Geis, Richard E. (pulp fiction writer)


(1927- ) Also wrote as: Frederick Colson, Richard Elliott, Randy Guy, Albina Jackson, Peggy Swenson

Beatnik, cult author, accused pornographer, and master of a rare blend of erotica and science fiction, Richard E. Geis is proof that a talented writer can impose a distinct aesthetic and philosophic stamp on even the most anonymous hack assignments—in this case outre work at the far fringes of the publishing business for which writers ordinarily neither seek nor achieve recognition. An Oregon native, Geis had a “religious experience” at age 10 one summer day while reading a science fiction pulp magazine on the beach, whereupon the writing profession became his life’s goal. As a teen he nurtured this desire through work on the school newspaper and personal journals and fan publications, but his attempts to sell stories to the pulps were not successful. These early rejections, combined with the effects of (at first) undiagnosed cerebral palsy, aggravated the young man’s inferiority complex. He aimed his subsequent creative work at amateur publications and eventually at what he imagined was an undiscriminating market, the “girlie” magazines that proliferated in the ’50s. His first sale was a sex-tinged science fiction story to Adam, which printed pulp fiction between glossy photos of naked women. Relocated to the beach at Venice, California, Geis became a regular contributor to Adam and the many other second-string men’s magazines of the era, selling hundreds of short stories that mixed science fiction, fantasy, and sex.

Living in Venice, at that time the bohemian beatnik capital of the West Coast, where the denizens had melded sun, surf, and bikinis to the Beat movement’s lifestyle ideal of pot, sex, and poetry, Geis centered his first novel on that hipster enclave. Once again aiming low, Geis sent the racy manuscript to a small paperback house in Chicago, Newstand Library, which paid a three-figure advance and brought the topic out in 1960 with the title Like Crazy, Man, and with a cover illustration featuring a goateed painter in a beret and a nearly bare-breasted blonde ecstatically playing the bongos. Geis found other developers specializing in erotic fiction ready to buy his work—Midwood topics, France topics, Beacon—and he was soon turning out spicy, softcore novels by the score, including subsequent chronicles of hip bohemia like Bongo Bum and Beat Nymph.

In this period Geis’s stories were contemporary and relatively realistic, and dealt with sex as explicitly and arousingly as the law allowed. Some defenders of the law, however, felt Geis and his cronies had overstepped this boundary. In 1964, Geis, as the author of a novel called Three-Way Apartment, along with several other authors and editors, was indicted on obscenity charges and had to stand trial, first in California, and then, under federal prosecution, in Sioux City, Iowa. The trial lasted three months in Sioux City and Geis was convicted on all charges. To make ends meet he continued turning out erotic novels even as the trial was going on. In the end the verdict was reversed after a Supreme Court decision, and some literary historians have given Geis and his saucy novel credit (if that is the word they use) for crushing literary censorship. In any case, more and more small publishing houses began to specialize in increasingly explicit erotic fiction, and Geis was ensured steady employment in this genre through the next decade.

In 1968 Geis began contributing to a new erotic paperback line called Essex House. Born in the era of flower power and free love, Essex was conceived by editor Brian Kirby as a cutting-edge developer producing topics that were arousing, stylish, and experimental. To that end he sought out talented, daring, uninhibited writers like Philip Jose Farmer, Charles Bukowski, David Meltzer, and Geis. Not since the heyday of Olympia Press in the 1950s had there been such an intriguing blend of exploitation, erotica, and the avant-garde. Kirby seemed particularly interested in a psychedelic combination of sex, science fiction, and fantasy, something Geis had already experimented with years before. His Ravished (1968) and Raw Meat (1968) were among the most highly regarded of Essex House’s many unusual (and now hotly collected and very expensive) original works. The Essex House experiment did not last long, but Geis would continue to explore his intriguing blend of fantasy, philosophical speculation, and sexuality in such later topics as The Endless Orgy (1968) and The Arena Women (1972).

Unlike many other talented writers who apprenticed in pulp erotica and then moved on to more mainstream careers, Geis remained in the adults-only camp. In the anything-goes 1970s he produced work that explored such ultimate trans-gressive subjects as incest and bestiality. Although he wrote the occasional mainstream science fiction/fantasy novel for respectable houses like Fawcett Gold Medal, the nonconformist Geis seemed constitutionally drawn to the obscure end of the publishing spectrum and preferred to reserve his most personal, serious work for self-publication, like the mimeographed novel The Corporation Strikes Back, and his various limited-distribution screeds and journals.

For those ready to explore the career of an idiosyncratic and talented writer existing almost entirely outside the box of literary respectability, Geis makes a fascinating case study.


  • Anal Husbands and Deviant Wives (1971);
  • Arena Women, The (1972);
  • Bedroom City (1962);
  • Bongo Bum (1966);
  • Corporation Strikes Back, The (1972);
  • Endless Orgy, The (1968);
  • Eye at the Window (1967);
  • Girlsville (1963);
  • Honeymoon Hotel (1962);
  • Like Crazy, Man (1960);
  • Male Mistress (1964);
  • Nurses Who Seduce the Young (1970);
  • Orality ’69 (1969);
  • Orality ’70 (1970);
  • Punishment, The (1967);
  • Ravished (1968);
  • Raw Meat (1968);
  • Saturday Night Party (1963);
  • Sex Kitten (1960);
  • Sex Turned On (1967);
  • Slum Virgin (1963);
  • Swap Orgies (1971);
  • Three Way Swap (1970);
  • Women and Bestiality (1971);
  • Young Tiger (1965)

As Frederick Colson:

  • Devil Is Gay, The (1965);
  • Roller Derby Girl (1967)

As Richard Elliott:

  • Burnt Lands (with Elton Elliott) (1985);
  • Einstein Legacy, The (with Elton Elliott) (1987);
  • Master File (with Elton Elliott) (1986);
  • Sword of Allah (with Elton Elliott) (1984)

As Randy Guy:

  • Horny Wild Daughter (1984);
  • Hot Twins Next Door (1982);
  • Hot Wife for Hire (1981)

As Albina Jackson:

  • Dusty Dyke (1964)

As Peggy Swenson:

  • Beat Nymph (1965);
  • Blonde, The (1960);
  • Captive of the Lust Master (1972);
  • Easy (1962);
  • Gay Partners, The (1964);
  • Ghetto Whore (1976);
  • Girl Possessed (1973);
  • Hot Kids and Their Older Lovers (1971);
  • Love Tribe, The (1968);
  • Mouth Girl, The (1968);
  • Pleasure Lodge (1962);
  • Queer Beach (1964);
  • Rita and Marian (1967);
  • Saturday Night Party (1963);
  • Three Way Apartment (1964);
  • Virgin No More (1963)

Next post:

Previous post: