Monday, May 2, 2016

Paperback 940: The Problem of the Wire Cage / John Dickson Carr (Bantam 304)

Paperback 940: Bantam 304 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Problem of the Wire Cage
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Gilbert Fullington

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 9/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Game, set, MURDER!
  • MURDER, anyone?!
  • MURDER commits a foot fault!
  • "Oh my, I think he's dead. I'll just check his pulse. Let's see, I ... I just push my hand against his left shoulder, right? Like this? Right, Steve? Steve, honey, is this right? Knuckles-to-shoulder?"
  • So much Fear Hand in this picture. They are both double-Fear-Handing it, for the rare QuadraFearHand™.
  • "She's trapped in there with a corpse! How will I ever ... oh wait this is just a chain link fence, I'll just walk around ha ha silly me."

Best things about this back cover:
  • MURDER has a respectable two-hand backhand!
  • *Someone* has never solved a jigsaw puzzle, or sucks at metaphors.
  • Old Nick Young, winner of Most Oxymoronic Name three years running. Take that, Big Steve Small!

Page 123~

"I suppose you know you could get into a lot of trouble for what you've been doing here today?"
The words jerked Hugh upright.

No more jerking, Hugh! 


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Friday, April 29, 2016

Paperback 939: The 13th Immortal / Robert Silverberg // This Fortress World / James E. Gunn (Ace Double D-223)

Paperback 939: Ace Double D-223 (PBO / 1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The 13th Immortal / This Fortress World
Author: Robert Silverberg / James E. Gunn
Cover artists: [Ed Valigusrsky / Ed Emshwiller]

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • Look familiar? (see Paperback 938)
  • On line at the Genius Bar: "It won't reboot."
  • I wanna do a coffee table book of old scifi art called "When Robots Looked Cool."
  • Actually this one only looks cool above the waistline. Down below, things are a little spindly.
Best things about this other cover:
  • You do not want to make an illegal throw-in in space soccer. The penalty's pretty harsh.
  • Love the guy's double fear-hand (which are really shock-hand, but I'm gonna say "close enough").
  • The nose-high black latex suit really completes the "Intergalactic Sexual Sadist" look.

Page 123~ (from The 13th Immortal)

One crushing fact rolled down on Kesley like a shock wave. One fact.

Please enjoy this eternal cliffhanger.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Paperback 938: The Silver Eggheads / Fritz Leiber (Ballantine Books F561)

Paperback 938: Ballantine Books F561 (PBO, 1961) ("First published as a novelet in Fantasy & Science Fiction," 1958)

Title: The Silver Eggheads
Author: Fritz Leiber
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Estimated value:  $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • Fish-faced robot wearing a bra and carrying a young Joe McCarthy to the boudoir? Sure, I'm in.
  • This is Richard Powers at his wackadoodle best. Love how he can conjure a scifi world with just a few odd shapes and blotches.
  • As one of my Twitter followers wrote just now, upon seeing this cover: "'Alien Pietas' would be an alt-metal band that I would TOTALLY listen to..."

Best things about this back cover:
  • The mad, gay, heady world of the "arts" is the only place I want to be.
  • MISS BLUSHES! "A censor-robix of delicate pink"; I think that's her on the cover, looking not very censorious. Erotica robotica!
  • "... a luscious platinum ro-but ..." I was like "What's a ro-but!? What Is A Ro-But!?"" But it's just an awkwardly placed speech-cessation hyphen.Still, as a daring reader, I feel obliged to, uh, go in. This one's going on the "Must Read" pile.
Page 123~

Behind Miss Blushes lurched Pop Zangwell, waving his caduceus and yelling thickly, "Avaunt, by Anubis! No news-robots in here!"

Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for caduceus-waving.


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Friday, April 22, 2016

Paperback 937: Death of a Stray Cat / Jean Potts (Berkley G492)

Paperback 937: Berkley Medallion G492 (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: Death of a Stray Cat
Author: Jean Potts
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $10-15 (condition: purrrfect) (sorrynotsorry)

Best things about this cover:
  • Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, kitty kitty.
  • I love how her chair is so dark you can't really see it, so it looks like she's kind of shimmying and dancing toward you in some kind of gothic version of The Twist. Let's call it the "Stray Cat Strut" (stillnotsorry!)
  • What do you call that hairstyle, where it's a bouffant but with a kind of sinkhole up front? It's pretty glorious.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ooh, his and hers panting! You shouldn't have.
  • Uh, safe word. We need a safe word up in here. Stat!
  • Hmm, never heard of Jean Potts, or "Go, Lovely Rose," or this book. Anyone know if I'm missing anything?

Page 123~

"We gagged him because he kept talking dirty," said Gen.

This concludes the first meeting of "BDSM 4 Prudes"; please help yourself to mini-donuts and Sanka on your way out. See you next week.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Paperback 936: The Black Rose / Thomas B. Costain (Perma Books M-7501)

Paperback 936: Perma Books M-7501 (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: The Black Rose
Author: Thomas B. Costain
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: a few bucks

[Part of the Laura R. Braunstein Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Shirtless Barbers of Medieval England!
  • This dude is totally thinking "m'lady."
  • "Cut this lock. The one I'm pointing to. With my pointy digits that give my arm the appearance of an angry swan ... yes, that one."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ooh, side by side! That's the hottest kind of lying!
  • Engaine, LOL. "Oh, are you having 'Engaine' trouble? Here, I can help you start your motor..."
  • "Their love was as wrong as this putrid green color you're looking at right now!"

Page 123~

"And now, John-Put-Upon, will you be good enough to run downstairs and ask your grandfather and my friend to come up?"

Medieval bordellos could get a little freaky.


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Monday, April 18, 2016

Paperback 935: The Darkness and the Dawn / Thomas B. Costain (Perma Books M5029)

Paperback 935: Perma Book M5029 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Darkness and the Dawn
Author: Thomas B. Costain
Cover artist: Uncredited :(

Estimated value: $4-6

[Part of the Laura R. Braunstein Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • The correct answer is, "No, those Uggs do not make your thighs look fat, Mr. The Hun."
  • I love how he has time for a mid-battle photo shoot. "I *am* smiling, you toad! Don't make me unsheath this!"
  • If you're gonna dip your foot in the waters of Attila the Hun novels, you're gonna want to go with something from the "superlative" category.
  • Thomas B. Costain turned out a bunch of mid-century historicals. His first novel was published at age 57!

Best things about this back cover:
  • I don't think this back cover exactly nailed the landing, compass-metaphor-wise.
  • I want a t-shirt that reads, simply, "HIGH COMPETENCE."
  • I feel like there are a lot of ellipses here, and that there may be more to the Thomas Costain iceberg than this cover is allowing us to see.

Page 123~

Nicolan was taller than most of the other slaves and so was stationed in the rear rank, holding one of the cushions on which reposed a vial of true nard, a most aromatic perfume.

Please let loose the phrase "a vial of true nard" upon the land. Thank you.


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Friday, April 15, 2016

Paperback 934: My Gun Is Quick / Mickey Spillane (Signet 791)

Paperback 934: Signet 791 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: My Gun Is Quick
Author: Mickey Spillane
Cover artist: Lou Kimmel

Estimated value: $4-7

[Part of the Laura R. Braunstein Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • This is what all vintage paperbacks should look like—authentically beat to fuck.
  • People really read Spillane. To pieces.
  • I love the male fear hand! Gender equity!

Best things about this back cover:
  • The *Hammer* mystery will *hit* me? Stellar wordplay, copy guy.
  • I feel like they should be "seductively-lit" apartments. Not "-lighted." Hey, copy guy...
  • Damn, that Spillane portrait is olden. I'm used to the buzz-cut, t-shirted, gun-wielding dude. This dude:

Page 123~

Finally she said, "The baby clothes, Mike . . . it fits!"

Mike, now wearing a onesie, wondered how he would ever regain his dignity.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]