Archive for New York fiction

Tramp by Andrew Shaw/Lawrence Block (Nightstand #1541, 1961)

Posted in Andrew Shaw, Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

In many ways, Tramp is a lot like No Longer a Virgin — a young woman comes to New York and is unprepared for the men of the big city, their only interest in making her.  Then again, the set-up is a common one, as in Don Elliott’s Party Girl or Loren Beauchamp’s Meg.

Julie Marsten is 22, recently graduated from Clifton College, the fictional but disguised Ohio campus similar to Antioch College, where Block went before heading to New York to become a writer and work at Scott Meredith, where he met fellow fee readers Evan Hunter, Richard Curtis, and Donald Westlake, among others.

She’s a virgin, and daydreams of the perfect moment when she will lose her maidenhead.  She gets a modeling agent and starts into “fashion” and nude photography, a la an Orrie Hitt novel.  When she does lose her virginity to a rich man who likes to take pictures of naked women, it is less than romantic as she dreamed.  But once she’s had sex, she gets the wild itch and can’t stop…and from there, she picks up men in bars, has a lesbian experience with a model named Lou, Lou who drags her into a New York party world or orgies and yacht trips to the Caribbean.

Like Terry Southern’s Candy, this is a funny romp about a innocent girl turning wild tramp.  I have a feeling Block had fun with this one, as there are numerous funny scenes with witty dialogue, my favorite: “The hell with Oedipus, as long as he loved his mother, what did it matter?

In the 1973 edition, some updates are included, like using “tits” and “cunt” and one “fuck,” and the movie she sees in the original, The Sound of Distant Drums, which appears in many Shaw/Sheldon Lord books, is changed to Blume in Love.

As with many tales of wayward girls in the big city of sin, Julie does fnally meet Mr. Right and repents her ways of shame and embraces love and marriage — her eventual knight to the rescue is Ben Christopher, a Block pen name.

Far from any work of art, this is a fun romp of a read, and I give it a  B-minus.

Everything Happened to Susan by Barry Malzberg (Belmont Tower, 1972)

Posted in Barry N. Malzberg, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Like A Way with All Maidens, this one is about the dream of acting — sort of.  A young lady named Susan goes to New York to chase the acting dream, “but, the fact is, she has very little talent and no luck” (p. 13).  So she gets into porn — she answers an ad for actors and actresses needed, $100 a day, not knowing it’s for an adult film.  Needing money, and naive enough to believe porn can lead to legit and mainstream work, she falls into it.  A common story told a million times in the lives of porn actresses, and in sleaze books — but this is Barry N. Malzberg, for Pete’s sake, and no one tells a common tale like Malzberg! Things get meta:

In the script, Susan is playing a young girl who has come to New York to look for a legitimate break in show business but instead has been forced into the making of pornographic films to support herself […] she suffers from a deep sense of shame and seeks to degrade herself. All the characters in the film are seeking degradation. In the course of the role, then, she is to have intercourse three or four times, as well as much petting, and one incident of sado-masochism with a tall man holding a whip. (p. 11)

Susan also came to New York several months ago to look for legitmiate work in show business […] she gas been forced into making pornographic films to support herself. Presently she is living with an unpublished writer named Timothy West who feels he is on the verge of a major breakthrough in style and technique but, at the present time, is an assistant supervisor for the New York City of the Department of Welfare […] “You have no idea how doomed the welfare system in this country is,” he told her. (p. 13)

As we know, Malzberg also worked for the NY Dept. of Welfare, resulting in books like The Day of the Burning and The Social Worker.

This was also reprinted as The Masochist, that edition harder and far more pricey to locate than Everything Happened to Susan.

Everything does indeed happen to Susan, in life and in porn — she does every possible type of porn, even beastiality…

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