Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paperback 690: Go Down, Aaron / Chris Davidson (Ember Library EL376)

Paperback 690: Ember Library EL376 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Go Down, Aaron
Author: Chris Davidson
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert Bonfils]

Yours for: Not For Sale, partly 'cause I just wanna keep it, partly because I'd feel guilty profiting in any way from this thing (probably worth something north of a C-note)


Best things about this cover:
  • The title is ... amazing. I mean, if you can ignore completely the horrible Nazi / gay erotic nexus for, like, one second, you have to appreciate the wordplay involved in that title. Changing "Moses" to Aaron ... punning on the phrase "Go Down" ... playing "Third Sex" off of "Third Reich" ... seriously great.
  • The painting is also fantastic in its composition. I mean, again, horrible, but just the way the naked man is framed by the Nazi's legs, the way the Nazi's crotch is illuminated / represented by steel bars, the details on the uniform (belt, gun, trousers, whip (?), boots ...). And all in an unusual Green. Jaw-dropping.
  • This is among the most flat-out outrageous books in my collection. It takes "Sleaze" to 11. It's also in astonishing condition. I'd rate it 9/10, condition-wise.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Yuck.
  • What's the difference between a "deviate" and a "deviant"?
  • I'm trying to imagine finding any of this arousing. Not judging, though. Different strokes, as it were.

Page 123~

"The Master requests your presence in the study, sir," the servant informed Aaron.

Hmmm, this is a kind of prison I'm not familiar with.


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Friday, August 30, 2013

Paperback 689: The Left Hand of Satan / Mark Lucas (Saber Books SA-88)

Paperback 689: Saber Books SA-88 (PBO, 1964)

Title: The Left Hand of Satan
Author: Mark Lucas
Cover artist: Uncredited (he did a *lot* of late Sabers...) [Bill Edwards]

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • The only thing that explains the hilariously amateurish quality of this painting, with its complete disdain for perspective (how tall *is* that man?!), is that it was painted by the left hand of Satan, and Satan is right-handed.
  • Don't look too long at that headboard—it will confuse you and while you are thus addled Satan will steal your soul (presumably with his left hand).
  • Nick is not a plausible mate for anyone, let alone either of those ladies. 
  • "I finished painting your hallway ultra-bright yellow, ma'am, I just ... oh, excuse me, ma'am, I didn't know you had company. I'll go clean your gutters now. OK? OK." [backs out slowly].
  • This is post-Sanford Aday Saber. Instead of interesting, politically-minded, sexually-provocative sleaze, we now just get sleaze for sleaze's sake, i.e. dull porn. Seriously, his publishing empire went Hilariously downhill after his obscenity conviction. 


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Ordained minister"—so you know this shit is going to be Filthy.
  • How is anyone "born with unconventional standards"? Predilections, sure, I guess, but "standards?" Those can't be inborn. Those are culturally determined. This has been "Overthinking It," with Rex Parker. See you next week.
  • "The school of Lesbians and male homosexual students is growing"—Class Sizes Are Limited, So Enroll Now!
  • Never in a million years would *Aday* have published a book with this faux-moralizing judgmental crap on the back. He veered toward sympathy and understanding, where this ... ugh. "Your kids are in danger! Read this porn to find out how!"
  • Who green-lighted this back cover concept. "It'll have the color gradients of Fire!" "Will it be legib...?" "Shhhh .... FIRE!"
Page 123~
"This is what I was thinking about, when I was trying to go to sleep. How could I go to sleep when ever muzzle in my body was begging for you?" 
"The word is muscle, baby, and when I get started with you, you won't be able to say scat,"Nick said, taking her into his arms.
Ever muzzle in my gut wants to say scat to this guy.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paperback 688: Never to Belong / James Williams (Fabian Z-135)

Paperback 688: Fabian Z-135 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Never to Belong
Author: James Williams
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $50 (actually, Not for Sale — don't think I'm ready to part with this one)


Best things about this cover:
  • Pristine book from my favorite sleaze paperback publisher—Sanford Aday (publishing out of Fresno CA before eventually being convicted of trafficking in obscenity) was always trying to be sensational with the sexual themes of his books. He published a lot of stuff dealing with homosexuality, cross-dressing, miscegenation, etc., some it written by women authors, black authors, etc. He Was So Unusual. As I've told you before, he used the pages of his books to wage a battle against censorship—not just in the themes of the novels he published, but in the little essays and clippings he'd include in the backs of his books detailing court victories he or others had won against the government. In this book, he has forgone much of that back matter but still has a little note to his readers asking for feedback and proclaiming, "we are going to keep on giving you what you want to read as long as it is within our power to do so." He probably knew his publishing days were numbered. I just love the idea of waging a one-man battle for sexual openness and tolerance using only the medium of ... the sleaze paperback. He's kind of my hero.
  • Not sure I've seen the word "mulatto" on a cover before. Remember when we subcategorized black people based on skin color?! Good times.
  • Love the way the woman's skirt flies up. Fabian cover paintings are not generally known for their, uh, quality, but I like the suggestion of motion here. 
  • Also, bald dude's face is Priceless.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Awkwardest ellipsis ever.
  • This is surely the greatest book ever about mule-skinning, whatever that is. Ooh, turns out a mule-skinner is just someone who drives mules, also called a "muleteer" (hmmm, this puts "Mouseketeer" in a whole new light) or "arriero."
  • Crossword folks will be excited by this new cluing possibility for MAE.
  • "High-towning it" is a great phrase I would like to bring back. I shall use it every time I'm determined to raise me a whole bunch of hell.

Page 123~

Louisiana was a rough place for a colored man to get into trouble with the law.

Hashtag understatement.


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paperback 687: The Way of All Flesh / Samuel Butler (Pocket Books 8)

Paperback 687: Pocket Books 8 (3rd ptg, 1939)

Title: The Way of All Flesh
Author: Samuel Butler
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $21


Best things about this cover:
  • "What're *you* lookin' at?"
  • Her stockings are nuts. Horizontal red stripes? When was that a thing?
  • This is the most pristine early Pocket Book I own—from the first year of the mass market paperback industry's existence. There are two signifiant scuff marks on the spine edge, but otherwise, it's shockingly pristine. Permagloss intact and everything. Trust me when I say 1939 paperbacks are rarely found in this state anymore.


Best things about this back cover:
  • That Shaw quote is one of the best things I've ever seen printed on a back cover. The literary equivalent of "this is why we can't have nice things."
  • "Now Ready." It's so adorable how *new* the paperback was at this point. 

Page 123~
One would have thought she had sowed enough of such religious wild oats by this time, but she had plenty still to sow.
"Religious wild oats" is not a phrase I ever expected to see.


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Paperback 686: No Limits / ed. Joseph W. Ferman (Ballantine U2220)

Paperback 686: Ballantine Books U2220 (PBO, 1964)

Title: No Limits
Editor: Joseph W. Ferman
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • OK, it's not scintillating or sexy, but it's got a preposterous, "Jetsons"-like quality to it that I like.
  • Remember when the future was going to be Awesome!? This cover does.
  • I like how some of these bridges make sense (with arched, actual bridge-like structure) and others look like loopy whimsical structures that would snap in a strong wind.
  • I used to have a Leigh Brackett obsession. I may have it again. She wrote a lot, in a lot of genres, and a lot of it very, very good.  But, with apologies to Asimov fans, Sturgeon is the greatest name on this list.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Acidulous"! Be still my heart.
  • I wish I were named "Robert Conquest." I feel as if, with that name, I could do anything.
  • The decorative band in the middle of this back cover is odd and pretty.

Page 123~

from "And Then She Found Him" by Algis Budrys

"I'm sorry, Frank," Deerbush said. He stepped back, holding one of Vi's wrists now, and with the other hand he hit Stannard hard on the jaw. As Stannard fell down, Vi began to scream.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Paperback 685: Swapping Society / Jack Woods (Corsair Books 216)

Paperback 685: Corsair Books 216 (PBO, 1968)

Title: Swapping Society
Author: Jack Woods
Cover artist: Uncredited. Feels like somebody famous, but I can't remember his name... [possibly Bill Ward or Gene Bilbrew or Eric Stanton]

Yours for: Not for Sale [part of the Doug Peterson Collection]


Best things about this cover:

  • Glenda will not have her magnificent buttcheeks upstaged by some young hippie's perky rack. Back to the dorms with you and your left boob, Missy.
  • How is this vampire different from all other vampires? Well, Missy, she's about to show you.
  • Not sure how this cover can be so sexed-up and yet feel so dull. It's like people dressed for an orgy but decided to reenact a routine medical exam instead.
  • Behold this imprint! I'd never even heard of Corsair until Doug handed me this book last weekend. Skull & crossbones = righteous.


Best things about this back cover:

  • A lesbian dominatrix who's into BDSM? That's what's called hitting the jackpot, paperbackwise.
  • Ha ha, "You." Gotta love second-person cover copy. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure (which ... would be ... the greatest thing ever ...).
  • "Plunge Into the Aberrant Happenings" should be some state's motto. Nebraska? I'm looking at you...
  • And the winner of all typos is .... [drum roll] ... UNCERTAINTLY! Pick up your check at the door, buddy. You earned it!

Page 123~

"They let's go, darling," Linda whispered, smearing her wet lips over his cheek. "I need a real man to take care of me—as hot as I am right now. And I'm sure you can do the job with flying colors."

Sorry, Linda, you lost me at "smearing."


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Paperback 684: Hired Nympho / Big Bob Tralins (Novel Book 5077)

Paperback 684: Novel Book 5077 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Hired Nympho
Author: Big Bob Tralins (best, author, name, ever)
Cover artist: photo cover + beta version of PhotoShop?

Yours for: Not for Sale [part of the Doug Peterson Collection]


Best things about this cover:

  • Can't get past the hair. Just can't. Hideous.
  • I do like the fact that I have, multiple times, misread Big Bob Tralins' other titles, e.g. "Seduction Salmon," "Passion Position," etc
  • Big. Bob. Tralins. That was someone's name.
  • Arrow, haha. "Read this next," says the redundant arrow.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Simple and to the point. Elegant. Being honest when I say this is one of my very favorite back covers. Of all time.

Page 123~

I grinned. They were both compacts, the low-slung, economy size, one blonde, the other redhead. Miniature five-footers, but stacked!

I can really picture these women. Sadly, what I'm picturing looks like a cross between a car and a sub sandwich.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paperback 683: Big Heat / Unknown (All Star Books AS 531)

Paperback 683: All Star Books AS 531 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Big Heat
Author: No author credit? Seriously? Not even on the title page or anywhere?
Cover artist: too sad to think about

Yours for: Not for Sale [Part of the Doug Peterson Collection]


Best things about this cover:
  • Several things. First: peach?
  • Second: the most offensive thing about this cover—his shirt. Actually, probably all of him, but especially his shirt.
  • I am enjoying her stockings.
  • I like (seriously, like) how they start her off at "Twice."


Best things about this back cover:
  • BIG HEAT! Comin' atcha! 3 times!
  • In what universe is the phrase "giant breasts falling free of her halter" erotic or titillating? It makes me want to shout "Run!" to all the endangered villagers.
  • Hmm. If you're looking to find a man who could release you from the tortured lust of being a lesbian, I'm not sure reckless affairs with other women is the way to go about it. "I keep having reckless affairs with other women, but so far, no luck on the man front. What am I doing wrong!?"
  • Ah, "unnatural" and "twisted," my favorite code words. How you guys doin'? Good to see you again.

Page 123~
"Christ, what's the matter with me?" he said. "Blowing my stack over some dumb kid in hick fishing camp!"
Wow. Did not see those last three words coming.

Here's some bonus footage, which I tweeted last night—from the preview page inside the front cover:
Her breasts were enormous bombs of powdered white flesh, tipped with crimson tidbits the size of plums.
The Crimson Tidbits were also a moderately successful doo-wop group from the late-50s.


P.S. this book appears to be ... short stories. But with no table of contents and no author credit and no apparent dignity, who's to say?

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Paperback 682: The Temptress / Carter Brown (Signet S1817)

Paperback 682: Signet S1817 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Temptress
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:

  • That is some spectacular cleavage. The "the" looks like it wants to go hide in there.
  • This "standing woman / dead man" cover is a type. I feel the need to go back and tag all the others "SWDM"—it says everything about the ambivalent erotics of vintage paperback cover art.
  • That font is sassy. It doesn't scare me, though. Looks like the opening credits of a '60s sitcom.


Best things about this back cover:
  • I'm confused by "just." It assumes a baseline opinion that "murder" is a pretty word. It's a horrendously ugly word.
  • So Chandler writes "Trouble Is My Business" and then for decades other writers / copyeditors copy, parody, and generally dead-horse the hell out of that phrase.
  • LOVE that we can see here what important cultural touchstones "Peyton Place" and "Lolita" were for the late '50s/early '60s world. 
  • "An August Signet Paper Edition"—"August" ... like, the adjective? That is unexpected. In fact, just plain weird. Also, likely, not true.

Page 123~

"Yeah," he nodded. "She had the pictures and we burned 'em. We didn't know there was more of them—figured they were the only ones he had!"

Incriminating photos / blackmail schemes are the topic of 59.8% of all hard-boiled stories. Give or take.


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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paperback 681: Sweet and Deadly / Verne Chute (Popular Library 443)

Paperback 681: Popular Library 443 (PBO, 1952)

Title: Sweet and Deadly
Author: Verne Chute
Cover artist: [A. Leslie Ross]

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:

  • So Many Great Things that I'm kind of paralyzed. I saw this last weekend at a bookshop in Ithaca and snapped it up without even looking at the price. I think this is one of my 20 favorite covers of all time.
  • So Much Action. The cover would be worth it for her alone—the baddest-looking Girl With a Gun in my collection—but we get Smashed Face McTireIron thrown into the bargain as well. How many ways were they planning on killing that poor blond guy?
  • Suicide doors!
  • Double Fear Hand! Or is he just dancing because she said so?
  • The art here balances pure hard-boiled action with a soft, luminous delicacy. Love.


Best things about this back cover:
  • That's what they all say.
  • Wow, that's some pretty overt gropiness there at the beginning.
  • "What did you say your name was? 'Methane?'" "It's MEL Thane, doll. Don't you forget it." "I already have."
  • If that blond guy is Mel, I am *super* glad she shot him.

Page 123~

Mel's match lighting a cigarette made a harsh sound. "I've got a sort of client who's being blackmailed. He managed to steal a few things out of a blackmail mob's file . . ."

Ew, Mel is the *detective* in this story? Oh well, my desire that he get shot stands.


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paperback 680: The Lady Regrets / James M. Fox (Dell 338)

Paperback 680: Dell 338 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: The Lady Regrets
Author: James M. Fox
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:

  • Unexpected dog attack! I imagine these are actors on a movie set and the dog has *nothing* to do with the picture. Which would explain ... everything.
  • The rarely seen Male Fear Hand!
  • Her boobs are upset that they have been so dramatically upstaged.
  • This cover has done the impossible, which is to offer me bondage and have me barely even notice said bondage. Angry dog trumps all.
  • That dog is highly opposed to the copping of feels.
  • "Black Room Murder" sounds made-up. If you google it (in quotes) you get several references to this book.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Los Angeles!
  • Possibly the most satellite-like Mapback I've ever seen. It's just ... lines. I (still) love it.
  • "A Grim Game of Find-The-Girl" = awesome description of half of all hard-boiled crime stories.

Page 123~

"So now you know, Jackson," I said, stepping on the cigarette butt to kill it.

If I focus on just this sentence, I can persuasively argue that this book is exceedingly well written.


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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Paperback 679: Murder and the Married Virgin / Brett Halliday (Dell 323)

Paperback 679: Dell 323 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Murder and the Married Virgin (a Michael Shayne Story)
Author: Brett Halliday
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:

  • So ... I'm guessing he's "The Married Virgin"
  • I like how she is wearing an snow leopard-fringed cape and how it magically adheres to her back in defiance of all the laws of physics.
  • This is an oddly romantic / sweet / slicks-type illustration. Where is my Sleaze!?
  • I would not willingly live in the '40s but people did dress awesomer.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Mapback!
  • Barbie Dream House!
  • That library is impressive.
  • This illustration raises the question—does anything at all happen on the left side of the house?

Page 123~

"You're after something" Shane reasoned bitterly.

Wow, that is some unfortunate verb+adverb action.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]