Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paperback 764: The Sirens of Titan / Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Dell First Edition B138)

Paperback 764: Dell First Edition B138 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Sirens of Titan
Author: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Yours for: $65


Best things about this cover:
  • Yes, *that* Vonnegut.
  • This year's sexiest accessory—the asteroid belt!
  • God bless Richard Powers. Most of his stuff does not contain what is traditionally known as "Great Girl Art" (GGA), but … this'll do.
  • I love her electric blue emanations.
  • Seriously, the colors on this are Gorgeous.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow. Terrible cover copy—at least in the headers.
  • I have not read this book, but it sounds like the future is not awesome. How can that be?
  • Isolation of the female figures here is a nice touch. Not sure why they have a handle. But I don't mind.

Page 123~

Unk went into the furnace room and closed the door.

He was excited, though he didn't know why. He began to read by the light from the dusty window.

Dear Unk:—the letter began.


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Paperback 763: Ten North Frederick / John O'Hara (Bantam F1554)

Paperback 763: Bantam F1554 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Ten North Frederick
Author: John O'Hara
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • Wow, this is a strong entry in the Shittiest Cover Ever contest.
  • "Oh, Steve. Hold me in your pea green embrace!"
  • I like how the title is reinforced by the door in the background. Wait, did I say "like"…?
  • I almost like her messy painted dress and the curvaceous alien legs of the … let's call it a "hat stool."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Honestly, they couldn't make this book more boring-sounding if they tried.
  • Wait, go back to the "sweetheart" part … now change it to "buxom mistress" … yes, that's better.
  • So it's about a guy with a hat and cane who doesn't get to be President. I love John O'Hara, and I'm sure the book is fine, but I'm gonna require a sexier come-on than JOE CHAPIN.

Page 123~

"Ever see a fellow named Guyon Bardwell? He lived on Staten Island, and I imagine still does."

"Bardwell. No, I don't think so, although I did go to Staten Island this year. It's a beautiful place."

Staten Island? The one in New York? OK, if you say so.


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paperback 762: Case of the Cold Coquette / Jonathan Craig (Gold Medal 645)

Paperback 762: Gold Medal 645 (PBO, 1957)

Title: Case of the Cold Coquette
Author: Jonathan Craig
Cover artist: George Mayers

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Cold? Maybe if she put her shirt back on …
  • Oh, *that* kind of iceberg. The ones that are beautiful and are thawed by money. I was thinking of the ones that are made of ice and float in the ocean and are thawed by the rays of the sun. But I get it now. Good analogy.
  • If you're looking for your right shoe, lady, it's under the bench … there … toward your left … no, not in the corner—down … straight down … are you even trying? 
  • Seriously, what is she doing? Some kind of weird half-naked bench yoga?


Best things about this back cover:
  • "I'm a cop." Original!
  • Champagne tastes … but caviar guts-on-the-track!
  • We get it. Cold, thaw, etc. Give the metaphor a rest; I think it's tired.
  • I always say, the best leads are succulent leads. Like aloe. A great lead, aloe.

Page 123~

"The mark is so hotted up he can't think straight."


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Paperback 761: Guys and Dolls / Damon Runyon (Pocket Books 1098)

Paperback 761: Pocket Books 1098 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Guys and Dolls
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: photo cover / unknown

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • Brando unsure about quality of doll's breath!
  • I sort of kind of love this art/photo hybrid. Also, the Vincent Price-esque title font. Random.
  • LOVE the full-body "fuck off, boys" pose of the be-stoled smoking doll. Classic.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, it's … uh … not particularly soiled or torn. That's something.
  • "Master of the Main Stem" — not a phrase I'd ever really want to be called.
  • Lusty Slice was my favorite Slice Girl.

Page 123~

Dave the Dude is more corned than anybody else, because he has two or three days' running start on everybody. And when Dave the Dude is corned I wish to say that he is a very unreliable guy as to temper, and he is apt to explode right in your face any minute. But he seems to be getting a great bang out of the doings.

When your corned, a great bang is just the thing.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Paperback 760: Slan / A.E. Van Vogt (Dell 696)

Paperback 760: Dell 696 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Slan
Author: A.E. Van Vogt
Cover artist: [Richard Powers, per William H. Lyles, Dell Paperbacks, 1942—Mid-1962]

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • "I Was a 22nd-Century Gun Moll!"
  • Her mouth! Is she talking? Hissing? Shouting "Slan!"?
  • I have seen the future. It is full of 8th graders' atom diagrams.
  • Pretty bold to paint right on top of a well-used bandage.
  • Quintessential mid-century sci-fi cover art. Iconic. Beautiful. Perfect.


Best things about this back cover.
  • Why aren't people named "Groff" any more? Or "Jommy"?
  • Idea: Western / Scifi epic with a hero named "Slim Tendrils"…
  • I'm guessing that's not "Jommy" on the cover. But who knows what the future holds…

Page 123~

The impression smashed into fragments. Granny.

That has to be the weirdest two-sentence sequence in literary history.


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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Paperback 759: Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper / Georges Simenon (Signet 1188)

Paperback 759: Signet 1188 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper
Author: Georges Simenon
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • That guy has the best "[sigh] Dames…" face ever. Ever.
  • His hands are amazing. This pose is so weird, the framing of the stripper so unusual. I kind of want to shout "Get Out Of The Way, Dude!" but then I remember a. she's dead, so that's kind of wrong, and b. artistically, this cover is original and cool.
  • It's hard to believe she's dead with her right arm in that position and her right knee up like that. I say she's alive, and therefore, "Get Out Of The Way, Dude!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Yes, I smoke a pipe. Why? Because I'm manly and Belgian—what the fuck do you care, buddy?"
  • Mmm, "dark bistros" and "smoke-filled dives" … tell me more.
  • Simenon is one of those writers I keep meaning to read and never do. I read one novel, I think: "Maigret à New York." In French. I enjoyed it. The end.

Page 123~

They had only about five hundred yards to go in the nearly deserted boulevard. The nightclubs, their signs glowing in the rain, couldn't be making a fortune in this kind of weather, and the bedecked doormen stayed under cover, ready to unfurl their big red umbrellas.


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Friday, April 4, 2014

Paperback 758: Beyond Eden / David Duncan (Ballantine 102)

Paperback 758: Ballantine Books 102 (PBO, 1955)

Title: Beyond Eden
Author: David Duncan
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • "I see the source of life itself—there! Beyond Eden. Eden … hey Eden … *EDEN*, would you get your giant body out of the way so we can see the damned source of life itself!?" 
  • Eden looks like giant space actress who has forgotten her line.
  • Richard Powers is the king of interplanetary fever dreams and wackadoodle future machines. My favorite scifi/fantasy cover artist (even if this isn't exactly his best work) (with respect to Valigursky, Emshwiller, etc.).


Best things about this back cover:
  • Living Water ™ —part of the Coca-Cola family of horror beverages
  • Excellent back cover art by somebody's 13-month-old niece.
  • If the "man" and the "woman" had names, this cover might be milligrams sexier.

Page 123~

Spectralium grew rapidly in Gayley's pilot tank.

That is some grade-A space porn right there.


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