Archive for literary erotica

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.

Thoughts on Eye-Catching Book Covers

Posted in Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The great art found on 1940s-60s bools — not just sleaze, sex, and sin, but all paperback genres — were meant to catch the eye: when a customer saw the cover on the newsstand or bookstore, they would pick it up out of great curisoity: is the cover as good as the story inside?  Sometimes people bought the books on covers alone, just as collectors do today (collecting Bonfils or Rader, they don’t care about the text).

I never heard of these two books below, for instance, or the writers, and have no idea what they are about, I just now got them on eBay because I liked the covers:

Beacon - Twisted

deadlu desire

Look at those bosoms on that Bonfils art!  Push-up 50s bras!

And Twisted — the cover seems to hint at incest.  From a Beacon?  I don’t know yet, but I have a feeling the cover is misleading, that the girl’s father is strict and mean and she takes off and rebels, and not that her father is the man on the cover wanting to prove that incest is best in some sort of gutter laden lust of shame!

I am often annoyed when the cover is indeed misleading, if the girl on the cover does’t match the main character.  Bonfils always illustrated a scene in a Nightsand book, unlike Midwoods where Harry Shorten would buy art and have writers compose something around it, or just attach art to a book that doesn’t quite fit the story, like Mel Johnson’s Instant Sex.

In the 1970s and 80s, sex books started to use photos of real people models, believing that is what customers wanted.  Perhaps they did, and perhaps paying a model a few dollars was cheaper than commissioning original art.  I don’t care much for photo covers, and they tend to not fit the stories either.  This is true for today’s erotic books — at Blue Moon Books, sometimes the Avalon art dept. just randomly slapped some photo they had in stock (sometimes even putting the same one on two books); and they would put modern age women on Victorian novels.  Some of my Blue Moon covers I hated, like The Dress

The DressThe dress in the novel is short and black, and the female character is blonde  — the other female is a red-head.  So who the hell is this on the cover supposed to be?

(Note: The Dress is being made into a sexy art film in New York soon, after three years of development, and is available in ebook format at Olympia Press, or you can get it used online.  I wrote it as a novella in 1996, published in The Mammoth Book of New Erotica (edited by Maxim Jakubowski) in 1997; I then expanded it as a full novel in 2001 for Blue Moon.  Of all my erotic books, this one has made the most money, mainly from the film option.)

Some covers I really liked, such as The Rooms

The Rooms

I actually saw the cover before completing the book so I wrote a scene that describes the cover.

For Amateurs, I took my own cover photo —

The amatuers

This was a girl who lived nextdoor, she was from Argentina.  She had a website where she sold pix, and sometimes videos if her having sex with her boyfriend.  I was happy when she agreed to grace the cover of one of my books, just as another female friend appears on the cover of one of my Dr. Mundinger-Klow books:

Klow - Swap

But…they just don’t make paperback or hardcover covers like they used to in the 1940s-60s.  Some imprints imitate the look, like the Hard Case Crime books, and they are cool, but they are just retro — they have the look but not the spirit and the feel.

Here are some other covers that are great, worth the price of admission  alone, but tend to not reflect the actual novel — posted here for your eyeball’s fancy, because I know you’re reading this blog because you dig these nifty covers a much as any other vintage book fan does…

Teen Brides

Lustful Ape

Williams - Bayou Sinners

Rader - Teacher's  PetDykes on BikesNovel Books - Don't Touch My Broad

Wall Street WantonElliott - Flesh BoarderHitt - Sheba

Lord - Husband Chaserbeauchamp - anoyher night another love

G. Klow - Sex Under SixteenAllison - Flesh is My UndoingEllis - teenage Hideaway

Hudson - Gang GirlEllis - Gang GirlHastings - Heat of the Day

Midwood - Penthouse Party