Monday, July 9, 2018

Paperback 1029: Widow's Web / Ursula Curtiss (Ace G-561)

Paperback 1029: Ace G-561 (1st ptg, 1965)

Title: Widow's Web
Author: Ursula Curtiss
Cover artist: M. Engel (signature) (who is this?)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-12

AceG561
Best things about this cover:
  • Well this is the weirdest damn spider I ever did see
  • Head of a woman, body of a haunted house, one leg a pill bottle, the other leg a tiny couple. I pity the fly!
  • This cover fits right into the Ace woman-authored suspense novel mold, reminiscent of virtually every Ace novel by, say, Charlotte Armstrong or Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (who, coincidentally, published a novel with Ace called "Widow's Mite")
  • What's up with that couple? She's leaning in like "Oh, Larry, kiss me," and he's like "Wait, wait ... where did I leave my pill bottle? It was just here, I swear."

AceG561bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Ugh, text, boo.
  • "Catch-throat" is not a compound adjective I'm familiar with. I'm guessing it's a one-off invented by this reviewer to try to sound super reviewy. 
  • Why is "hand" in that second blurb? That line works just fine hand(s)-free.
Page 123~
Torrant said that he would have coffee after all.
Despite his having one of fictiondom's more ridiculous names, I relate to Torrant.

~RP

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Paperback 1028: Footsteps in the Night / Dolores Hitchens (Permabook M-4261)

Paperback 1028: Perma Books M-4261 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: Footsteps in the Night
Author: Dolores Hitchens
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Condition: 8.5/10
Estimated value: $15

PermaM4261
Best things about this cover:

  • I have no idea what this book is about, but I love trying to work out what the hell is going on in this scene. Is she being stalked? Or is that just her husband wondering why the hell his drunk wife is wandering off in one shoe while holding the other shoe?
  • Love her little fingernail-biting gesture. So perfectly pensive. "Hmmm ... now where did I leave my other shoe?" This is the shoe equivalent of losing your glasses because they are on top of your damned head.
  • I'm not the biggest fan of Harry Bennett's art work—a little too sketchy/sloppy-looking for my tastes—but this scene is pretty evocative and intriguing. I just wish there were ... more of it. The '60s are a fast-moving tragedy for fully painted cover art. Canvas shrinks. Text takes over. I don't even like thinking about it.
  • Dolores Hitchens is one of those writers I keep meaning to read but not reading. I think I read something of hers a while back and liked it. I just opened to a random page and this is the first thing my eyes hit: "Mrs. Holden's pouter-pigeon bosom strained the buttons of the blue quilted housecoat." OK, sure, I'm in.

PermaM4261bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • LOL text shaping. Actually, it's kind of perfect that her quizzical face is being used as the top end of a "?"
  • This isn't the greatest back cover copy. There's no context for any of these names. You could just keep asking questions with random names and I'd be like "I ... don't know. Still don't know. Should I care? Who Are These People? What Is Happening In This Book?"
  • Dronk! When you're not just drunk ...


Page 123~
"Cops are like this, as long as you admit what they want you to admit, they're okay. So I admit I was up there, in your house, and I left at such-and-such a time, and I got home at a certain hour and all that crap. You think they're going to lean on me, try to make me say what we were doing?"
Now I want to know what they were doing. According to an earlier paragraph on this page, it involved "hot yearnings." Hot shoeless yearnings, no doubt.

~RP

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Paperback 1027: The Needs We Share / Rea Michaels (Domino 72-793)

Paperback 1027: Domino Books 72-793 (PBO, 1965)

Title: The Needs We Share
Author: Rea Michaels
Cover artist: photo cover

Condition: 5/10 (terrible stain on back, else 7/10)
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

Dom72793
Best things about this cover:

  • This is like a half-step away from the cover of, like, a knitting magazine from the same time period. That font! That font color! Those houseplants! Put her in a cardigan and bam—feel the craft work!
  • The divorcee on the couch is giving me life! She's like, "Yep, life without Harry is O, K!"
  • Miss Bouffant is also amazing. So fierce. "You wanna watch! I don't care, ya ****ing pervs!" The cheapness of that slip, though, is making me very sad. I can almost hear the crappy thick nylon rubbing against, well, everything.
  • I love love LOVE the Kinsey-inspired books (they are a significant subgenre of 50s/60s sleaze). Kinsey's peering behind facade of American sex lives (semi-) legitimized readers' natural voyeurism. "I'm reading this ... for science!"

Dom72793bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • Yep, she's great even in isolation like that.
  • Oh man, that stain. I think Dolores the divorcee got her cigarette a little too close to her nighttime reading material...
  • FIND THE SINNER is soooo tacked-on. It makes no sense, especially after the dramatic final ellipse on the cover copy. Also, was the sinner hiding? Psst ... she's right there.

Page 123~
As far as the eye could see there was whiteness.
Yep, that *does* sound like suburbia.

~RP

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Paperback 1026: Purless Sex Cat / Jon Basell (Compass Line CL 130)

Paperback 1026: Compass Line CL 130 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Purless Sex Cat
Author: Jon Basell
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $40-50

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

CL130
Best things about this cover:
  • I forced a bot to look at 1000 vintage sleaze paperback covers and then asked it to design a cover of its own. This is the result.
  • What even is this? Any of this? It's like something from the Island of Dr. Moreau, but in book form. The colors? Terrible. The weird geometric shapes? Ridiculous. His torso looks like the face of drunk Homer Simpson. And then there's "Purless." Purless. Look, I don't know what happened here, but if this is Purless, then I say someone needs to Pur more. A lot more.
  • The phrase is "sex kitten," you language-maiming Turing Test failure.
  • Her ass is for "Adults Only," which seems totally reasonable, although I can't imagine why any non-deranged "minor" would want to buy this confusing trash heap.
  • "From sex to limitless sex" is easily the greatest play on "from sea to shining sea" that ever was or will be.
  • Dear lord, his cyan briefs will haunt my dreams for months.
CL130bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, they forgot to print the lead-in all-caps tagline, so there's that?
  • This sentence has no beginning, no end, no purpose, no dignity, its erotic body never sated, demanding and loving rambling with commas and they too know from others that physical satisfaction is flitting from sex to sex in their ... RUTTING REVERIES
  • Pink. I like the pink. Yes. It's pleasant. Like a nicely iced cupcake. 
Page 123~
     So I acted real helpless and weak while the skindiver helped me out of the water and on up the shore of the island. It was real comical the way his face got all red when he got a good look at how naked I was. Or maybe it was because he was naked, too.
     "Th-thank you," I gasped, while he got even redder and said that his camp was a few feet away and maybe some whiskey would make us both feel better."
Well I know some whiskey would make me feel better after that linguistic atrocity so byeeee

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, June 18, 2018

Paperback 1025: Hot Harem / Jill Carr (Saber Books SA-107)

Paperback 1025: Saber Books SA-107 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Hot Harem
Author: Jill Carr
Cover artist: [Bill Edwards?] [uncredited]

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $25-30

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

SaberSA107
Best things about this cover:

  • The coffee lady's mockumentary fourth-wall break is amazing
  • "... whether tis nobler to make a choice for the bedroom or to eat ... something something outrageous fortune..."
  • It's like the top half of blondie's body doesn't know what the bottom half's doing or vice versa
  • You can almost hear cereal dude going "uhhhhhhhh...."
  • Even the bacon is like "this is ridiculous, we're outta here!"

SaberSA107bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • Girl [space] friend. Interesting.
  • LOL they can't even keep the spelling of Ann(e)'s name straight for one paragraph
  • Wait, if Ann(e) is "somewhere between first and second choice" (?) ... well a. How many choices are involved? And b. Where does the horse fit into all of this?

Page 123~
I'm a Lesbian, she thought, amazed, but not horrified, yet not quite believing what she had to believe. Then she modified her own ... would you call it an accusation? And the brand burned more lightly; it didn't have to burn as deep. I'm heterosexual, Anne decided, and so is Jeanne.
Well, there's a lot to unpack here, but kudos to the writer for breaking out All The Punctuation Marks to heighten the tension. Ellipsis! Question mark! When I hit that semicolon, I was like "damn ... this is art."

~RP

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Paperback 1024: Highway Hustlers / Zan Collins (Magenta M112)

Paperback 1024: Magenta Books M112 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Highway Hustlers
Author: Zan Collins
Cover artist: God I wish I knew

Condition: 9/10
Estimated value: I have no idea, as this book literally appears not to exist...

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

***

MagentaM112
Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, let's take this transcontinental lesbian sex romp premise and make it ... lifeless. Oh, and make the roads look totally implausible and ignore all rules of scale and pretend depth perception isn't a thing ... oh yeah ... that's good"
  • There is no shoulder to this road. They are standing in the road. Next to the world's tiniest mesa and cacti.
  • Those look less like sexy poses and more like attempts to set a Guinness world record for balancing oddly
  • Zan Collins. When you want a totally plausible namelike name under which to publish your crappiest fiction: Zan Collins.
  • I don't think you have to worry about "minors" going anywhere near this eyesore
  • That pink top is actually very cute.


MagentaM112bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • I can't stop laughing at the full-stop after "Unwary." Sure, it's D-grade sleaze fiction, but we're not animals—punctuate properly!
  • "I am not a tramp, she kept reassuring herself" is one of the greatest lines of cover copy I've ever seen.
  • Too many words. Words that do nothing but amass into a meaningless mush. Has there ever been a less climactic climax than this one?

Page 123~
"Your eyes are agleam," Meg whispered at last.
I laughed so hard at 'agleam' ... crossword people will understand. But I'll give you more, because there is more to give:
[W]hen they stripped down, Marianne noticed Meg's pointed breasts. The nipples were taut, swollen.
     She never questioned Meg as to what kind of evening she had enjoyed. But if Meg's rosettes were honest, Marianne was quite sure that she had told the young soldier goodbye in her own womanly way.
Ladies, don't you hate it when your 'rosettes' lie? Or when people call your nipples 'rosettes'? I mean, really...

~RP

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paperback 1023: Children of the Void / William Dexter (Paperback Library 52-357)

Paperback 1023: Paperback Library 52-357 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Children of the Void
Author: William Dexter
Cover artist: Uncredited ("The artist is not credited, no visible signature [Jack Gaughan ?]" (isfdb)

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $10-12
PBLib52-357
Best things about this cover:
  • Used Spaceship Salesmen of the Void
  • When the humans you're using for biceps curls suddenly get a mind of their own...
  • My favorite word on this cover is "Violently." Like, how else is an Earth going to be "torn from its sun"? "Affectionately"?
  • Grafton can't even get to his damned spaceship. How's he gonna halt a runaway world when this animatronic Chuck E. Cheese reject makes him run in terror?
  • Not at all sure they didn't mean "Children of the Noid"; the similarities are uncanny:


And now...
PBLib52-357bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, superdumb title replication, but super cool sketch of '60s scifi futurism. Spaceships were awesomest when they were entirely fanciful. I don't want to live in a future that isn't a mid-century future.
  • That is a particularly dull and detail-free opening paragraph.
  • Wow, Denis Grafton (!) is a recurring character? The basis of a series? He's like Chairman of the Board of Space Heroes That Time Totally and Utterly Forgot
Page 123~
But there was always something at the back of the adult mind that whispered to us that we should shun these strange creatures.
O great, a treatise on right-wing immigration policy. No thanks.

~RP

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