Mar 082013
 
This isn't actually a forgotten book by any means, but some of the stories and their writers are forgotten, if anyone knew them in the first place.

I reviewed some of the stories earlier here, but now that I've finally gotten hold of an actual, physical copy, I can't but say: "Vow! This does look cool!" The book is hefty, and ripe with old illustrations and covers and ads from the sleazy men's adventures mags from the fifties, sixties and seventies. And there's lots of information about the authors, which is at times more important and more interesting than the actual stories.

I've had my hands full of other projects (for example, I just e-mailed my werewolf anthology to the publisher just five minutes ago), so I haven't had time to dip into the book again. But I mean to.

More Forgotten Books here.
Feb 072013
 
Or actually a review of half of it. I wrote a review of this collection of stories from vintage men's magazines for a Finnish cultural magazine and I asked the published if I could see a PDF of the book in advance, since I wouldn't have had time to buy the book via web and wait for the copy to arrive. And I haven't had time since to read the rest of the book, but I definitely will when I've got some extra money to order the print book.

Okay, to the book. I posted the table of contents earlier, now I read the first half of the book and some extra stories. My reaction to the stories was somewhat mixed: the concept of the stories is often better than the execution. (Well, who didn't know that already..?) The idea of half-crazed Nazis torturing gorgeous and half-naked women in the castles of Germany is always good fun, but as far as the stories go, I'm not sure whether I'd care to read lots of them. One here and there is passable, but dozens of these...?

There are some good writers and good stories in the bunch, make no mistake about that. Robert Silverberg's crazy "Trapped by Mau Mau" (Exotic Adventures 1959) is a very good hardboiled adventure story, even though it's racist as hell. Robert F. Dorr's "Bayonet Killer of Heartbreak Ridge" (Man's Magazine 1964) is very well told, a snappy true-war story set in the Korean War. Harlan Ellison's "Death Climb" (True Men Stories 1957) is just a crime story, there's nothing about it to claim it's a true story, but it's pretty good - noir set on a mountain!

There were some disappointments: Lawrence Block's "She Doesn't Want You" (Real Men 1958), which is a rather bland account of prostitutes who are really lesbians. This wouldn't do as journalism anymore, even though I'm willing to admit that today's journalism at times resembles the vintage men's magazines very much. They might only do it better today. Same goes for Walter Wager's "Please God, Help Me Break Out" (Male 1958), which just tells what happened to a famous soldier (forgot the name already, sorry!) during the WWII. Jim McDonald's (real identity unknown) story has a great title: "Grisly Rites of Hitler's Monster Flesh Stripper" (Man's Story 1965), but it's actually a quite bland "re"-telling of odd incidents. You would think a writer would want to pepper these stories with some narrative hooks, but that clearly wasn't the case. And it has not enough sadism! By 2013, the teasing element has somewhat worn out. (Someone might say of course that's sad, but that's the way it goes.)

There were also stories by Bruce Jay Friedman (oddly humorous piece about a tiger in a zoo trying to eat another tiger in another cage) and Walter Kaylin (weird story about an exotic dancer acting as a tribal chief in the darkest Africa) that were of interest. The book is also spiced up by interviews with Wager and Mario Puzo, but unfortunately no story by Puzo. Wager's interview is more interesting (albeit too short!) than his story.

There are more books coming out from New Texture and I'm all for it, though I was a bit critical on this. I'll be reading the rest of the book one of these days and I'll also blog about it. Meanwhile you can take a look here.

Jan 142013
 
The long-awaited collection of vintage stories from the Golden Age of men's adventure magazines called Weasels Ripped My Flesh is out soon! I received the table of contents in PDF form last week and I can tell the book looks dandy! The editor of the book, Bob Deis (who maintains the great Men's Pulp Mags blog), has done good work with his colleagues, Josh Friedman and Wyatt Doyle (who's also the mastermind behind the New Texture publishing house that's putting this out).

Here are the table of contents, posted with Bob's and Wyatt's permission. It's too bad they didn't get a permission to reprint any of Mario Puzo's men's magazine stories, but there's an interview with him about him hacking away for the mags. I believe the last piece in the ToC is an essay on men's mag (and the writer, Bruce Friedman, is I believe the father of Josh Alan Friedman). 

I think this looks cool.

Mike Kamens: Weasels Ripped My Flesh [MAN’S LIFE, September 1956]
Gilbert Nash: "Beat" Girls: Worshippers of Zen and Sin? [UNTAMED, February 1959]
Walter Kaylin: Bar Room Girl Who Touched Off a Tribal War [MALE, June 1966]
Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord): She Doesn’t Want You [REAL MEN, June 1958]
Harlan Ellison: Death Climb [TRUE MEN STORIES, February 1957]
Robert F. Dorr: Bayonet Killer of Heartbreak Ridge [MAN’S MAGAZINE, October 1964]
Bruce Jay Friedman: Eat Her... Bones and All [MALE, December 1954]
Robert Silverberg (as Norman Reynolds): Trapped by Mau Mau Terror [EXOTIC ADVENTURES, 1959]
Josh Alan Friedman: Walter Wager Interview
Walter Wager: Please God, Help Me Break Out [MALE, November 1958]
Vic Pate: Chewed to Bits by Giant Turtles [MAN’S LIFE, May 1957]
Jim McDonald: Grisly Rites of Hitler’s Monster Flesh Stripper [MAN’S STORY, March 1965]
George Majari: Calypso: Is It Pornography in Hi-Fi? [GUSTO, October 1957]
Robert Silverberg (as David Challon): 50 Days as an Amazon Love Slave [SIR!, November 1959]
Josh Alan Friedman: Mario Puzo Interview
Walter Kaylin: The Stewardess ‘Call Girl Slave’ Ring [FOR MEN ONLY, December 1971]
Jane Dolinger: Girl Crusoe [ESCAPE TO ADVENTURE, March 1959]
Ken Krippene: I Married a Jungle Savage [SIR!, November 1959]
Dr. Robert H.: I Went Insane for Science [MAN’S MAGAZINE, August 1956]
Robert F. Dorr: "Ghost Bear" That Terrorized a Town [MALE, February 1975]
Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord): Just Window Shopping [MAN’S MAGAZINE, December 1962]
E. C. Schurmacher: I Was a Slave of the Savage Blonde [HUNTING ADVENTURES, 1956]
Joanne Beardon: I Went to a Lesbian Party [ALL MAN, May 1964]
Carl Evans: Monkey Madness [MALE, August 1953]
Bruce Jay Friedman: Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos