From: Richard Moore ( moorich2@aol.com)
Date: 13 Dec 2005

Back in the days when there were dozens of magazines and no editor or reader could keep up with them all, writers stealing plots, characters, and other aspects of value from other writers may have been fairly common in the pulp heyday, even though the practice was despised by most writers.

Being on the road this week, I can't check the book for details but in THE LAST PIN (1996), a collection of pulp detective fiction by Howard Wandrei, the accusation is made against Steve Fisher, best known as the author of I WAKE UP SCREAMING. Wandrei, the lesser known brother of Donald Wandrei, was highly regarded in the detective pulps with many sales to Black Mask, Detective Fiction Weekly and others. Later in the 1940s, his career declined as his personal life became more difficult and he finished selling to the cheaper pulps before dropping out of writing completely. He was friendly with Steve Fisher and Fisher's pal Frank Gruber but then discovered Fisher was mining his old stories from the 30s and reselling them. As I recall the story, this ugly episode was one of the factors that soured him on New York and writing. Again, I don't have the book with me to check.

Another old pulpster who used the 'stealing plots from the pulps' concept in a novel was William Campbell Gault. His mainstream novel MAN ALONE has a glad-handing but creatively challenged screenwriter stealing plots from old pulp stories and building a reputation in Hollywood as a good 'idea man' and making lots of money. Meanwhile the writer from whom he stole many of the ideas was struggling for assignments. MAN ALONE was published late in Gault's life but was written in the late 1950s and is quite good.

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Steve Lewis <stevelewis62@c...> wrote:
> At 07:00 AM 12/13/2005, you wrote:
> > >
> > > Recently uploaded to my Mystery*File website is an interview
> >Ed Gorman
> > > did with John D. MacDonald in the mid-1980s. It's at
> > > http://www.mysteryfile.com/JDM/Interview.html. Among other
> >things, JDM
> > > talks about his early days as a writer and how Travis McGee
> >to
> > > be. The article is reprinted from The Big Book of Noir, but if
> >you haven't
> > > seen it, the interview is well worth reading. At least I
think so!
> >
> >And over on FictionMags, a few of us are wondering about this
> >of JDM's:
> >What are some of your least favorite memories of that time?
> >"... The clown who was taking my old pulp stories and changing the
> >point of
> >view and selling them to Manhunt. "
> >
> >Any likely suspects?
> >
> >Todd Mason
> TM
> No one seems to have a clue, including Ed Gorman, nor does Peter
> who is doing the story-by-story guide to Manhunt for
Mystery*File. (The
> latest of which is at
> I'm continuing to ask people who might know, but so far, not even
a suggestion.
> Best
> Steve
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Dec 2005 EST