Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spring Fire

Update: The beauty of the internet is when legends stop by and say hello.

Spring Fire, is a 1952 paperback novel written by Marijane Meaker, under the pseudonym "Vin Packer". It is often considered to be the first lesbian pulp novel, although it also addresses issues of conformity in 1950s American society. The novel tells the story of Susan "Mitch" Mitchell, an awkward, lonely freshman at a Midwestern college who falls in love with Leda, her popular but troubled sorority sister. Published by Gold Medal Books, Spring Fire sold 1.5 million copies through at least three printings. Wikipedia

Happy Birthday wishes today to Ms. Meaker.

24 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Happy birthday, indeed. I have all her Gold Medal books as Vin Packer, and a few others besides.

David Cranmer said...

The very cool part is that she is still in the game. I have had the pleasure to correspond with her recently and she is an absolute joy.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Terrific book, I reviewed it a couple years back on Pulp Serenade. I've also been collecting her Gold Medals but, unlike Mr. Crider, I don't have them all...yet!

David Cranmer said...

Gold Medals are a lot of fun to collect. I have almost fifty spread here and there.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I like that cover! Gotta love the trendsetters!

David Cranmer said...

And the beauty is she is still trending. I'm had the pleasure of reading a story be her in the last few weeks and it is just as brilliant as her early work.

Todd Mason said...

http://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2011/01/ffb-1952-marijane-meaker-as-vin-packer.html

...my own too-hastily written (and interruptedly written!) assessment of SPRING FIRE and Meaker's future womanfriend Patricia Highsmith's THE PRICE OF SALT, their first lesbian novels, both published in 1952, and rather similar in several ways (not least in being somewhat autobiographical, if transmuted). And, goodness, that corruption lesbian "pulp" (or anyone's appropriation of pulp to mean infra dig, which in its turn is, even when well-meant, an insult to these books) still abrades my nerves. (I also dig the notion that this book is an unalloyed tragedy...when Meaker was too intelligent and honest not to work around the restrictions she was facing.)

Meaker was a special guest for a month on the discussion list Rara-Avis a few years back and was an utter delight. If she's browsing these (if you're browsing these!), indeed, happy birthday.

Todd Mason said...

Which, to say it more clearly, this book is no more unalloyed tragedy than is THE PRICE OF SALT. Maybe less so. And no more a true renunciation of lesbianism by the protagonist, though the naive reader might think so.

David Cranmer said...

Todd, I'm looking forward to reading your in-depth review asap.

Ron Scheer said...

The "tragedy" of homosexuality is embedded in the culture, right up to and including Brokeback Mountain.

M.E. Kerr said...

Thanks to everyone for their good
wishes. You know we Gold Medal writers thought of ourselves as paperbsck writers. Pulp writers wrote for detective magazines usually, printed on paper that turned yellow in six months. We weren't known as pulp writers until the 60's...Have a good summer, all. Cheers! Vin Packer
aka Ann Aldrich, M.E. Kerr, Marijane Meaker.

David Cranmer said...

Ms. Meaker, It is a big honor that you have stopped by my blog, and thank you for a fabulous story that I can't wait to publish in BEAT to a PULP: Round Two.

Cullen Gallagher said...

So glad to hear that Ms. Kerr is going to be in Beat to a Pulp Round 2! (Also excited to read The Girl on the Best Seller list, which is on its way to me right now -- hopefully it will be in my mailbox when I check this afternoon.)

dMix said...

Happy Birthday!

Matthew P. Mayo said...

Good news, indeed, that Ms. Meaker's story will be in Beat to a Pulp, Round Two!

The list of authors in the new anthology, as with the previous volume, is simply amazing. I'm excited and honored to be involved.

Evan Lewis said...

Vin Packer in Round Two! Great news!

Ed Gorman said...

Happy birthday to one of my all time favorite writers from whose work I've stolen everything I can legally get away with. She also happens to be a woman of style, class and great good will. Happy birthday again Marijane!

David Cranmer said...

I want to thank Cullen Gallagher for recommending that I contact Ms. Meaker. We were bouncing some e-mails back and forth and I asked him for authors that he would recommend for Round Two. Vin Packer was the first name on the list. Thanks, Cullen!

Charles Gramlich said...

I've not read the book but now I want to seek it out. Great discussion here. I learn something new about another writer every time I drop by.

AC said...

I'm looking forward to reading the story in Round Two. Just from Ms. Kerr's comment here, I'd be curious to read some non-fiction from her on how her novels were received when they were first published.

Diane said...

I've read Shoebag and Shoebag Returns and loved them dearly. Happy Birthday!

Todd Mason said...

It can be croggling, no? But Ms. Meaker has been a gracious pro, as well as an artist, for a very long time.

And only those who love to apply the terms sloppily, more even in the '70s than the '60s (when memories of actual pulps lingered) led to the misuse of "pulp" to refer to "paperback fiction" (which also had its own taint in the eyes of the ignorant, as a certain Beatles song might remind us). Actual pulp fiction reprinted in paperback is another matter...

Roger Grey said...

I am late to the well wishes but belated happy birthday, M.E. Kerr. I read your books as a teen and passed them to my son. Thank you for being a wonderful role model.

Chris Rhatigan said...

BTAP Round 2 sounds as smashing as vol. 1. Very excited to hear that Ms. Kerr will be featured there!