Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pen Names Past

Curt Purcell at Groovy Age of Horror is presently reviewing a couple of 60s sex novels, one of which was likely written by Evan Hunter under the name Dean Hudson. For a long article by Earl Kemp on the Hudson books go here.

A number of now famous writers did the dirty back in the 60s. Most of them don't want to talk about these books now and I understand that. Certainly there are stories of mine I hope never surface again. Not because I'm shamed of them but simply because they're so bad. As you may have noticed, I'm not famous. I don't have people digging around in dusty magazine stores for my men's magzine junk. But prominent writers do and I'm sure it gets tiresome telling fas they just don't want to talk about it. (And as always this qualifier--these books are to porno what Dick Cheney is to mental stability.)

On the other hand Purcell makes some legitimate points. I know that one Simenon biographer read many of the more than 200 short novels Simenon cranked out for the pulps of his day before he became a recognized artist. The biographer found many of the themes and set-ups in the early work that showed up later, refined of course, in the work that made him famous.

Here's Purcell:

The damn shame of it is that, though much sleaze is truly, wretchedly
unreadable, much of it also flashes with rough brilliance, and you
even find the rare minor masterpiece that's obviously received some
loving polish. Sometimes, it seems, the fast hack-work tapped deeper
concerns and inspiration, in something like the manner that automatic
writing is supposed to do, with much more interesting results than the
authors might have intended, expected, or desired.

Ed here: His review of what he believes to be a genuine Evan Hunter/Dean Hudson novel makes his case for him and is well worth reading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess anything's possible ... but I'd'a thought that by the '60s, after BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, etc., Hunter was doing well enough that he was beyond having to make money by writing cheap pornos under a penname.