Friday, August 31, 2012

Paperback 555: The Saracen Blade / Frank Yerby (Cardinal C-124)

Paperback 555: Cardinal C-124 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The Saracen Blade
Author: Frank Yerby
Cover artist: James Meese

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • Steve was quick to anger when people insulted his empty-swimming-pool harem. "It's a spatial commentary on the ways the traffic in women occludes ... oh you did *not* just roll your eyes at me! En garde!" 
  • Steve erupted in anger when the judge of the No T-shirt Contest gave him only a 5.
  • MC Hammer closes in on the man who stole his pants. "Please, Hammer ... don't hurt me."
  • There is a paperback cover phenomenon I call "black hand"—it's a subset of "mystery hand." The mysterious / exotic Other reaches in from the margins ... oh you did *not* just roll your eyes at me!
  • This cover follows the old paperback cover art maxim: bondage must enhance boobage.


Best things about this back cover:
  • It's slightly unusual to have to have the back cover relate the scene depicted on the cover. It's highly unusual to have the back cover *tell* you that's what it's doing (possibly because it seems insultingly redundant)
  • "And even when he did think—which, admittedly, wasn't often—..."
  • Compound adjectives can be things of beauty. Then there's "adventure-crammed."

Page 123~
"You're not a stranger," Gautiette said mildly, "and I shall need your aid. The truth of the matter, good Pietro, is that Toinette has disappeared..."
"It's a hairspray, it's a perfume, it's a home perm, it's ... Toinette!"


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paperback 554: The Secret Adversary / Agatha Christie (Avon 100)

Paperback 554: Avon 100 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Secret Adversary
Author: Agatha Christie
Cover artist: Bower (I don't know how I know this, or who this is—I'm just reading the ID tag I made years ago)

Yours for: SOLD! (9/3/12)
Best things about this cover:
  • Mmm, the fine art gilded frame look is Classy.
  • The quote is kind of enigmatic, esp. if you stop before the ellipsis. But even after the ellipsis, it sounds like they're saying "if you absolutely must read a crappy, preposterous novel, read this one."
  • That man's fall bears no plausible relation to the blow he appears to have just taken. Maybe the guy in the hat just snatched his cane. Or maybe that thing on his face is a bat which has just flown into his nose.


Best things about this back cover:
  • We've seen this before. This is what back covers looked like when paperback publishers felt they still had to justify the whole format to their readership.

Page 123~
Tuppence caught herself nervously looking over her shoulder. The big wardrobe loomed up in a sinister fashion before her eyes. Plenty of room for a man to hide in that ...
Silly Tuppence. Relax. Everyone knows wardrobes lead only to Narnia. Go see Mr. Tumnus! Then you'll be Tuppence & Tumnus (sitcom-ready relationship).


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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Paperback 553: One Monday We Killed Them All / John D. MacDonald (Gold Medal s1177)

Paperback 553: Gold Medal s1177 (PBO, 1961)

Title: One Monday We Killed Them All
Author: John D. MacDonald
Cover artist: Bill Johnson

Yours for: $18

Best things about this cover:
  • One of the greatest titles in pulp fiction history
  • Disturbing, fantastic cover. I have no idea what's happening. It's like the men are a loosely affiliated mob of zombie hunters who have decided to use the woman as a human shield. But the men seem kind of shambling and zombie-like themselves.
  • "On the seventh he rested"! – "Attention, Citizens of Brook City: Monday is the new Sabbath. Stop working immediately or We'll kill you all. . . thank you."

Best things about this back cover:
  • This copywriter is not good with the metaphors. I don't think walls harbor cores, and if the wall itself is made of hate, isn't the "steaming evil" inside kind of redundant? What did you expect to find inside the wall of hate? Bunnies?
  • Pictures says: "Yes, *that* John D. MacDonald" and "Don't hate me because I'm rugged" and "I think you mean Ross Macdonald, asshole."

Page 123~
Harpersburg State Prison erupted into overdue violence on the following Tuesday.
Tuesday? But what about Monday? I was promised killing on *Monday*!


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Paperback 552:Treasure Island / Robert Louis Stevenson (Pocket Books 25)

Paperback 552: Pocket Books 25 (1st ptg, 1939)

Title: Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25

Best things about this cover:
  • This book is from the very first year of mass-market paperback publishing. You can see the original super-nerdy Kangaroo logo for Pocket Books semi-camouflaged in front of the treasure chest.
  • The condition on this book, given its age, is astonishing. The original permagloss is almost completely intact, the spine uncreased and square, the colors bold and vibrant. For a 73-yr-old paperback, it's exquisite.
  • I don't think you're supposed to wear puffy pirate pants with trainers.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "R.L.S."! I didn't know he was *known* by his initials. I thought that was just a stupid crosswordism. Revelation!

Page 123~
For it was not only a piece of stout, seamanly good feeling; it was good policy besides, and showed our enemies that we despised their cannonade. 
I'm not sure what one can add to "seamanly good feeling."


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Paperback 551: God's Little Acre / Erskine Caldwell (Great Pan G148)

Paperback 551: Great Pan G148 (1st thus, 1958)

Title: God's Little Acre
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $23
Best things about this cover:
  • The Professor and Ginger never did see eye to eye.
  • It's like they're having a clenchedmouth-off and she's winning—though it looks like the judge in the background there is about to call "illegal use of boobs." We'll see...
  • Zeke likes to watch.
  • I think she was overcome by Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and had to be shaken out of her rockin' reverie before she tore up all the hay bales.
  • Zeke, on the other hand, is immune to Bon Jovi's charms.
  • Movie tie-in! 

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, they sure picked a dramatic scene for this back cover. And by "dramatic" I mean "one that showcases Tina Louise's tits to the fullest."
  • Chivalry isn't dead, it's just horribly, horribly mutated.
  • "Gusty vitality"??? Did they mean "gutsy"? Did they conflate "gutsy" and "gusto." "You know, the vitality of his writing ... it's got a ... windlike quality to it ..."
Page 123~
Ty Ty put one foot inside the room and leaned against the door-frame. He watched her roll and unroll her stockings and hang them over the back of the chair. She got up quickly and stood at the foot of the bed.
I *knew* creepy, overt, unwelcome voyeurism was going to figure prominently in this book. The cover artist did his job well.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Paperback 550: Yesterday I Died! / John Cooper (World Distributors Nn, 1951?))

Paperback 550: World Distributors Novel (no #) (PBO? 1951?)

Title: Yesterday I Died!
Author: John Cooper
Cover artist: Sure, why not...

Yours for: I have no idea ...


Best things about this cover:
  • Him: "Yesterday Day I Died!" Her: "So I smell!"
  • Gun v. Nipple face-off.
  • Has she got an 8 1/2 x 11 pad of paper in her pocket? 
  • Awkwardly positioned gunman wonders "Am I in frame now? How 'bout now?"


Best things about this back cover:
  • One of three Awesome ads in this thing.
  • Charles Atlas promises you "fresh blood" if you join him and his vampiric children of the night.
  • "Joy-killing ailments" is a great phrase. 
Other ads!

  • The crossword constructor in me really wishes APAL had caught on.
  • How is that drawing of that dude supposed to relate to my quitting smoking. Frankly, it's creeping me out and making me want to light up.
  • Hey, "S.A.E." — more crosswordy goodness!


  • First, I thought it said "I am Bam-Bou!" and thought "awesome name for a guru." Then I thought it said "Make Money By Growing Babies" and thought "that's ... a new angle."
  • It's a well-know scientific fact that bamboo release spores in the form of pound coins.
  • The Orientalism here is epic—the sexy East will lay bare her secrets to the hungry eyes of the horny West!

Page 123~ (This Book Has No Page Numbers!?!?!)

So ... Random Page~
Lugs O'Malley said suddenly, "For Pete's sake, Champion ... do something. If you're gonna blow us all to hades with the bomb ... well hell, let's go. But don't forget, you go too."
First, give it up for 'Lugs O'Malley,' which belongs in the Corney Gangster Name Hall O' Fame. Second, who says (uncapitalized!?) "hades" in this context? Normally, I would say: the person who thinks "hell" is a curse word. But ... the next sentence ...


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paperback 549: Passion Panamania / J.X. Williams (Leisure Books 1203)

Paperback 549: Leisure Books LB1203 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Passion Panamania
Author: J. X. Williams
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $28


Best things about this cover:
  • When the women's beach volleyball team says "Closed Practice," they mean "Closed Practice."
  • I'm a bit worried for that guy. I mean if he were shirtless and she had a whip, that would be one thing, but pantsless, spread-eagle, and she's got a knife? No. All the boobs and butt cheeks in the world aren't going to make this situation erotic.
  • What is her right hand doing!? Please don't say "anointing the sacrificial lamb."
  • Winner: Frondiest Cover of 1967.
  • A Latin Lesbos, eh? So ... and island ... in, let's say, the Caribbean ... Well, there's Jost Van Dyke, but I'm gonna say "too spot-on."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Yeah, if you're having marital troubles, just go camping. Works like a charm.
  • Um, question? What is "the PASSION PANAMANIA"? Because, grammatically, it seems to be some kind of miasma or disease or sea god.
  • "And the swapping and sharing could begin..."—so it's some kind of convention for Beanie Baby collectors? No, wait: "no conventions" ... I'm stumped (which is what the guy on the cover is going to be saying in 3, 2, ...)

Page 123~
They understood each other too well to waste words. Maria said, "We all—all five of us—took part. But only one—not me—did the terrible thing you know about. We others were as surprised and felt as horrible about it as you do—I swear it, _mi amiga_!—but we just stood there as she—Oh, _madre_, it was so awful, the blood..."
Dear god, who is jacking off to this!?!?!


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paperback 548: Superstud / Alan Marshall (Nightstand Books 1847)

Paperback 548: Nightstand Books 1847 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Superstud
Author: Alan Marshall
Cover artist: Someone who can't believe his idea got past house censors

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • Wow. Just try out-sideboobing this cover. You Can't Do It.
  • "Yes, that's my right tit, complete with nipple. No, you're not dreaming. Pretty good, right?"
  • The boob is to distract from the hair, which looks great from the brow down, but get up any higher and it's a nightmare of random scalp attachment (and non-attachment). There's a reason they wrote "SUPER-STUD" over the top of that mess.
  • Maybe if the hair is red, you might try a different color for the font next time. This book looks like it's titled "R-"


Best things about this back cover:

  • Reading the first two sentences makes me think Brett isn't that studly from the neck up.
  • Call me old-fashioned, but I like my superstuds to be nailing quivering, creamy-fleshed ladies, not killing cops. What a massive waste of studliness.
  • Also, "Brett?" As a superstud name? Vetoed. 

Page 123~

He reached down and pulled her up. He didn't want to finish this way, not this time. He had better things in mind for the bitch with the fantastic boobs. 

Now *that's* a superhero name. Give that bitch a cape!


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