Archive for sleaze paperbacks

Wild Bride by George Simon (Chariot Books #190, 1960)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

As noted, George Simon was the pen name of one Carlson Wade, whoever he was, or perhaps Keith Ayling, attributed to Arthur Adlon.

And he wasn’t a bad writer. Wild Bride is a nifty surpise: a pretty good novel with some depth and layers.

Not to forget that this is a “sex” novel, but it’s a cut above, in the same quality category as Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, Orrie Hitt, or March Hastings.

The cover is classic, as I have seen it re-used a number of times on posters, cups, and albums.

It opens with a forlorn fellow named Larry getting drunk in a bar and trying to forget that the woman he loves, Gracie, is about to get married to another man.

But — she doesn’t.  She phones him at the bar and says the groom never showed, he got cold feet, and she needs to see Larry right away. he knows he shouldn’t, but her lure is too great.  They get together and she finally gives him what she’d denied him for years: her virginity.

But she can’t stay there in their small North Dakota town.  When she went to get a marriage license, she discovered she had no birth certificate. And then the woman she’s known as her mother all her life, an ex-Broadway actress named Marta, tells Gracie she’s not her real mother, that her real mother was a friend and former lover of her boyfriend, and she raised Gracie as her own.

So Gracie tells Larry she has to go to New York to find her real parents, to find out what happened, to find out who she really is.  She meets up with a number of colorful characters — an old actress who runs a house for artists; a gay painter; a talent agent who knew her folks, and two men who want to rape her — one she winds up killing in self-defene and gets into some trouble over.

Meanwhile, Larry is left behind and he begins a relationship with a loose woman whose always had it bad for him, and she vows to never sleep with a number man but him, if he’ll have her.

The narrative jumps back and forth between the two but leans more toward Gracie’s story.  In an odd way, this reminded me of early Don DeLillo, like Players or Maus II, how DeLillo tells stories of an event between a man and a woman, and how they drift off onto sepearate paths after the event.

Not to say that Simon/Wade is on par with DeLillo, but the narrative technique is similar and I wonder where it comes from…did not Candide and Cunegone drift apart after a grand event and have their own adventures before returning together?

DeLillo-esque is now a term in the OED.

I digress…

Not a bad little novel, this Wild Bride. A B-.

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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