Re: RARA-AVIS: David Goodis in the pulps

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 15 May 2008

Yeah, the pulps kept him pretty busy, but he was also heavily into radio. Even after Dark Passage was optioned, Goodis turned down the chance to adapt it cause he was too busy with Hop Harrigan, etc. He quite possibly didn't have any time or energy to write novels (he'd have been writing and editing scripts all day). I also get the impression that he wasn't particularly comfortable switching between different forms, but I may be reading too much into that. Here's Goodis speaking about what had been occupying him up until the cinematic release of Dark Passage (from the New York Sun, Sept 16th, 1947):

"You have to do that for radio, keep explaining everything as you have no visual help. You get into a habit of simplification when you write too much radio. When you write too long for pulps you get into other habits. You stick too long with one character, show everything in the story from his viewpoint. I used to try to dig pretty deep but I think writing for pulps keeps you from writing subjectively."

Incidentally, Retreat From Oblivion was published when Goodis was a mere 22, and yet it already contains many of his obsessions. He'd written at least two novels before that, both of which were binned. And by 1947 he'd also written Nightfall and Behold This Woman.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jeff Vorzimmer" <> Subject: RARA-AVIS: David Goodis in the pulps

> I'm about half way through David Goodis' Retreat from Oblivion and
> wondered why there was such a big gap between his first and second novels.
> These years correspond to the Second World War and wondered if he served
> in it, but then I did a little research and found that he actually started
> cranking out stories for the pulps--over 40 in all, including 12 novellas
> during that time period. He wrote for a wide variety of different types of
> pulps--crime, western, aviation, sports and under a variety of pseudonyms.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 15 May 2008 EDT