Dean’s Drive or Some Days in the Life of -a- Another Writer

Energumen #8

Release Date: June 1971
Publisher: Mike Glicksohn
Page Count: 52
Issue: 8
Appears on page(s): 9-12


This essay, denied by Dean, is considered the original source of pornographic titles ascribed to Dean.
p10: “Next, I became involved in writing porn. Gerda and I collaborated–since my love has such a true sense of the obscene–to produce 30 porn titles ranging from such peaks of erudition as THIRTEEN AND READY and ORAL ORACLE to SWAPPER’S CONVENTION and LAY ME DOWN, BUT NOT TO DIE. (yes.) Six months of this provided us with an overwhelmingly healthy bank account. Each book required three days to write and brought an average of $650 reward. Since my own time was often only a day in the construction of each epic, I was provided with plenty of time to write sf that I wanted to write. But after 30 titles, we had neither the inclination or the stomach to continue, and we dropped out of the porn market. Aside from providing us with the resource to pay off old debts and to buy a piece of land for, some day, the construction of a lodge, we got nothing from the ordeal. It gave us the opportunity to write the non-fiction PIG SOCIETY which fit into the porn publisher s legit line, and we are proud of that book. But was it worth writing the other thirty while we were making contacts? I don ‘t know. Was it worth Avram’s time, and emotional expense, to have to sell his author’s copies?”

The essay also discusses The Flesh in the Furnace:
p10-11: “
Anyway, back on the straight and narrow path of serious work, I launched into the writing of an sf avant-guard novel called THE FLESH IN THE FURNACE, which I suspected no one would buy. My mainstream novel, meanwhile, had ended up at Dell. Well, every agent makes a mistake sometime or other.
“Six months later, after we were told: A. ‘We never heard of the book, we don’t have it.”; B. “A decision is imminent.”; c. “We’re going to take it, it’s tremendous. “(This leaked to Vaughn Bode by a Dell editor whom he knows) we managed to get the book returned, short of threatening to beat heads. One editor there, three weeks after the book had been returned, told Vaughn he expected Dell to buy it! Arrgghhh!
“Meanwhile, I have finished THE FLESH IN THE FURNACE and am making some finishing touches. Alan Ravage, editor at Bantam, calls and says he is interested in work, do I have anything he can see? I tell him about FLESH IN THE FURNACE. He asks to see it. It is sent him. In the almost unheard of time (outside of Bob Hoskins who is usually so efficient it makes your head swim) of seven weeks, Alan bought the book. For all the right reasons. The contracts were signed. Check sent. Wonderful!”

…and Beastchild.
p9-10: “This brings us to December 1969. My agency, having received inquiries about my work from a quite lovely young woman editor at Dell, arranged a dinner conference between yours truly and said lovely young editor for the 1969 Philcon. I attended that dinner and spoke of glorious things, work at hand, stars to be reached, valiant peaks of creativity within my grasp. Lovely Young Editor agreed that one of the ideas, BEASTCHILD, sounded excellent and urged me to send her sample chapters and outlines for consideration. This I did early in December of 1969, less than three weeks after our conversation. BEASTCHILD so enthralled me that I proceeded to work on the book while awaiting a decision. Soon, I began to see it was the best piece of long work I had ever done and that it represented the new perimeters I had been trying to reach for some time After a month, I called to inquire what she thought of the work. She had not read it yet. I continued working. Another month passed, and the book was done, and it contain ed everything I had hoped for it. I structured a shorter version, which seemed even more concise and polished than the slightly longer novel, and mailed that to the agency for Ed Ferman’s inspection. Six weeks later, Ed had purchased magazine rights for VENTURE and expressed great approval of the book. Still: silence from Lovely Young Editor. Phonecalls received the answer: “I will be making a decision soon. But this goes on for another month, as if a recording was answering the phone. Finally, when asked if she would like to see the final script, she said yes and that she would then be able to make a quicker decision. She is sent full manuscript. A month passes. More calls. At last,more than six months after the initial sample chapters had been sent, I call the agency and demand the book be returned from Dell, and agency agrees. Lovely Young Editor can’t find it. First, denies even having more than sample chapters. Agency presses until, after a tense search of office, Lovely turns up the manuscript from the bottom of a desk drawer where it had been buried under papers also demanding attention (like her light bill from 1958 and a subscription bill from Liberty Magazine).”

Lastly, the essay mentions House of Night as a [then] current project. It is unclear if this was abandoned or later re-titled. (Along with one last mention of porn publishing.)
p11: “Writer is now investigating suspense-mystery-gothic fields in which he is also working. He is especially fond of the suspense form where he feels he is actually doing something unique and creative. Now, too, he turns to another experimental sf novel HOUSE OF NIGHT, which-at this writing-he has just finished and is hunting a market for. Times have gotten rough again. He would turn to porno, but porno is dead and he can’t stand writing it anymore. Besides, Ted White from his Olympus has once publicly criticized the writer for writing porn and may return with even more insidious attacks.”

According to Dean:

Some dealers claim that a book entitled HUNG, which was published under the pen name Leonard Chris in 1970, was actually authored by Dean and that the Library of Congress and/or the Copyright Office has “verified” Dean’s authorship of this book. Two things you need to know: One, neither of those government entities will ever verify the accuracy of information in its files; they only record what is submitted and are not able to verify the accuracy of any submission. Consequently, dealers who claim such governmental verification are either confused or not truthful. Two, once an incorrect attribution of authorship or copyright ownership is in these files, the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office do not remove or modify the documents containing the incorrect information–but they do permit clarifying statements to be filed to correct the record, and these clarifying statements, once recorded, can be found whenever a search is requested regarding a particular work. As Dean has learned that certain works have been recorded in the Library of Congress or U.S. Copyright Office which misattribute authorship to him or his wife, Gerda, he has filed clarifying affidavits so that the governmental records are now quite clear when Gerda or he disavow authorship of any particular literary work.

There are no secret pen names used by Dean. Over the years, numerous books have been incorrectly attributed to Dean–such as the novels of Shane Stevens–which he did not write. Some bibliographers have in good-faith cited “proof” of authorship, but none of the proofs stand up to scrutiny. Some book dealers have claimed that Library of Congress and/or Copyright Office records supposedly prove their contentions. While certain misinformation has previously existed in the Library of Congress and Copyright Office files, we have made every effort for Gerda or Dean to file clarifying affidavits with these governmental agencies. If you are ever told that the records of the Library of Congress or Copyright Office verify that a work of collectible pen-name fiction you are considering buying was authored by Dean but that book is not listed in this collector’s section or in the bibliography available elsewhere on this web site, you are not being told the truth. See “Writing Popular Fiction,” “Letters,” “Fanzines,” “Library of Congress/Copyright Office Verifications”, and “Unauthorized Mutilation of Dean’s Works” herein.

In 1969, Dean agreed to have a small publisher publish two of his non-fiction works (one entitled THE SICK SOCIETY and the other entitled GOING UNDERGROUND) and two of his fiction works (one entitled HUNG and the other entitled TIGER 650). All four books were presented to the publisher as finished manuscripts and Dean fully expected for them to be published in the form submitted to the publisher. Unfortunately, all four books were put into production before Dean learned that the publisher had arranged, without Dean’s knowledge or consent, for them to be so completely rewritten that none of them, as published, bore much resemblance to the original manuscripts as submitted by Dean. Although he wasn’t able to stop publication, he did get the publisher to contractually agree to publish all four books under a pseudonym. The publisher further agreed to indemnify Dean against claims arising from the material added by the publisher: “Author and Publisher acknowledge that…the Work will be published with material changes from the original manuscripts of same, that the Publisher assumes all liability for the content of those new chapters and passages.” However, only one of the four books was published under a pen name- HUNG was published under the pen name Leonard Chris. THE SICK SOCIETY manuscript was published under the title PIG SOCIETY, the GOING UNDERGROUND manuscript was published under the title THE UNDERGROUND LIFESTYLES HANDBOOK, and the TIGER 650 manuscript was published under the title BOUNCE GIRL- all with Dean and Gerda Koontz as the credited authors, and therefore in breach of Dean’s contract with the publisher. Copyright Office files on all four of these books now reflects affidavits from Gerda and Dean stating that (1) Gerda did not participate in writing any portion of these books and (2) Dean disavows any claim of authorship or responsibility for the content of these four books due to the substantial nature of the unauthorized changes to his original manuscripts.

Last updated on February 26th, 2021