Archive for Fabian Books

Honey Baby as told to Rex Nevins (Fabian Books, Z-161, 1964)s

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on November 17, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Fabian titles always have a way of surprising. In this case, Honey Baby, as “told to” Rex Nevins (whoever that was) is the narrative of seventeen-year-old sultry white trash tramp Honey Baby Ashley and how she came to inherit quite a bit of her fatther-in0-law’s land in the Imperial Valley of California, bordering the Salton Sea.  She sells it for nearly a million dollars to a group of real estate developers — this is the early 1960s, when a bunch of investors thought the Salton Sea could be the new oasis for the rich, a cross between Vegas and Palm Springs.  Anyone who has ever been out to Salton City has seen that much of this development was abandoned before being finished, the Salton Sea contaminated…William Vollmann’s recent tome, Imperial, talks much about the Salton Sea of the past and present.

So how the hell does the Salton Sea become the background of this softcore sleaze novel?(Forget the horrible Val Kilmer movie The Salton Sea, which is crap.) Who knows. Honey Baby ain’t no great lost piece of literature, but it’s not all that crappy either.

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.

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Our Flesh was Cheap by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books #Z-128, 1959)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In Taxi Dancers, Eve Linkletter wrote about a young lady’s desperation in the Big Apple, taking a job in a taxi dance hall. In Our Flesh was Cheap, Linkletter writes about a desperate young girl in Tijuana who sells her body and is abused by her pimp.

The narration is first-person, told by Rosa Sanchez, 18 years old, who has worked as a “crib girl” since she was 16.  A crib in vintage Tijuana hooker lino is a brothel, similar to old red light brothels where the prostitutes sat by windows and/or kept a red light on in their room, announcing availability.

The book opens with Rosa working a cantina because the cribs are closed over some articles written by an American reporter over an incident with some American teenagers, so the local authorities are worried about decline in tourist trade. This still happens — whenever there’s negative news about the clubs or sex trade district, curfews and early closing times are imposed, or the streets cleaned up, which only lasts for a few weeks until things go back to normal.  For instance, in Tijuana’s Zona Norte, one used to be able to find underage streetwalkers, but all the negative press and pressure by religious and human rights groups, underage hookers can only be found in certain brothels that do not advertise, you have to know where to look; and the young-looking streetwalkers, although they look 15-18, will tell you they are 20.  The age of consent in Mexico is 12, but supposedly a girl has to be 18 to work the streets or bars, and they all carry health cards, which Rosa does in this marvelously written short novel…

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Taxi Dancers by Eve Linkletter (Fabian Books Z120, 1958)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Who was Eve Linkletter? We cannot seem to find any info on her and if anyone knows, please do drop a line.

It does not seem she was a man writing under a female pen name.  One, Taxi Dancers has a womanly touch and understanding to it; two, other Fabian titles she did, Our Flesh was Cheap and The Gay Ones, sports back cover photos of the author, an attractive woman, so we see Fabian leading the way of author looks marketing before the NY trade houses did, starting with Truman Capote’s first novel…

Little has been written, in fiction and non-fiction, about the curious early 20th Century occupation of taxi dancing, the precursor of stripping and lap dancing.  According to a wikipedia entry, the taxi-dance hall

is a uniquely American institution that was first introduced in 1913 within San Francisco’s Barbary Coast neighborhood. At that time reform movements were shutting down many bordellos and red-light districts within America’s cities, and strength for Prohibition was gaining. In 1920, when the taxi-dance halls began to enter their steep upward climb to popularity, Prohibition was enacted and made serving alcohol in saloons, bars, and cafes illegal. The taxi-dance hall’s roots can be traced to a number of earlier dance establishments.

There was an early Chicago School of New Sociology study, Paul Cressey’s The Taxi-Dance Hall, started in 1925 and published in 1938, and June Miller worked as a taxi dancer, that Henry Miller wrote of in various books, most notably Sexus. At the end of Last Tango in Paris, we see Marlon Brando at a taxi dance palace (hence the double meaning of the title). In my ethnography, Zona Norte, I discuss the evolution of taxi dancing, and while it is no longer something you can find (in old form) in the U.S., it is still common in Mexixo, where women dance for a dollar or ten pesos per song, and get drinks and tips too.  (NOTE…Borgo Press will soon release a cheaper paperback edition of my dissertation on sex workers in Tijuana and San Diego.)

In Taxi Dancer, women get ten tickets per song, each ticket costing ten cents…they can also get drinks at the bar, and they can get tips from men.  Some meet the men outside the dance palace. The book mainly revolves around young Linda, who went to New York as a high school theatre star, knowing she would take Broadway by storm, and soon destitute and desperate for work…so like many young women in that era, being a call girl, streetwalker, or taxi dancer were quick options.  She is naive about what happens and what is expected at such an establishment.  She is lured in with the promise of making 100 bucks a week, which turns out to really be more like 30 or 50, unless she is willing to sell her body…

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Cool Covers from Fabian Books

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on January 7, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Strange Three by Louise Sherman (Saber Books, 1958)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Saber - Strange ThreeThe first Saber Book Sanford Aday published, after the success of his Fabian Books line.  Along with the Fabians, this little novel was on trial for being indecent, but the jury did not find it so (they’d get Aday later as they did to Hamling, for sending obscene material through the mail).

This is also an early lesbian pulp. I have no idea if Louise Sherman is a real person, pen name, a mask for Aday…

It’s a bit of a goofy book, and sometimes hard to follow, but worth reading as a history of sleaze paperbacks and lesbian pulp fiction.

It opens with Floyd and Stella Langley getting ready to go out for the evening. They seem to be upper class in Burlington(VT?).  Then suddenly Floyd dies.  Seems he’s the third husband of hers to die mysteriously for no apparent reason.  The cops think she’s murdering them and want to find out; the coroner, a family friend, does not think she is a killer.

The coroner’s son, Johnny Radford, is in love with Stella and always has been. e’s home from college. Stella loves him to but if he marries her, he may die too.

Johnny’s sister, Marcene, is a sexy vixen who never leaves the house.  Johnny sees her sitting with her skirt up, no panties; he tells her and she flashes him her hoo-hoo, laughing.  It’s too much. He goes to her bed that night. They make love.

Okay, it’s incest, but Marcene knows no other men but her brother and father. In fact she tells her father she’ll marry him or Johnny.  She doesn’t seem to be playing with a full deck.

Stella is sexually attracted to Marcene. Stella is bi-sexual.  She seduces Marcene just as she seduces Johnny and soon the three are having sex together — threesome incest!

Three strange people, indeed.

Funny at times, yes.  But what the hell is going on?

The bad thing, as with all Saber/Fabian/Vega Books, is the cheap production value — the cheapest possible thin paper badly glued into a flimsy spine.  All vintage books need care when reading them, but with a Saber of Fabian, extra extra care is required, and sometimes, as in the case of Orrie Hitt’s Love Princess, the type is too damn small.