Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Joy & Horror of Trashy Literature

One of the helpful things about writing a book blog is that you can sometimes trace back when a particular book came into your life. That is, if you take the time to document such things, which I'd like to get better at.

Anyway, I had the right place, but not the right time for when EDGE #44: The Blind Side by George G. Gilman came into my life. I was right that it was from the Blackstone Memorial Library tent sale in Branford, CT, but it wasn't 2015, it was 2014. How time flies. [Here's that post.]



I read a bunch of the EDGE Series when I was in junior high/high school, most of which were acquired at either of the two bookstores that once graced the North Riverside Mall in suburban Chicago.

George G. Gilman is a pen name for British author Terry Harknett (born 1936). According to Wikipedia Mr. Harknett has written over 200 novels, at least 10 series, and used 10 additional pen names: Joseph Hedges, William M. James, Charles R. Pike, Thomas H. Stone, Frank Chandler, Jane Harman, Alex Peters, William Pine, William Terry, James Russell, and David Ford.

Apparently Harknett wasn't western sounding enough, but George G. Gilman is. You can hear the twang of cowboy alliteration. Maybe even imagine The Triple G Ranch.

The EDGE Series is violent, sexist, and racist. EDGE himself is referred to by the narrator as "the half-breed." He's half Swedish and half Mexican. Edge has a strong sense of justice and high morals, plus he likes animals and treats them well. I imagine his kindness to animals it what kept me reading back then. But what probably kept me coming back for more, as a tween/early teen was, I'm certain, the sex.  The Blind Side includes a gang rape by four cowpokes of a nymphomaniac who likes to dominate men, so you get the sense that she would have liked it if 1) she'd been in charge of the situation and 2) they hadn't beaten her. Spoiler alert: she gets her revenge but dies in the end (as such women must).

Come to think of it,
Edge looks a little like my beloved high school English teacher,
Mr. Antus. And Waylon Jennings.
The violence, sexism, racism, and rape are all horrific, but what surprised me is how bad the writing is! Here's an example:
"Likewise, the almost doll-like perfection of her oval shaped face with its blue eyes, snub nose, rosebud lips and milk white, flawless skin--in a frame of rich-growing, smoothly waved, honey-colored hair that swung to within a half inch of brushing her shoulders--had an undeniable sensuality that had to be lurking covertly just beneath the veneer of girlish innocence that was the first impression implied by her face" (12-13).
Or this scene where the nymphomaniac presents her naked body to Edge beside the campfire. He says to her:
"If that's the case, best you cover yourself up and go back to bed. On account of I've seen women got bigger nipples than you've got tits. And as for that beaver, I figure a mouse--" (44).
It's pulp fiction and Mr. Harknett nails it, so I'm not making fun of his writing, rather just pointing out the style. Obviously, someone who has published over 200 novels knows his audience. However, there were a ton of incomplete sentences and typos, too. It makes me wonder if there was any editing at all.

EDGE #44: The Blind Side
George G. Gilman
Pinnacle Books, 1983
Cover art by Bruce Minney
Original price: $2.50
Source: bought it used at library sale

This book came out in 1983 and by then I was experiencing some action of my own (wink, wink), so I had probably moved on from the series by then. This trip down memory lane was interesting, but, like many things from the past, some things are left better remembered than revisited. That said, I probably couldn't resist picking up another number in this series if I come across it.

Have your re-visited a series from your past? What was it like?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...