Hard-boiled dames caught in the grip of a habit beyond their control; corrupt dolls seeking cheap thrills between the sheets of a book; innocents ensnared into the rare book racket, underage girls seduced by slick blurbs, and grown men brought to their knees by bibliographical points that slay dreams in a depraved world.
It's rare book noir, the dark underbelly of collecting. Human wreckage litters the streets of Booktown, the vice-ridden gotham that kicks its victims into the gutter margin, slaves to their twisted desire and lost in a sick world where condition is everything, obsession is the norm, and compulsion the law.
That first book seen in a window display, an Internet image, held in the hands - soon, you're furtively ducking into dens of iniquity with bookshelves and rarities behind a bamboo curtain; you've got the shakes and you need something, bad, right now. The rent is due, the kids need food, mama needs a new pair of shoes but let 'em all go to hell, you're a quarto low, you need your shot of heaven, a mainline hit straight to the pleasure centers to bathe in a flood of dopamine unleashed by a new acquisition and sink into careless ecstasy.
It's a brutal, hard-hitting story that rips the tawdry curtain away from this covert world to expose the reckless passion that drives its denizens to the depths of impecunious human existence and insanity.
It's a tale told through posters designed and exclusively distributed by Heldfond Gallery Ltd in San Francisco, based upon vintage pulp fiction book covers. Proprietor Eric Heldfond has been peddling them for a few years now, leaning against a lamppost on a dark street corner to tempt unwary passersby. I've succumbed to his evil pitch, bought a few, have given them as gifts, and suspect you may wish to do same for friends of dubious character, i.e. book lovin' broads, momzers, and biblio-debauchees - in short, fellow travelers in the shadowland of the sordid habit we call reading. Make yourself at home in the flophouse of the hopelessly hooked: Your local rare book shop.
Never before has the finger of light shone so glaringly on the wasteland of the book collector to pitilessly strip bare this seamy hotbed of unbridled text!
"Read any good books lately?" she purred.
The dame had me right where she wanted me.
I felt her scan my lines and before I knew it she tore
off my jacket, and began to paraphrase my favorite part.
She bookmarked me, and how. I didn't complain.
I was a book junkie and there was no escape from this sinister paradise.
The posters are 8.5 X 11 inches, printed on 68lb. (252 g/mf) / 10.4 mil. heavyweight Premium High Gloss photo media.92 ISO, and priced at $25 each. Custom sizes up to 13 x 19 inches are available. Visit Heldfond's Bibliopulp gallery here.
Originally appeared on Jume 14, 2010.