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

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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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Friday, May 25, 2018

Paperback 1022: Orbit Unlimited / Poul Anderson (Pyramid G615)

Paperback 1022: Pyramid G615 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Orbit Unlimited
Author: Poul Anderson
Cover artist: John Schoenherr (credited)

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $8-12

PyrG615
Best things about this cover:

  • Tired of orbit plans that restrict your orbiting times or charge your over-orbiting fees? Then sign up for Sprint's new Orbit Unlimited plan. Orbit any time. Here we see subscribers enjoying the Orbit Unlimited Family plan...
  • This cover is super boring. I'm kind of interested in the space surfboard, and in the rusty nose of whatever that vessel it is the astrofolk are exploring. But honestly the most interesting thing about this cover is the military surplus font and its alternate-letter coloring.
  • I still haven't read a damn thing Poul Anderson has written, despite owning what feels like dozens of his books.
PyrG615bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • Was it a trap? It's a trap! I hear it's a trap.
  • Even this premise sounds boring. They left to avoid oppression. But then they got a message: "Oppression over!" Should they believe the message? Wait, stop, why are you putting the book back on the shelf? OK, no, wait, there's seexxxxxxxx...." Shelf time unlimited.
  • "The Top-Selling American Book In Russia" is one of the weirdest promo claims I've ever seen on a book. I'm not even sure what that's supposed to signify to me.
  • 1961: Everybody's Reading "The Gadfly"! 2018: Nobody Has Heard of "The Gadfly"!


Page 123~
"We'd better plan our next moves in advance. Also, it's time for a rest and a snack."
Finally, scifi I can relate to.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, May 21, 2018

Paperback 1021: Horns for the Devil / Louis Malley (Pocket Books 894)

Paperback 1021: Pocket Books 894 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Horns for the Devil
Author: Louis Malley
Cover artist: George Erickson

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-15

PB894
Best things about this cover:
  • "I Want You ... For U.S. Mafia"
  • Not many covers break the fourth wall quite this breakingly. "Who are you? You got my sandwiches?! Well then whaddya want? Shut the fuckin' door! You lookin' at my girl!? Jerry, Lou, show this guy what for!"
  • This is a fantastic cavalcade of mugs. Hall-of-Fame B-movie extras. Just hanging around, waiting for someone to call them up for another stint in Generic Mid-Century American Crime Story. "Our regular Girl At Bar No. 3 turned her ankle. You're in, kid!"
  • It's not exactly like the work of director Louis Malle, but it is ... Malle-y.
PB894bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Look here! Now I'm big and two-toned and my background is Rage Red! Where's my *&%^ing coffee?!"
  • Severio Lebbrosa! That means "seriously like a leopard."
  • No, no, no, it's "first you get the money, then you get the power, *THEN* you get the women." Come on, man. Did you not watch "Scarface?"

Page 123~

When they got out of the car Ralph squeezed her hand, but she wanted more than that. It had come so suddenly.
This was the very least boring sentence, which is wedged in between a conversation with an old lady and a scintillating drive to Westchester. I probably shoulda just let you think it was prelude to a steamy sex scene. Sorry.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, May 7, 2018

Paperback 1020: The Lineup / Frank Kane (Dell First Edition B125)

Paperback 1020: Dell First Edition B125 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Lineup
Author: Frank Kane
Cover artist: Victor Kalin

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $10-12

DellB125
Best things about this cover:
  • So gorgeous. Victor Kalin with that insane take on the police interrogation lamp, but instead of the perp being all sweaty and nervous, this lady's like "What the fuck do you bozos want?" It's not a harsh light of intimidation, but a warm, caramel light revealing the real power in the room. "Keys? ... What keys?"
  • That dress! That posture! Sorry, bullet point 2 is just gonna be an extension of bullet point 1. She is all style and attitude. Those dough-faced dudes are inconsequential and marginal and now they know it. I love her.
  • Whenever anyone tells you that smoking can be sexy, this is what they're talking about. It allows people to reveal themselves gesturally. Her hands are mesmerizing. Also: lips, nails, dress—all on point. The Drab Twins don't know what to do.
DellB125bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Mid-century S.F. = So Hot. This is the S.F. of "Vertigo." Do the cable cars still run? They were iconic in my youth (I was born in S.F.).
  • Wait, what? MY name is Ben Guthrie!!!!? Second person!? Hoo, boy, sign me up. And thanks for not making me "Matt Greb," as Greb is a name you'd make up in a panicked haste if you were really bad at making up names
  • Today, November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day...
  • "... you put your cop phone to your cop ear, sit on your cop ass, and say with your cop mouth, 'What?'"
  • What, a novelization of a TV show!? O please O please (checks youtube...) Oh, cool. Looks like its name got changed to "San Francisco Beat," but here ya go!!!

Page 123~
"I"d say you were all trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, Doc," Greb added. "Must feel a little foolish taking the fall alone."
"Metaphor? check! Cop patter? check! Man, I am killing it at my job today!"—Greb, in his head, probably.

~RP

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Paperback 1019: The Primitive / Chester Himes (Signet 1264)

Paperback 1019: Signet 1264 (PBO, 1956)

Title: The Primitive
Author: Chester Himes
Cover artist: [Tony Kokinos] (signature top left)

Condition: 6.5/10
Estimated value: $30

Sig1264
Best things about this cover:
  • White lady trying hard not to think about centuries of brutal racism and her own complicity therein ... I assume.
  • There's drunk, there's very drunk, and then there's "I only made it half way through taking my shoes off" drunk
  • The red of the red shoes is very red against the non-color of everything else. Echoes the title font color. I like.
  • This novel was heavily cut for the US audience, which, like, couldn't deal, I guess. It was published right before Himes made the turn into hardboiled crime fiction with his Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones series (so great)
Sig1264bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • The End of a Primitive was the original title of the book (the title used when the book was finally published in unexpurgated versions, 40+ years later)
  • So the white woman is just white but the "Negro man" is "embittered"? Normally I don't beg for more adjectives, but come on.
  • Van Vechten tryna get cute with that "white heat" shit, I bet. He's a white dude who wrote a book called Ni**er Heaven. A key figure in white people's "discovering" Harlem. I highly recommend Mat Johnson's current comic, Incognegro: Renaissance, which is set in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and features a Van Vechten-like figure in the first issue. Good stuff.
Page 123~
"Oh, sure," he said, thinking, "I like de big gut, do you like de big gut?"
~RP

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Paperback 1018: Top Hand / Dwight Bennett (Perma Books M-3023)

Paperback 1018: Perma Books M-3023 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Top Hand
Author: Dwight Bennett
Cover artist: Robert Schulz

Condition: 7.5/10
Estimated value: $20-25

PermaM3023
Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover. It's one of my favorite covers, and definitely one of the best western covers I own. The genre tends to be pretty, let's say, predictable in its images, and not exactly daring or unusual in its cover iconography or style. But here, the frame within the frame, the way the room simultaneously brightens to shocking orange and fades into sketchy monochrome, the non-triumphant, weary, wounded cowboy posture—it's all simple, elegant, gorgeous. Even the way his hand in the door jamb (i.e. his TOP HAND, GET IT!?) echoes the fallen hat in the opposite corner feels deliberate and precisely composed.
  • OMG is this going to be some finely observed epic Joycean tale told covering every detail of a single day in this cowpoke's life, told entirely from the perspective of his left hand, because I hope so.
  • OK, now I want the left hand to be an actual character, one with whom the cowboy regularly talks to and from whom he seeks advice. Señor Wences-like.
PermaM3023bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Oh, cool, the Inter-Saloon Mud Wrestling and Pig Wrangling Championships, I've heard of this
  • "What do you mean quits?" "Well, I didn't actually say 'quits,' so ..." 
  • I feel like this back cover has taken all the wonderful mystery out of the front cover.
Page 123~
Joe pulled himself loose from his dark reflections.
This is frontier-speak for "logged off of twitter."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, April 27, 2018

Paperback 1017: The Best Go First / Frank O'Malley (Bantam 959)

Paperback 1017: Bantam 959 (1st, 1952)

Title: The Best Go First
Author: Frank O'Malley
Cover artist: "Phillips" (signed, but no idea who this "Phillips" is)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-15

Bant959
Best things about this cover:

  • She's really taking the gun to that "O" like "hint, hint! I am on the Make," but ... he seems preoccupied with driving other rods into other chambers.
  • "Look, I see your little innuendo there, Martha, but this Extortion-Murder is not gonna Extortion-Murder itself, so settle down!"
  • The best go first. Steve, with his dirty gun and lack of torso covering, went third, most days, at best.

Bant959bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • It's like they meant to send in the final tagline but accidentally just sent in their brainstorming notes and the printer didn't understand and just went with All Of The Descriptive Words
  • Crisp! Realistic! Sounds .... Frank! (the author's name is Frank; this is an author's name joke; please clap)
  • Man, the adjectives are really running amok. I like how they added "hammering" after "driving" in case maybe we thought it was a novel about cars. Or maybe it is about driving ... to the hardware store!
  • How many times do I have to meet this m***erf***er?

Page 123~
She was a woman who talked when you wanted coversation and sat quietly when you wanted to think. That kind is rare.
No, that kind is inflatable.

~RP

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Paperback 1016: Sex Diary / Nat Brand (Hi-Hat 103)

Paperback 1016: Hi-Hat HH 103 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Sex Diary
Author: Nat Brand
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 9/10 (tiny notch up top, else Perfect)
Estimated value: $20-25

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection]

HH103
Best things about this cover:

  • Oh, sorry, I see you're studying. I'll come back later.
  • "Knock knock" "Who's there?" "ORAL" "ORAL who?" "ORAL the salacious sight gags used up or do you have one more you'd like to try out?"
  • Of all the disturbing things here, the most disturbing is that either that dude wants to put beer in a martini glass or else that gin needs a bottle opener (?!). Or else that's champagne, in which case everything is wrong, burn it all down...
  • Oh, and her mouth. That is also disturbing. The mouth-to-Everything-Else ratio is way, way off.

HH103bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • As if this back cover type were not hilarious enough, this one omits the closing phrase! It's supposed to go "RIDICULOUS OPENING PHRASE... / Cover copy that sounds like it was written by a prurient 11-yr-old then translated into Ukrainian then Portuguese then Urdu then back to English again... / RIDICULOUS CLOSING PHRASE." I have countless examples of this very type of back cover. And yet, here, I am forced to use my imagination to finish off the final sentence. The depraved inkstains of her WHAT!?!?! LUST PEN? SIN QUILL? I'm gonna lose sleep over this.
  • "The entries of the facts of her lust sessions" ... [steps back, admires wordsmithery, kisses fingertips] ... MWAH!
  • "Penetrating pen" ... "every shocking inch" ... The subtlety! It's maddening!

Page 123~

His hands slid haltingly on her belly.

I think we're done here.

~RP

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Paperback 1015: Three-And-A-Half Women / Fred May (Private Edition 372)

Paperback 1015: Private Edition PE 372 (PBO, 1966)

Title: Three-And-A-Half Women
Author: Fred May
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 9/10 (I mean, square, unread, bright, wow)
Estimated value: Priceless ... also, I don't see this book anywhere on the internets, so ???

Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection

PE372
Best things about this cover:

  • The paperback cover gods giveth and the paperback cover gods taketh away and sometimes the paperback cover gods give you so much that it is simply overwhelming and it feels like punishment
  • I want to start with the hair. Her hair ... OK, moving on
  • This is One, One-And-A-Half Women, tops
  • One-And-Three-Quarters Buttcheeks
  • I feel like there is a black hole located somewhere under the bed that is exerting its gravitational pull in remarkably distorting ways. It's literally pulling him off the bed. Or else he's taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, not sure.
  • Someone was absent during Perspective day in art class. How big is that bed? How short is her left calf? What is that rope-holding peg even attached to??
  • His Fear Hand™!! (O god I *hope* that's just Fear Hand™ and not him trying to suppress something pushing up from under his camisole...)


PE372bc
Best things about this back cover: 

  • Nothing says "erotic reading" like "squatted" and (le mot juste) "haunches."
  • "Puzzled" made me literally LOL
  • Wait, how does he get his kicks??? All he did was leer at and/or ogle her, and she somehow knows about his kicks? Is flicking your eyes and wetting your lips code for something now? Is he just really into squatting haunches?

Page 123~
Betty now knew, of course, that Paul was the young man with whom Jill had spent the time in bed. She assumed that he had enjoyed the experience very much and was there to stake his claim. She also knew that Jill was basictlly [sic] a man's girl. Betty had conflicting emotions.
Ah yes, who can forget the young man with whom one had spent the time in bed? The time in bed is indeed worthy of fond recollection by those by whom it was experienced. Sex is something we humans are determinedly enjoying and no I am not a "bot" what is a "bot"?

~RP

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Paperback 1014: The Man-Hunter / Dick Donovan (Westbrook / American Detective Series No. 34)

Paperback 1014: American Detective Series No. 34 (Arthur Westbrook Co., date unknown)

Title: The Man-Hunter
Author: Dick Donovan
Cover artist: Unknown

Condition: 7/10 (considering how old it is: amazing)
Estimated value: ???????????
AmDet34
Best things about this cover:
  • Before I get to the cover ... what is this book? I am having so much trouble getting good information about it. Seriously, this is the best I've been able to do so far: an entry at the Dime Novel Bibliography that tells me virtually nothing. I don't know what year it's from. I don't know who did the cover. The internet is being remarkably unhelpful so far. Any info you can supply would be much appreciated, thanks.
  • Ok, the cover: so bright. There's some fading and foxing to the pages and back cover, the book is perfectly square and tight and the colors on this cover really pop. I think it's awfully beautiful, actually.
  • I like that "The Man-Hunter" is lost and has to ask the nice lady for directions.
  • Good horsey.
AmDet34bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • As you can see, lots of Sherlock. Mostly, when I look for this publisher, it's Doyle info I find—perhaps unsurprisingly, as he's a highly collectible author, whereas the rest of these folks ... ?
  • Oh, days of yore, your book titles were so much better. I am now desperate to read COP COLT, QUAKER DETECTIVE ... though I'll probably take a pass on CHIN CHIN, CHINESE DETECTIVE. . . 
  • "Postage stamps taken same as money"—well that's a new one on me.
Page 123~
"You have obtained the absolute proofs of her death?"
"No, madame. I have glorious news for you."
The woman's face fell.
"Glorious news for me?" she repeated.
"Yes."
"Well?"
"Kate Freelingburg lives."
"Ah!" came the quick ejaculation.
Now I really want a "Kate Freelingburg Lives!" t-shirt and/or bumper sticker.

~RP

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Paperback 1013: Serenade / James M. Cain (Penguin 621)

Paperback 1013: Penguin 621 (1st ptg, 1947)

Title: Serenade
Author: James M. Cain
Cover artist: jonas

Condition: 8/10 (laminate buckling in places, but perfectly square and tight)
Estimated value: $10-12

Sig621
Best things about this cover:
  • Ferdinand! What happened to you!?
  • Love jonas's covers. What they lack in luridness they make up in flat-color mid-century graphic beauty. Somewhere between figurative and abstract painting. Like if Mondrian did cheap paperback cover art. That bull's face is borderline cubist.
  • I love her impossible dress, the straps for which appear to start in her armpits
  • I also love the weirdly mathematically balanced JAMES and M. CAIN. So weird to isolate middle initial and last name like that, and yet ... five letters on one side, five letters on the other. Makes sense.
  • I also love how the expressive jagged lines behind the señorita make her look like she's in a mood.
Sig621bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • James M. Cain looks like a professor whose enthusiasm for medieval love poetry will never be shared by any of his students.
  • "F.P. Adams" is exactly the kind of name you would have to have in order to coneive the phrase "vernacularly dictaphonic."
  • Like Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity, this book too was made into a movie. Unlike those movies, it is not famous (though it was directed by Anthony Mann and stars Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, and (!) Vincent Price). In the book, the singing protagonist has sex with a (male) impresario, and falls in love with a (female) prostitue. The movie ... did not preserve those plot elements. 
Page 139~ (I haven't even looked at p. 123 because, well, I saw this first and ...)
All of a sudden she broke from me, shoved the dress down from her shoulder, slipped the brassiere and shoved a nipple in my mouth. "Eat. Eat much. Make big toro."
"I know now my whole life comes from there."
"Yes, eat." 
I mean ... does he point when he says "there" or ... ? ... yeah, wow.

~RP

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Paperback 1012: Only For Money / Mark King (Unique Books 146)

Paperback 1012: Unique Books 146 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Only For Money
Author: Mark King
Cover artist: [looks like Eric Stanton, but I dunno...]

Condition: 6/10 (tight but warped)
Estimated value: ~$25-30

UB146
Best things about this cover:

  • Septuagenarian Barbarella brings grave tidings to Boris and Natasha's bondage party
  • There are so many things to say about this cover, and yet my eyes are having a hard time seeing anything but that hat / cape combo.
  • HatCape: for when your shoulders, mouth (!), and head are cold, but your boobs need air!
  • HatCape: for when you want to look sexy, but talking would only ruin it!
  • It's like three extras in three different low-budget genre flicks decided to meet up outside for a smoke break. Or like three porn actors have not been given sufficient direction: "Do you want to ... should we ... I mean, we're dressed like this, I assumed ... wait, why is there a trash can here? This does not make me feel sexy..."
  • I'm digging the light blue border. Sincerely.


UB146bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • Mmm. Minimalist.


Page 123~

He has no time to waste. He is anxious to expend himself. He puts his lips to the young girl's breast and, bending his body like a bow, shoots arrow after arrow into the soft flesh.

If you run a sex writing workshop, well, good news: I found your "Don't."

~RP

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Paperback 1011: She Wouldn't Surrender / James Kendricks (Monarch MA301)

Paperback 1011: Monarch MA301 (PBO, 1960)

Title: She Wouldn't Surrender
Author: James Kendricks
Cover artist: [Robert Maguire] (attribution from here) (and here)

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $20-25

MonMA301
Best things about this cover:

  • Wow, this really ticks all the boxes: naked redhead with a gun, painted by Robert Maguire, posing as "Americana," on one of the greatest mainstream sleaze imprints of the 20th century. Monarch Books got some of the greatest cover artists to work for them, and I love how they had all these subseries designed to give their softcore books a patina of respectabilty. Who could quibble with your passion for "Americana"!? Communists, that's who.
  • "Whoa, a *real* redhead! Wait'll I tell Wilb-" [gets shot in the neck]
  • My favorite part of this cover is weirdly her hat

MonMA301bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Hmmm. It sounds like she *would* surrender, sometimes.
  • Sure, your girl has charms, but do they pulsate? Do They!?
  • OK, "Only the dead were incapable of remembering her" is kind of a good line
  • 🎶Wanton eyes! They're watching you! They see your Union boots...🎶

Page 123~

[nah, I don't like this page—it's all gruesome war stuff: horses being maimed and what not ... I much much prefer the teaser text on the opening page, headlined NAKED ENCOUNTER]
The soldier whirled. His eyes bulged at the sight of the naked girl, her magnificent breasts jouncing as she stopped abruptly to stare back at him wantonly [...] Too late he saw the weapon in her hand. Too long he had stared at the undulating breasts, the quivering eyes, the tantalizing smile...
JOUNCING! Part jiggling, part bouncing, all *deadly*!

~RP

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Paperback 1010: Georgia Boy / Erskine Caldwell (Signet 760)

Paperback 1010: Signet 760 (5th ptg, 1957)

Title: Georgia Boy
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Cover artist: James Avati (signed, not attributed)
Interior illustrations: Birger Lundquist (attributed on copyright page)

Condition: 8.5/10
Estimated value: $8-12

SIg760
Best things about this cover:

  • Great Girl Art. Godawful Goon Art. I want to CGI that guy off of the cover.
  • "Check under your hood, ma'am? [snort]" Seriously make him go away.
  • That guy is not a "boy." In fact, I don't see any boys here at all. False advertising!
  • Caldwell was the king of "earthy" "bawdy" midcentury rural near-porn. Country folks are freer with their bodies—more like animals—dontcha know. I never got the appeal.
  • It's actually quite good art. I'm just not buying the guy at all. He looks uninterested—like he has a tire rotation to get back to.


Sig760bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • No alloys here! Looking for alloys? Well, keep moving, buster!
  • "This reviewer" LOL. "It was a dark time ... personal pronouns were Forbidden!"
  • Ah, who could forget PA STROUP? Everyone? Oh, OK.
  • "Yardboy"

The best part of this book by far is the interior illustrations. From the copyright page: "The line drawings by Birger Lundquist are reproduced from the Swedish edition of Georgia Boy (Son av Georgia) by permission of the Forum Publishing Company, Stockholm, Sweden." Here are a couple examples (there's one on about every third page!):

 [better...]
[whoa, racy]
Page 123~
"He told me he wasn't married," Lucy told Ma. "He said he was a single man all the time."

"Single man!" Ma yelled.

She got red in the face again and ran to the fireplace for the poker.
Ah, good ole fire poker: a harried Ma's best friend.

~RP

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Paperback 1009: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea / Theodore Sturgeon (Pyramid G622)

Paperback 1009: Pyramid G622 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Author: Theodore Sturgeon
Cover artist: Jim Mitchell (credited, back cover)

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $10-15

PyrG622
Best things about this cover:
  • I guess if your name's Sturgeon, writing about sea creatures is probably inevitable
  • Love the design on the dragon-eel, and the sub, and the font. Peak midcentury fantasy design
  • This was a movie, apparently. It was also a television show, which is streaming via Amazon Prime, which I discovered because who wouldn't be curious after seeing this book
  • The writing in this book is superior. Sparkling and witty in a way I do not associate with novelizations of B movies. But that's what happens, I guess, when you get a legend to do the work, I guess. Sturgeon is something else
PyrG622bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • AFIRE is a word I don't see that often, except in crosswords
  • I really, really want Destiny to be the name of some aquatic femme fatale
  • Here's the movie, free on youtube. The format is completely jacked, so I don't think I can bear watching it. Maybe if I ever get super-bored. I'm almost certain this book is infinitely superior to the movie
Page 123~
It was Emery, too, who wondered what had killed the whale. Even the ripped, tattered evidence of the 'cudas at work could not conceal that the whale had been riven, blasted, crushed. Someone aboard might certainly have thought of an answer if it had not been for the murder of O'Brien.
Normal reader: "Whoa, what a vivid image of a mangled whale being feasted on by barracudas." Me: "Hmmm .... CUDAS ... I wonder if I should add that to my crossword wordlist ..."

~RP

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Paperback 1008: Rogue Queen / L. Sprague de Camp (Dell 600)

Paperback 1008: Dell 600 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Rogue Queen
Author: L. Sprague de Camp
Cover artist: Mike Ludlow

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $8-10

Dell600
Best things about this cover:

  • That seems a reasonable way to learn about sex tbh
  • "OK, so, step 1: put the spear away"—Earth-man
  • I'm sure that phallic rocket is in no way a phallic symbol
  • That is some very convenient cape and forearm
  • Her hair is amazing


Dell600bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • "You ... complete ... me ... seriously, do it, complete me, I'm not a woman yet, get on with it."
  • You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have the Facts of Full Womanhood, The Facts of Full Womanhood!
  • That is the sloppiest damn ringed planet I even did see. It's like a 5-year-old drew a ball of yarn


Page 123~

"It is a curious feature of Terran culture that when the men do something of a stupidity they always blame their wives."

I like her.

~RP

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Paperback 1007: Tragic Ground / Erskine Caldwell (Signet 661)

Paperback 1007: Signet 661 (27th ptg, 1957)

Title: Tragic Ground
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Cover artist: James Avati

Condition: 8/10
Estimated value: $8-10 (weirdly couldn't find this 1957 printing at abebooks)

Sig661
Best things about this cover:

  • That's a hell of a face-mash. And embrace. And wino.
  • "Oh, the juvenile delinquents and their dungarees and heavy petting, why, in my day... [glug glug glug] [pass out]"
  • I sincerely love her capri pants. And the title font.
  • This cover is close to immaculate.


Sig661bc
Best things about this back cover:

  • [sniff sniff] What's that smell? .... oh, I see you're reading Caldwell. My, that's pungent.
  • "Casual ribaldry and haphazard lovemaking" is my new lifestyle ideal.
  • What is this, the Adjective Olympics? You can't get past a single damn noun without some adjective going, "Hey, look at me!" I'm surprised it doesn't end with "over 35,000,000 frank and febrile copies."
  • LOL that Saturday Review blurb. "Tired of cooked sex? Well have I got the book for you..."


Page 123~

Spence lay partly awake holding his knees against his stomach for warmth and wondering where his pants were.

Pantsless pungency!

~RP

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