Category Archives: Pan Books

Pulp Friday: witches, sorcerers & Satan’s disciples

Satan, witches, warlocks, demons, they were everywhere in the sixties and seventies and no more so than on pulp fiction covers. To mark Halloween, today’s Pulp Friday offering is a selection of covers featuring the lord of darkness and his various disciples.

It’s hardly surprising that Satanism and witchcraft featured so prominently in pulp. Not only did these books mirror then contemporary tabloid fascinations with black magic and witches, but the subject was an excuse for a bit of gratuitous sex and nudity. Especially sex. Devil worshippers, particularly Satan’s female disciples, were nothing if not sexually promiscuous, at least in the pages of pulp fiction.

The selection of covers below hail from the UK, US and Australia. They ran the gamut of key pulp fiction sub-genres: fiction (Dennis Wheatley’s To the Devil a Daughter, one of many occult themed books he wrote); history and so-called exposes (James Holledge’s Black Magic, ‘The world of uncanny occult rights, psychic phenomena, weird sex rities’); how to guides (How to Become a Sensuous Witch); television and movie ties ins (The Witchfinder General and  The Grip of Evil, the latter part of a series of paperback spin offs based on the hugely popular early 1970s Australian television show, Number 96), and smut titles (Bride of Satan and The Cult of Flesh – ‘Violent debauchery in a Satanic Cult of Flesh Worshipers’),

Even Carter Brown, hardly the most salacious of pulp writers in the sixties, touched on occult themes in books like Blonde on a Broomstick.… Read more

Announcing Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 – 1980

Happening At san Remo Pyramid Books 1967Regular Pulp Curry readers will be aware of my deep interest in pulp fiction. What you won’t know, is I’ve been working for a while now on a pulp fiction related book with another Melbourne writer called Iain McIntyre.

I’m thrilled to announce this book, currently titled Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 – 1980, will be published by Verse Chorus Press in October 2015.

The book will be the definitive look at youth and counter cultural pulp fiction from Australia, the United States and the UK. It will feature contributions from over twenty writers and includes reviews, feature articles and author interviews. These will cover all aspects of youth and counter cultural related pulp fiction, starting with juvenile delinquency and gang pulp in the fifties, Beats and bohemians in the early sixties, to hippies, bikers, musicians, Mods, punks, and everything in between.

The book will also feature a large selection of covers from the books concerned.

Some of the pulp writers we cover you might know. But there’ll be a lot more you probably haven’t heard of. One thing we can guarantee is that the words “guilty pleasure” will not be mentioned once to describe their work.

This is a book about mainstream society’s obsession with the notion of out of control youth, and the pulp fiction that capitalised on the fascination, fears and desires associated with it.… Read more

Pulp Friday: the pulp of John D MacDonald

The Empty Trap popular Library 1957“He Sold His Soul For Another Man’s Wife.”

This weeks Pulp Friday is a selection of covers from the prolific US thriller writer, John D MacDonald.

MacDonald got his start writing for pulp magazines in the late forties, then rode the paperback boom that occurred in the fifties and early sixties. He was the author of over sixties books, as well as numerous short stories and articles.

He is probably best know for creating the fictional private investigator Travis McGee, who featured in 21 of McDonald’s books.

A number of his books have been adapted for film and television. His novel The Executioners was filmed as Cape Fear, starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen, in 1962, and again by Martin Scorsese in 1991. One of the McGee books, Darker Than Amber, was made into a film of the same name, starring Rod Taylor, in 1970.

The following selection of covers spans the late fifties to the early seventies and include many of the Fawcett Gold Medal editions of McDonald’s work, as well as the UK Pan paperback additions.


April-Evil3 You Live Once Fawcett Gold medal 1957

Cape Fear Coronet Books 1960

Death Trap Pan 1958

The Only Girl in the Game Fawcett Gold Medal 1960

The Only Girl in the Game Pan Books 1960

One Monday We Killed then all Fawcett Gold medal 1961

On The Run Gold Medal Books 1963

The Drowner Fawcett Gold medal 1963

The Quick Red Fox Pan Books 1964

Dress Her in Indigo GM version Fawcett gold medal 1969

Darker than amber. Pan Books 1966jpeg

The Damned Fawcett Gold medal

The Neon Jungle FG medal 1988

Pulp Friday: prison pulp

The Ninth Hour“Gripping novel about a jailbreak – The bloody, death filled minutes while a murderous convict holds all the state of Massachusetts at bay.”

Jail breaks, prison life, men and woman wrongly convicted and languishing in hell hole jails, all these were popular themes in cinema in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. They were also popular topics for pulp fiction.

Exhibit A is this selection of prison pulps from my collection.

Between them, these books cover off on all the main themes associated with prison pulp.

There are tension filled jail breaks in Billy Braggs and The Ninth Hour (“Three desperate prisoners, armed with smuggled .45’s, were holed up in the Isolation Cell Block, with two guards as hostages”).

Wrongfully convicted men feature in The Fall of the Sparrow, Headed For the Hearse (“His address was Death Row and his lease was up in six days…”), and Patricia Highsmith’s The Glass Cell.

The travails of women behind bars, particularly their sensationalised sexual exploits, are the subject of the two Australian pulps represented below, The Lights of Skaro and Queen Rat (“From behind bars Dawn Arness ruled the lives of prisoners and guards alike. She was Queen Rat”).

Prison was particularly suited to my favourite sub-genre of pulp fiction, tabloid-style reporting dressed up as serious sociological inquiry.… Read more

Pulp Friday: spy pulp part 1, death traps and dark duets

Over the next two weeks I’ll be commemorating the 50th anniversary of James Bond by posting some of the excellent spy themed pulp paperback covers I’ve collected over the years.

Intrigue and danger in exotic locations, sinister enemies, tough secret agents, beautiful women, the spy fiction of the fifties, sixties and early seventies had it all, as the following the collection of pulp paperback covers show.

You’ll find more spy fiction pulp covers over on my Pinterest site.

In the next week or so I’ll post part 2 of my spy pulp series, a selection of covers depicting spy fiction set in Asia.