Monday, October 26, 2015

Charles Beckman (1920-2015)

I just heard from James Reasoner that Charles Beckman died two weeks ago. He was probably the last real pulp magazine writer alive - I can't think of anyone else, after Hugh B. Cave, Jack Williamson, Frank Kelly, Ray Bradbury, and Elmore Leonard have all passed away.

Beckman's career wasn't straight-forward. He wrote for the crime and western pulps, he wrote for the sleaze houses in the mid-to-late sixties, he wrote for the men's magazines, he wrote for the romance publishers with his wife, he also wrote some non-fiction on jazz - he was a jazz drummer first. Beckman's first published short story was "Strictly Poison" in Detective Tales, October 1945.

Beckman got active just before the end, compiling two collections of his old pulp tales: Suspense, Suspicion & Shockers, and Saddles, Sixguns & Shootouts. I have the first one, but haven't had time to check into it. Note also the new biography Pulp Jazz available from CreateSpace. The book also seems to have a bibliography of Beckman's writing, but I thought I'd also include one myself, here at my bibliographic sidekick blog.

I also published Beckman myself. I put out a small booklet (see above) containing two of his stories, a noirish hardboiled pulp story "Die Dancing, Kid!" (Detective Tales, January 1947) and a more thoughtful "Class Reunion" (AHMM, June 1973). The first one was published originally in Finnish in a magazine called Seikkailujen Maailma (The World of Adventures) and the translator remains unknown. The latter one was translated by my friend Tapani Bagge and published in a short-lived crime fiction mag RikosPalat (CrimeBits) in the late eighties. Both were republished by permission from Mr. Beckman himself, with thanks to James Reasoner and Walker Martin!

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