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.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
October 19
1989—Guildford Four Exonerated
The men known as the Guildford Four, who were imprisoned for a series of bombs attacks on British pubs that left five dead and 100 injured, are decreed not guilty after an investigation reveals that police colluded in doctoring statements that appeared to incriminate the defendants.
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