Monday, February 8, 2016

Paperback 922: Scandal at High Chimneys / John Dickson Carr (Bantam A2155)

Paperback 922: Bantam A2155 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: Scandal at High Chimneys
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Estimated value: $7-12

Best things about this cover:
  • You know she's a vampire 'cause you can't see her butt crack in the mirror.
  • Seriously, I love love love this cover. It's like she got caught going at it with the carriage driver, so she grabbed his uniform to protect herself from the prurient eyes of "sanctimonious Victorian London," only to re-eroticize the whole shebang by standing with her backside to the mirror like that. It's a metaphor for (alleged) Victorian prudishness—an injunction to cover up that only ends up foregrounding the whole naughty business.
  • Is that a cane? It's ... quite long. And yes, that is what she said.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Bats!
  • World's creepiest author close-up: "Mmmm. Fly my pretty bats, fly."
  • Ablest was I ere I saw Tselba.

Page 123~

"Bale up, grandpa! What's a yard o' white satin among friends?"

I'm begging you, pleading with you, to make "Bale up, grandpa!" the "Where's the beef?" of 2016.


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Friday, February 5, 2016

Paperback 921: Nine and Death Makes Ten / Carter Dickson (Pocket Books 335)

Paperback 921: Pocket Books 335 (2nd ptg, 1946)

Title: Nine and Death Makes Ten
Author: Carter Dickson
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $12-17 (condition: stunning, unread)

Best things about this cover:
  • Amazing Moon-Skull almost makes up for terrible, awkward title that sounds like somebody counting change.
  • Somehow, the cursive-script author name following the contours of the cranium reads Adorable. Rules of Pictorial Menace, #28—never make your death skull wear a cute word hat!
  • This book is in near-perfect condition. Slight fraying of the perma-gloss is the only sign of wear. Bright and tight and shiny, like it wasn't anywhere close to 70 bleeping years old!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Again with the problematic naming. Good luck stopping me laughing with a ship name like "Edwardic!"
  • "Douse that light!" sounds like the title of an Edwardian rap anthem.
  • I shared this book with my UPS guy. I hope that was OK.

Page 123~

"I want you to stop actin' the fool," continued H.M., calmly sighting with another quoit ... 

Carter Dickson is not wasting all those hours of nautical terminology research, so suck it up, landlubbers.


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Monday, January 18, 2016

Paperback 920: Frankenstein / Mary Shelley (Collier)

Paperback 920: Collier (unnumbered) (6th ptg, 1973)

Title: Frankenstein
Author: Mary Shelley
Cover artist: Milton Glaser

Estimated value: $5-10

Best things about this cover:
  • Milton Glaser rules. So cool to see his '60s psychedelic style brought to bear on Frankie's monster.
  • I love how this painting makes the monster soft, serene, beautiful, human.
  • I should really reread this. It's been forever.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Blah, text. Next.

Page 123~

"I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind? You, my creator, would tear me to pieces, and triumph; remember that, and tell me why I should pity man more than he pities me. You would not call it murder if you could precipitate me into one of those ice-rifts, and destroy my frame, the work of your own hands. Shall I respect man when he contemns me? Let him live with me in the interchange of kindness; and, instead of injury, I would bestow every benefit upon him with tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot be; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union. Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject slavery. I will revenge my injuries: if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and chiefly towards you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred. Have a care: I will work at your destruction, nor finish until I desolate your heart, so that you shall curse the hour of your birth."

God I love this. One of literature's great break-up speeches.


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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Paperback 919: The Ugly American / William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick (Crest d365)

Paperback 919: Crest d365 (12th ptg, 1963)

Title: The Ugly American
Authors: William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $8-10

Best things about this cover:
  • Aw, c'mon. Brando's not so bad to look at.
  • "My prosthetic chin, she should come out to ... here, I think."
  • Ooh, Screenplay by Stewart Stern! You sold me, book!

Best things about this back cover:
  • But it is a free country, so ... this is like saying "If Gravity Did Not Exist..." and then showing the book floating off into space.
  • I tend not to ignore slashing, Time Magazine, but thanks for the heads-up.
  • This book is devastating, blunt, forceful, persuasive, urgent, fascinating, powerful, searching, and slashing, but it's not frank, so fuck it.

Page 123~

A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They're loud and ostentatious. Perhaps they're frightened and defensive; or maybe they're not properly trained and make mistakes out of ignorance.

I'm just gonna leave that one there.


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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Paperback 918: Call for the Saint / Leslie Charteris (Avon 526)

Paperback 918: Avon 526 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Call for the Saint
Author: Leslie Charteris
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • Tied-up lady's expression: "So, uh, are we gonna do this or aren't we? .... guys?"
  • This looks more like ballet than a legit needle take-away. What is that showoff one-handed bullshit? With that dramatic right hand? WTF, Saint?
  • Would-be assailant is both racially and genderly ambiguous. I'm going with Philippine woman, but that's a (needle) stab in the dark.
  • This cover has needle *and* bondage, so it's priceless, no matter what the market dictates.

Best things about this back cover:
  • She's got quadrilateral eyes!
  • Needle me once, needle me twice!
  • No shapely rags for you, missy!
  • "Almost screamed"? Not sure if her voice didn't quite there, or if she thought better of it, and went for demure statement instead.

Page 123~

"Killed? De Champ? Why, he'll moider de bum!"

Had to read this a few times to get it. I figured De Champ was a French dude.


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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Paperback 917: The Fall of the Dream Machine / Dean R. Koontz // The Star Venturers / Kenneth Bulmer (Ace Double 22600)

Paperback 917: Ace Double 22600 (PBO / PBO, 1969)

Title: The Fall of the Dream Machine / The Star Venturers
Author: Dean R. Koontz / Kenneth Bulmer
Cover artists: Jack Gaughan / John Schoenherr

Estimated value: $20

Best things about this cover:
  • That water slide needs cleaning. Badly.
  • I love the incongruous whimsy of the polka dots. It's like the ghoul faces are all angrily thinking "What Is This Silliness!?!?!"
  • Q: What do you get when you cross Edgar Winter with a blow-up doll?

Best things about this other cover:
  • When Car Grilles Attack.
  • Tentacled floating beast ripping apart stupid flimsy human ... Now *that's* a scifi cover!
  • Galactic Haystack had some minor psychedelic rock hits in the late '60s. Then they joined a cult. I hear the lead singer's a hedge fund manager now.
Page 123~ (from "The Fall of the Dream Machine")

The man's face disappeared in a spray of unmentionable things.

This conjures up either terrible carnage or a man being assaulted by lingerie.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Paperback 916: In a Lonely Place / Dorothy B. Hughes (Carroll & Graf nn)

Paperback 916: Carroll & Graf (unnumbered) (1st thus, 1984)

Title: In a Lonely Place
Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
Cover artist: [movie stills] [colorized!]

Estimated value: $25 (prices All over map on this ... up to $136???!)

Best things about this cover:
  • Not really in my main collection. More ... collection-adjacent. But it's Dorothy Hughes and it's got film noir stills on the cover and its *immaculate*, so I'm throwing it in.
  • Library Sale FTW!
  • If you ever thought Bogie would be sexier with cobalt contacts and pink lip gloss: here you go!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Nothing to see here, except the comically phallic name of DIX STEELE.
  • I do like the font on the title, actually. Monumental.

Page 123~

She hadn't been to bed!



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