Welcome to the first of what I hope is going to be a weekly series known as Pulp Friday.
I love the pulp fiction of the fifties, sixties and seventies. I love the artwork and the cadence of their lurid, often totally over the top front and back cover text.
I’m particularly fascinated by Australian pulp paperback novels, how they were written and put together, the stories and themes they looked at.
I’ve amassed a pretty good collection of these books over the years, from opportunity shops, garage sales, and the like. Most were written by unknown authors, many using pseudonyms, and put out by publishing houses that no longer exist.
For me they represent a period in Australian publishing history that has been largely forgotten by the book industry’s emphasis on creating capital ‘L’ literature. This situation is only now being challenged by e-publishing, which is allowing small, niche publishers to get out there and produce genre fiction, including pulp fiction.
Anyway, as a way of celebrating my and others interest in these books, from now on each Friday I’m going to post one pulp paperback cover.
I’ll try to make most of them either Australian pulps or local reproductions of foreign books. That said, I’ve also got a hell of a lot of US and British pulps I’d just love to share with you.
The first cab off the rank is John Conway’s Hell is My Destination.
It was published in Australia by Starbooks, Crow’s Nest Sydney, and published by Griffin Press in South Australia.
There’s no publication date on it, but from the look, tone and price (70 cents, post the introduction of decimal currency in 1963), I’d say it probably hails from late sixties.
The back cover blurb is worth repeating in full.
You’re Tom Matthews, a cop with a mission: to avenge the murder of your young son.
Your first lead is Ken Mercer, a call-boy who hires himself out to sex-hungry women.
You can find him thru Julie Varetti, a free loving redhead and your former mistress.
Julie will talk – but only in bed and you’ve got to play along because you need her information.
You come back again and again. Julie always has more information – at her price – and you’ve got to get the killer before he carries out his threat to destroy your wife and daughter.”
Yep, they sure don’t write them like that anymore.