What a strange night I’m having. I’m reading Lesbian Pulp Fiction by Katherine V. Forrest—and she accepted my friend request eight hours ago on Facebook. Mind-blowing. (Hello Ms. Forrest. Love your work! I was going to have a story in a gay & lesbian sci-fi anthology alongside you, but the publisher’s no longer around. You know how these things go.)
My fascination of this era’s pulp stems from my mom’s tales of the time. She told how adults would whisper about “those dirty books”— how outrageous they were, filthy—and then relay with vivid detail precisely what they’d “heard” some of them were about. The allure of the forbidden was powerful. Scandalous pulps were brisk sellers.
In 1955, when Mom was a high school sophomore sitting in class, her teacher spied a paperback with its cover upside down on her desk. He skulked over nonchalantly and then—snatched that book and quickly thumbed through it. Several times. It was the first paperback dictionary he’d ever seen; after all, paperbacks of the time were well-known for being naughty. Once satisfied that it was a dictionary, he returned it to her desk, tapping it a time or two with his finger. I believe he was hoping to confiscate a lesbian pulp that he could then pore over after class had been dismissed. Sorry, teacher. No lesbian adventures in my mom’s life—that I know of, that is—but I’m sure reading about them. These are great stories. I love it that Cleis Press reissued so many of them. I’m also reading Ann Bannon‘s classic Odd Girl Out. (I read a lot of books at once. You don’t watch the same TV channel all day, do you?)
Psst, hey straight guys—here’s some reading material for ya. You’ll love these. I discovered this site today, too. Retroscape: Vintage Men’s Girlie Magazine Covers. I try to make everyone feel at home here. Enjoy.