by Katherine V. Forrest (Editor) - £14.99 Cleis Press (2005)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781573442107 | ISBN 10: 1573442100
In 1950, Fawcett founded their Gold Medal imprint, inaugurating the reign of lesbian pulp fiction. These were the books that small-town lesbians and prurient men bought by the millions - cheap, easy to find in drugstores, and immediately recognisable by their lurid covers: often a hard-looking brunette standing over a scandily-clad blonde or a man gazing in tormented lust at a lovely, unobtainable lesbian.
For women leading straight lives, here was their confirmation that they were not alone and that darkly glamorous, "gay" places like Greenwich Village existed. In the over-heated prose typical of the genre, these books document the emergence of a lesbian subculture in postwar America. Some - especially those written by lesbians - offered sympathetic and realistic depictions of "life in the shadows", while others (no less fun to read now) were smutty, sensational tales of innocent girls lead astray.
Grande dame of lesbian literature Katherine V. Forrest presents a rich survey of the best of the pulps, including work by Ann Bannon, Vin Packer, Marion Zimmer Bradley (writing as Miriam Gardener), Brigid Brophy and many others.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2018)