review of

Lee Server's "Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers"


2186. "review of Lee Server's "Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers""

- the complete version of my review

- credited to: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

- published on my "Critic" website September 23, 2023


review of

Lee Server's "Encyclopedia of Pilp Fiction Writers"

by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 18 - 22, 2023

For the complete review go here:



I read this over a fairly extended period of time (maybe over half a yr?). As I went along, I found writers that Server's description of piqued my curiousity to the point where I usually found something by them online, ordered it, &, in some cases, read before I even finished the "Encyclopedia".

The back cover has this promotional 1st paragraph:

"Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jacqueline Susann, Raymond Chandler and V. C. Andrews, Ian Fleming and Mario Puzo. Over the past 100-plus years, such writers have developed the genre of popular, or pulp, fiction. From early dime novels to contemporary mass market paperbacks, pulp fiction has become a vital part of popular culture."

This conflation of pulp w/ popular bothered me a little. I don't usually have much interest in pop culture, I much prefer the 'lunatic fringe', wch is where I, personally, 'belong' (if I 'belong' anywhere). Popular culture has limits to it that get in the way of maximum creativity. After all, it must SELL, wch means that the people doing the spending must have it play into the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator), wch can be very low indeed.

W/ this in mind, I found the mixture of people presented under the same heading to be fascinating. I read something like 17 E. R. Burroughs novels in quick succession when I was about 13. I didn't even think that highly of them at the time but I sure did enjoy them. I love Chandler's writing & he was one of the people who got me to be enthusiastic about crime fiction. Contrarily, I've never had the slightest interest in Jacqueline Susann, V. C. Andrews, Ian Fleming, & Mario Puzo. SO, for me, it's hard to lump those writers together.

SOO, even tho I agree that all those writers are (or were) popular & I take Server's very knowledgable word for it that they were all published in the pulps, I still associate writers published there to be more struggling creative people getting their 1st chance to be read by a sizeable public, their 1st chance to make a little money, an entry into a dream of being able to support themselves off of what they love. In other words, whether they were popular or not is of lesser importance to me than whether there was an outlet allowing them to get their foot in the door. &, of course, most importantly is whether I think the writing's great or not. I often do. Even when I don't I also often find the plots engaging.

Excuse me while I quote at length from the Introduction:

"The history of sensational literature is a long one. The earliest cave paintings show narratives of bloodshed and giant beasts. Plato wrote in Timaeus of the lost world of Atlantis, that staple of the fantasy genre, and Homer's Odyssey and the age-old tales of the Arabian Nights were the pulp fiction of their day. Stories of space travel, like Cyrano de Bergerac's A Voyage to the Moon, date back to the 1600s, as do the first crime stories, peddled by hawkers to the crowds at public hangings.

"Pulp, a species of popular fiction writing with which this encyclopedia is concerned, draws from that long history. Originally used to describe a mere physical characteristic of the periodicals of the 1880s to 1950s whose pages were made from the cheapest grade of pulpwood paper, the word came to have an expanded meaning both categoric and aesthetic: pulp as a genus of imaginative reading matter distinguished by mass production, affordability, an intended audience of common as opposed to elite readers, a dependence on formula and genre; and pulp as a literature aimed at the pleasure centers of the reader, primarily concerned with sensation and escape, variously intended to excite, astonish, or arouse.

"Pulp as defined above owes its existence to revolutionary developments in the 19th century, enlightened and industrious years before which the possibilities for a truly popular literature were severely restricted. Few people could read, for one thing." - p xi

Interesting. Does anything equivalent to the pulps exist now? Perhaps, but it doesn't seem that way to me, maybe I'm missing something. I'm glad we have POD (Print On Demand) publishing but, alas, the printer I use prevents cheap prices. SOOO, as if my content weren't forbidding enuf, the machinations of the marketplace are even more killer. An example: the company I use demands that people providing the content offer a 40% discount for US bkstores, say the US branches of Barnes & Noble. That means that if the bk I get printed costs me $11.00 a copy that I have to charge $20.00 a copy to be able to make ONE dollar off it. The bkstore doesn't have to buy any, it just advertises it in its catalog. If someone finds it online & buys it from B&N then hypothetically B&N make $8, I make $1, & the printer makes $11 (w/ everyone subtracting expenses). Since the bkstore has a 40% discount they can offer 'deals' for the buyer by making the price 10% off, e.g.. That makes the price $18.00. They still make $6, etc.. Now, if this mandatory discount were removed, the author might be able to sell the bk for $15.00, 25% less - or even $12.00, 40% less. I'd be much more likely to sell copies for $12.00 than I am for $20.00.

In my own history of sensationalist reading I'd add in the time of the French revolution. Printers were abundant, cheap bks, chapbks, were plentiful, often promoting content that was undesirable to the aristocracy. Restif de la Bretonne, who was a printer by trade, wrote & published 180 bks. People cd propose revolutionary ideas & have these ideas be widespread, bypassing official approval, contributing to the revolution. A chapbk that I contributed to that pays homage to that era & the time of the American revolution is "Heretical Thoughts on the New Normal": .

"The popular fiction magazine created the need for a new species of writer-namely, the hack. Industry took precedence over artistry, with primary concers for schedules, reliability, and steady product." - p xii

To quote from my review of Norvell Page's "Reign of the Silver Terror":

"STILL, given that these novella-length stories had to be churned out one a mnth to meet the deadlines, Page's production of almost ONE HUNDRED Spider stories is mind-boggling. I've only read this one so I don't know how repetitive he was but even attempting to produce that much w/ the pace of the stories being what they are wd've been an amazing accomplishment." -

"The pulp magazine made its first appearance in 1882, the year Frank Munsey launched a cheap fiction weekly for children which he called The Golden Argosy. The magazine evolved into Argosy, a thick-nearly 200 pages-all-fiction periodical for adults, offering some 135,000 words of fiction and a little poetry, crowded into ugly blocks of black type and printed on the cheapest paper available." - p xii

"in Britain startling developments like the largely violent, racist skinhead movement were chronicled in book form almost exclusively in the cheap, sensationalist paperbacks." - p xv

As opposed to the United States where there was the prestigious 28 volume hard-cover "Encyclopedia of Violent Racist Neo-Nazi Skinheads" that sold so well there were even door-to-door salesmen.

Just kidding.

By p 2 I was already interested in an author I hadn't previously heard of.

"Achmed Abdullah was born Alexander Nicolayevitch Romanoff to a grand duke father and a high-born Afghani Muslim mother in czariat Russia. Raised in Afghanistan, where he assumed his Asian title of Prince Nadir Khan, he was educated at Eton and Oxford, then became a gentleman officer in the British army, keeping the peace along the Khyber Pass and in assorted colonies in Africa. He became a writer in the early 1900s, establishing the name of Achmed Abdullah as an erudite teller of thrilling stories and an elegant stylist whose work appeared in numerous periodicals and pulp magazines." - p 2

I'll bet no-one ever accused him of leading a dull life. See my review of his "The Bungalow on the Roof": .

& the very next entry is Cleve Adams, another writer of interest that I'd never heard of.

"The missing link between Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy, Cleve Adams wrote rambunctious, violent, corrosively cynical private eye fiction from the mid-1930s until his untimely death from pneumonia in 1949 at the age of 54."


"Adams has been accused of writing from a pro-fascist perspective. Adams's "hero" McBride in Up Jumped the Devil (1943) does in fact bark that "an American Gestapo is goddam well what we need . . ." and Adams's mysteries are filled with unplesantries about women, foreigners, and miscellaneous races and religions. But Adams, to paraphrase Ellroy on Ellroy, is writing about bad white men doing bad things, and his poliitical viewpoint seems less ultra-right-wing than nihilistic, creating a nasty landscape full of chauvinist pigs, rotten cops, crooked politicians, rich slatterns, and sadists-a big, ugly, wisecracking world of everyday corruption." - p 3

I didn't rush right out & buy anything by Adams b/c I admit that the above description left me w/ too many misgivings. Maybe someday. & on to the very next entry & I'm, once again, intriqued.

"Allain, Marcel

(1885-1969) and

Pierre Souvestre



"What did you say?"

"I said: Fantomas."

"And what does that mean?"

"Nothing. . . . Everything!"

"But what is it?"

"Nobody. . . . And yet, yes, it is somebody!"

"And what does the somebody do?"

Spreads terror!"

"The famous poster introduced a new literary creation, super-criminal Fantomas, to the Paris of 1911: a malevolently bored masked man in evening clothes posing astride the entire helpless city like an elegant Colossus."


"the Fantomas series was also embraced by the intelligentsia and by artists and poets of the nascent dad/surrealist movements who found the series' anarchic spirit exhilirating. "Full of life and imagination," said Guillaume Apollinaire. "From the imaginative standpoint Fantomas is one of the richest works that exist." "Magnificent lyricism!" said Jean Cocteau. "The modern Aeneid!" averred Blaise Cendrars. The legend of Fantomas grew even mightier with the almost immediate adaption of the series to silent film by master director Louis Feuillade." - p 4

Intrigued by Surrealist references to Feuillade's version of Fantomas I sought it out & eventually got to witness it. Alas, when I did it didn't do much for me. I suspect that what was marvelous for the Surrealists in the early 20th century has become a bit thin for a jaded movie-lover like myself - wch isn't to say that I can't appreciate silent films - Murnau's "Faust", Dziga Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera".. these are works that'll probably please me for life. For that matter I recently witnessed Hitchcock's "Murder!" (a sound film from 1930) & thought it was utterly brilliant.

& then there's Richard Allen. I 1st heard of him thru a former friend, Stewart Home, who had the inspired idea to exploit Allen's exploitation w/ rewrites.

"Allen, Richard (James Moffat)


"Simmering behond the good vibes of hippiedom and swinging London as the 1960s came to a close was another, less friendly British cultural movement, one built not on peace and love but on suspicion, resentment, racism, and violence. Media reports exposed the rise of white, working-class youth gangs, new cults of juvenile delinquency involved in riots and violent incidents, some of it aimed at the United Kingdom's rising immigrant population, a great deal of it centered on explosive soccer (football) team fandom. The most intimidating of these antisocial groups were the "skinheads," angry young people uniformly clad in blue jeans or army trousers, union shirt, suspenders, steel-tipped boots, hair shaved to the scalp (a pointed rebuke to those long-haired hippies), many with a right-wing, white supremacist political orientation." - p 5

"Richard Allen was in fact James Moffat, a Canadian-born writer with Celtic roots and hundreds of books and nearly as many pen names to his credit. He had studied law at Queen's University in Canada but dropped out to write and wander the world. For a time he published a magazine about bowling. He lived in Hollywood and Mexico and more than once lost all his savings at the gambling tables in Las Vegas." - p 6

On to a writer I have read, albeit only one bk.

"Ambler, Eric

(1909-1998) Also wrote as: Eliot Reed

"If Eric Ambler was not the inventor of the "modern" spy novel-that title must go to the English novelist Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) for a single, autobiographical work, Ashenden-he was certainly among the first few authors to establish the boundaries and possibilities for such a genre." - pp 8-9

& then there's a woman Ambler I've never heard of.

"Ambler, Dail (Betty Mabel Lilian Williams)

(1919-1974) Also wrote as Danny Spade

"This obscure hard-boiled novelist deserves greater acclaim as a rare female holding her own amidst an otherwise fraternal order of hack crime fiction writers in postwar Britain. Under the Ambler and then Danny Spade pen names, she churned out a series of tougher-than-tough detective novels about a hard-drinking, fist-flying, frequently-screwing Manhattan private eye, first-person narrator Spade-perhaps the long-lost borther of Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade? The stories, and the style, were less Hammett than Spillane gone nutty, crammed with sex, violence, and a jolly good try at the slang of American mean streets." - p 11

Well, I'm sure you're starting to get the idea, I'm only 11pp into the main body of the encyclopedia & I've already found most of the entries too fascinating to not quote at least a little. Just keeping track of the pen names of many of these writers is a difficulkt task.

"Avallone, Michael

(1924-1999) Also wrote as Nick Carter, Troy Conway, Priscilla Dalton, Dorothea Nile, Edwina Noone, Vance Stanton, Sidney Stuart" - p 18

By p 25, I'd marked Marc Behm as "seems interesting" so, once again, I bought one of his bks, read it & reviewed it: "Eye of the Beholder": . By p 28 we get to Earl Derr Biggers, the author of the Charlie Chan bks, & someone I have a continuing interest in.

"A Harvard-educated journalist and for many years a columnist at the Boston Herald, Biggers made his mark as a popular novelist at the age of 29 with a comic mystery called Seven Keys to Baldpate" [ ] ", about a mystery writer trying to get through the night at a seemingly haunted old inn. George M. Cohan (author of "Yankee Doodle Dandy") turned the novel into a hit Broadway play that became a perennial favorite of small-town theater companies, and the property was subsequently turned into a motion picture no fewer than five times. But this was nothing compared to the welcome Hollywood gave to another of Biggers's creations." - p 28

I've never had much interest in the Western genre.. at least not until I realized that many Western movies had interesting sidekicks to the main romantic good guy. One Western, "Arizona Stagecoach" (1942), has a ventrilloquist's figure as a character presented as if they're just another person PLUS an upside-down hanging singing cowboy PLUS good bird imitation whistling PLUS stereoscopes PLUS swastikas PLUS card tricks. I doubt that many people realize this side of Westerns, the wackier side. 1936's "Man of the Frontier" has the great Smiley Burnette w/ some fantastic novelty music scenes. These have, if I remember correctly, home-made instrument inventions. ANYWAY, I don't know whether the novels have any such things (I doubt it) but I can at least recommend those 2 movies.

"Brand, Max (Frederick Schiller Faust)

(1892-1944) Also wrote as: George Owen Baxter, Walter Butler, George Challis, Evan Evans, John Frederick, Frederick Frost, David Manning, Peter Henry Morland

"The man who would do as much or more than anyone to popularize the mythical dimensions of the American West and to make cowboy fiction the most popular of all pulp genres professed to find the actual West "disgusting," and wrote most of his popular tales of cowboys and the American frontier while sprawled amidst the Renaissance splendors of his villa near Florence, Italy." - p 35

Ha ha! That's almost enuf to make me want to read them! There're so many writers who wrote detailed fiction about 'exotic' locales w/o ever actually visiting them. Jules Verne, perhaps the epidome of the writer of marvelous travel stories, didn't actually go to the places that he wrote about.

& we get to another writer I've already had an appreciation for.

"Brown, Fredric


""A genius of sorts," his friend and fellow writer Walt Sheldon called Fredric Brown. "He was a compulsive storyteller; and made up stories or bits of stories in his every waking moment. Wherever he went he would look at something or somebody . . . and say to himself, 'What if?'"

"That compulsive imagination, plus an unpredictable way with plot and a playful, impish desire to provoke and shock were the building blocks of Brown's unique, ingenious body of work. An anomalous figure in many ways, Brown was the pulp writer who upset the pulp clichés. A writer of tough and shocking scenes who was also one of the funniest American writers, he was among the rare genre writers who wrote science fiction and crime fiction with equal flair and inventiveness. Even rarer, he could blithely mix genres and styles without losing his way or his chance at any another publisher's paycheck." - p 41

Another genre I haven't investigated is JD Lit. Having grown up w/ plenty of JDs I'm happy to get away from them.

"Brown, Wenzell


"Wenzell Brown was a top name in the popular '50s subgenre of juvenile delinquency (JD) fiction, acclaimed by present-day connoisseurs like Miriam Linna as one of the "Big Three" (with Hal Ellson and Irving Shulman) of JD lit." - p 42

Then I learn things about writers that I'm at least slightly familiar w/. Take James M. Cain, e.g., I didn't know he worked for the 2 daily newspapers in Baltimore. I'm from B-More so that's important to me.

"in the spring of 1917, after a brief stint as a teacher, he took a job as a reporter at the Baltimore American. Interrupted only by his time as a soldier in World War I (he saw action in the battle of the Meuse-Argonne in France) he would work as a journalist for the next 14 years. He moved on to the Baltimore Sun, building a reputation as a reporter and writer." - p 49

The Baltimore American merged & morphed into the <i>News American</i>. I made a movie of the News American bldg being torn down after 213 yrs of managing to stay in business: on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: ; on the Internet Archive here: .

I've always spurned Romance Novels as just point-blank ridiculous w/o any redeeming values. It's an indication of how convincing the enthusiasm of Server's writing is that I even found Barbara Cartland's entry interesting.

Cartland, Barbara


"According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Barbara Cartland sold an estimated 1 billion copies of her 723 or so titles in her lifetime, which ended only a year shy of her centenary. Those who said she in fact wrote one story with 723 different titles were unkind, but there is no doubt that Cartland believed in a formula for her fiction: a simple, decent plot, a sweet romance, a small number of recurring character types-sweet virgin heroine, dashing hero, oily bounder of a villain-and a happy ending. Once she had established this formula, she did not veer from it. She wrote, or for most of her career dictated, on average two volumes per month, every month, for decades.

"She was born in the last year of the reign of Queen Victoria to a wealthy family that went bankrupt when she was a child (her grandfather committed suicide as a result of his losses). She lost her father to fighting on the Western Front in World War I, and she was reared by a strong, mother who opened a dress shop in Kensington. Barbara grew up attractive, smart, and independent. She became a Fleet Street reporter and gossip columnist, and a member in good standing of the glamorous crowd known as the Bright Young Things. Cartland married well, divorced, married well again" - p 53

What I wonder is how can anyone accurately make a generalization about her writing? After all, surely no-one has read all 723 bks? If they have.. well might they be open to the idea that they wasted at least a couple of yrs of their life doing so?

"Champion, D. A. (D'Arcy Lyndon Champion) Also wrote as G. Wayman Jones"


"Once the greatest policeman in New York, Allhoff became the victim of friendly fire during a chaotic standoff with criminals, catching a machine gun volley in his legs that forced doctors to amputate both limbs at the knees. The police decided Allhoff is too brilliant to lose, so they set him up as a paid adviser with two assigned officers. Simmonds, the narrator, and Battersly, the man responsible for accidentally shooting the inspector and therefore the recipient of Allhoff's running bitter recriminations." - p 56

I read one of the Allhoff stories in the Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, & Martin H. Greenberg edited "Hard-Boiled Detectives" & reviewed it thusly:

"D. L. Champion's "Footprints on a Brain" presents us w/ a detective who's a malevolent manipulator.

"""Well," he bellowed again, "why don't you make a move? Why don't you get your own butts. You ain't a cripple. Are you?"

""Alhoff's ghastly smile grew broader, more horrible. Slowly he pushed his chair away from the desk. When he spoke his voice was frozen honey.

"""You have come to the crux of the matter, Sergeant," he said softly. "And I'm afraid I must correct you. I am a cripple."

""Corrigan stared down at the chair in which Alhoff sat. He looked foolishly at the two stumps which ended Alhoff's body where his legs should have begun." - p 145

Alhoff, despite his limitations & his viciousness, nonetheless manages to DETECT:

"""And the manuscript?"

"""Was on the desk in front of him. The last chapter was written. Apparently, he had completed the book."

"""Where is it now?"

"""Corrigan plucked the large manila envelope from under his arm. "Here," he said.

""Alhoff took it and placed it on the desk. He nodded his head slowly and assumed an expression that he'd swiped from Warner Oland in the movies. I grinned at him.

"""All right, Inspector," I said. "Who do I arrest?"" - p 151"

For the complete review go here:

I have to say that for all Server's brilliance & accuracy, he's got the story wrong about how Allhoff was crippled. Still, it's close enuf.

"In 1936 Cheyney wrote his first novel, This Man is Dangerous. The hero was an American, a member of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI that Cheyney named Lemmy Caution. No bureaucrat or plodding investigator-indeed, having little in common with a real-life FBI agent-Lemmy assaulted the underworld with blazing fists and heaters. Cheyney used first-person narration and wrote in the present tense, a gimmick that he likely took from Damon Runyon, whose Broadway tales were also an obvious influence on the Englishman's style. Cheyney followed Caution's successful introduction with Poison Ivy and Dames Don't Care in 1937."


"Cheyney turned out numerous series novels throughout the World War II years with great success, and even saw Lemmy Caution made the hero of a radio series."


""In 1954, French producers brought Lemmy Caution to the screen in an adaption of This Man is Dangerous, directed by blacklisted Hollywood exile John Berry and starring an expatriate American song-and-dance man named Eddie Constantine, once part of singer Edith Piaf's nightclub troupe. Constantine as Caution was a huge success and went on to play the character (or identical variations) in numerous sequels. Canstantine even took Caution to the outer reaches of highbrow art cinema, playing the character one more time for Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 avant-garde science fiction thriller, Alphaville." - p 62

I quoted all that to get to the punchline of Godard. I've seen "Alphaville" several times & always thought the Lemmy Caution character was Godard's own creation. Little did I know the history.

Norbert Davis is another author I just feel like I HAVE to read now.

"The Mouse in the Mountain. It was hard-boiled detective fiction, but with Davis's talent for comedy in evidence throughout. Indeed, many readers consider Mouse and the following two novels, Sally's in the Alley and Oh, Murderer Mine, among the most amusing mysteries ever written." - p 78

It just goes on & on. If I were to dedicate myself to the authors that Server promotes I'd read nothing else for the rest of my life.

"Bruno Fischer was the author of 25 novels and more than 300 short stories, a contributor to Black Mask and Manhunt magazines, and the uncrowned king of the notorious "weird menace" pulps. The first fiction he wrote was for the literary magazines-"which paid nothing," he recalled for this author. Fischer got married and worked at newspapers for a living when he began selling to the pulps. "I was the editor of the Socialist Call, the official weekly of the Socialist Party. I was getting $25 a week-when I got it," he said. A friend talked to him about the pulp stories the friend had recently sold. Fischer bought some of the magazines and decided pulp was for him. Among the hundreds of pulp titles available, Fischer was taken by the the line of modern, "realistic" horror/terror titles, the so-called shudder pulps: A Dime Mystery, Terror Tales, Sinister Stories, and others-unashamedly depraved exercizes in melodrama. Each story was an overheated brew of vicious, often deformed villains, voluptuous, abused heroines, and vile torture devices." - p 96

I know that if I were subject to scoliosis & had something like a hunched back I'd get awfully sick of having hunched-back people depicted as depraved criminals in pulp fiction. Victor Hugo might be a better role model.

But what about well-known movie director Sam Fuller?

"Most of Fuller's subsequent published fiction was connected to his movie work, primarily the novelizations of screenplays, including screenplays of projects that were never to be filmed (Crown of India: Quint's World). The single exception was 144 Picadilly, an odd and partly autobiographical story about an American film director in 1960s London who becomes involved with a band of homeless young hippies and bohemian activists." - p 105

Got my attn AGAIN. Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930)?!

"China Seas (1930). The latter was an atmospheric and exciting tale of a rugged ship's captain hauling freight, passengers, and pirates between Singapore and Hong Kong, with an interim recollection of a more decent and promising early life, and a concluding section detailing his love affair with a lustful Indo-Chinese merchant woman-plus typhoons, fistfights, flashbacks to old cricket victories, opium degenerates, and Anglo/Asian sex along the way. The book, with the story streamlined and cleaned up, became a hit MGM movie of the same name released in 1935, starring Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Wallace Beery." - pp 111-112

Some of my most memorable melodramas-on-tv watching experiences of my childhood are of movies w/ Wallace Beery. Do people remember him much anymore?

"Geis, Richard E.

1927­ ) Also wrote as: Frederick Colson, Richard Elliott, Randy Guy, Albina Jackson, Peggy Swenson

"Beatnik, cult author, accused pornographer, and master of a rare blend of erotica and science fiction, Richard E. Geis is proof that a talented writer can impose a distinct aesthetic and philosophic stamp on even the most anonymous hack assignments-in this case outré work at the far fringes of the publishing business for which writers ordinarily neither seek nor achieve recognition. An Oregon native, Geis had a "religious experience" at age 10 one summer day while reading a science fiction pulp magazine at the beach, whereupon the writing profession became his life's goal." - p 114

Walter Gibson "wrote 283 Shadow novels in all." (p 117) Too bad he & Barbara Cartland didn't team up to write Shadow romance novels. Donald Goines:

"Born in Detroit to a relatively stable and comfortable family (his parents owned a local dry cleaner), Goines in his early years had minimal contact with the lawless, bloody world that he would ultimately write about. But during a stint in the army he got hooked on heroin, and when he returned to Detroit in 1955 he quickly became a member of the crime and drug underworld." - p 121

Nothing like the army to set a person on the straight & narrow.

"Anna Katherine Green is the "godmother" of the mystery/detective genre, generally credited as the first successful female writer in the genre, and an auhtor whose long career was a human link between the birth and modern era of detective fiction. Talk about your transitional figures-in the year Green was born Edgar Allan Poe was still alive, and in the year of her death Raymond Chandler's career as a hard-boiled pulp writer was already two years old. Although archaic by modern standards, Green was an innovator and one of the few major crime-writing names to sustain a career in both the 19th and 20th centuries." - p 125

&, Lo & Behold!, we get to a collective identity, aka a collective pen-name, aka a 'multiple name' (erroneously called, IMO), a subject once dear-to-my-fingertips but now more than a bit old to me.

"Griff, like most of the "American" authors of postwar English paperbacks, was in reality an Englishman, or a series of Englishmen, among them Ernest McKeag, William Newton, and Frank Fawcett, who banged out novels to order, usually in less than two weeks." - p 128

Haggard is a writer whose work I discovered young. It was probably "She" that I read 1st & enjoyed very much.

"One of the uncontested immortals of pop-storytelling, Sir Henry Rider Haggard reigned nearly supreme as a writer of adventure and fantastic fiction from the time of his first sensational best-seller, King Solomon's Mines, published in 1886, until his death some 39 years later."


"His impact and influence were enormous; without Haggard there would have been no Edgar Rice Burroughs, no Talbot Mundy, no Robert E. Howard, no A. Merritt, nor innumerable other writers who followed his lead with exotic adventure-fantasies on a grand scale." - p 131

"Hallas, Richard (Eric Knight)


""No one is sane here," says Quentin Genter, the alcoholic, unpredictable movie director in You Play the Black and Red Comes Up [&, yes I got a copy of this one too but haven't read it yet] (1938), "here" being Southern California. "No one is sane and nothing is real." Richard Hallas took what was an already established literary (East Coast) view of the West Coast as an amoral, crackpot alternative universe and wedded it to the stripped-down prose style and tabloid plot devices of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice. The result was You Play the Black, a delerious, lightning-fast, corrosively funny novel, a kind of tough-guy Alice in Wonderland, if Alice was an army-deserting, freight-hopping, opportunistic schmo and Wonderland was Hollywood, USA. Lewis Carroll's characters had nothing on Hallas's bizarre cast of showbiz weirdos, criminals, scam evangelists, and sleazy politicians." - p 133

My mom died a few yrs back & I got an inheritance. Among this were a few bks, she mainly read the obituaries. As far as I cd tell, she'd never read an entire bk in her 93 yrs of life. The ONE novel that was in these few bks was "The Prisoner of Zenda". It must've been vvveeeerrrrryyyyy popular or she wd've warded it off w/ a cross.

"Hope, Anthony


"The 1880s and 1890s were a decade of a glorious renaissance for romantic literature. One year after another in this period saw the publication of remarkable works of exciting pop fiction, works so distinct in their imaginative universe-from Treasure Island to Dracula to She to The Invisible Man-that they became instant archetypes, new models for entertainment (not only on the page but eventually in the theater, comic books, and motion pictures). One of these was Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, first published in 1894, the fourth of five books Hope published that year." - p 144

Ah, the lengthy parade of people I've never heard of who seem interesting.

"Hume, Fergus


"Hume retains a faded place in any account of the history of genre fiction for his phenomenally successful first novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886), a convoluted murder story whose international success turned millions of scholars into crime fiction fans and sent publishers looking for more of the same."


"His career began in the Victorian era, before the appearance of Sherlock Holmes, and ended in the Great Depression, just before Dashiell Hammett published his last work." - p 150

That description continues w/ "Much has changed in the course of mystery fiction in that time, and Hume, one of the groundbreakers, has already become little more than a footnote." (p 150) What interests me about that is the way so many popular writers are riding high in their lifetime & essentially near-'nobodies' soon after death if not before. That means the writing is very much 'of-the-present'. Even science fiction, usually set in the future, can quickly seem passé. I like to think that my incredibly UNpopular bks won't suffer that fate, that my 1st bk, published in 1977, is still as in-the-present as it was 46 yrs ago. I suppose that's one positive thing I can imagine in connection w/ my bks: people reading them 50 yrs from now still won't 'get' them.

"Hunt, E. Howard

(1918- ) Also wrote as: Gordon Davis, P. S. Donoghue, Robert Dietrich, Howard Hunt, David St. John

"The CIA's most famous pulp novelist, E. Howard Hunt had been writing books for 30 years and had not received an iota of the attention for his creative efforts that he found in one day in 1972 after getting caught in a burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at a Washington office building known as the Watergate." - p 151

I read & reviewed Howard Hunt's "Dark Encounter" ( ) in wch I wrote:

"He might also be known as the CIA guy who was in charge of the invasion of Cuba in 1961. Long ago I read him described as the 'brains' behind the massacre of 100,000 peasants in Guatemala - a crime that President Bill Clinton apologized for. I'm sure that did alotof good (NOT) - at least he acknowledged that it happened. However, Hunt's alleged participation in that atrocity isn't mentioned in Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" so I looked for it in the more recent "The Many Headed Hydra" (Linebaugh & Rediker). That's a bit outside of that bk's range so it's not surprising I didn't find it there either. I'd already done searches online & not been satisfied w/ the results but today I tried "e howard hunt & guatemala" & went to an article entitled "E. Howard Hunt's Final Confession The monstrous spymaster gloats over his crimes." BY ANN LOUISE BARDACH (JAN 24, 2007). Here are some relevant excerpts:

""By his account, he was the architect of the 1954 U.S.-backed coup ("Operation Success") in Guatemala that deposed democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz."

"In the interview that the majority of the article consists of, Hunt doesn't 'take credit' for the deaths in Guatemala that followed the overthrow he orchestrated:

""Slate: Some 200,000 civilians were killed in the civil war following the coup, which lasted for the next 40 years. Were all those deaths unforeseen?

Hunt: Deaths? What deaths?"

I can't say I'm a fan of Hunt but I'm willing to at least provisionally give him the benefit of the doubt in regards to Guatemala.

"If Emil Richard Johnson's gritty, grim crime novels about crooks, killers, tough cops, and angry prisoners had a rare immediacy and a core of red-hot reality known to few other authors, it was no coincidence, and it didn't come cheap. The acclaimed author of Mongo's Back in Town and the award winning Silver Street was himself a convicted murderer and armed robber who spent most of his adult life behind bars and wrote nearly every page of his 11 mostly tough, dark works of fiction in the narrow confines of a cell at Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota. The mid-westerner had gotten into crime after returning from the army in the early 1960s. After two years of stick-ups, he was caught during a robbery in one state and linked to another in Minnesota. The other state let Minnesota have him. A man had been killed in the stick-up, and Johnson got 40 years for second-degree murder." - p 160

Imagine being in prison & trying to write yr way into a new life.

I marked Johnson & the next writer, Peter Kalu, as people whose work I shd get copies of. I haven't yet.

"His first novel, Lick Shot (1993), an unconventional thriller, was the first of what the author would refer to as his "black cop futuristic novels." Kalu's hero was DCI Ambrose Patterson, a high-ranking investigative detective in the British police force. Kalu claimed his work was originally turned down by mainstream publishers because the premise of the black officer was too "off the wall," so Kalu took them at their word and made it science fiction-setting the work in a vague 20 years or so in the future." - p 163

The writers of interest to me just keep on coming. Harry Stephen Keeler:

"Keeler, who wrote novels of crime, mystery, and melodrama from the 1920s until his death in 1967, specialized in a peculiarly original form of storytelling that grew more peculiar as the years went on. His oddest works display a madcap complexity, a startling erudition, a zestful, self-styled perhaps unintentional surrealism, and a grotesque devotion to ethnic dialect." - p 165

Elmer Kelton:

"Kelton's narrative of an actual 1880s labor strike by ranch hands (The Day the Cowboys Quit, 1971), and a novel about the interaction between Indians and an ex-slave, one of the legendary "Buffalo Soldiers," Negro cavalrymen stationed in the 1870s southwest (The Wolf and the Buffalo, 1980)." - p 168

Louis L'Amour: Ok, I'd heard of L'Amour but never read anything by him. B/c of my prejudice against Westerns I never had any interest in him. It's to Server's credit that he writes about his subjects engagingly enuf for me to have that interest despite my prejudice, even to the point of overcoming it somewhat.

"(the simultaneous hit movie version of Hondo, starring John Wayne, did not hurt the author's growing reputation)" - p 173

"as the years went on his depiction of the West would grow larger in scope and depth: an epic vision of a nation's expansion, the vast and varied landscape (from Arizona to Alaska), the anthropology of the frontier immigrants and the native populace, and an almost political endorsement of white Americans' manifest destiny." - p 174

It's that latter philosophy that's a big part of my feelings against Westerns, since I think many of them romanticize the genocidal bigotry of the expansionists. No doubt, Native Americans fought tribal wars over territory & whatnot but they never had the hyperorganized mania for it that the whites did, it was kept fairly unambitious & localized. It's the very ambitiousness of the whites & the racist philosophy behind it that justified just about any atrocity on any scale.

"La Spina, Greye


"La Spina's significance is more historical than artistic. She was one of the few women to write regularly for the leading fantasy/horror pulps, and was a contributor to the very first issue of the first American pulp magazine devoted exclusively to tales of horror and the fantastic.

"Born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, the daughter of a Methodist minister, she was a precocious child, publishing her own "small press" newspaper at the age of 10, with pages of poems and local gossip. She peddled copies to the neighbors, taking anything from pennies to pins as payment." - p 174

WHEW!! She had her own small press publication by 1899 or 1900! Amazing!!

"Leroux, Gaston


"A figure of great imagination and irrefutable cool, Gaston Laroux stands among the masters and chief architects of modern pulp fiction." - p 176

"Leroux's second series character was a more original and subversive creation, the extraordinary and mysterious outlaw/magician/detective Cheri-Bibi" - p 177

I've seen the early movie of Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera" at least once & liked it very much. I may've read the bk too. That wd've been a long time ago. I don't have a copy of it so if I read it all it wd've been when I was a teenager & didn't necessarily keep or own the bks I read. At any rate, I never really thought of Leroux as anything other than the author of that one bk & never bothered to find out if he wrote anything else. For a long time, I had the same (non-)reaction to Bram Stoker whose "Dracula" I read when I was 12 or 13. HOWEVER, thx to this bk, I finally read something else by Leroux, "The Mystery of the Yellow Room", reputed to be a pioneering work in the "locked room mystery" genre. IT WAS GREAT! & I'll be reviewing it next. Now, I'll read anything I can find by him.

"Born Catherine Lucille Moore in Indianapolis, Indiana, as C. L. Moore she would become a founding mother of the modern "science fantasy" genre. Writing for the science fiction pulps in the 1930s and 1940s, Moore brought emotion, romance, and detailed psychological characterization to a field that was too often dominated by cold-blooded, sexless technospeak." - p 192

I've only read & reviewed C. L. Moore & Henry Kuttner's "Earth's Last Citadel" ( ) so I know next-to-nothing about Moore. The end of my review is this:

"I mean, what a mess, right? 1st they can't buy any food, then they ARE food, then one of them's vomiting on another one. Next thing you know some sort of outer-space dog will come along & lick it up."

That appears to be one fo my more 'fanciful' reviews, not meant to be disrespectful to the authors, just having some fun. Now I'll look out for more Moores to morph, I mean read. (Cdn't resist a little alliteration, eh?)

"Speculation was rampant. André Malraux and André Gide were among the well-known writers who were accused of writing Story of O (since it was smugly asserted that no woman could have written such a book)." - p 220

Pauline Réage aka Dominique Aury, author of "The Story of O", a tale of female submissiveness to the power games of her rich male lover. These days we have "Fifty Shades of Grey", also reputed to've been written by a woman. I remember seeing or reading Viva, the Warhol 'superstar', scoffing at the notion of the author of "The Story of O" being a woman, saying that only a man wd have a fantasy like that. I have to disagree. No doubt there're plenty of men who want women to be completely submissive. Personally, I'm not one of them. On the other hand I've met plenty of women who want to be tied up, etc, so the notion that there aren't ANY women w/ such fantasies is ridiculous & a part of feminist denialism.

"Repp, Ed Earl



"the amusingly titled Suicide Ranch (1936), which includes scenes of vivid, sadistic violence and torture-at one point the bad guys put a steel cage over the victim's head and fill it with hungry stable rats." - p 220

As I recall, there was such a scene in George Orwell's "1984", written in 1948, making Repp ahead of Orwell as far as that particular nasty fantasy goes.

"Rinehart, Mary Roberts



"A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rinehart worked as a hospital nurse before marrying a local doctor and raising a large family." - p 221

I have to admit to perking up whenever a PGH native is mentioned since I live in PGH. I reckon that's a lower-level form of Nationalism so when I become WORLD DICTATER I'll have to have myself executed.

"Sale, Richard

(1911-1993)" - p 230

"Sale, a charismatic fellow with movie-star good looks himself, made a steady pursuit of big studio success and was soon producing and directing films as well as writing them." - p 231

&, yeah, that intrigued me enuf to stimulate my buying a DVD copy of his "Half Angel".

"Siodmak, Curt

(1901-2000)" - p 233

"The rise of Adolph Hitler sent Siodmak's career into a tailspin. This popular writer became an undesirable citizen in his own country and his publishers informed him that all copies of his books were being banned or seized by the police. With the anti-Jewish oppression growing stronger, Siodmak and his wife fled Germany for France, then England." - p 234

"His first novel written in English-a language he had only spoken fluently for a few years-published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1943, was Siodmak's best-known and probably his greatest work of prose, Donovan's Brain. "I was dumped out in Devil's Hot Springs [in California]. [My wife] Henrietta wanted to get me away from my brother because he interfered with my writing. It was a strange place in the desert. Wild boars come out at night. Nobody lives there but the old women with arthritis. There are holes in the ground and the steam comes out. You put your food in there and it cooks it. So I had the idea and I lived there and wrote the book," he said." - p 235

& I STILL haven't read anything by him. Shame On Me. I have checked out the 1953 movie of "Donovan's Brain", tho, & I liked it. I'm an aficionado of brain-in-a-vat stories.

Then there's

"Smith, E. E. (Edward Elmer Smith)



"When The Skylark of Space, was printed in Amazing Stories (Smith was paid $125 for the huge serialized work), in three installments beginning in the August 1928 issue, readers roared their approval. The prototype for what would come to be known as "space opera," Smith's novel was an action epic of genuinely cosmic scope and jaw-droppingly spectacular technology." - p 238

I've never had much interest in space opera, & I hadn't read anything by Smith up to the time of reading this entry. I AM interested in people who're innovators SO, being intrigued by Smith as the alleged inventor of space opera I bought a copy of the 1st of the Skylark bks & I'm reading it now. I don't really agree w/ Server's praise here, "jaw-droppingly spectacular technology", e.g., seems a bit exaggerated - but I'm enjoying it so far.

"Morton Thompson was a journalist and essayist whose first book, a nonfiction work of humor, Joe, the Wounded Tennis Player, was popular among World War II GIs in its Armed Services paperback edition (the book's odd, random content included a recipe for blackened turkey that was much praised and reprinted by food critics). In 1949 he published Cry and the Covenant, a biography of the revolutionary, controversial 19th-century physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweiss. This proved to be something of a warmup for Thompson's most famous work, the phenomenally popular Not As a Stranger, a fictional exposé of the medical profession." - p 253

"Thompson himself did not get to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He committed suicide in 1953." - p 254

Strangely, Server only lists ONE bk by Thompson in the "Works section that ends his entries - this despite his listing 3 in his bio of the man. I bought all 4 of the ones that I cd find & plan to read them in chronological order. Call me morbid. Morbid. Or romantic. Romantic. But I'm inclined to be sympathetic to people who commit suicide (except Hitler, glad to see him go). Thompson's having written, as his last bk, "a fictional exposé of the medical profession" I have to wonder whether he committed suicde b/c he foresaw the nightmare that the medical profession was going to make of life.

"Willeford, Charles Also wrote as: Will Charles, W. Franklin Sanders

(1919-1988)" - p 269

"He broke into hardcover in 1971 with The Burnt Orange Heresy. The esoteric yet highly entertaining tale of a despicable art critic, a blowsy female coconspirator, and an avant-garde artist was as tawdry as the earlier paperback originals but was a more brazenly literary, intellectual work. He had difficulty finding a publisher, but the novel was finally accepted under the title The Shark-Infested Custard" - pp 270-271

&, yeah, I just HAD to get a copy so I did. I wonder whether Stewart Home's "Slow Death" is a plagiarism of Willeford:

"His 1995 novel Slow Death fictionalises and ridicules this process of the historification of Neoism (including the planting of archives at the National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert Museum; this recently became reality when Home sold the V&A his own archive documenting twenty years of his art and underground activities including those involving Neoism)" -,of%20his%20art%20and%20underground

"In every sense the Grand Old Man of science fiction, Jack Williamson published splendid work through eight decades of the 20th century and continues unabated into the 21st. Readers in 2001 could purchase a new story by the 92-year-old legend just as earlier generations could do in his nascent year of 1928, when the genre of "science fiction" had barely found its name.

"The covered wagon was still the means of transportation when the young Arizona-born Williamson and his family moved (fearful of Apache Indian raids) to a hardscrabble ranch in New Mexico." - p 272

I STILL haven't read anything by Williamson yet either! What have I been DOING all my life?!

This bk is GREAT for stimulating interest in writers that often once were popular but might be somewhat obscure by now. Thank you, Lee Server!!






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