Re: RARA-AVIS: Info on Hank Janson??

From: Sidney Allinson (
Date: 31 Mar 2003

> A new (old?) range of Hank Janson pulps are being released this year by a
> publisher in hardback form.
> The link to the publisher is:
> They sure look like an interesting collection to me, but I've never read
> heard of Hank Janson. Can anyone give me their views on whether he's well
> worth the read?

Steve: Ah, Hank Janson ...
'Brings back memories to me of well-thumbed paperbacks passed eagerly but surreptitiously hand to hand in UK barracks-rooms long ago ... Hank Janson [Stephen D. Francis] was a British writer of pulp paperbacks that were simply soft-porn tales under the guise of gangster novels. He wrote a couple of dozen of them, in a ludicrous "American" style that was even then seen as hilariously off-key. (Jansen shared this laughable ineptitude with American accents and slang as did James Hadley Chase [Rene Raymond] another British wannbe-Yank author of the time.] In his hey-day - 1946-1956 - Janson enjoyed large sales in the UK despite his corn-ball writing style, entirely because of their lipsmacking descriptions of female bodies and sex scenes that went as far as a British writer dared to in those days of strict censorship. Finally, Jansen just managed to avoid criminal prosecution on pornography charges, by skipping off to live in Spain. I think his publisher did serve a couple of years in jail on similar charges. It was amusing to me to see Jansen's name pop up again half a century after I last read one his paperbacks. It'll be interesting to see how reprints of his books sell now. What was considered pretty raunchy in the '40s would seem tame today compared with the almost obligatory obscenity in most books nowadays, regardless of genre. Here's a website about Hank Jansen:
-- Sidney.

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