Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paperback 635: The Time Tunnel / Murray Leinster (Pyramid R-1522)

Paperback 635: Pyramid R-1522 (1st ptg, 1967)

Title: The Time Tunnel
Author: Murray Leinster
Cover artist: Jack Gaughan

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • Y'know ... it's pretty standard TV tie-in fair. Network logo. TV title font. A tunnel (presumably of the "time" variety).
  • I actually love the tunnel. Diminishing people descending into diminishing non-concentric circles. Simple and cool.
  • Wikipedia tells me that Murray Leinster wrote a novel with this title in 1964, the plot of which was quite different. He then wrote this novelization of the TV series three years later, and then a later, final "Time Tunnel" novel called Timeslip: Time Tunnel Adventure #2. There were also two "Time Tunnel" Gold Key comics put out in '66-'67.
  • Complete TV series is on Hulu Plus. I'm gonna check it out.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Whoa, the "real" tunnel is an op-art nightmare.
  • The Scientist Wore Shapeless Chinos (That Made His Ass Look Fat and Flat).
  • Who could forget James Darren and Robert Colbert!? (A: everyone)
  • "And it's produced by Irwin Allen, so you know it's top-of-the-line TV fare."—something someone somewhere must've thought at some time.

Page 123~

"I'm talking about the time traveller Kirk's assembled," said Doug urgently. "In the Tunnel chamber!" He said apprehensively: "We may be stuck here for always! Tony! The whole Project may turn out a failure!"

Tony roused. 

As terse, momentous sentences go, "Tony roused" is up there with "Jesus wept."


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Paperback 634: Moment of Untruth / Ed Lacy (Lancer Books 73-554)

Paperback 634: Lancer Books 73-554 (2nd ptg ?, 1967)

Title: Moment of Untruth
Author: Ed Lacy
Cover artist: illegible [underneath and perpendicular to guy's right arm] [Al Parker?]

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • This is seriously the dumbest-looking cover hero I've seen in a while. Looks like he's wearing a shorty terrycloth robe. Also, like he's carrying a giant woman's purse while not wearing pants. 
  • "We need to play on the phrase 'Moment of Truth'..." "Oooh, I have an idea ..."
  • There's "earth tones" ... and then there's feces. And we're *right* on the border here. 
  • Not sure I like what he's doing to that poor girl with that gun. 
  • I call ellipsis abuse.
  • That woman needs to Dominate this cover. What the hell were the designers thinking?
  • "Mexico: Come for the Food and the Fun, Stay for the Taut Immediacy"


Best things about this back cover:
  • TOUIE! That is a name I can get behind.
  • "He was a Negro, and at age forty he knew exactly what that meant." Unfortunately, I have no idea exactly what that means.
  • Copywriting has apparently been given over to some randomizing algorithm. "Random assertion ... Random plot point ... ELLIPSIS!"

Page 123~

"Ask, does a woman pilot this second plane with the two engines?" I said, feeling the excitement well up within me.
When the kid translated, the godmother shook her head, seemed to indicate  a woman by pointing to her own flat breasts.

This may be the most implausible breast-related action I've ever heard of. I'm trying to imagine this happening in a way that isn't entirely comical and/or enigmatic. I mean, it's a yes/no question, why in the world would she point to her own breasts? It's a redundant, ridiculous move.


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Friday, April 26, 2013

Paperback 633: The Big Knockover / Dashiell Hammett (Vintage V-829)

Paperback 633: Vintage V-829 (1st ptg, 1972)

Title: The Big Knockover
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • There's a '70s font if there ever was one. All puffy and whimsical and weird. Especially like the dots on the "I"s — little balls rolling back and forth in a half-pipe. 
  • I believe that is what they call a tidy sum. 
  • The Hellman intro is remarkable. Almost entirely biographical. Vivid and thoughtful and touching.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I guess this is where I write my notes.
  • Tulip. Hmm, I did not know that. I do not like unfinished novels. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
  • Mostly Op stories. Starts with "The Gutting of Couffignal," "Fly Paper," and "The Scorched Face." Not a bad opening gambit.

Page 123~

(from "This King Business")

We went to a much-gilded restaurant two blocks from the hotel, where a gypsy orchestra played on a little balcony stuck insecurely high on one wall. All the waiters and half the diners seemed to know the boy. He bowed and smiled to this side and that as he walked down to a table near the far end, where two men were waiting for him. 


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Paperback 632: Tell It To the Birds / James Hadley Chase (Pocket Books 77764)

Paperback 632: Pocket Books 77764 (1st ptg, 1974)

Title: Tell It To the Birds
Author: James Hadley Chase
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • You've got a little spinach in your teeth  there ... on your right ... *your* right ... here, I'm a mirror ... that's it.
  • The '70s brought us a lot of wacky mail-order products: Ginsu knives, Mr. Microphone, and, of course, SureShot, the all-in-one handgun/hairdryer: "SureShot: It'll Blow Your Hair Away!"
  • Don't laugh at the "blood." It took a bunch of industrious 7th graders a long time to make that "blood."
  • "We should superimpose the bloody hand onto her hair, because that would ... suggest ... ah fuck it, who cares *why*, just do it!"
  • I don't have a lot of '70s paperbacks in my collection, but I'm thinking of moving in that direction—they have none of the beauty of the fully painted covers of the '40s-mid-'60s, but they have a Cheese Factor of a million, which I can also admire.


Best things about this back cover:
  •  Is he wearing an orchid!? Because of his novel No Orchids For Miss Blandish??? Man, that is foppish in extremis.
  • Meg Barlowe spoonerizes to Beg Marlowe, which is what Maddox should've done if he wanted to know how to be a real fucking detective.
  • I have not read Chase. I do not hear good things. Hence, I have not read Chase.
  • Center page of this book is a cigarette ad on stiff paper—Kent cigarettes on one side, Kent Menthol on the others. The cigarette ad insert is a not uncommon feature of cheap '70s thrillers.

Page 123~

"She kept the house like a pig sty. If a woman really loves her husband, she makes an effort to keep his home decent."

Well, now we know whom she shot and why.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Paperback 631: The Jerk / adapted by Carl Gottlieb

Paperback 631: Warner Books 92-626 (PBO, 1979)

Title: The Jerk
Author: intro and text adaptation by Carl Gottlieb
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • So I own this for some reason.
  • It's not a novelization so much as a movie still picture book. Every page has a shot from the movie and some accompanying text. I know, I'm really selling it.
  • I always hated those little paddle ball game thingies.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Peter Sellers-esque photo spread.
  • I didn't know a book could "star" someone.
  • Steve Martin's stand-up was a revelation to me (via my dad) when I was a kid.

Page 123~


Carl Reiner, ladies & gentlemen. Carl Reiner.


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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paperback 630: Had I But Groaned / Carter Brown (Signet D3380)

Paperback 630: Signet D3380 (PBO, 1968)

Title: Had I But Groaned
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Uncredited (Robert McGinnis)

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • We have a winner in the Stupidest Title Of All Time contest.
  • Seriously, what is this contrafactive pseudo-poetic nonsense? Is it a famous quotation? Who says this? In what context would groaning make things better??? "Had I but groaned ... I'd've gotten the role in that zombie movie for sure"? 
  • Back to groaning—it's not even sexual? Moaning would be sexual? I am just befuddled by whatever it is this title is trying to do.
  • I keep imagining this as "Had I Butt-Groaned..."
  • To this cover's credit—she is amazing. McGinnis-gorgeous. I don't know if that's a lab coat or a towel or what that she holding, or why she's in a haunted house, but I don't much care.
  • The stripes on her underwear nicely complement those on the settee. I am 100% serious with that last comment.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Copy in red is not half-bad. Copy in black is empty confusing blather.
  • "Naturally."
  • You know a story's going to be exciting when the main character is named "Larry Baker." 

Page 123~

We reached the banquette a couple of minutes later, mainly because Boris zigzagged all the way across the floor of the restaurant. "Ladies!" He bowed deeply and bashed his forehead on a passing trolley of hors d'oeuvres.



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Friday, April 12, 2013

Paperback 629: Requiem for a Rake / Will Laurence (Intimate Books 704)

Paperback 629: Intimate Books 704 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Requiem for a Rake
Author: Will Laurence
Cover artist: Photo cover

Yours for: $17


Best things about this cover:
  • The scintillating sequel to Lament for a Leaf Blower
  • Whatever she is bringing to this cover (and she is bringing a lot), he is taking away three-fold.
  • If you're gonna despoil a stage-struck starlet, there's gotta be a better way than upside-down, fully-clothed footsie.
  • Is that camera rolling, 'cause ... if so, two words: niche market.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Clan Coulter. There's your Halloween costume for 2013.
  • Do they mean "stage" as in TV stage or western stage (i.e. stagecoach)? 'Cause I kind of like the image of Clan riding his bed across the prairie. 
  • "Les" is one of those names that is never gonna look right in the possessive form.

Page 123~
Janice Littleton was a girl who would do practically anything for money, a fact she had amply demonstrated to Mari during the months the two women had worked together . Her credo was to smile, not act too smart, try to make herself liked, and always look out for Number One. Her scruples were as limp as last year's girdle.
You're not using the word "credo" correctly here, but that last sentence makes me inclined to forgive you.


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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paperback 628: Dead Giveaway / Hugh Lawrence Nelson (Dell 520)

Paperback 628: Dell 520 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Dead Giveaway
Author: Hugh Lawrence Nelson
Cover artist: Robert Stanley

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:

  • Legato-erotic asphyxiation.
  • "There was no stool!"
  • I love the thick, sweaty, unshaven humanity of Bob Stanley's painting.
  • I also entertained "auto-melodic asphyxiation." But I stand by my first choice.


Best things about this back cover:

  • When Cartography Goes Bad. A confused and ugly mapback. Too many keys and insets and overlays. San Francisco has never looked more dull.
  • If that is the "zany troupe of entertainers" there in the inset, then we have very different ideas about what "zany" means.
  • There's someone named "Deasy" in this book? And it's not called "Deasy Does It." The titling folks are slacking.

Page 123~

"And Mr. Gates passing out and going—"
"Thump!" They shouted it in unison.
Abbott jumped.
They beamed with pleasure.

I'm guessing "they" are the "zany troupe of entertainers." And I'm also guessing Abbott shoots them within the next couple pages.


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