LESBIAN PULPS  – A series dedicated to pulps, see links below and follow them to those pages. Lesbian theme paperback/ pulp books were mostly written by straight men for themselves. These pulps (written by males) tended to have darker or more titillating undertones. Paperbacks with sympathetic themes were usually written by women. Radclyffe Hall and Tereska Torres are often credited with launching the golden age of publishing the lesbian pulp; with Women’s Barracks in 1950 and The Well of Loneliness reprint in 1951. However it emerged as a new market for women writers, some of them lesbian, who might have never been published otherwise. Fifteen actual lesbians wrote almost a hundred of these pulps, from 1950-1965, reflecting realistic lifestyles. Many pulps written by men had probably never even known a lesbian. Imagining them as wannabe males or sexually confused, easily remedied by the right man. Interestingly, writer Lawrence Block–writing as Jill Emerson and Sheldon Lord–went on to pen award winning mysteries (A Walk Among the Tombstones). This post has attempted to show both sides of the coin: sympathetic realism and sensationalistic perversion.

Related posts on this topic:

Flying Lesbian by Del Britt
Women’s Barracks by Tereska Torres
Queer Patterns by Lilyan Brock
Women Confidential by Lee Mortimer
Three Women by March Hastings
The Other Side of Desire by Paula Christian
The Unnatural Wife by Jay Carr
69 Barrow Street by Sheldon Lord
Getting Off  by Jill Emerson
Enough of Sorrow by Jill Emerson
Lesbian Web of Evil by Harry Gregory

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall



GAY PULPS – This is a series of posts dedicated to pulp novels, see links below to related blog topics, and follow them to those pages. The gay pulp novel led to a homosexual male identity in a post-Stonewall era, after World War II. From the 1950s to the 1970s, censorship laws were relaxed to allow more freedom, including sexual and romantic expression. Pulp fiction was usually sold at train stations, drugstores and newsstands; with striking visual covers which conveyed certain stylistic themes; depicting the sensational topics contained inside. Hidden within the characters and plotlines were clues that told gay men of the period how to live their lives–written by themselves–with details of their own personal experiences, struggles and insights. These novels are invaluable clues as to how LBGT lived their lives, in an era of subtext and the ability to pass, during this period of American history. I find pulp novels of all types compelling windows onto the past, and have amassed a personal collection, which is part of my literary influences. Looking for a good read? Check these books out.

Champ by Don Holiday
Cruising Horny Corners by Lance Lester 
Finistère by Fritz Peters  
Gay Traders by Aaron Thomas 
Man Divided by Dean Douglas 
Midtown Queen by Julian Mark
Muscle Boy by Bud Clifton 
Song of the Loon by Richard Amory 
The Dungaree Jungle by Riley Benton 
The Gay Bunch by Lynton Wright Brent
The Lavender Elves by Dean Hudson 
The Purple Ring by Carl Corley 

‬ ‪#‎Gay‬‬ ‪#‎Pulps‬‬ ‪#‎Crime‬‬ ‪#‎Thriller ‬‬#‎Horror

 ‪#‎Gay ‪#‎Pulps ‪#‎Crime ‪#‎Thriller #‎Horror


GAY AND LESBIAN PULPS – One of my most popular blog posts from last year (6-12-12) covered the topic of the pulp novel along with several of the best covers. Today’s post looks deeper; into the gay, lesbian or bisexual pulp. Let your imagination wander to an era before any celebrity, athlete or even actors and fashion designers were ‘out of the closet’. The lives of ordinary gays and lesbians were rife with subtext, innuendo and mired in the ability to ‘pass’. I love some of these books, not because they are necessarily the greatest writers, or are even all that polished in terms of dialogue/ prose. What makes them great? Imagine the half-world of the mid-fifties up through the early seventies in a time of sweeping activism and social change. If you look up ‘lesbian pulp novel’ on Wikipedia, it lists The Third Sex by Artemis Smith, along with the sensational 1959 cover, in first place. With credits that include spokeswoman, playwright and novelist. Or, consider (what is arguably the best example of) a gay male pulp cover, Caves of Iron by Chris Davidson. He was the author of fifteen novels published between 1967 and 1969, coinciding with the Stonewall riots of 1969, commonly held as the anniversary of the modern gay civil rights movement. These books take you there, in the way only a novel can do, pick up a copy and allow yourself to be transported, if only for an hour or two. 

  • Cutie on Call by Hank Janson 
  • Donnie and Clyde by Sam Dodd 
  • Forbidden: She Walked Strange Paths of Love by JC Priest
  • Go Down Aaron by Chris Davidson 
  • Lost on Twilight Road by James Colton 
  • Man Alone by William Doyle 
  • Satan Was a Lesbian by Fred Haley
  • The Fall of Valor by Charles Jackson 
  • The Strange Path by Gale Wilhelm 


Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the PaperbackQueer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback by Susan Stryker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

View all my reviews


PULP NOVELS – As a genre, the pulp novel is a wide open category; with everything from serious writers to sensational sleaze. And for many of us, interested in literary criticism, it can be argued the pulp never really went away. The picture gallery represents many of the pulps from my own personal collection. This was the golden age of the paperback novel, when it was the most frequently used format. American publishing history takes the reader back to our lost lurid literary past. With plotlines involving alternative lifestyles, crime, science fiction; amidst changing cultural norms. There are so many of these stories to love, but so little time, see below for my short list.

  • The Third Sex by Artemis Smith
  • Caves of Iron by Chris Davidson
  • Rendezvous with a Lost World by A. Bertram Chandler
  • The Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich
  • Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • Junkie by William S Boroughs
  • The Nine Wrong Answers by John Dickson Carr
  • Jailbait Street by Hal Ellson
  • Cosmic Puppets by Philip K Dick
  • Twilight Girls by Judson Grey