The Not-Secret Writings of Robert Silverberg

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!

3 thoughts on “The Not-Secret Writings of Robert Silverberg

  1. Joe Lansdale tells the story of writing “men’s adventure” fiction at one point to make some needed cash. The editor said it needed more “he grunts” type of lines. Joe tried, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it, so he put 3 pages at the end full of “he grunted” and “he grunts” and told the editor to put them in wherever he wanted them.

  2. Hard to believe Marion Zimmer Bradley spent two months on these. I believe Bob did them in a week. I usually took ten writing days, but some were faster. Quickest was two and a half days; I did an extra book that month because the obstetrician wanted to be paid. Bob and I will share a stage at the Belmont CA public library Tuesday, May 17, to talk about crime fiction and science fiction and our shared past in what now seems to be called erotica. Erotica! Who knew that was what it was? I feel like the character in Moliere, thrilled to discover that all his life, quite unbeknownst to himself, he’d been speaking prose.

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