Monday, June 17, 2013

Not A Surprise.

The Death Merchant "postmodern pulp" novel series, written by the late Joseph Rosenberger, has come up on this blog more than once.  I have a perverse fondness for those books, even if they are bad by various objective criteria.  Not much is known about Rosenberger.  He was never an important enough writer to generate much press attention.  But we've been given a new look into the man, however limited it might be.  Joe Kenney, on his blog Glorious Trash, has printed a 1985 letter written by Rosenberger, courtesy of an anonymous contributor.  The article also has a picture of Rosenberger and his wife Virginia, taken in 1984.  

Much of the letter won't be a surprise if you're familiar with the Death Merchant books.  Rosenberger wasn't a pleasant person, and the racism found in the letter can also be found in the books themselves.   But the bits he reveals about his life are quite interesting, as is the glimpse the letter gives us into the goings on at Pinnacle Books, and the mass market paperback publishing business in general, in the early '80s. 

That Rosenberger apparently tried to sell the Death Merchant series to Gold Eagle makes me wonder what might have happened if he'd been successful.  What would a post Rosenberger Death Merchant have been like?  Presumably either a lot closer in tone and attitude to the Mack Bolan universe books Gold Eagle still publishes, or perhaps they would have pushed it in the black humour/parody direction of The Destroyer books. Then again it might have vanished like most of the other similar book series spawned by the success of The Executioner.  Whatever the case, I doubt Rosenberger would have been happy with the results.

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