Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sticking It to the Man

This will be my last post on Do Some Damage for 2019 -- I'll be back next year -- so I figured I'd wrap up by taking the opportunity to mention a recently released book I'm happy to be part of.  I'm talking about Sticking It to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980, a book published by PM Press and co-edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre.  It's the follow up to their 2017 book, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980.  While the previous book was about, well, what it's title describes, the new one covers different territory, tracking the ways in which the changing politics and culture of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s were reflected in pulp and popular fiction in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. 

Quite a countercultural melange is covered.  There are pieces on books as disparate as Barry Malzberg's 1970s vigilante novels and the novels that in pulp fiction form portrayed Aboriginal Australians.  Gary Phillips contributes a couple of pieces, one on the archetypes of black male characters in crime novels, another on the mysterious author Roosevelt Mallory, who for Holloway House wrote about the black hit man for hire, Radcliff.  Michael Gonzalez writes about Shaft and Shaft's creator Ernest Tidyman, and Maitland McDonaugh about gay adult pulp of the 1970s.  Authors such as Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, Joseph Hansen, Alice Walker, Judith Rossner, Brian Garfield, Rita Mae Brown, and Joe Nazel are covered.  Do you like the movie Across 110th Street, with Yaphet Kotto and Anthony Quinn?  This book has a piece on the author of the novel the movie is based on, the New York City television news cameraman Wally Ferris, whose only literary success (indeed, he never had another book published) came from this novel.  

I could go on. Sticking It to the Man has much more from a slew of terrific writers, about a wide variety of pulp fiction topics relating to a heady time in the US, Britain, and Australia.  My piece in the book is a detailed one on the crime fiction of Chester Himes.  I look at the Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones books and Himes' standalone novel about a murderous white New York City cop, Run Man Run.  All in all, Sticking It to the Man is a book that I think I can fairly say will keep you reading for days, in whatever order you want to read the pieces, and you'll be sure to discover authors and books you never knew existed.

Also, did I mention all the reproductions of paperback covers that are in the book? There are about 300 in all, covers it's unlikely we'll ever see anything quite like again.

Happy holidays...

Sticking It to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980 is a beautifully produced book, and it's available here.

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