Allison, Clyde (William H. Knoles) (pulp fiction writer)


(?-1972) Also wrote as: Clyde Ames

The subject of a posthumous cult following for his once obscure, now hotly collected paperback spy spoofs of the mid-to-late 1960s, Clyde Allison, the pseudonym of William H. Knoles, ranks among the more talented and tragic figures to come through the paperback jungle. Knoles immigrated—from where we do not know—to New York City in the ’50s to find his way in the writing game. Like many others come to town with a similar goal in that period—Donald Westlake, Damon Knight, Lawrence Block, and others—Knoles found work at the Scott Meredith Agency, at the time a kind of literary chop shop that supplied standing orders for pulp fiction to some of the new paperback houses and fiction digests. When the agency did not have an appropriate client’s manuscript in hand, the aspiring writers on staff were encouraged to contribute. Knoles, like Westlake and the others, began fulfilling assignments for various adventure and erotic magazines, and later graduated to writing softcore sex novels for such developers as Mid-wood topics.

Knoles, unlike some of the better-known Meredith authors, never found his way to more upscale assignments. According to the paperback historian Lynn Munroe, who discovered much of what is known about the mysterious writer, Knoles was manic-depressive and his mental health problems no doubt hindered his attempts to break out of the sleazy paperback ghetto, despite his apparent talent. But Knoles would achieve greatness— in a sense—without ever leaving the hack/schlock underground. After already turning out perhaps as many as 100 sexy softcover novels—the exact number of titles in his bibliography remains a mystery—Knoles began to write the topics that would earn him his reputation. Working for an obscure sex fiction developer called Ember topics, he created the “0008″ series, outrageous, psychedelic, self-conscious and very funny spoofs of Ian Fleming’s 007/James Bond series and the whole super-spy craze, which, in 1965, was just starting to reach its peak. From the first, Our Man from Sadisto (“MEET 0008—PEERLESS LOVER, FEARLESS KILLER!”), the 0008 topics featured sex, spies, su-pervillains, wisecracks, sex, torture, orgies, time travel, secret weapons, more torture, more sex, and an assortment of satiric characters and an unexpectedly knowing and self-reflexive wit, all wrapped up in covers featuring an assortment of buxom beauties in shredded go-go girl duds and skintight Emma Peel-ish bodysuits. Allison lampooned and referenced the new, instantly cliched milieu of espionage sensationalism in a way that other writers  tried (in similar series such as The Lady from L.U.S.T.) and that surfaced on film in the leering Matt Helm series and the chaotic film version of Fleming’s Casino Royale, but Allison did it better than any of them. The topics were funny, hip, and sexy as hell.

Twenty of the topics were written and published in the space of four years, with as many publishing imprints, all small time. In 1969, a variant on the 0008s appeared, Gorgonzola Won’t You Please Come Home? (“A Wacky Spy Thriller”) under the name Clyde Ames, published by a higher profile paperback house, Lancer topics, which might have signaled the beginning of the author’s discovery and ascent from hack-writer hell.

But that was not to be. Knoles’s depressive state returned, this time for good. Late in 1972, he killed himself with a razor to his throat.

The delightful 0008 topics are now some of the most sought-after vintage paperbacks, and in fine condition they may command a higher price than the author was originally paid to write them.


  • 0008 Meets Gnatman (1966);
  • 0008 Meets Modesta Blaze (1966);
  • Bang the Doll Slowly (1969);
  • Desdamona Affair (1966);
  • Desert Damsels (1968);
  • For Your Sighs Only (1966);
  • From Rapture with Love (1966);
  • Gamefinger (1966);
  • Go Go Sadisto (1966);
  • Have Nude, Will Travel (1962);
  • Ice Maiden (1967);
  • Lost Bomb (1966);
  • Lustful Ones (1960);
  • Merciless Mermaids, The (1966);
  • Million Dollar Mistress (1960);
  • Mondo Sadisto (1966);
  • Nautipuss (1965);
  • Our Girl from Mephisto (1965);
  • Our Man from Sadisto (1965);
  • Platypussy (1968);
  • Roburta the Conqueress (1966);
  • Sadisto Royale (1966);
  • Sex Peddlers (1961);
  • Sex Ray, The (1966);
  • Sin Funnel, The (1967)
  • As Clyde Ames:
  • Gorgonzola Won’t You Please Come Home? (1967)

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