This was the first of a series of pulp paperbacks written by Elaine Williams under the pseudonym Sloane Britain. Williams was an editor with a paperbaThis was the first of a series of pulp paperbacks written by Elaine Williams under the pseudonym Sloane Britain. Williams was an editor with a paperback company called Midwood, which published the kind of novels she would begin writing. Novels with a lesbian theme were apparently popular with male readers. Some male pulp authors wrote them, but William’s novel has the air of authenticity because she was writing about her own sexuality.
Paula discovers at a young age that she can use sex to get her way with men, but she takes no pleasure in it. When she becomes a teacher she plans to share rooms with a fellow teacher with whom she has become firm friends, but just before they move in together she has a sexual encounter with a woman at summer camp. She knows that she is in love with her roommate Janet, but feels that it is a love which can never be realised.
Although this book may have been marketed as smut to a predominantly male marketplace, and while it does have some tame erotic passages (coy as they were required to be in 1959 when the book was first published), it works mainly as an involving drama of love, betrayal and jealousy within a world made secret by society’s disapproval. Apparently it was usually a requirement at the time that gay characters in pulp novels come to bad end, so that the publishers could justify them to the censors as serious works of moral instruction. With this novel, Britain somehow escaped this requirement and produced a work which is as kind to its protagonists as realism will allow.
Lesbian pulp novels may have been aimed at male readers originally, but their lasting legacy has been that they brought comfort to many female readers who faced the same dilemmas as the heroines. Unfortunately such comfort did not come to Williams herself. She killed herself at the age of 33 because her family did not approve of her sexuality.
I read this as an ebook under the title Strumpets’ Jungle. I was looking for a bit of campy pulp entertainment. I got more than that. It is a warm, involving page-turner which evokes sympathy for the trials of its hardboiled but vulnerable heroine.
There is some very strange sex in the latest entry in the Bimbo Maker series. If you watched The Blob and then took a dose of LSD laced with Viagra, yThere is some very strange sex in the latest entry in the Bimbo Maker series. If you watched The Blob and then took a dose of LSD laced with Viagra, you might find yourself experiencing something similar to our old friends Philbert and Tim when they accompany a crack troupe of man-hating female commandos on a raiding mission to the pink planet known as Bimbotron.
You don't have to have read the previous entries in the series to enjoy the cartoonish fun on offer here, but be prepared for that fact that, as far as the sex is concerned, this is mostly build-up to a cliff-hanger ending which promises more carnal chaos to come....more
This first issue of Cherry was published in 1982, but the copyright dates on the individual stories are mostly 1977, with one each from 1973 and 1975.This first issue of Cherry was published in 1982, but the copyright dates on the individual stories are mostly 1977, with one each from 1973 and 1975. Weiz would drop "Poptart" from the title by the third issue after Kellogg's threatened to sue. Archie Comics also threatened to sue, which didn't stop Weiz, but did lead to him dropping one of the stories here from reprints.
Hot Rod Boogie sees Cherry swapping oral sex for a chance at the wheel of a hotrod, with typically chaotic results.
Vampironica by guest artist/writer Larry Todd is the one which had to be pulled from reprints. It is a combined parody of Vampirella and the Archie gang, featuring Orgie and his drug-addicted friend Junkhead. Vampironica dons her custom-made vampire fangs and heads out to a 'Lil' Feces' show hoping to hook up with special guest Mick Jugular. There is at least one big laugh, but the ending is kind of random.
The Wholesome Twins, by guest Jay Kinney, is perhaps the funniest of the stories. A tale of sexy identical twins, one of whom gets a job working for the CIA, much to the other's disapproval. When she gets sick, her sister reluctantly fills in for her, and accidentally uncovers a bizarre conspiracy.
In "The Invitation" Cherry finds herself indulging in some girl-on-girl action while chatting with a boy on the phone.
In "'S Cool Daze'" she gets told off by her teacher Mr. Feeney for not paying attention in class, and it leads where you'd expect it to lead.
The Psylicone Psyrcus finishes things off with a little science fiction. Space-dwelling Trina Tron borrows her dad's spaceship without permission and goes for a joyride with a couple of dim-witted guy friends, which is all well and good until she gets distracted by a hunky space-biker.
Don't expect clever satire, but it provides plenty of entertainment for those who like sleazy comics featuring cheeky free-spirited girls....more
Can dreams have a meaning and purpose beyond that of our brains taking the garbage out each night? In this book, Kelly Bulkeley makes the case that thCan dreams have a meaning and purpose beyond that of our brains taking the garbage out each night? In this book, Kelly Bulkeley makes the case that the content of dreams is a worthy subject for scientific study. It is not necessarily easy to study something so personal and subjective, but with a combination of EEGs and fMRIs etc., which can give us insight into which parts of the brain are active during particular kinds of dreams, and dream databases, which gather descriptions of dreams from a wide range of individuals and organise them so they can be searched by keywords, it is possible to obtain some objective data to analyse.
As the title suggests, Bulkley’s ultimate aim is to look at the relationship between dreaming and religion, but, because both of these topics may be viewed as questionable areas for scientific study, he takes his time and works his way up to them progressively, beginning with an account of the role that sleep plays in the lives of animals generally and humans specifically. (We learn that dolphins sleep with one half of their brain at a time - one eye always open for possible dangers, and that bottle nose dolphin mothers and calfs remain awake and in visual contact for over two months straight after the calf’s birth.)
The outline of the book follows the example of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, 5 Vols in that each chapter begins with a question followed by a brief account of an answer to that question which runs counter to that which Bulkeley will be making in the chapter itself. He then makes his detailed counter-argument and ends with a brief summary explaining why he thinks his answer is the more valid one.
A key idea which is introduced in the second section of the book, in which Bulkeley moves on to the topic of dreams themselves, is that dreaming is a form of play. In play we experiment freely with ideas and forms of behaviour in a safe environment. He explains that patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have a tendency to experience rigidly repetitious nightmares reliving their trauma and that the process of recovery can be charted in the freeing up of the dream process. We can see in this a reflection of waking culture in which creativity and health arise from the ability to improvise rather than be restricted by fixed stereotypical forms of thought or expression.
After setting the scene with the first two sections of the book which deal with the topics of sleep and dreams generally, he moves on to his main subject - “big dreams.” The term comes from Carl Jung. A “big dream” is one which is very memorable and leaves a significant emotional reaction after waking. These dreams are relatively rare, so to study them is a “black swan” approach. The argument here is similar to that of Willam James when, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, he argued that the best way to increase our understanding of religious experiences was to examine the more extraordinary examples in which defining qualities were exaggerated and thus could be more easily observed.
Bulkeley divides these big dreams into four kinds - aggressive, sexual, gravitational and mystical. His contention is that our ability to experience these kinds of dreams has arisen via natural selection because each of them may convey upon the dreamer a survival advantage. Aggressive nightmares in which we may have to battle against or run from frightening creatures can act as an emotional preparation for dealing with real life dangers. Sexual dreams may help to increase our breeding potential by whetting our appetite for sex and allowing us to mentally rehearse sexual activities. Gravitational dreams - such as nightmares about falling - may have helped our tree-dwelling ancestors to maintain a necessary habit of wariness about the danger of falling out of the tree at night, but they may also act as a metaphor for failure of any kind, thus encouraging wariness generally.
It is with the evolutionary advantage of mystical dreams - such as dreams of flying and visitations from people who are dead - that we get to the heart of the thesis which will feed into the examination of religion. Here the evolutionary advantage is that such dreams stimulate our capacity for hope and imagination. These kinds of dreams may have been the origin of religious beliefs in other plains of existence and the survival of the soul beyond the body, but this is not the only effect that they can have. Bulkeley gives an example of a composer who had a dream about musical composition which continued to inspire him over 25 years after he had it. Perhaps the same lack of inhibitions which allows us to have very “inappropriate” sexual dreams can also set free our creative intuition.
When he gets to the topic of religious dreams in the final section of the book, he discusses four different kinds - those involving : demonic seduction, prophetic vision, ritual healing, and contemplative practice. Here again he takes a leaf out of William James’ book and points out that we can only study what happens in the mind of the individual having a religious experience, we cannot, on the basis of such a study, say anything about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural beings with whom the individual claims to have had contact.
Bulkeley’s approach in this part of the book is not to try to assess in any particular case whether a dream or approach to dreaming had a beneficial effect, but rather to look at whether the idea that it could is credible scientifically.
When it comes to dreams of demonic seduction he uses a similar approach to that he used with aggressive nightmares and sexual dreams generally. Just as sexual dreams can prepare us to breed successfully, dreams about demonic seduction can prepare us to be suitably wary about the dangers which may occur in the breeding process.
The essential argument with prophetic dreams is that our mind has access to a lot of information about the important things going on in our lives and the dreaming process is one in which our mind is freed up to play around with the possibilities inherent in that information, so it is possible that we might make a better prediction of what lies ahead for us during a dream than we have while awake. This may not happen very often at all, but the fact that it can and that correct predictions are remembered while incorrect ones are forgotten, could explain why we have developed a cultural belief in the existence of dream prophecy.
The concept of dream incubation is central to the discussion of ritual healing through dreams. Many cultures believe that dreams can have a healing influence and there are practices and locations which can help to bring on such healing dreams. Sleep itself is central to the health of the body and the mind, so anything which reassures the individual and thus helps them to sleep more deeply and restfully is going to help the healing process, but the other factor Bulkeley discusses is the placebo effect. There are certain kinds of physical or mental ailment which have been shown to improve significantly simply because the sufferer believed that they would. If we combine these two factors then it is possible that someone going through a process of dream incubation may experience a noticeable improvement in their health because of a reassuring belief in the process, and a feature of that experience may be hopeful dreams or dreams which give good advice (making use of information absorbed but not previously activated). Once again, he is not saying that it works, but that it could conceivably work in some instances.
In the chapter on contemplative practice the emphasis is on pointing out the link between what happens in the brain during dreaming and what happens during meditation. There is also a discussion of lucid dreaming, in which the dreamer can become aware of the fact that they are dreaming and engage in all of the forms of conscious thinking which are accessible in the waking state. Thus dreaming can be a gateway to exploring alternate states of consciousness.
And for anyone who thinks he is too much of a dreamer, Bulkeley makes the following point :
“Dreaming is not opposed to skepticism. On the contrary, dreaming gives birth to skeptical consciousness. When people awaken from a dream (particularly a big dream), they immediately face a profound metaphysical question, one that has puzzled philosophers for ages: How does the reality of the dream relate to the reality of the waking world? This question echoes throughout human life as a conceptual template for critical thought and reflection.”...more
A young man is surprised when his sexy but pushy boss, who has shown no sign of encouragement of his infatuation with her until now, asks him to helpA young man is surprised when his sexy but pushy boss, who has shown no sign of encouragement of his infatuation with her until now, asks him to help her to seduce another sexy woman at her gym into having a threesome with them.
What I like about this story is that it doesn't try to be anything else but a horny guy's fantasy run wild. There is no attempt to make the set up believable. It's just an undiluted male fantasy laid down with plenty of exuberant detail. And sometimes that's all I need to be amused and titillated....more
A tender tale of the constancy of desire across a span of fifty years. That is how long Tilly and Elmer have been married. They reminisce about an epiA tender tale of the constancy of desire across a span of fifty years. That is how long Tilly and Elmer have been married. They reminisce about an episode before their marriage when they were brave enough to attempt sex out in the snow. Will they be able to recreate the experience now?
This is the second Tilly and Elmer story, but the first that I’ve read. It is as light as a snowflake. None of the far-fetched and athletic action you get in most erotica. The sex is lightly comic in its imperfection, but tender because of the role it plays in the relationship between the characters. I laughed out loud at one point at a detail which is so far from original as to be one of the oldest of cliché’s. Which just goes to show that being won over is often more important than cleverness.
Adding to the fun are the author’s illustrations which remind me of those from seventies or eighties children’s books, only of course depicting more risqué activity.
I look forward to reading more Tilly and Elmer adventures....more
This book is a response to it’s author’s bad experiences as an author on Goodreads. I would have liked to see more information on the relationship betThis book is a response to it’s author’s bad experiences as an author on Goodreads. I would have liked to see more information on the relationship between Amazon and Goodreads. He claims that Amazon mines ratings data from Goodreads and this is of use to them somehow, but never makes it clear how. Amazon has its own review system and doesn’t display reviews or ratings from Goodreads. I would assume they bought the site for the same reason they bought the Internet Movie Database. It allows them to advertise extensively on a site which is visited by a large number of users of a particular form of merchandise they stock.
My advice to authors is that if you don’t want your book listed on that site and you don’t want people to be able to post negative reviews of it, then you should probably just have a few copies printed and hand them out to your friends. I’m sure there are many actors and film directors who have films they were involved in which they wish were not listed on the Internet Movie Database, but once you put something out into the public sphere, information about it can be placed in a database and it can be the subject of critical attention.
The author talks a bit about campaigns to deliberately vote down books. This is a problem, but it is not unique to Goodreads. Personally, I think it is wrong to rate or review a book you haven’t read, but it is a matter for the conscience of the individual, unless the votes are being placed by fake accounts, and he mentions a case where this happened and Goodreads was insistent that the person responsible sort it out immediately.
There is some good, if obvious, advice here. Reading the regulations of the site, including those which are provided for librarians (so you know the regulations they have to abide by and why they can’t delete your books from the site) is a good idea.
I have noticed a number of instances where indie authors remove some of their early works from the marketplace. It is so easy to self-publish now that many of us do it with work which is not good enough to make it in a competitive marketplace. And first impressions count for a lot. Put out a second rate effort and attract a bunch of deserved one star reviews on Goodreads and you may find you have a hurdle to overcome when you write something really good and the record of your earlier failure is there to put people off of giving it a go. The lesson is not to blame Goodreads, but to be sure you are really ready before you make your first entry onto the public stage.
And, if you can’t take criticism, then don’t be an author at all....more