From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Bill Hamling began as an science fiction author. He and his wife Frances Deegan Yerxa both had stories in the same issue of the pulp Fantastic Adventures (October 1944). His Shadow of the Sphinx is a horror novel about an ancient Egyptian sorceress. First published during the 1940s in Fantastic Adventures, it was described by Lin Carter as "the best story of its kind I read in many a moon. The character of Zaleikka was done to perfection. This is the type of yarn we have all too few of nowadays."
After work as an editor at Ziff-Davis, Hamling started his company, Greenleaf Publishing, in the early 1950s with Imagination. His wife worked closely with him in the early years of his publishing company. In the late 1950s, he began Rogue, and in 1959, he launched Nightstand Books.
Interviewed in 1966 by Lawrence Dietz, Hamling commented:
- The mass market for reading in this country always was the pulp market; millions and millions of periodicals. That has become the paperback market. The service performed has been and is to get people reading. You don’t achieve this by putting Shakespeare out in ten million copies. Your job, if you’re in the industry, and it’s your business and let’s face it, your source of money, is to get the people to read. You study the reading habits of people and you try to meet them—through detective, adventure, sex and Western stories. Once you have your people reading—even if it’s a lowly Western, they are being educated. Once you get them reading, they improve. Of course, there are some people who don’t improve; some of them never reach above their level. What they read, however, is not a matter for litigation but for the mind, and the mind is the individual. --Dietz, Lawrence. "Notes on the Smut Renaissance," New York World Journal Tribune (October 16, 1966).