“If I have any appeal at all, it’s to the fellow who takes out the garbage,” said tough guy film icon Lee Marvin.
Actually, the Cat Ballou and Point Blank star left out a bunch of people. He must have, because our friends at Crime Factory Publications are launching TWO anthologies tomorrow night, and one is stuffed with stories dedicated to Lee’s hardboiled appeal. It’s called LEE, and pays tribute to the actor with a series of short stories about his life.
Crime Factory editor and publisher Liam Jose points out that, despite a fierce Lee cult following, “it seems stupid that there hasn’t been much written about him”.
“If you get into him, you’ll almost certainly develop a crush on him, regardless of your orientation. I did.”
Coinciding with LEE’s debut tomorrow night at the John Curtin Hotel in Melbourne (which will feature not only the band Sons of Lee Marvin, but a talk by film historian Dean Brandum on that time Lee was in Melbourne) is the launch of Crime Factory’s new series of noir novellas.
The first of the Single Shot series is a no-nonsense novella by St Louis writer Jedidiah Ayres. Fierce Bitches is set around the imagined shantytown Politoburg – described as “home to putas, punks and psychos” – where gangsters are sent to disappear purgatory style.
Jose says crime fiction is “often highly underrated” as a genre and unique in its brute strength at cutting straight to the point of a thing.
“[Crime fiction] can explore whatever territory it wants while being entertaining and not forcing the subtext to become text, which is boring as all fuck. I find a lot of modern literature can read like a 100,000 word contention with no essay. Crime fiction, for me, really cuts through to something compelling and essential about human nature by seeing what happens with social codes are removed and violated.”
Crime Factory was born twelve years ago from the mind of Melbourne-based editor David Honeybone as a print-only magazine, which was sold in select indie bookshops worldwide before Honeybone closed the factory down in 2003.
In 2009, Crime Factory was brought back to life by Cameron Ashley, who asked crime writer Jose to join him in arms to expand the magazine into online and e-reader formats.
“As I really hate sleep, I said yes immediately,” says Jose.
Last year, Crime Factory expanded again into a publishing house – Crime Factory Publications – that continues to extend its dark fiction, noir and crime stories into print, e-reader and free online formats. They even won the 2012 Spinetingler Magazine award for ‘Magazine of the Year’.
Now, the four-man editorial team that makes up Crime Factory today are getting excited about the possibly biggest and numerically baddest of all years, 2013.
Already, Jose has been doing the rounds in the US at Noir Con, a noir convention in Philadelphia (which is the home of noir legend David Goodis). Jose was also invited to read his own fiction in St Louis. As a bit of a public speaking virgin, Jose said being Australian had its perks.
“Thankfully, I could blame my stuttering, tears and fear urine as mere common affectations of the Australian accent. So – other Australian writers, please don’t embarrass me by revealing that this isn’t the case, and ensure you wet yourselves at all your international readings. We’re in this together.”
While Crime Factory has a big following in the United States, it has long been their aim to open the arms of Australian readers to crime, noir and hardboiled fiction.
“When we started doing this, there was no other company in Australia that focuses exclusively on specific genre fare like us, and it’s something we really believed this country needed,” says Jose.
“[W]hile we’re still much better known internationally, we’re slowly getting a bit of attention here, and a lot more in the way or readers and writers from here, which is nice.
“For us, the inspiration comes from that discovery, putting stuff out that we wished already exists. For all the times when this thing has made me stress vomit, I’d never trade it for anything in the world.”
LEE and Fierce Bitches will launch from 4 p.m. this Sunday, March 3, at the John Curtin Hotel in Carlton, Melbourne.
For more about Crime Factory click here.