Thursday, December 15, 2005

American Pulp

Somebody once asked me if I ever grabbed a novel of mine off my office shelf and read through it. Lord no. As I've said here before, one of the most embarrassing moments in my advertising years was sitting in a screening room with a client and showing him the commercial I'd just produced. All I ever saw were the flaws, which were usually considerable. Same way with rereading my own stuff. No way. I've humiliated myself enough all my life. Why persecute myself even more?

I do, however, read old anthologies that Marty Greenberg and I have put together. Last night, for instance, I grabbed one called American Pulp edited by Bill Pronzini, Marty and I. I couldn't find anything else that appealed to me so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I read a most of the shorter stories and loved every one. Because this is out of print, you'll probably have to order it through Amazon or Abe but I have to say it's a perfect nightstand book for when the novel you're reading goes bland on you and you need a little excitement fix.

How about these names? John D. MacDonad, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, Marcia Muller, Stephen Marlowe, David Goodis, Bob Randisi, Marthayn Pelegrimas, Vin Packer, L.J. Washburn, James Reasoner, Day Keene, Donald Wandrei, Clark Howard and John Lutz. And these are just the short stories. The longer ones include pieces by Talmage Powell, Richard Prather, Leigh Brackett, Norbert Davis and Richard Matheson.

Since we aren't earning any royalties on it, I can honestly recommend it. The one thing the stories had in common was their spare style and energy. Most of these came from the digest magazines of the Fifties. As they demonstrate, that really was a golden era.


Blogger Juri said...

It's a great anthology, I recommend it highly.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Todd Mason said...

Indeed, agreeing with both Juri and you, Ed, you have every right to be proud of this book. In an odd parallel to your recent PLANET STORIES adventure, I started reading my book club copy of AMERICAN PULP while waiting for an oral-surgery appointment.

Though I AM enough of a pain-in-the-ass purist to feel, even with the provisos in your introduction, that stretch "pulp" to cover the digests and Gold Medal and its imitators is a stretch, if less oblivious a one than is fashionable among the Tarantinists and those even less interested in what pulp really meant.

8:32 PM  

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