Reading rare and obscure books has become my obsession, and this is the rarest one yet. Considered the first gay werewolf novel, it has significance to queer horror fans, but its appearance in 1971, amid a swirl of gay socio-political turmoil, interests me even more. I can’t read it and not imagine myself as a groovy gay man, the possibility of equal rights newly in my head after the Stonewall Riots, but knowing actual equality is so far off as to be unimaginable. My existence is considered monstrous to almost everyone. I know because they told me. Maybe not me specifically, because of course I’m in the closet, but they’ve said it out loud. Many times.
In 1971 you could be jailed for writing books like this, and reading them wasn’t always safer. Obscenity laws still percolated in the Supreme Court and Greenleaf Classics, Lambert’s publisher, faced endless legal battles.
Read more “William J. Lambert – Valley of the Damned (1971) + Interview”
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The narrative has flaws for sure, but as a historical document this is an out-of-print page-turner.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?
Read more “Exclusive Interview: William Maltese”