Archive for freedom of speech

So Wild the Flesh by Mel Corbin (Saber Books, 1969)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I picked this one up for he cover. Saber/Fabian books always had slightly odd-looling people on their covers — maybe more odd than Novel/Merit Books art and photis.

But what is the story behind this almost-naked woman pointing a heater at this fellow’s noggin?

You never know what you’d get with a Saber or Fabian from Sanford Aday’s company — sometimes good stuff, sometimes awful shit.

The book — short, at 35K words or so — starts off with Eddie, a newpaper reporter, getting a vist by a girl named Sharon who says he has to help her, her life is in danger, someone is out to kill her.  He suggests that she hire a private eye but she thinks having a reporter writing about her plight would protect her, if the public knew.

He goes along, as he thinks about her pussy and his “shaft gets hard looking at her.”  Thats the thing with this one, publihsed in 1969:  the indency laws had become lax and the books started to get hardcore. So there’s plenty of sex here — straight and lesbian, and lots of talk about vaginas and dicks.

Hardcore has its place, I have certainly written my share of it, but here it seems to only cheapen the novel than add to it, almost as if the sexual asides and thoughts were added in to an existing manuscript.

Plus, it’s hard to follow what the hell is going on. I was lost. I couldn’t get past page 50.  What was this all about, or was the set-up just an excuse to write explicit sex scenes?  Sharon takes Eddie to her big home — she’s rich — where her mother and a servant live, and all kinds of sex follows.

This is porn, but I ca’t say it’s good porn.

Others might like it.

Have no idea who “Mel Corbin” is.  Seems the name is only on this one book.  Could have been Aday writing under a pen name.

It’s interesting to consider that had Saber published this novel ten years earlier, a lot of people would have been behind bars, and indeed, by 1963, Aday did wind up doing time for Sex Life of a Cop, which was far less explicit than So Wild the Flesh.  But the cops and local authorities in Fresno, California, had been after Saber for a while, losing several court cases on obscenity. With J. Edgar Hoover watching quietly, gioing after all sleaze publishers, they were bound to get Aday on something, just as they got William Hamling and Earl Kemp later on.

We must keep in mind that it was not long ago, in America, that people were illegally spied on and harassed by the government and went to jail for practicing first amendment rights.  And while things are different now, as George Orwell warned us in 1984, things could easily revert back to 1950s suppression and repression.

In that light, the fact that Saber published a book like this as an act of free speech is not only comendable, but noteworthy in the history of publishing and the First Amendment.

The Spread by Barry Malzberg (Belmont Tower, 1971)

Posted in Barry N. Malzberg, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The Spread

One of Malzberg’s least known books, it has had three editions: this 1971 Belmont Tower edition, a 1977 edition with an art cover, and a 1980 “price breaker” plain cover edtion from Leisure Books.

Malzberg - Spread 77

Malzberg - Spread 80 Leisure

A note on publisher history: Belmont was once an independent paperback house that specialized in faux sexology studies and popular culture, as well as second rate science-fiction and mysteries. They merged what was left of Midwood (Tower Publications) and became Belmont Tower, then later merged with Lancer Books and formed an inprint, leisure Books — not the same Leisure imprint from Greenleaf/Cornith.  Lesiure still exists today as Dorchester Publishing (which published a number of curious books by Linda DuBrieul), which supposedly still has the rights to all these old books, Lesire mainly publishers a popular horror line, romances, thrillers and westerns now.

The Spread is pure black comedy, and a nasty criticism of the sleaze rag era of the 60s-70s, the other half of the biz that went along with the books: nudie mags and newspapers under the guise of adults news and entertainment…

Continue reading

Say When by Max Collier (Midwood, 1963)

Posted in Midwood Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Collier - Say When

I was blown away by Max Collier’s Mark of a Man (aka Carol Came First), reviewed here, so I came to this one with high expectations and was somewhat disappointed.  Say When is a good read, just not the work of literature at the other one.

This one falls in the same categry as Sin Professor, reviewed here, the story of a college English prof who has a break down — call it mid-life crises or a rebellion against academic constraints.

Dr. Joseph Gorell, “Joe,” your average joe academic, wakes up one morning and is bored with his dreary life: he is in his late 30s, wakes up the same time every day, same wife in bed, same breakfast, same classes.

In his morning class, he discusses early newspapers as works of English lit, and comments on risque political cartoons showing fornication. This is a shocker!  The department admin. has sat in and is not pleased and later scorns Joe.  Joe is offended by this censorship, so the next day he talks about the origins of erotic fiction and drawings, and their use as political commentary.  He also shows up unshaven and half drunk.  He gets barred for the day from his classes.

As in the other book, I suspect whoever Collier was, he had experiece in academia, because his depiction of institutional politics rings true.  Much like Orrie Hitt’s Taboo Thrills, reviewed here, Say When doubles as both lurid Midwood book and criticism of censorship, attitudes about sexual literature, and the oppression of expression.  Collier sets out to expose the pettiness of administrations who claim to support “academic freedom” but are hypocrites.

Joe leaves his wife, rents a room, and sits down to write a novel about sex.  He is banned from teaching, grows a beard, starts to drinks and womanize — there are two students, one a campus slut, the other an innocent; there is the woman he shares office space with and the woman who runs the boarding house.  He juggles and sleeps with them all, feeling liberated.

The book cover is a bit misleading — indicating it is about a campus slut who collects men, when that character is a minor one. This is about Joe and his breakdown and escape from conformity.

Worth reading as a sleaze book and a Collier book.

Saber Books – Sex Life of a Cop – Sanford Aday

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sex Life of a Cop

This nifty little Saber Books novel, Sex Life of a Cop, was instrument in putting its publisher, Sanford Aday, in hot water and almost behind bars.

Aday was an unsuccessful novelist — out of his ten written manuscripts (housed in the special collections at Cal State, Fresno, only 2 were published. Part of it was his books were too racy for the mainstream,.  Frustrated, he started his own press, with three imprints: Vega, Saber, and Fabian.  These books often pushed the enveloped when it came to incest, homosexuality, and detailed sex acts.  As such, the cops and goveerment were after him for obscenity.

He  vigorously fought against censorship. He faced several charges in Hawaii, Arizona and Fresno. Then, as a jab to the local cops, he published Sex Life of a Cop, by an alleged former cop, publicizing the book as being a true account of how cops are crooked and take liberties with the law and sex.

Well, you don’t do that without pissing off the powers that be, so they really went after him. In the 50s-60s, the First Amendment and freedom of opinion/expression did not exist when it came to the law guys — after all, Jim Morrison was arrested on stage in New Haven when he made fun of the cop who maced him backstage.   Lenny Bruce would get arrested when he made fun of the cops in the clubs where he he did his act.

Saber and the other imprints mostly seemed to publish unknown pen names. They did publish one Orrie Hitt, Love Princess, and one by John B. Thompson, Hard Way.

He was eventually tried and convicted along with associate Wallace de Ortega Maxey for shipping an obscene book into Michigan in 1963. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and fined $25,000.

The conviction was eventually overturned.

Sex Life of a Cop by Oscar Peck was the only book of seven deemed obscene by the jury.

Other Saber Books —

Saber - Depraved Debutante

Strange Three

Saber - Vicious Vixen

Saber - karla

Hitt - Love Princess

Saber - So Wild the Flesh