Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: Operation Sex by Kimberly Kemp and an unknown sleaze book by Gerald Kramer

For just the fun of it, I picked up recently two old sex paperbacks (in Finnish translation) and read them. The first one of them I actually said to my wife was research, since I'm writing a sex novel set in a roadside motel, and the Finnish title of the book I read was Seksimotelli/Sex Motel (the original title is said to be Swap Motel, though). If I could pick up an obscure reference to use, I'd be more than happy!

The other book I read was Operation: Sex by "Kimberly Kemp" (Operaatio seksi in Finnish), who was really Gilbert Fox. He used this pseudonym in other novels as well. I find this information on him at the Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collective site: "Gilbert Fox (b. 1917) was a friend of Harry Shorten, the founder of Midwood Books, and the author of over 100 titles for the line using the pseudonyms Kimberley Kemp and Dallas Mayo for his lesbian novels and Paul Russo for his heterosexual novels." The book was published originally by Midwood in 1962 and features actually quite a nice cover. The prices for the book seem to be quite high! The Finnish translation should go for less than five euros.

Operation: Sex is a fast read. It's a spy novel, in which a beautiful dancer Colleen Mead is asked to act as an undercover agent and take part in a mysterious flight. There's a mystery man in the plane as well, and also a very beautiful woman who starts to flirt with Colleen, but also takes something out of the mystery man's pockets when the plane crashes down in the sea. The women are rescued by a famous playboy cruising around in his orgy-filled yacht. There's a bit of everything in this: some spy action, some lesbian scenes, some mild domination, a near-rape scene in the end... As I said, it's a quick read, but there's really nothing much to think about.

For some reason I found Gerald Kramer's Seksimotelli more interesting. It's bibliographically challenging, since I can't find any publishing info for it. Gerald Kramer, whoever he was, did write porn and sleaze for publishers like Midwood, as this blog proves. I took a look at Abebooks and was able to come up with this short bibliography. Anyone know more about Kramer?

Seksimotelli/Swap Motel is a loosely narrated tale of a young man who owns a small roadside motel. He gets into weird escapades: in the beginning of the book, there's a young couple coming into the hotel, with the man being obnoxious and abrasive while flirting and the girl resisting. The young man peeks into their room and witnesses bad sex after which the couple falls into sleep. As the motel owner has the gift of hypnotism, he goes in and hypnotizes the woman and starts to caress her tits. The young guy is then lured into a strange plot: the husband comes in several days later and says that if he won't come to a party with him to hypnotize more people to have sex, he goes public with the hypnotism stuff. Some even more weird escapades follow. This is a picaresque novel for the free-wheelin' sixties. There's not much sense in it, but it's fun in a sort of depraved way. The motel owner is a heel, but he's a sympathetic heel, who feels sorry for the cruel jokes his victims are inflicted upon. One of the weird details in the book is the code word the guy uses trying to get the girl of his dreams: Kropotkin, the name of the famous Russian anarchist. This goes on to prove that there's more than meets the eye in the American sleaze literature of the sixties.

One detail for my Finnish readers: as an euphemism for "penis/dick/kyrpä/kikkeli" the Finnish translator (the pseudonymous Kaino V.T. Sievänen) uses quite often the humorous and not so exciting word "kikuli".

The Finnish books were published in the sleazy Cocktail paperback series in the early seventies. The publisher came from Turku where I live and they also published the porn magazine with the same name.

Other Forgotten Book entries collected in Todd Mason's blog here.


Evan Lewis said...

Eye-catching covers. I'll bet U.S. publishers wish they could get away them.

Juri said...

Yeah, I think the Cocktail series came to Finland via even more liberal Denmark or Sweden and the covers came with the books. I have no way of knowing if the books were abridged in the translation. These seem unabridged, though, there are no gaps in the narrative.