Monday 2 November 2015

The Price of Teeth is... SIN!

An intriguing book due early next year is Chris Offutt's My Father, the Pornographer, in which he writes about the experience of having a father (Andrew J. Offutt) who--supposedly in order to pay the young Chris's orthodontic bills--turned enthusiastically to churning out great heaving piles of pornographic books. I'll review the book itself when it's published (something of an introduction can be found here), but I thought I'd take this opportunity to look at the marvellous cover design by hero-of-this-blog Jamie Keenan (about whom more posts here).

Touch it for a bigger version, as one of Offutt's protagonists mighthave said
In fact, the good-girl-art images used by Keenan here are astonishingly sweet and innocent compared to the depictions of women on Offutt's actual books, almost all published under various pseudonyms by various dodgy outfits.


Ben said...

Not that I'm unhealthily fixated with literary sleaze or anything (ahem), but I'm really looking forward to this book. I found the extract published in the NYT absolutely fascinating.

The cover is nicely designed, but, as you point out, way, *way* too tasteful, given the nature of the work Offutt's dad was actually embroiled in.

Maybe it might have been nice to see a similar approach taken, but using the spines of some of the actual paperbacks that Offutt Sr wrote, perhaps..?

Touch-and-go Bullethead said...

The "Crusader" and "Spaceways" series were not outright porn--well, probably not; I never read them, so I cannot make any definite statement about their contents. However, I remember seeing them; they were widely available at ordinary book stores, "Spaceways" mixed in with the regular science fiction, "Crusader" sometimes in the "men's adventure" section (with the "Executioner" and "Destroyer" books), sometimes simply dumped in the general fiction category. That is in contrast to the productions of Bee Line Books, which were to be found only in dark corners of certain grimy drug stores.

Incidentally, it seems odd that Offutt (who had a modest reputation for his science fiction and sword & sorcery) put his real name on one of those Bee Line books. Was he actually proud of that one?

JRSM said...

Ben, it's a fascinating story, and being told his dad had to do it to pay for his teeth certainly didn't help the junior Offutt.

Bullethead, they do seem a different category. I was astonished at just how much he wrote: the SF Encyclopedia claims he produced almost 400 novels "an undetermined number of these being sf Sex novels"--someone was not willing to put in the research, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Does the memoir feature cover art, I wonder. It sounds interesting, but it also sounds like something that would make a really good long article in the NYT Sunday magazine. Not sure there's enough there for a full book.

But it is a great cover.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see how it was possible to publish a book with a cover like that of "The three of us".
Wouldn't this be considered paedophilic today?

Looking at how the world's standards are becoming increasingly Americanised, in more and more countries with different traditions, whether in Europe or elsewhere.

The cover of "The Three of us" doesn't have an author's name, pseudonym or otherwise, though.
I also cannot find it in any Offutt/Cleve bibliographies.