Tag Archives: drug use in pulp fiction

Pulp Friday: Narcotic pulp

Dope, smack, heroin, cocaine, the evils of narcotics have always been a central pre-occupation of pulp fiction, as can be seen by the selection of paperback covers below.

In Second Ending the victim in question was one of pulp’s favourite characters, a way ward jazz musician who starts taking drugs for kicks, “small time stuff at first”, Benzedrine, then marijuana, “and soon graduates to the killer drug – heroin.”

The main character in Nelson Algren’s classic, The Man With the Golden Arm, is a card shark and former heroin addict fresh out of jail who fights find a new life and avoid slipping back into his habit.

Open Your Hand and Close Your Eyes is a story of drug use and crime amid “a terrifying world where the razor gang rules and a teenage girl will do unspeakable things to get the drug she craves.”

Pulp’s obsession with drugs and their link with crime and changing sexual standards was often thinly dressed as sociological inquiry. A classic example is Drug Scene Kings Cross by Robert Connell, which promises to unveil the real drug scene in Sydney’s Kings Cross, including the aphrodisiac powers of marijuana or “‘pot’ as it is termed by its devotees”.

Better known is Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, an anti-drug propaganda tale about a teenage girls descent into junkie hell.… Read more