Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hal Ellson

While lots of authors took a turn at the juvenile delinquent novel, there was only one king of the teenager in trouble story. Hal Ellson is mostly forgotten today except by paperback collectors, but in the 50s he was a prolific writer of “raw-nerved street sagas” (The Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction), producing dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories. His writing was supposedly informed by his work as a recreational therapist and a nurse’s aide in the adolescent psych ward at Bellevue.

If you can track down his work without spending a fortune or you want to drop $20 on the omnibus available from Amazon, they’re definitely worth a read. In spite of his influence, however, Ellson has never done a lot for me. For all the "social awareness" informing the violence and sex and drug use among troubled teenagers, I always found his work a little like the worst of those made-for-tv movies you used to see after you got home from school. As far as period teenage gang novels go, for my money, you'd be better off tracking down Warren Miller's Cool World, Shane Stevens' Go Down Dead, or Sol Yurick's The Warriors.

Though to be fair, I haven’t read one in years.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mick Farren Interview

There's a fascinating interview with Mick Farren over at The Quietus. Whether you're a fan of Mick or you’re new to his work you should check it. I'm sure it'll whet your appetite to see what he wrote for the Hoods intro.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Headlesss Hoggy Style

If the rest of the collection is fueled on rockabilly, David James Keaton's weird tale of two generations of Jakes and a girl named Cherry is supercharged on psychobilly craziness.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


In Eric Beetner's "Lola," a young boy wants to be just like Chuck Berry. Too bad he forgets the second half of Chuck's most famous song—be good...