By John Harrison

Hip Pocket Sleaze is an advent to the realm of classic, lurid grownup paperbacks. Charting the increase of sleazy pulp fiction through the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies and reviewing a few of the key titles, the ebook takes an educated examine some of the genres and markets from this vastly prolific period, from groundbreaking homosexual and lesbian-themed books to the Armed companies variations. Influential authors, publishers and canopy artists are profiled and interviewed, together with the "godfather of gore" H. G. Lewis, cult lesbian writer Ann Bannon, fetish artist par excellence invoice Ward and so forth. A significant other to undesirable Mags, Headpress' advisor to sensationalist magazines of the Seventies, Hip Pocket Sleaze additionally deals broad bibliographical details and lots of outrageous disguise paintings.

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Some of us resented being so utterly ignored by the literary establishment. But in retrospect, there was a silver lining: we were allowed to say pretty much what we wanted to say, to explore topics that very few others, and certainly even fewer ‘respectable’ writers, were exploring, and to open new ground and new topics to the world of fiction. It’s interesting to speculate what might have happened to us if we had shown up on the pages of the New York Times Book Review, only to be reviled and subjected to the castigation of the fundamentalist right.

They were distributed in the hundreds of thousands. I remember Dick Carroll telling me at the time that he considered sales of about 200,000 for a given title to be solidly profitable. This is an amazing number. Ten thousand copies of a hardcover book will usually break you even or better financially. As for letting the covers and the blurbs sell the books, they did a handsome job of that. The women were always depicted as flirty, sexy, very femmy, very beautiful, often in their undies, often shooting one another smouldering looks.

I suspect not; I think the old ‘mother would object’ rule still largely governs science fiction publishing. And of course now we have the new dictatorial puritanism of feminism and political correctness imposed on science fiction. The future is a lot less free than it used to be. In the 1960s, softcore porn was less explicit, more dependent on euphemism. Did you enjoy writing these? Did you enjoy the hardcore stuff that came later? Was writing the softcore material a bigger challenge? Or a pain in the ass?

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