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Lesbian Pulp Fiction: The Sexually Intrepid World of Lesbian Paperback Novels 1950-1965 Paperback – May 10, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you are interested in lesbian pulp fiction (and why would you not be?!), Lesbian Pulp Fiction should be on your list."
—The Lesbrary

About the Author

Katherine V. Forrest is twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award for best mystery, and has been recently honored with the Pioneer Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation. She has been profiled in virtually every major lesbian and gay publication in America, as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers abroad. Katherine lives in San Francisco.

Katherine V. Forrest is twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award for best mystery, and has been recently honored with the Pioneer Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation. She has been profiled in virtually every major lesbian and gay publication in America, as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers abroad. Katherine lives in San Francisco.

Katherine V. Forrest is twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award for best mystery, and has been recently honored with the Pioneer Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation. She has been profiled in virtually every major lesbian and gay publication in America, as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers abroad. Katherine lives in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press; 1St Edition edition (May 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573442100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573442107
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, the multitude of lesbians lived closeted, secret lives, isolated from others and often from their own true feelings and aspirations. There was no Internet, no gay radio, no magazine or journal or organization to turn to for affirmation. Until the 1950s, precious few books reflected anything at all about the lesbian experience. This changed in 1950 when Fawcett Publications inaugurated the Gold Medal imprint and kicked off a wave of pulp fiction publishing that included both gay and lesbian novels. For the first time in history, women could find cheap paperbacks featuring lesbians, and the books sold in the millions. Pulp novels constituted one of the first steps toward lesbians having a written presence in any kind of literature. As Katherine V. Forrest writes in the introduction to LESBIAN PULP FICTION:

"The importance of all our pulp fiction novels cannot possibly be overstated. Whatever their negative images or messages, they told us we were not alone. Because they told us about each other, they led us to look for and find each other, they led us to the end of the isolation that had divided and conquered us. And once we found each other, once we began to question the judgments made of us, our civil rights movement was born" (p. xviii).

In moving style, Forrest also writes of finding in 1957 a copy of Ann Bannon's ODD GIRL OUT, "a book as necessary to me as air" (p. ix). How fitting that Forrest should edit this wonderful homage to these early writers when her own works are frequently cited as having the same effect upon other women as Bannon's work had upon her. CURIOUS WINE (1983) is frequently cited by lesbians as a book that saved their lives.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently went on a lesbian 50's pulp novel binge, reading Ann Bannon's six books and two others that were mentioned in a couple wikipedia articles (Women's Barracks and Spring Fire). So I was delighted when it was pointed out to me on the Kindle forum that Lesbian Pulp Fiction edited by Katherine V. Forrest is available for the Kindle. (I'd heard of this book before, but hadn't ever bothered buying or reading it.)

But I was a bit disappointed in the content. Reading the excerpts is fun. I'm doing one or two in between reading other books and it's a good way to decide what other titles I might want to track down for my collection. But information about lesbian pulps in general is what I was most interested in as a lesbian literature history lesson. The introduction gave a decent overview, but it left me wanting a bit more. I also noticed that there were a couple errors in the intro, which I would never have realized had I not already read the pulps I already mentioned.

The information about the start of pulps, including lesbian pulps, was good. But most of the info was about specific titles and authors. Why did the pulp trend end? Why was there a lull in publishing lesbian books? Between the end of the pulp period and feminist and lesbian publishers finally getting a solid foothold in the 80's, not much was happening it seems. Or at least I'm not aware of what was going on (other than a couple authors) and I think exploring why and how things changed again would have been really informative and still tied in with the topic.

I suppose that's of particular interest to me because I was a teen in the 70's and there weren't any lesbian books on the drugstore racks for me to stumble over!
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Format: Paperback
The collection gives a sampling of classic novels and a wee bit of background on each. Reading it has made me seek out the selected author's titles. A wonderful addition to anyone's library.

Novels profiled are:

Womens Barracks
Spring Fire
Summer Camp
These Curious Pleasures
The Third Street
Chris
The Third
The Girls in
The King of a Rainy Country
Three Women
The Dark Side of Venus
Twilight Girl
Edge of Twilight
Another Kind of Love
Beebo Brinker
I Am a Woman
Return to Lesbos
The Strange Women
The Flesh Is Willing
The Whispered
Appointment in Paris
Enough of Sorrow
Bibliography
About the Editor
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though I work at the Mazer Lesbian Archives and have these pulps available to me, this book was an education for me.
This is an interesting book that surprised me with some facts. It has often been said that the characters in most of these "50's pulps" were victims who were destined to a completely tragic end. This is not true as often as I had thought.
I love the personal experience the editor shares of her own introduction with the pulps and Ann Bannon specifically. It is always great to have a talented editor with a personal passion at the helm. Great fun!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As with most overviews, this book is most helpful in pointing an interested party in the right direction. Ms. Forrest seems to have found some of the best titles the genre has to offer with a focus squarely on women writers and sympathetic characters. None of the salacious, fem fatale characters from the more exploitative side of the genre are to be found here. The drawback being, that this is not a thorough review of the genre, but rather a sampling of Ms.Forrest' s favorite titles.
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