Tuesday, June 10, 2008
my secret previous existence
I recently discovered that I had a previous life. Almost seven years before I was born, I apparently had a story published in Sinister Stories, one of the infamous pulp magazines of the 1940s. The contents page appears at the right, followed by an image of part of the first page of the story, and then, in case you haven't figured out what sort of magazine Sinister Stories was, there's an image of the original cover (which suggests, to me, the sadistic scenes of the original Flash Gordon movie serial--one of my fond memories from early TV, which re-ran the old serials endlessly).
I didn't run across an original copy of the magazine--Wildside Press has been bringing out reprints of some of the classic pulp mags. And I haven't been able to find anything else about that "Glenn Harper" who was the author of what is, in fact, one of the less lurid (though no better written) tales in the collection. Many, if not most, of the writers in the pulp mags used assumed names that they might only use once, or might adopt as a running nom de plume. If I'd actually had "Death Loves My Wife!" published in a mag with an S&M-kinky cover like Sinister Stories, I might not have used my own name, either--the cosmic joke is that it IS my name.
Basically, the story is about a man whose wife is seduced by her dead former husband, who tries to drown her--she's saved by the hero who makes her recognize her love for a living husband, and he pulls her (nude, of course) body out of the water. The rest of the stories in the collection range from heavy-breathing Indiana Jones sorts of things to monsters and some sexist violence such as is suggested by the mag's cover. It's interesting to have this vivid reminder of why the designation "pulp fiction" was once an insult, though there's little actual sex depicted. Even the segment of pulp fiction that I read in the mid-20th century (mostly science fiction) and in my later years (more the Jim Thompson kind of thing) ws pretty lurid, especially in the way it was packaged, but it's interesting to see the more disreputable end of the spectrum in all its dubious glory, even if one of the tales bears my name.