I came across these two goodies while sorting through a recent donation (more on that later). So tell me, how many of you would expect to see these babes in your average SciFi box?
These are pulpy romance-thrillers (or if you prefer, just “softcore porn”) by Don Elliot, aka Robert Silverberg. He wrote these–and a number of others under the same pseudonym–during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Having declared his “retirement” from the SciFi genre in 1956, Silverberg had been dabbling in a host of other areas, including nonfiction and historical novels.
During this time period, it wasn’t all that unusual for authors to be dabbling in the seamy-ish side of publishing (I say “ish” because most of these presses, if not necessarily respectable, at least paid authors for their work and circulated their books.). For one thing, it was decent and easy money. Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote similar “confessionals” and romances through Monarch Books under a half dozen pseudonyms, later remarked that she got to where she could turn around a 50,000 word novel in two months and have the paycheck a few weeks later. Not bad!
For what its worth, for all the, er, unsubtle artwork, the books frequently aren’t as racy as they’d like us to think they are. A lot of it is “He clasped her tight and they fell on the bed…” and then transition to the next scene. So, y’know, tame stuff, at least for nowadays!