Friday, May 13, 2011

Forgotten Books: College for Sinners

Here we go again. I'd written and scheduled a post about this book, but Blogger has disappeared it. I'll give you the short version.

The book's supposedly by Lawrence Block, so I'd hoped for a crime novel. This isn't one. It barely has a plot. I'd say 5 pages of plot and 185 pages of sex. Very disappointing. It does mention the movie The Sound of Distant Drums, a feature of Block's soft porn, so maybe he did write this.

Looking around the 'Net for something about the book, I ran across this post. It appears that College for Sinners is an almost exact rewrite of a book from about the same time, a softcore novel by Robert Silverberg. Why would Block copy a Silverberg book? I have no idea, but click the link for a comparison of the two.

While this was a big disappointment from the plot point of view, I'm now glad I have it because of the curiosity value.


Seepy Benton said...

As they say on South Park, there's a time and place for everything, and it's called college!

Gerard said...

I'd say 5 pages of plot and 185 pages of sex. Very disappointing. Speak for yourself.

I did not follow the link, maybe Block sold the book twice?

Gerard said...

If Benton teaches in Scottsdale he is likely in the epicenter of deabauchery.

Cap'n Bob said...

Those five pages of plot ruined an otherwise wonderful book.

Todd Mason said...

Skimmed the SLEAZE PB article and, not noticing it was a couple of years old, sent the link along to Lawrence Block, who replies:

Todd, I saw this a while ago. It seems to me that I did read, or at least glance through, the David Challon book, but very likely after I'd written College for Sinners. I certainly never consciously wrote one of those books in imitation of anyone else's. In fact, if I'd been aware of the similarities, I'd have quite purposefully changed setting, etc.

We wrote this stuff at high speed, and without a great deal of forethought. Plagiarism? Plagiarism would have taken too much time.

So I replied:
Thanks. Indeed. I managed to not see the date in the link (it’s been that kind of day)…I just saw the post for the first time today as something mentioned in a review of COLLEGE FOR SINNERS. Do you wish to be quoted about this?—not on the SLEAZE PAPERBACKS blog, but in response to today’s review. I half-wondered if the publishers were circulating outlines…which seemed a lot more likely than you attempting to copy Silverberg’s novel…I imagine there are only so many ways a campus sex novel plays out. (When we were getting together, my ex lived in a campus trailer with six other women, rather than a dorm, as the dorms were being built…A Whole New Angle! CO-ED TRAILER SCHOLARS…they learned about life and love…the hard way!)

And Block replied thus:
Publishers circulating outlines? Nobody there could have outlined a laundry list. Once in a while a publisher's request came down. It seems to me I was asked to write a book called Trailer Trollop, and it seems to me I did. (What was it about? It was about 50,000 words long.) CFS was my third for Hamling, IIRC, and followed Campus Tramp and The Adulterers, and was followed in turn by High School Sex Club. Maybe I plagiarized College for Sinners in High School Sex Club.

You can quote what you want of this, if you see any reason to.

Unknown said...

Great stuff, Todd. Thanks.

Gerard Saylor said...

Publishers circulating outlines? Nobody there could have outlined a laundry list.

Ha Ha HA!