The golden age of pulp fiction featured sensationalized tales of drug-addicted teens, homicidal housewives, drunken detectives, and criminals run amok. But there was also a subset that created a whole new genre: lesbian pulp fiction.
Named for the cheap pulp paper they were printed on, pulp fiction's rise coincides with the so-called "Greatest Generation," the men and women who fought and/or lived through World War II. A lot of this pulp fiction. While it might be hard to imagine current nonagenarians ever reading anything more erotic than Gone With The Wind, a lot of Greatest Generation erotica focused on some pretty kinky and progressive stuff, including the "forbidden world" of women loving women. The widespread use of pseudonyms sometimes made authorship unclear, but history has shown that these titillating pulp novels were not just written by men for other men, but also by women for women, by women for men, and by men for women. Some, like Marijane Meaker's Spring Fire - written under the psuedonym Vin Packer - are considered classics in the genre. Others, like Willi Peters' Lesbian Twins, are just pure trash.
The publishers clearly wanted readers to judge these books by their covers, with pin-up-style illustrations of "tormented" women surrounded by insane blurbs and promises. The addictive gallery below features some of the best of these covers, offering just a small taste of the frank, shocking, probing, tortured merry-go-round stories inside, once told in whispers, featuring the twisted passions of women stirring the dark waters of desire!
- Photo: Paul Rader / Public Domain