QUEER PULP – The title says it all. Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback, by Susan Stryker, explores a wide range of the mid-century mass-market paperback. However, the concept of the gay lesbian ‘sleaze’ novel -prior to 1965 -was all about titillation not pornography; by today’s standards. In that light, the title is a bit misleading, because the book is an overview of the golden age of the paperback novel. At a time when that format was the chief literary form. Pulps had covers designed to-be-seen; to convey crime, alternative lifestyles, gender issues, drug abuse and laid the foundations for the sexual revolution.
THE CITY AND THE PILLAR – The author’s death -in 2012 at the age of 86 – garnered as much press for his literary achievements as for his celebrity. Reference a nasty debate with William F. Buckley Jr. on live television (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYymnx…). Where Buckley is referred to as a ‘crypto-Nazi’ and Vidal is referred to as a ‘queer’. The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal broke new literary ground, as the first book with an unapologetic gay male character, who isn’t full of self-loathing and doesn’t die of suicide at the end.
REVIEW OF PICKER BY AMOS LASSEN – “A Character Driven Crime Novel by Amos Lassen. Chad Schimke is a new writer for me and he sent me two books and two novelettes recently. “Picker” is the first that I read and it is a character driven crime novel. Fernando Martinez is a crime boss of a gang that does trafficking. When on an afternoon there was a grab for power which caused consequences for many people. It is from this point that we find ourselves involved in what went on. Schimke has the ability to pull us in and we become, in a sense, characters in the story. We find ourselves in the criminal underworld and sit on the edge of our chairs as things are sorted out. While the story is about crime, I must see that we are not shortchanged on anything here. Schimke is an excellent writer who has a real knack for both character development and description. Set in New Mexico, Schimke brings in the Indian traditions and all of this together makes for a fascinating read.”