The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breakdown (edited by Dashiell Hammett)

Title: Breakdown and Other Thrillers (Four Square Horror / New English Library)
Author: Dashiell Hammett (editor); H. P. Lovecraft; John Collier; Conrad Aiken; William Faulkner; et al
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1968

Categories: Mystery and Thrillers

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rough Females: B**ches With Whips

Title: Rough Females: Bitches With Whips (Harding Fetish File HFF-110)
Author: Anonymous
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1979

Categories: 1970s Sleaze and GGA, Kink and Fetish

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Man from Sadisto

Title: Our Man from Sadisto (0008 Sadisto Series) (Ember Library 301)
Author: Clyde Allison (pseudonym of William Knoles)
Artist: Robert Bonfils
Year: 1965

"Meet secret agent he embarks on the most dangerous mission of his career--to ravish his way through hundreds of pretty girls at the lair of a madman."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Mystery and Thrillers

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mademoiselle Lesbian (Brandon House 735)

Title: Mademoiselle Lesbian (Brandon House 735)
Author: Renee Coquelin
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1964

"Paris is filled with beautiful women who know the full meaning and value of love. Some of them seek their pleasure with men; but others prefer the caresses of a Mademoiselle Lesbian"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Studman's Sex Stable

Title: Studman's Sex Stable (Royal Line DE 123)
Author: E. R. Downs
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1967

"He had the answer to a virile he-male's dreams, His own personal stud harem...til they found another love-true it was a depraved love, deviated, different from the ordinary kind."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Station-Wagon Wives

Title: Station-Wagon Wives (Beacon B 293)
Author: Janet Pritchard
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1960

"The intimate story of Ruth Gordon, whose reckless body made a sin resort out of a fashionable country club!"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Diary of a Nimpho (Nympho)

Title: Diary of a Nimpho (Nympho) (Late Late Book LL 201)
Author: Margaret Kelly
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1966

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Escape Into Vice

Title: Escape into Vice (Playtime Reading #611)
Author: Fletcher Bennett
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1962

"The city was wide open--as only a border town can be.....Sex circus shows were run as wide open as a Sunday School picnic."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Monday, July 21, 2014

Never Enough

Title: Never Enough (Evening Reader ER 781)
Author: John Dexter
Artist: Robert Bonfils (?)
Year: 1965

"No matter how much they sinned it was NEVER ENOUGH"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sex on Fire

Title: Sex on Fire (Anchor WL 109)
Author: John Davidson
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1965

"When a man and a woman are thrown together in a jungle of emotions, animal desire boiled over to form a living volcano of lust."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Motel Girls

Title: Motel Girls (Beacon B 314)
Author: Orrie Hitt
Artist: John Willis
Year: 1960

"Cleo was young and fresh from the farm; Julie made the beds--and used them; Ruby knew what a motel could offer"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Link Roundup

Bookish stained glass windows (link via Book Patrol); the bookplate of Charles Stewart Rolls (co-founder of Rolls Royce) complete with a night-time classic auto race, a full moon, and ballooning (link via Jot101); Canadian public service info-graphic on the health and societal benefits of reading (via Book Patrol); 1913 photos of children on New York's Lower East side having fun (!) and my intro to the proto-pog street game "Skully" (link via The Bowery Boys)

Neko Case and Kelly Hogan's musical ribbing of nerdy man culture "These Aren't the Droids" (link via Consequence of Sound)

A behind the scenes of 1980s classic sf film, The Last Starfighter (link via i09); What if Nintendo's Metroid was a Saturday morning Hanna-Barbara cartoon (link via NintendoLife); Outside Xbox on why old video game manuals always told you a character's blood type

Greenpeace tweaks the Lego company's relationship with Shell by making a a slowed-down version of "Everything is Awesome" showing your favorite Lego toys drowning in oil (link via Onion AV Club, and find the Greenpeace petition here); Artist, Justin Lawrence DeVines's eerily-right mashup of Twin Peaks and the Muppets (link via AV Club); Oliver Wetter's Ancient Kaiju Project inserts giant monster into classical landscapes in a style matching the original paintings (link via AV Club)

That's all I got.

I'll be off the grid for a solid two weeks of reading and swimming. Here's my carefully planned (though admittedly overambitious) bookpile.

I've queued up entries for the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery for the next two weeks so you'll hardly notice I'm gone.

The Seed of Violence

Title: Seed of Violence (Crest s182)
Author: Williams Forrest
Artist: Barye Phillips
Year: 1957

"Trapped by an insatiable fiend--caught in a torment of lust"

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Mystery and Thrillers

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Big Cage

Title: The Big Cage (Popular Special SP46)
Author: Robert Lowry
Artist: Robert Maguire
Year: 1950

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Hot Rods and Delinquents, Mystery and Thrillers

REVIEW: The Sorcerer's Ship by Hannes Bok (BAF Series)

(click on image for full wraparound cover)

Title: The Sorcerer's Ship (Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series #01795)
Author: Hannes Bok; Lin Carter (intro)
Artist: Ray Cruz
Year: 1969

The Sorcerer's Ship by Hannes Bok was published as part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series in 1969 after initially appearing in a 1942 issue of Unknown Worlds. The BAF series included some of the first adult books to catch my eye as a kid, particularly the gorgeous Barbara Remington covers for Lord of the Rings and The Worm Ouroboros. This series also inspired me up my reading game enough to grasp the nearly impenetrable prose. I currently own about two-thirds of the series and I plan to collect and read my way through the entire run.

Because Hannes Bok as an artist was responsible for some of the most iconic and bizarre illustrations of the pulp era,

(and more Bok in this Flickr gallery)

I had hopes that his prose would compare favorably to the Gormenghast books (by another BAF author/artist, Mervyn Peake). Unfortunately Bok does not seem to have been as gifted a writer as Peake and the world in Sorcerer's Ship mostly feels like a low-grade Barsoom.

The book opens with a Brooklyn office worker named Gene being fished from an unknown sea after falling through a transdimensional hole in the ocean off Coney Island. The protagonist has no trouble believing this happened because it's just the sort of thing that Charles Fort writes about in his books of strange phenomena. He's been hauled onto a boat that's on a joint diplomatic mission between two warring kingdoms and he is quickly asked to choose sides. Nanich is a country that wants to educate and improve its entire populace (and just happens to be ruled by a gorgeous and available princess). In contrast, every citizen of Koph openly says they care only about money and personal power. Not a lot of grey area.

"Koph" and "Nanich" are also good examples of the author's lack of a gift for naming. Most of his proper nouns (Froar, Gogir, Kaspel, Orcher, Marza) were completely interchangeable--one or two non-memorable syllables without any flavor or consistency--and I quickly tuned them out.

For nearly the entire length of the book, the title ship is pulled back and forth between these two countries that we barely see. Meanwhile Gene and his dopey princess are pawns of two rival wizard advisors who are constantly trying to bribe, manipulate, or clumsily murder them. The proceedings have an enjoyable (though probably not intentional) slapstick quality.

There are a few real highlights in some of the descriptive passages, particularly around one location. A dusty abandoned city of gigantic proportions, populated by artificially animated clay figures and a chubby lizard man is highly evocative of Lovecraft’s cyclopean architecture in Call of Cthulhu. And the book's finale features a fleshy and grotesque monster that feels like something out of Akira or a Miyazaki film.

All in all Sorcerer's Ship is an interesting period piece and an earnest pastiche of elements from pulp-era authors that Bok undoubtedly brilliantly illustrated.

My copy of this book is a VG first printing and a duplicate which I'll happily trade for another BAF title not yet in my collection. Email me your trade list if interested.

Categories: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Link Roundup

Books and related:
Thoughts on censorship, obscenity and the battle for Ulysses including federal district court Judge John M. Woolsey's remarkable literary analysis of Joyce's work:
show[s] how the screen of consciousness with its ever-shifting kaleidoscopic impressions carries, as it were on a plastic palimpsest, not only what is in the focus of each man's observation of the actual things about him, but also in a penumbral zone residual of past impressions.
(link via Bookslut); A gorgeous collection of images from a Russian edition of Lord of the Rings with art inspired by medieval religious paintings (make sure to look at parts 2-4 linked at the bottom of the Tumblr post. If anyone has the Russian-language chops to help me track down a copy of this, I would be eternally grateful) (link via Egelantier, referred by @MarkHurst); An excellent article by Dale Brumfeld on the Richmond, VA beatnik, counterculture scene and the unsolved murder of poet and prolific sleaze writer Rik Davis (aka: Jack Vast) (reprinted in Paperback Parade #85); John Waters on book collecting and decorating your guestroom with sleaze.

Strider telling it like it is re: Peter Jackson's increasing over reliance on CGI; DC Comics character The Flash if adapted to film by Ingmar Bergman (via the AV Club).

The Onion AV Club on the new wave of doom and gloom folk (much more germane to me than the jangly banjo bullshit in the pop sharts...that was supposed to be a "c" but I'm leaving it).

A collection of fireworks packaging that looks like a mashup of labels from every bottom of the shelf liquor bottle and corner deli aphrodisiac. True Mare-Kin folk art. (collected by, referred by @MarkHurst); The Guardian on the massive Schweinemord (pig slaughter) during WWI; the secret of time travel is in the toes of your right foot according to 1984 metaphysical booklet described by Jot101; A gallery of ghostly abandoned shopping malls (via Techdirt).

That's probably just about enough.


Title: Starfire (Perma M 4185)
Author: Robert Buckner
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1960

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Day of the Locust

Title: The Day of the Locust (Bantam 1093)
Author: Nathanael West
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1953

"An unforgettable picture of people inhabiting the bizarre and erotic underside of Hollywood."

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Hot-Blooded Classics

Monday, July 7, 2014

Joy House

Title: Joy House (Lion 210)
Author: Day Keene
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1954

"She Prowled the Hobo Jungles to Satisfy Her Wild Desires."

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Mystery and Thrillers

For Stags Only

Title: For Stags Only: A Rollicking Collection of Ribald Cartoons (Lion LL24)
Author: Sandy Nelkin and Pat Untermeyer (editors)
Artist: Various
Year: 1955

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Flesh a Go Go

Title: Flesh a Go Go (Leisure LB 1198)
Author: Don Bellmore
Artist: Robert Bonfils (?)
Year: 1967

"In San Francisco the by-word was flesh-a-go-go...the gyrating dancers just warming up for things to come."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Link Roundup

Things that have caught my eye in the last few weeks:

Books and related:
Orwell's birthplace in Motihari India set to become a museum and a peek inside the Soviet-era confiscated smut collection (both via The Guardian - beware obnoxious auto-playing sound ads); thoughts on the discovery of street photographer Vivian Maier and the problematic control of a private artist's legacy (via Bookslut); an invitation to a hanging (via NPR).

A Heavy Metal catalog of rare books, artifacts and ephemera (via Fine Books & Collections); a cosmically bad-ass, fully-embroidered video for the song "Tharsis Sleeps" from the metal band Throne (via Onion AV Club).

Video Games:
What if Nintendo's Smash Bros were horrifyingly lumpy muscled WWE wrestlers (via Polygon); Perception v. reality in the oral maintenance of NES cartridges (via Onion AV Club); 8-Bit neighborhood watch (via Nintendo Life).

Hypnotic construction machine to that will snuff a tree as if it never existed (via NPR).

Homo Farm

Title: Homo Farm (Brandon House 2059)
Author: Victor Jay (pseudonym of Victor J. Banis)
Artist: Unknown

"There was something sinister about him. . . . His romantic interest in Ingrid was not like Kenny. . . he'd never shown a real interest in women before. Mar had to find out for sure . . . he had to know if this was the same man he'd loved all these years."

Categories: Gay Male

Sin Pit

Title: Sin Pit (Lion 198)
Author: Paul S. Meskil
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1954

"A Depraved Woman...An Honest Cop...A Twisted Hunger. She was dirt...and hungry and cheap and demanding. But it didn't matter. She was all those things and much more, too. She was fire and ice and fury."

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA, Mystery and Thrillers

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Swap Circle

Title: Swap Circle (Companion Book CB629)
Author: Harold Horton
Artist: Robert Bonfils
Year: 1969

"Bill imagined himself as the Big Bad Wolf, and Jan as Little Red Riding Hood. Rinda dreamed of being taken by force, and Chris feasted his eyes on the lust of others. Swapping was the answer to all their strange desires."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Kink and Fetish

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

All The Gay Girls

Title: All The Gay Girls (Gold Star IL7-26)
Author: Margurite Frame
Artist: Harry Barton
Year: 1964

 "To the men in her life, she was Martha, a beautiful woman executive--desirable, envied, feared. But to the women in her life, she was Marty--a lesbian, whose uncontrollable passions led her in a never-ending never-ending search for willing girls."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana