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Rare profile and lessons of a 70s pulp writer Joseph Rosenberger Pulp Part 2

I know some here teach literature. I actually am writing this paragraph after I wrote the rest. I think Joseph Rosenberger is a good cautionary tale about writing for a living. How hard it is even for a truly prolific who published 300 novels plus articles. How it can lead to bitterness and does not always lead to a Richard Castle lifestyle. This is more about being a published author then about pulp. Maybe some teachers here can use this as a cautionary tale.

Pinnacle was a huge 1970s into 80s action/sf pulp novel publisher. They published for the first 36 Executioner novels, the SF Richard Blade series 30 something of them, CADs a postnuclear war soldiers using kinda mechs and many other number series. Also Destroyer series a spoof series and fantastic also, second to the Executioner series.

Well one writer, Joseph Rosenberger, was actually more interesting then his novels. He wrote over 300 novels. His most famous series was Death Merchant main character Richard Camellion.I read about seven in this series. Very interesting novels on one level. The problem were myriad reading it not just the character was psychotic but one got the sense the writer had problems too.


If you read the first 36 novels by Don Pendleton who wrote the Executioner series. All 36 novels is essentially one story. Its essentially a one man war against the mafia. More about Pendleton in another post. Don goes out of his way with essentially #notallItalians. Rosenberger has Russians as the main enemy and it is #allRussians whether farmer or KGB.

Also Rosenberger had a habit of putting in *s in about every three pages. Yes an *. He does footnotes. You are reading and pop you see an * next to a word and sure enoigh you look at bottom of page and there is a footnote.

Here is the first article about Rosenberger. There are a lot of “say what” moments. The writer Schnell desrcibes himself as a young writer who is learning to be a writer and is studying both Pendleton amd Rosenberger. He visits Rosenberger. The descriptions of the home and woman there seem off. JR describes the woman cooking as someone who lives with him to help him. Heavy doors. Room full of National Geograhics. JR does explain how he writes a novel and his process of doing it. So fiction writers here you may learn something or maybe not.


The second article is an interview done in 81. He explains his motivations to write and his experiences as a writer with publishing companies. So many writers when talking about their work love to talk about their characters and inspirations. JR there is a dismissive attitude as one commentater said. Its almost too blaise and I write for money attitude. Very few writers actually say that. Also his description of his readers is just odd.



Maybe that’s the lesson write for the money.

There is a third. Extremely hard to read. The author of that blog should have transcribed the eight page letter written by Rosenberger. Reading the novels you had a sense that he just did not just dislike Russians but possibly racist but he kept the reins on it. This letter no he is very racist. Its also contradictory as this blogger pointed out his rule of life was to treat people for who they are not by race or anything else yet the racism is pure vitriol in the letter.


He was a racist, disturbed most likely very paranoid, and incredibly prolific. A person who was considered a master for his genre. Yet from that letter seems to have been written late in life although he seemed to have died early 60s. Died most likely very bitter. Also his racism as vitriolic as it was his life lesson which contradicts the vitriol actually seems common place for people from his era. Racism for them is very ingrained but they also know on some level its wrong and not a good path and don’t want others to follow that path.


The lesson is writing even when prolific with many contracts it does not mean riches, it can bring incredible bitterness. JR I think is right though you need to approach writing as a business.

This post was just suppose to be 70s Pinnacle and was going to focus on Pendleton and Safir/Warren but coming across this info was just too interesting to ignore.


I hope you find this pulp series interesting. I know it all started with the question what do you consider good pulp.

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