, instead. An orgy in fact.  Joyve drks several juice drinks spiked with qualludes.  She blacks out and later learns that she had sex with dozens of men, including Pete, whose bed she wakes up in.

A romance happens, despite the sordid encounter at the orgy.  They click.  Pete knows his novel is trash and worries about money.  Joyce tells him he could write cofessioons romances and make $150 a story.  She knows what her employer wants, so he writes to order and starts a career as a pulp writer, with pregnant Joyce at his side.

A sappy tale but not bad.  The lesbian aspects are not as prominent as the wonderful Paul Rader cover suggests.  The sex is almost a tad more explicit than your usual 1960s Midwood, too.

A B-minus.

That Other Hunger – Sloane Britain (Midwood F117, 1961)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is the story of Lisa McBride, a somewhat naive young lady in New York, attending the New School for Art and modeling on the side to make money.  Her mother was once a model, and has sent Lisa to Fran, an agent and PR person.  But Fran is also an aging lesbian with an eye for the young ones, and just when she thinks she has Lisa for her lover, Lisa meets a hunky “he-man” model, Craig Phelps, and instantly falls in love with him.

Fran is annoyed but she doesn’t think the romance will last long.  Craig is a user, moving into her place and getting her to buy loads of marijuana, which starts off slow but becomes a daily, hourly obsession for him.  He sees Lisa as his property, and at a party, he tells his buddies “what’s mine is yours” and they can all have sex with Lisa if they want.

“Craig! Do you really mean that?  You  . . . don’t care if I have sex with other men?”

“Not all the time, baby. Just on certain occasions, when I feel in the mood. And tonight I felt like sharing you and our pad with some old buddies. I still feel like it, as a matter of fact. So let’s get going and get you high.”

Lisa fell bac into his arms, stunned and hurt […] She had no rght keeping him from entertaining his buddies — just because she was so jealous and didn’t want to share him with anyone.  So he wanted to show her off to his buddies. Nothing wrong with that. It was kind of nice, as a matter of fact […] He carried her into the living room.  Pausing on the threshold, he shouted for attention. “Now here this, all you cats. Here’s my chick, Lisa. And for tonight, what’s mine is yours.”

Three husky crew-cut young men, clad only in jockstraps, fell to their knees in front of Craig. They stretched out their brawny arms toward him. Craig spread his arms and let her drop down into their midst.  Her startled shrieks were lost in their roar of laughter and clapping from the others in the room. (pp.94-5)

There’s some lesbian sex too, like when Lisa spends the night in a Park Avenue pad and a maid who resembles her has sex with her, making Lisa like “she’s having sex with herself.”

Fran meanwhile has found a new young female paramour, Sally, to replace Lisa.  She hears of the crazy pot parties and orgies and admonishes Lisa that it’s only a matter of time before Craig starts pimping her out for money.  Lisa guffaws.

But in a matter of days, their money gone, Craig is desperate. He has been opening her mail and cashing checks not his, pawning her jewelry, telling her that what she owns he owns, vice versa — including her body.  He also seems to be hooked on heroin but denies it — similar in fact to The Needle, where the husband pimps his wife for junk and dollars, Craig talks Lisa into attending a “party” for a rich businessman they know, who will pay her $200 to “entertain” some out of town buyers. She thinks she’s just supposed to talk and act nice and then finds out she’s expected to have sex with any man at the party who wants it.  She narrowly escapes gang rape.

Lisa is a lot of Terry Southern’s Candy, so naive and always finding her way into sexual adventures she didn’t ask for; sometimes you can’t feel sorry for her for being so dumb, but she leans the hard way, with the help of Fran, who winds up getting murdered by Craig in a moment of madness.

That Other Hunger also has a lesbian-positive ending, where Lisa and Sally, grieving for Fran, wind up in each others’ arms, in bed, “wide awake and performing the ageless rituals of love” (p. 188).  Does the title refer to the twilight desire, or to heroin over pot?

The novel starts off slow, a tad too New York chic, but we slowly get sucked into Lisa’s sad glamor world of  modeling, drugs, and sex.

Score: B-.

The Third Theme – March Hastings aka Sally Singer (Newstand Library #U157, 1961)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on April 13, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

March Hastings (real name Sally M. Singer) liked to write about women cracking up, breaking bad, and going hyp0-mania, usually from a divorce, break-up, or bad union, and finding their way into the arms of another woman.  This was present in The Drifter and looks to be a common set-up in the other books I have by her.

She’s regarded as a major contributor to pulp lesbiana and a few of her titles — like Her Private Hell (Midwood) — fetch high prices with collectors.

Sharon Porter is a book editor in her 30s who is on the verge of a crack-up.  She works for Taft Publishing and the man she lives with has the last name Taft, so there’s a problem there: fucking the boss. But that relationship has gone sour.

Needing to get out, she contacts one of her writers, Kermit, to take her out somewhere. They go to a party at another writer’s loft; he’s an eccentric fellow married to an even more eccentric lady, Leda.  Leda and Sharon hit it off immediately — there’s attraction, which leads to sex, which eventually leads to Leda’s husband catching them in the act of “the third theme.”

They get out of dodge; the two women go on a road trip, back to Sharon’s home town, so Sharon was rediscover herself, and come to terms with her “third sex syndrome.”

This one is elegantly written but it is hard to identity with, or care about the characters because they are so uppercrust Manhattanites who end to be shallow, their problems petty when you consider, for instance, the characters in Sloane Britain’s The Needle, who are dealing with the underbelly of life.  The Drifter was about upper middle class and privileged people, and while I liked that one, there was still the issue of Hastings not making her wealthy, educated people into universal human beings.

I wonder how much The Third Theme is like The Third Sex Syndrome