San Diego: Phenix Publishers, Ltd., 1970. 1st Edition. 12mo, publisher's stiff illustrated paper wraps.
1970s gay pulp paperback, issued as number 246 in Phenix Publishers' Pleasure Reader series. Phenix Publishers was a subsidiary of sleaze emperor William Hamling’s Greenleaf Classics, one of the biggest gay pulp publishers of the 1960s and early 70s, whose success is often credited with convincing other publishers to "go gay." Hamling got his start as a fiction writer, penning scifi, western, mystery, detective, and adventure stories in the 1940s. A decade later, he founded Greenleaf in Chicago, and issued the widely successful Imagination, a fantasy and scifi magazine that published the likes of Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Wyndham. After the success of Rogue, a men’s magazine he founded in 1955 on a par with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, Hamling realized sex sold better than scifi. He soon began to produce softcore paperbacks under the imprint Nightstand Books, largely edited by Hugo Award winner Earl Kemp and speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison, who also wrote for Rogue. Eventually, legal action was taken against Hamling for both Rogue (which folded in 1965) and Nightstand, prompting a move to San Diego and a reorg as Phenix Publishers. After Hamling published Richard Amory’s bestselling Song of the Loon, a gay frontier romance (an estimated 30% of the gay male population in the US is believed to have bought a copy), he realized the profit possibilities in gay pulp erotica and devoted an entire imprint, Pleasure Readers, to the genre. Light rubbing and edgewear to wraps. Very good. Item #5991