69 Barrow Street, by Lawrence Block writing as Sheldon Lord, Tower, 1959
Cover Line: “Their Love was Right! But Their Sex Was Wrong!”
We’ve all known them: the men who long to be lesbians. in the days before they found an outlet for their frustrated desires by dominating the discussions in women studies classes with passionate paeans to Monique Wittig, they wrote lesbian pulp.
Does Lawrence Block belong to this esoteric tribe? One thing is for sure: before becoming Continue reading →
Journey to a Woman, by Ann Bannon, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1960
Classic Line: “All the dormant fires of her younger days had sprung to life and they burned in her still, tempting her, torturing her until she knew she would have to find release somewhere or die of it.”
It took me many years to appreciate Ann Bannon’s contribution to lesbian literature. Bannon wrote five pulps between 1957 and 1962, linked novels that tell the intertwined, melodramatic adventures of Laura, Beth, and Beebo. The books made her Continue reading →
The Why Not, Victor Banis, A Greenleaf Classic, 1966
Best Line: “The Why Not represented everything he disliked about gay bars–screaming faggots, drag queens, rough trade. It was cheap and tawdry and, probably because of those qualities, successful.”
The above describes the book as well as the bar. I’ve been doing a little research on gay male pulp, in preparation for the upcoming pulp panel, and from what I’ve read The Why Not was the Women’s Barracks of the genre, a ground-breaking novel that led the way for books like Midtown Queen and Hot Pants Homo. Continue reading →
“Jean discovered her true sexual nature through the expert teachings of sleek Sherri Lancaster.”
The Plot: Orphaned outcast Jean Grant is so desperate to get out of her hick town and discover her “true nature” she elopes with sensitive Tim, the unhappy son of the lecherous druggist (who is also Jean’s employer). After gritting her teeth through their wedding night, Jean steals Tim’s $1000 nest egg and hightails it to New York. There she checks into a cheap hotel and sets out to explore the city, alternately racked by guilt and overflowing with delirious joy at her newfound freedom. Continue reading →
Novel writing and blogging don’t go together, at least not when you’re on a deadline. I emerged from my post-deadline sleep to discover that the notes from the pulp I’d been reading before it all started, Someone to Love, were mysteriously missing. Continue reading →
Isn't it keen how the reflection of my cell phone mimicks the shadow of the murderer?
I was looking forward to Helen Nielsen’s The Fifth Caller (Morrow, 1959) from the Grier-McBride collection–the library catalog lists “Lesbian physicians–Fiction” as the second subject. Alas, only a completionist collector like Barbara Grier would put this rather dull mystery with its few elliptical references to sapphic tendencies in her lesbian library.
The Plot: Dr. Lillian Whitehall has been found dead in her office and all evidence points to her nurse. Nursie can’t defend herself, because she was found unconscious on the beach with her wrists slashed and has no memory of what happened that day. Tall, square-jawed D.A. Investigator (I’m sorry–I’ve already forgotten his name) thinks Nurse Anna is awfully pretty though, Continue reading →
I’m not a fan of the internet. I’m an old-fashioned gal who prefers knitting while listening to Alan Farley talk about his Noel Coward obsession on the radio to web surfing. I was violently against ebooks until a royalty statement made me change my tune (turns out I’m making money from them!). Continue reading →
Twisted Loves, by Mark Ryan “an original Bedside Book”
“A story of strange passions and forbidden lusts that changed a young girl into a twisted sinner!”
This is the template for the exploitation pulp. Lots of big breasted, horny women, sex, sex, and more sex, and then a heterosexual rescue on the final pages. From the cover to the content, this is what most people think of when they think of lesbian pulp.
“A shockingly candid tale of misbegotten sexuality…” (New York Herald Tribune) “the probable successor to Lolita…you might say Marjorie Lee has dramatized the Kinsey Report” (Hartford Times).
Would that were so! Here’s the shocking truth about this lesbian pulp: no lesbian sex. None. Not even some groping. It’s all come on (look at that cover!) and no delivery. I should have suspected something was amiss, when even Lucy Freeman (author of Fight Against Fears) told me in the forward that I was in for something Continue reading →
From 1942 to 1944, Barbara Deming worked for the Library of Congress as a film analyst. Her job was to go to the movies and take detailed notes about what she watched. By her own account, she saw a quarter of Continue reading →