Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pulpy Porn Perfection

It was common practice to make the author of a porno paperback a woman. It excited men to think that a woman had come up with the hot scenarios. Very few actual women wrote these.

"Kathy Harris" was a prolific porno pulp writer whose fiction focused primarily on incest scenarios.

Films such as Taboo ('81), which spawned a series, and the first-ever hardcore miniseries, Taboo American Style ('85), cheerfully rode the fornicating family bandwagon.

By the 90's, however, the theme had become a no-no in the American hardcore business.

Fairly bland art for Mom Eyes the Kids when placed between the rich illustrations for Daughter's Oral Fun and Two Horny, Hot Teachers.

Ultimately, video killed the Porno Pulp, not the Radio Star (as the Buggles' song once claimed).

When X-rated films played in theaters only, they happily co-existed with the hardcore paperbacks. You could take the books home and read them at your leisure -- and pleasure. You couldn't do that with the movies.

When the movies became available on videotape, the pulps had direct competition. The success of pornography has always been about accessibility (same with most products, actually). Because porn carries an element of shame and embarrassment for a large segment of the market, a discreet way to access it became essential. So videotapes killed the theater experience. It was much easier to slip into a store and slip out the back door with a tape underarm that be spotted raincoating your way into the Pussycat Theater.

With the advent of on-line ordering, you could now fish that credit card out of your wallet and order a tape (totally discreetly) without leaving the house. For some, the only problem after that was hiding the tape somewhere.

Viola! On-line streaming solved that problem.

Unfortunately, when words were forced to compete with pictures in the same venue, pictures won out. Sad, really, because these classic porno paperbacks had a very different experience to offer.

The 70's and 80's porno pulps featured storylines and subjects that the movies (with some exceptions) rarely approached with the same gusto. It cost no more to write about one hundred people fucking than a niece being tormented by her psychopathic uncle. Not so with the movies.

No issues with amateur acting in prose, either. Surely that counts for something.

Liverpool Library Press kept their prices down with limited color covers.

In the 80's, $4.95 (the price of the full color books at the top of the page) was expensive for a paperback; $2.50 was definitely more wallet-friendly.

More specialist fetish material with poverty row illustrations (thus the cheaper price).

It was important to emphasize "New Book" because many publishers ripped off existing books and retitled them in this era.

Bon Appetit!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the scans. Really interesting stuff. Are there still porn novels like, say, Beeline Books sold, or has this gone completly mainstream in lines like Black Lace, porn disguised as literature?

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  2. Anon -- there are no original porn paperbacks (like these, Beeline, etc) being published anymore. Porn disguised as literature is the norm now. There are some on-line pay sites featuring original porn in this tradition, but new novels you can hold in your hand (or tuck into your raincoat pocket) are gone. If you search my blog for "porno pulp", you will find more covers (I think I've posted sets 4 or 5 times). Thanks for dropping by.

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  3. I remember a Liverpool Library book with a black and white cover that was called "Natas", I think, about a satanical (natas spelled backwards) femdom lady but I can't find it listed anywhere.

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  4. Here's one online source for some of those original paperbacks: aeclassics.net that are still around and being re-sold.

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