Gay 1960’s San Francisco is the best setting for any novel, and reading one actually written during that time is a particular treat. Even better when the premise is the first gay candidate for president and his drag queen lover!
The narrative has flaws for sure, but as a historical document this is an out-of-print page-turner. Published in 1968, the novel appeared amid a swirl of American political context. JFK’s assassination in 1963 is still fresh in the public’s mind, but even fresher are the murders of Malcolm X (1965), Martin Luther King Jr (1968) and Robert Kennedy (1968). More locally, California is settling into the reality of having a “movie governor” (Reagan) and San Francisco is officially a gay mecca. For the first time LGBT residents feel they have political muscle to flex.
Read more “Peter Tuesday Hughes – The Other Party (1968)”
William Maltese, everyone! An absolute honor to have you spend time with us.
For those unfamiliar, Maltese is the author of 200+ pulp novels from 1969 to 2020, some gay, some straight, and all spread wide under the guise of an astounding 36 pseudonyms. His oeuvre includes the world’s first gay werewolf novel, Valley of the Damned (1971), a sexy gay anti-Christ series starting with Demon’s Stalk (1970), and a naughty intergalactic romp called Starship Intercourse (1971). Though his vintage pulps are now collector’s gold (Starship Intercourse was spotted online at $1,500), his recent novels are plentiful and readily available.
JUSTIN: Let’s start with sex. You’ve written about doing the dirty during the free-lovin ’60s, the AIDS epidemic, into the technology age of Grindr and everything in between. What, if anything, has changed about sex?
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Munby would enjoy knowing his collection of ghost stories is now a scarce find and highly collectible. The majority of these 14 tales involve rare book curators or other enthusiasts of antiquity. An occult mystery typically surrounds the rare object in question, as is explained to the protagonist by an acquaintance around a roaring fire.
Read more “A.N.L. Munby – The Alabaster Hand (1949)”
Like artifacts in his fiction, Munby’s book has its own intriguing history. During WWII, he was captured and held in Germany for five years as a prisoner of war. It was during that time, 1943 to 1945, that he wrote these stories.
Absolute perfection. Though it’s now out-of-print and difficult to find, Shadow Play by Marvin Werlin is exemplary of the finest gothic romance has to offer. It interacts with a long history of classical and contemporary gothic plots, playfully poking fun at overdone tropes and—as a premise—showcasing full-on gothic obsession.
Here’s the setup: a damsel is assigned to help Max Deveraux, a famous movie producer, pen his memoirs. When she arrives, she discovers the producer’s mansion is a glorious ode to old movies, with a façade carefully crafted to look identical to Manderley. Inside is no different, with every room arranged in the likeness of iconic film set design.
Read more “Marvin Werlin – Shadow Play (1976)”