Pulp Friday: Operation Concrete Butterfly

“The Sydney Opera House opening was glitter and show – and then it became a  bloodbath.”

One of lessor known sub-genres of sixties/seventies pulp fiction was what for want of a better term could have been called ‘Blaxsploitation pulp’ (even though a lot of it was written by white authors).

It was big in the US and UK usually featured black PIs solving their cases in style at the same time as sticking it to the man or black revolutionaries seizing power and getting some pay back on whitey. You get my drift. New English Library, a UK pulp publisher, also released a series of semi-soft core porn novels featuring slaves and slavers in the pre-US civil war deep south.

I’ve never been able to find any example of this kind of pulp fiction in Australia, with the exception of today’s Pulp Friday offering, Operation Concrete Butterfly by Dick Peters.

To says this is a little known book is an understatement. I have not been able to find out any background on the author or Arkon Paperbacks, the outfit that published it in 1973. The publication notes suggest it might have been a subsidiary of Angus and Robertson Publications but I can’t be sure.

As for the plot, the back cover blurb gives a pretty good indication of what the prospective reader is in for.

“Beside Elmore stand the sugar bags full of jewels, which rest on piles of furs. The floyer is littered with Dior gowns and hand-made dinner suits, there is broken glass everywhere and congealed blood, bloody footprints left by the naked hostages’ track on the first night right the way down the wide front stairs, black-brown stains on the white in the strengthening morning sun. And then getting stronger, the sound Elmore’s always dreading, waiting for, the ratchetting drone of the helicopters.

Diamonds and decorations, tiaras and furs and white, white smiles; the rich, the powerful, the royal, the noble, the great – the opening of the Sydney Opera House was to be their personal celebration. Only the Black October movement had other ideas…”

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2 Responses

  1. I saw mention of this book the other day and hadn’t heard of it in years. Remember the tile, but nothing else, so I googled it. Arkon Books was indeed a subsidiary of Angus & Robertson and would be best known for publishing the popular series of novelisations based on the TV show Number 96.

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