Vintage Pulp Jun 6 2012
WRITING FROM THE SHADOWS
How do you publish novels when millions of people want to see you hanged? Very carefully.

Interesting cover here from Jef de Wulf for the 1954 Georges Brass erotic novel Le plaisir est plus chaud dans l’ombre, aka, Pleasure Is Hotter in the Shade. De Wulf has a unique style, and we like his use of color, especially on this woman that registers to us as part sleepy-eyed temptress, part hungry spider in her lair. We’ll get back to de Wulf later. Today we’re focused on author Georges Brass, who was in actuality René Bonnefoy. Bonnefoy wrote as Brass, Roger Blondell, Roger Fairelle, Marcel Castilian, and published about fifty science fiction novels as B.R. Bruss. French pulp authors often wrote under pen names, so Bonnefoy’s collection of alter egos is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that the false identities were a matter of life and death.

Beginning in 1942, Bonnefoy served as Secretary-General for Information in France’s nazi-collaborating Vichy government, and after the war was forced to go into hiding. He was tried and sentenced to death in absentia, but still managed to write and publish under his pseudonyms, including his first and most famous sci-fi novel, 1946’s Et la planète sauta… (And the World Jumped…). He finally surrendered to authorities in 1955 during a period of amnesty designed to convince fugitive collaborators to comeforward. His death sentence was communted to d’indignite nationale, a form of shunning coupled with the loss of voting rights, exclusion from public office, and a ban from holding any management positions in corporations, banks, media, unions, and educational institutions. Sounds like a punishment that should be adopted in the U.S. for a lot of people, don’t you think?

Anyway, Bonnefoy became extremely prolific, publishing the bulk of his sci-fi novels within the next two decades, sometimes three or four a year, and if you visit French websites they tend consider his literary output with a surprising amount of objectivity. Later some of Bonnefoy’s personal writings from his fugitive years came to light, and in them he had outlined his defense should he ever stand trial for his wartime activities. Basically, he claimed that while he had held an important position, and in that role had overseen the censorship of countless publications, he never made any policy decisions. Pretty safe to say that defense would not have worked. René Bonnefot died in Paris in 1980, aged 84 years old. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 03
1943—Conrad Veidt Dies
German actor Conrad Veidt, who starred in films such as The Man Who Laughs and The Thief of Baghdad, but was most famous for playing the Nazi antagonist Major Strasser in the all-time cinema classic Casablanca, dies of a heart attack on a golf course in Los Angeles, just six months after Casablanca was released.
April 02
1930—Selassie Becomes Emperor
Haile Selassie I, whose birth name Tafari Makonnen and title "Ras" give the Rastafarian religion its name, is proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia. Selassie would become one of the most important leaders in African history, and earn global recognition through his resistance to Italy's illegal invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Selassie died in August 1975 under disputed circumstances.
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