Tag Archives: Cleveland

Pulp Friday: Weird stories & terrifying tales

Weird storiesA belated happy 2017 to Pulp Curry readers. I have had a very busy start to the year, with my PhD studies and various writing projects, hence the first post of the year has taken me a while to get around to.

The first Pulp Friday of 2017 is a stunning collection of horror themed 1960s pulp titles by Horwitz Publications. These are a mixture of titles I own and books from other collectors.

While horror tales were a staple of American and British pulp fiction in the 1950s and 1960s, they failed to achieve similar popularity in Australia. Australia’s censorship regime – both at the state and federal levels – were far stricter and, as a result, our publishers were much more timid. According to Canberra based scholar, James Doig, horror never had the commercial appear amongst Australian pulp buyers of other genres, such as crime and romance.

That’s not to say there was a total absence of local horror pulp. Influenced by the US magazine Weird Tales, Currowong published a series of horror titles in the 1940s. And Cleveland and Horwitz published some novelettes and pocket books in the 1950s and 1960s.

The earliest Horwitz effort in the 1960s appears to be Weird Stories, published in 1961, part of an anthology series edited by Charles Higham, which was most likely a response to the very successful Pan Book of Horror Stories series that began to appear under the editorship of Herbert Van Thal in 1959.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Sinquake


“Mike Brand’s most sinister adversary – Cyn Boudin, high priestess with a lust for power.” 

Today’s Pulp Friday offering is a wonderful piece of forgotten Australian pulp, Sinquake by Gene Janes.

Sinquake was produced by little known local pulp publisher and distributor, Calvert Publishing  After Horwitz Publications and Cleveland, Calvert may well have been one of Australia’s largest publisher of paper backs in the fifties and sixties. Calvert published the Carl Dekker ‘On the Spot’ mystery series, as well as a large number of Westerns, war and romance novels.

There’s no publication date for Sinquake but it was probably released some time in the early to mid-sixties, before the introduction of decimal currency in 1966. The cover was supplied to me courtesy of local pulp collector, Graeme Flanagan.

Sinquake features Mike Brand, an Australian trouble-shooter for the British secret service. I’ll let the back cover blurb explain the rest.

“The Soviet was using the enormous appeal of BLACK MAGIC, with its terrifying rites and orgies, together with the sensual and seductive beauty of “SIN” – Mademoiselle Cynbarra Boudin, the high priestess of the Cult’s British circle, to ensnare top political and diplomatic figures into compromising situations.

With recent scandals as a blue-print, the political stability of the Free World is threatened by moral chaos.Read more

Interview: Australian pulp fiction historian Toni Johnson Woods

Dr Toni Johnson Woods is someone I’ve been keen to interview on this blog for a while now.

A Research Fellow at University of Queensland, she is passionate about Australian books. Not just capital ‘L’ literature, but the local mass produced pulp fiction of the forties, fifties and early sixties, the existence of which has all but disappeared from our collective cultural memory.

Her commitment to the cause of local pulp includes having listened to hours of popular radio serials (Carter Brown Mystery Theatre and Larry Kent’s I Hate Crime), scanned thousands of pulp fiction covers and read every nearly all 300 Carter Brown novels.

She very generously agreed to answer the following questions about her work by e-mail.

What attracted you to researching pulp fiction in the first place? 

One very unremarkable day I was chatting with colleagues in the tearoom. As you can imagine our conversations are very lofty – not.  I asked the most basic question: who is Australia’s most popular author.

Well, we batted that around for several minutes arguing about what “popular” means, i.e. best selling, most widely read, most known author.  All of these things are not the same. The discussion then turned to what is an Australian author, i.e. someone who was born in Australia?… Read more