Terry Southern once said that the lower echelons of publishing provided glimpses of America you just couldn't get in the mainstream. I take that to mean he believed that you could find some interesting takes if not exactly Higher Truths in, for instance, the downmarket paperback market of the era he wrote in, the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.
Such magazines as Paperback Parade certainly examine those decades carefully and well. And so do several websites. Thanks to Curt Purcell's groovy Groovy Age of Horror http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/ you can revisit the newstands of your youth in lurid living color. And with savvy commentary to boot. .
It was thanks to Groovy that I heard of The Paperback Fanatic justin@firstname.lastname@example.org I have the two most recent issues at hand and they should be enough to inspire literary web dreams for collectors and paperback afficiandos around the world.
They're well laid out, packed with cover reproductions and filled with interesting and entertaining articles and interviews of writers and artists alike. Though the slant is British a good deal of the subject matter deals with American pbs.
Editor Justin Marriott is an incisvive interviewer and writer. In the two issues I have he deals with the mostly forgotten (Robert Lory, a good pb writer) and the famous James Herbert. His piece on Herbert is especially good because of his take on a huge bestseller for whom neither fame nor money is quite enough. He wants respect, too. I like Herbert's books so I sympathize with his anger and frustration to some degree. But given the number of struggling wrters in the world, my sympathy is limited.
Justin covers everything from British porn (think Midwood and Beacon with a Cockney accent), the Kung-Fu pb phenom,and even a collection of war novels (viewers of the Nazi channel in America (better known as the History Channel) would drool over these covers if not the books themselves.
For mystery readers there's a look at what Peter Tremayne was doing back in the Seventies and Eighties. Writing originals with titles such as Zombie!. Kiss of The Cobra, Swamp! and Trollnight. I'm assuming this is the same Peter Tremayne who is the author of many notable mystery novels and stories.
Justin also sent me the forerunner of The Pulp Fanatic, PulpMania, which is packed with eveything from articles on Biker fiction to the myriad shock novels of Guy N. Smith.
If you're into paperbacks you'd better be into The Pulp Fanatic. No fooling.