Friday, February 22, 2008

Paperback 75: America's Cities of Sin / ed. Noah Sarlat (Lion Books 71)

Paperback 75: Lion Books 71 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: America's Cities of Sin
Author: Noah Sarlat (ed.)
Cover artist: Uncredited (signature looks like somebody "Meinicke")

YOURS FOR: $14 (SOLD - 4/18/08)

Best things about this cover:
  • This is a quintessential post-war paperback. A sort of Cold War / Red Scare II-era "exposé" of the hell-holes that were America's urban centers. This is the era that had upstanding Americans worrying about everything sex- and youth-oriented. There was an explosion in juvenile delinquincy-oriented books (it's a very popular and collectible subgenre now). This book says: your daughter is a smoking street-walker who refuses to wear a bra. Be afraid. Or else it says: open me up, big boy. Sin is in.
  • The condition of the cover is not great because of damage from sun exposure. I really wish you could read the scrolling text at the top: "PROSTITUTION ... DOPE ... TORSO MURDERS" - my initial reaction: I was with you on "prostitution" and "dope," but ... what the hell is a "torso murder?" Was this a fad in the 50s? Kill someone and just leave the "torso?" Or were killers bludgeoning their victims to death with sculptures?

Best things about this back cover:

  • Apologies for the sticker - this book came in a plastic sleeve that I cannot take off without bending the book in ways that make me uncomfortable. So you get to see the kind of sticker that is on the plastic bag of every one of my paperbacks. Cover artist (where known), publication status (1st ptg? 2nd? PBO? - in this case, the uncommon "Original Collection" of magazine material), year published, and resale value.
  • I love that Lion tries to pass this book off as a public service announcement. "In the hopes of defeating evil in the world, we here at Lion Books have decided to titillate you with this sleazy paperback. God bless America."
  • ELOY? How have I never seen that town in a crossword puzzle?


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paperback 74: Night of Masks / Andre Norton (Ace 57751)

Paperback 74: Ace 57751 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: Night of Masks
Author: Andre Norton
Cover artist: Gray Morrow

Best things about this cover:

  • The artist's name - Gray Morrow, the Gloomiest Guy in Town!
  • "Maybe if I hold up this scary caucasian man-face, no one will notice that I am a 100-year-old drug-addicted Telly Savalas look-alike from Outer Space whose head is enormous and who is growing some kind of green mold on exactly one half of his body..."
  • Love the uninhabitable gothic moonrock cathedral in the background. And the stars shooting across the Pollock-splattered sky.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Paperback 73: H.M.S. Ulysses / Alistair MacLean (Perma Books M-4067)

Paperback 73: Perma Books M-4067 (1st ptg, 1956)

Title: H.M.S. Ulysses
Author: Alistair MacLean
Cover artist: Robert Schulz

Best things about this cover:

  • Ulysses decides he is tired of taking shit from the Harpies
  • Awesomely unattributed blurb! - "Certainly the best novel of World War II at sea ... said this guy I heard mumbling to himself in the bookstore once."
  • Robert Schulz is a great, great cover artist - one of the five best that ever lived, IMOO. His stuff is always very dramatic and naturalistic. We'll see a lot more from him.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Paperback 72: The Jagged Orbit / John Brunner (Ace 38122)

Paperback 72: Ace 38122 (1st ptg, 1969)

Title: The Jagged Orbit
Author: John Brunner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • Gotta love the olde-timey computer script: "Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate ... The Jagged Orbit!"
  • In the future, the universe will be run by giant, anthropomorphic gumball creatures.
  • If this cover, and the endorsement from Philip K. Dick, don't make you realize that everyone in 1969 was high, then I hereby offer Exhibit B...

Best things about this back cover:

  • I love how "this world of ours" (circa 1969) sounds just like "this world of ours" (circa 2008).
  • Thomas Disch gives us a good example of why more people don't write blurbs in the middle of acid trips. "The styling is now" is something we should all start saying. That, or "Eat it!"

Friday, February 1, 2008

Paperback 71: The Cardinal and the Queen / Evelyn Anthony (Dell 1075)

Paperback 71: Dell 1075 (1st ptg, 1969)

Title: The Cardinal and the Queen
Author: Evelyn Anthony
Cover artist: uncredited

Best things about this front cover:

  • I am not quite convinced that people in the 17th century dressed like this or had hairstyles like this.
  • What is she doing with her hands/fingers? I understand she has to keep that pointless sash up somehow but it looks like she's saying "Kneel! Right here! You heard me!"
  • In case you are wondering, the "Cardinal" is Cardinal Richelieu, the "Queen" is Anne of Austria (Queen of Louis XIII), and the canopied bed in the background means they are totally doing it.