Category Archives: Pulp Friday

Breakfast in the Ruins podcast: New English Library Bikermania

I suspect most of you have not heard of the Breakfast in the Ruins podcast. Taking its name from the title of a 1972 science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock, the podcast has a major focus on the work and influence of the British writer. But it also delves much further afield to take in related subcultural and niche books and films, particularly from the late 1960s and 1970s.

It is one of my favourite podcasts.

Anyway, I was very happy to be a guest on the latest episode, my second Breakfast in the Ruins appearance, talking about the sleazy, exploitative but sociologically savvy English publisher New English Library and their lengthy run of biker paperbacks.

In particular we focused on two books: Angels from Hell (1973), written by Mick Norma, a pseudonym for Laurence James, an NEL editor who would go onto have major paperback writing career; and The Devil’s Rider (1973) by Alex R Stuart, aka Scottish author Stuart Gordon.

In addition to these books, we also cover off on the occult, the history of bikers in pulp fiction and exploitation film, and the state of British society in the 1970s, among many other topics. These books have some fairly out there content, so the usual content warning applies.… Read more

Men’s Adventure Quarterly: Gang Girls issue

Regular readers will have read previous posts on this site in which I have publicised the work of Bob Deis on the roughly 160 men’s pulp magazines that blossomed on American newsstands in the 1950s and 1960s. Or what Deis refers to as men’s adventure magazines. These magazines combined brilliant, often over the top illustrations, with hard-hitting fiction and lurid ‘non-fiction’ exposes of various mid-century cultural obsessions.

For the last year or so, Deis has been working with Bill Cunningham on a quarterly publication called Men’s Adventure Quarterly. Issue 7, is now out and has the theme of ‘gang girls’. It covers some similar territory to that dealt with in the 2016 book I coedited, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950-1980.

Indeed, I contributed an introduction on the sensational world of midcentury delinquent gangs and its reflection in pulp culture. It’s a beautiful physical publication, full of original art from the magazines and wonderfully designed and laid out by Cunningham. I am also impressed by the evolution of this magazine into an increasingly serious work of pulp fan scholarship. If this looks like your thing I would really encourage you to pick up a copy via Amazon.

You can find it on Amazon Australia here, Amazon UK here, and Amazon America at this link.… Read more

Video of launch of Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction & the Rise of the Australian Paperback

If you missed the recent launch of my monograph Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback, organised by the Australian National University’s Centre for Australian Literary Cultures, the video of the event is now on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. The book, published in hardback by Anthem Publications, is price for higher education institutions at present, but a cheaper paperback version will be available mid-2023.

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Pulp on the big screen

This month sees the 50th anniversary of the Mike Hodges film, Pulp.

I feel like Pulp, which I reviewed on this site here back in 2016, does not get a lot of love from people, but I am a fan of its bizarre, at times almost campy noir vibe. Most of all, I like the fact that it is an ode to the era of mass produced literature and to a time when pulp, in all its forms, could still be dangerous.

The lead character is a sleazy expat British expat pulp writer called Mickey King, played by Michael Caine, a nod to the prolific writer Earl Stanley Gardner. King’s dialogue drips with sleazy pulp cadence and the film is full of images of pulp in its many forms.

Ever since watching this film, I have been on the look-out for signs of pulp in the movies. As a 50th anniversary tribute to the Hodges film, below are the screenshots of what I have managed to find so far. I am sure there are many others and I would love readers to alert me to ones I have missed or to help me identify the ones below that I have not been able to identify.

Sella Davis (1937)
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Lady In the Lake (1946)
The Killer Who Stalked New York (1950)
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)
The Hundred Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960)
The Hundred Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960)
The League of Gentlemen (1960)
The League of Gentlemen (1960)
The Evil Eye (1963)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Hud (1964)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)
A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)
French edition of Woolrich’s Waltz into Darkness in Stolen Kisses (1968)
The Lost Continent (1968)
Orgasmo (1969)
Hi Mom (1970)
Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
Paper Moon (1973)
Identikit (1974)
Farewell My Lovely (1975)
Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse (1978)
Hammett (1982)
Plains, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Killers Kiss (1998)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Johnny Gaddaar (2007)
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Pulp Friday: More late 1960s and 1970s pulp and popular fiction about the Vietnam War

Vietnam Nurse, Avon, 1966

In 2019 I wrote about why it was there were so few examples of Australian and US pulp and popular paperback fiction published in the 1960s and 1970s to engage with the Vietnam War and its consequences. That is, as anything more than a background or reason for why a character was as confused/damaged/homicidal as they were. Even fewer books still were actually set in Vietnam.

The piece in question appeared in the book I coedited, Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980, but it was excerpted in full on the American site CrimeReads. The piece is here and details the relevant books I did manage to unearth and my speculation for why, despite its relatively huge cultural impact in both Australia and the US, so little fiction was written about the Vietnam conflict during these years.

I have been on the lookout ever since for entries I might have missed in my original piece and thought Pulp Curry Readers might appreciate an update on my, admittedly, rather paltry findings. Most of the books below are American, although a number – The Wine in God’s Anger and the Half-Burnt Tree – were penned by Australian writers.… Read more