Monday, June 26, 2006

Pulp Fiction in Llandudno

As far as I'm aware Llandudno is not noted for its dark criminal underbelly but it was from here that Wales' only pulp fiction publishing house once operated.

Kaner Publishing (1944-1948) was set up in Llandudno by a Romanian-born civil servant called Hyman Kaner. A wartime paper shortage had created a huge thirst for popular fiction and pulp publishers began springing up to satisfy the demand. Most of these short-lived enterprises were located in London, Glasgow or Manchester but Kaner Publishing represented a solitary Welsh outpost.

The majority of books published by the company were written by Kaner himself - sci-fi novels like People of the Twilight (1946) and The Sun Queen (1946). His collections of stories included Hot Swag (1945); Ape-Man's Offering (1946) (see pic); and Ordeal by Moonlight (1947). Kaner also published a few fantasies and westerns by pulp writer John Russell Fearn with HW Perl employed as the cover artist.

Kaner titles are quite difficult to get hold of these days but there is a story that a forgotten stash was once unearthed at an American warehouse and rapidly sold off to grateful collectors.

Little is known about Hyman Kaner himself. The mysterious Llandudno pulp fiction publisher died in 1973.