Andrew Nette is a writer and pulp scholar based in Melbourne, Australia. His first novel, Ghost Money, a crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-1990s, was published in 2012 and his second, Gunshine State, was published in 2016. He is one of the founders of Crime Factory Publications, a small press specialising in crime fiction, and coedited Hard Labour (2012), an anthology of Australian short crime fiction, and LEE (2014), an anthology of fiction inspired by American cinema icon Lee Marvin. His short fiction, reviews and nonfiction writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He is currently undertaking a PhD on the history of Australian pulp fiction.

Iain McIntyre is a Melbourne-based author, musician, and community radio broadcaster who has written a variety of books on activism, history, and music. Recent publications include How to Make Trouble and Influence People: Pranks, Protest, Graffiti and Political Mischief-Making from across Australia (2013), Wild About You: The Sixties Beat Explosion in Australia and New Zealand (2010), and Tomorrow Is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, 1966–1970 (2006). He also helped compile the Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts 1965–1967 CD compilation (2012).

Sticking It to the Man by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre

From civil rights and Black Power to the New Left and gay liberation, the 1960s and 1970s saw a host of movements shake the status quo. The impact of feminism, anticolonial struggles, wildcat industrial strikes, and antiwar agitation were all felt globally. With social strictures and political structures challenged at every level, pulp and popular fiction could hardly remain unaffected. Feminist, gay, lesbian, Black and other previously marginalised authors broke into crime, thrillers, erotica, and other paperback genres previously dominated by conservative, straight, white males. For their part, pulp hacks struck back with bizarre takes on the revolutionary times, creating fiction that echoed the Nixonian backlash and the coming conservatism of Thatcherism and Reaganism.

Sticking It to the Man tracks the ways in which the changing politics and culture of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s were reflected in pulp and popular fiction in the United States, the UK, and Australia. Featuring more than three hundred full-color covers, the book includes in-depth author interviews, illustrated biographies, articles, and reviews from more than two dozen popular culture critics and scholars. Among the works explored, celebrated, and analysed are books by street-level hustlers turned best-selling black writers Iceberg Slim, Nathan Heard, and Donald Goines; crime heavyweights Chester Himes, Ernest Tidyman and Brian Garfield; Yippies Anita Hoffman and Ed Sanders; best-selling authors such as Alice Walker, Patricia Nell Warren, and Rita Mae Brown; and myriad lesser-known novelists ripe for rediscovery.

Contributors include: Gary Phillips, Woody Haut, Emory Holmes II, Michael Bronski, David Whish-Wilson, Susie Thomas, Bill Osgerby, Kinohi Nishikawa, Jenny Pausacker, Linda S. Watts, Scott Adlerberg, Maitland McDonagh, Devin McKinney, Andrew Nette, Danae Bosler, Michael A. Gonzales, Iain McIntyre, Nicolas Tredell, Brian Coffey, Molly Grattan, Brian Greene, Eric Beaumont, Bill Mohr, J. Kingston Pierce, Steve Aldous, David James Foster, and Alley Hector.



  • "From the profane to the sacred, this scholarly, obsessive volume reveals forgotten tribes of Amazons, Soul Brothers, Hustlers, Queers, Vigilantes, Radical Feminists and Revolutionaries—the radical exploitation of gnostic pulp."

    – Jon Savage, author of 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded
  • "This is the ultimate guide to sixties and the counter culture, of which I was a part. Long hair, bellbottoms, short dresses, and a kiss-my-ass attitude to the powers that be. Real meat on real bone, the stuff of one of the most unique and revolutionary generations ever, baby. You need this."

    – Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Hap and Leonard Series
  • "This book is a story about stories—the rough-and-tumble mass fiction of the 1950s to the '80s, written to offend The Establishment and delight the rest of us. In Sticking It to the Man, McIntyre and Nette offer us a fascinating smorgasbord of (un)savory tales—the kind whose covers entice and whose texts compel. These are the novels that provided us with our guiltiest reading pleasures of the mid-to-late Twentieth Century. They are reviewed by the critics who understand them best, and who give us lively insights into the historical and social forces in play as they were being written. The authors represented range from top-of-the-line famous to almost anonymous, and they all have something chewy to say. Plus—you have the added fun of enjoying reproductions of those wicked pulp paperback covers. You had better buy two copies!"

    – Ann Bannon, author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles



A Total Assault on the Culture?

Pulp and Popular Fiction during the Long Sixties

As has been widely celebrated, derided, and mythologized, the 1960s was a time of significant social and political change across the world. Decolonization, second-wave feminism, mass opposition to conscription and the Vietnam War, Black Power, wildcat strikes, campus ferment, lesbian and gay liberation, a flood of "hip and groovy" consumer items, and the radical countercultural group the White Panthers' infamous call (channeling poet and social activist Ed Sanders) for "a Total Assault on the Culture by any means necessary, including rock 'n' roll, dope and fucking in the streets"—all of these swirled together in a surge of radical and rebellious ideas and practices challenging everyday life and existing structures. In some cases it transformed them, while in others it merely retooled them for continued exploitation and new forms of ennui. Given that many of the key social and political trends associated with the era extended back into the previous decade and didn't fully unfold until the mid-1970s, some have come to label this extended period the "long sixties."

Inspired by, and part of, these revolutionary times were a host of wild and challenging novels. While many of these became intrinsic to the ferment and zeitgeist of the period, potboilers by the likes of Jacqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, and Arthur Hailey continued to dominate sales, with only the occasional breakthrough of left-field works from Rita Mae Brown, Kurt Vonnegut, Alex Haley, and Gore Vidal. For every novel and novelist who became iconic, hundreds have been forgotten and whole genres written off.

This collection brings a number of overlooked, entertaining, and revealing texts and writers from 1950 to 1980 back into the light. It also explores how popular culture in the form of fiction dealt with and portrayed the radicalism and social shifts of the era. Unable to cover the entire world, we concentrate on the United States, Australia, and the UK, three countries which all had homegrown publishing industries dealing in mass-market paperbacks and original paperback titles. Although this collection considers books dealing with dystopian and utopian near-future scenarios, the sheer volume of New Wave and other experimentation among science fiction will be covered in our next book, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1960 to 1985.

Sticking It to the Man's contributors mainly focus on novels that were aimed at a mass audience, written in an accessible style, or in genres that were then highly popular. Much of this output could be labeled "pulp" and was written quickly by dozens of little-known authors eager for their next advance and for whom mainstream publishing success remained elusive. Some of the books were penned by scribes who were successful in making it from the margins into the bestseller lists. Some of have become accepted and analyzed in academic and "highbrow" literary circles long after their original publication. Some aimed for and received such recognition upon release. Many remain undeservedly obscure.

The long sixties was not just a time of social and political upheaval but also took in the heyday of the paperback novel. During the mid to late 1940s this format displaced pulp magazines as the primary fictional and printed form of mass entertainment. By the 1950s, novels increasingly made their debut as paperbacks, and because paperback publishers put out more titles and often paid better rates than their more highbrow competitors, this allowed a growing number of authors to make it into print, if not sustain a comfortable living. Even with television making increasing inroads, novels remained hugely popular. By the 1970s medium-to-large publishers could still expect the majority of their successful releases to sell in the tens of thousands or more. Alongside these major firms, smaller outfits eked out reasonable profits through the production of pornography and genre fiction. Much of their output represented pale imitations of the books their bigger rivals were producing, but some of it was superior due to their propensity to take a chance on something different or unusual. This fiction, particularly in the fields of crime, erotica, thrillers, and romance, retained the approach of the 1930s magazine-based pulp: quickly written and produced for cheap thrills with a focus on action, titillation, and the sensational, and little expectation or view to posterity.

The thousands of novels produced from the 1950s to 1980 that deal with social change remain fascinating for a number of reasons. On a historical, cultural, and sociological level they give the modern reader an insight into how political and social transformations and challenges were portrayed and understood by authors, publishers, and readers. Many, probably the majority, of the authors responsible for these novels had little if any connection to the movements or communities depicted in their fiction. In many cases, their portrayals were negative and inaccurate, filled with salacious, hyperbolic, and sometimes reactionary observations and material befitting the sensational nature of the publishers they worked for. Nonetheless, these writers dealt with issues and communities few others in popular culture would touch, at the very least giving readers a sense that alternatives existed. This was particularly so up until the early 1960s when the culturally conformist and, in the case of the United States, McCarthyist atmosphere of the 1950s was beginning to be challenged. And even the books that are made up of the most reprehensible rubbish still provide an insight into the social mores, fears, and mind-sets of earlier times.

These novels not only reflected their times but also shaped them, providing new opportunities to air and explore progressive ideas or, alternatively, to ridicule and oppose them. The challenges posed in much of the fiction covered in this book increased as the years rolled on and the ranks of working novelists were swelled by active participants of the long sixties' political and cultural ferment. Pulp, erotica, and mass market fiction publishers' incessant appetite and need for new work to meet consumer demand had long provided outsiders a chance to break into writing and, within the editorial confines of the time and particular firms, spaces within which to expound alternative views. New opportunities arose for women, people of color, LGBTQI writers, former convicts, leftists, and others to get their work into print. Often this was via firms owned and operated by conservative, older white men trying to increase sales by sourcing work that would connect them with rapidly changing audience tastes. Sometimes it was via new entrepreneurs or movement-based and -influenced presses, such as Australia's left-nationalist Gold Star and the U.S. lesbian feminist Daughters Inc., who sought to defy the mainstream and print works that could find no other home. The examinations of popular fiction contained here provide insights into the lives and work of a range of writers, the industries within which they labored, and the changes all were experiencing.