Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paperback 769: God's Little Acre / Erskine Caldwell (Penguin 581)

Paperback 769: Penguin 581 (1st ptg, 1946)

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

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:
  • Do love the peephole covers. Though usually we get to peep at something sexy. Or at least living.
  • It's an oddly tepid cover, given how strongly Caldwell's work was associated with sex. Future Caldwell covers will be … less discreet, to put it mildly.
  • I believe that to be the smallest outhouse that has ever been painted.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Stock photo, lifted from "Generic White Man" entry in Encyclopedia Americana. 
  • "Graduating from neither," ha ha. "He sampled your so-called 'higher education' and decided 'fuck this—I'ma pick cotton!"
  • That is weirdest way in which anyone's pro football career has ever been introduced. "He was truly fuckable, like a football player, which he was once. Probably. Somewhere."
  • Damn, looks like a dog hair got on the scanner platen. Sorry about that.

Page 123~

"Saying he's going to vote for me and doing it when the time comes is as far apart as the land and the sky." 

It's like when Martin beat Bart for class president on "The Simpsons." Everyone said they supported Bart, but only two people voted: Martin and Martin's running mate Wendell.  So Martin won.

Amazing discovery of the day—this book reprints, at the very end, the ruling by the Magistrate's Court of the City of New York, clearing Viking Press (this book's original publisher) from charges of obscenity brought against it by the People of the State of New York at the instigation of The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Based on this information, the oddly sexless cover instantly becomes either more perplexing or more understandable, depending on how you look at it. I have only ever seen this legal opinion-reprinting in the backs of sleaze paperbacks, specifically those published by in the late '50s and early '60s by Sanford Aday, who has his own repeated run-ins with the law. As the opinion reprinted here makes clear, God's Little Acre was defended by many scholars and writers on its literary merits. Harder to argue for said merits when the title of your book is Sex Life of a Cop (as it was in Aday's own trial). Anyway, very cool to discover this much-more-mainstream precedent for self-justifying end matter.


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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Paperback 768: Star Science Fiction Stories No. 2 / ed. Frederik Pohl (Ballantine 612)

Paperback 768: Ballantine Books (2nd ptg, 1962) (isfdb entry)

Title: Star Science Fiction Stories No. 2
Editor: Frederik Pohl
Cover artist: [Richard Powers]

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • Beard.
  • Seriously, beard. How often do you see beard? Not too often.
  • I'm disturbed by his lack of hands. I guess they're inside those little spheres, but it looks like they've replace one of his hand with a giant hypodermic.
  • Not the most scintillating cover art, but I do love Powers's fever-dream space shapes and colors.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Rocket! Or jet gull! Probably rocket!
  • Again, I love when books explain the basics of publishing to you. "We find good stories … and then we publish them!"
  • Weird to brag about being an "original publication" and claim that the stories "appear here for the first time" when this is a reprint of the real original, published in 1953.

Page 123~ (from "Conquest" by Anthony Boucher)

"I fly with my synapses, if that's the word I want, and sometimes I guess they don't apse."

I see APSE a lot in crosswords. Never quite like that, though.


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Paperback 767: This World Is Taboo / Murray Leinster (Ace D-525)

Paperback 767: Ace D-525 (PBO, 1961)

Title: This World Is Taboo
Author: Murray Leinster
Cover artist: [Ed Valigursky]


Best thing about this cover:

  • This world is taboo … hence the looooong line to get in.
  • I really do love mid-century rocket design. Why does the future-past / past-future always look so much more awesome than the present?!
  • I have no idea what I'm looking at here, but I feel like things are not going well for the wee man at the center of it all.


Best things about this back cover:

  • That's a pretty mean thing to say about Dara. I'm sure she's lovely.
  • I dara you to land on Dara.
  • There is something so odd about "dodge" —not the word I expect … plus it's all orphaned there at the bottom. Word choice and layout matter.
  • I want a t-shirt with that blue circle design on it. Not even kidding.

Page 123~

The admiral said through stiff lips, "I'll blast—"

I don't know what the admiral's doing, but it sounds kinda taboo.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Paperback 766: Cruise Nurse / Joan Sargent // Calling Dr. Merryman / Margaret Howe (Ace Double F-101)

Paperback 766: Ace Double F-101 (PBO / 1st ptg, 1960)

Title: Cruise Nurse / Calling Dr. Merryman
Author: Joan Sargent / Margaret Howe
Cover artist: [Robert Maguire] / Uncredited

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • Even on dumb, forgettable nurse fiction, Maguire's art is Gorgeous (at least I think it's Maguire—at least one bookseller attributes it to him; she Definitely has Maguire Hair)
  • I want to go where she's going.
  • For some reason I'm finding both the title font and the seagulls incredibly charming. In fact, the whole thing shouts "60s good-time fun" so hard that I'm having a hard time disliking anything about it, including overdressed waving dipshit there.


Best things about this other cover:
  • Well … DARE HE!?
  • Ah, the tale of a magnanimous doctor who deigns to screw the nurse everyone thinks is a whore. What a dreamboat.
  • I like to think she just punched Dr. Merryman really hard in his right arm.
  • "Calling Dr. Merryman … come in Dr. Merryman … we are still unable to locate the bottom half of your body … please stand by …"
  • Don't pay …. the Merryman! ('80s music reference for y'all!)

Page 123~
"Elise thinks I'm a beauty," Clay said plaintively.
Try saying "Clay said plaintively" five times fast. Go ahead. I'll wait.


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Paperback 765: 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft / Tuli Kupferberg & Robert Bashlow (Grove / Evergreen Black Cat BC-140)

Paperback 765: Grove Press / Evergreen Black Cat BC-140 (3rd ptg, 1969)

Title: 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft
Authors: Tuli Kupferberg & Robert Bashlow
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • Well, that's one way.
  • This cover is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious (the latter by juxtaposition with the title). Contorted body is one of the most monstrous human figures I've ever seen. 
  • Found this little book jammed in among a ton of other old paperbacks on a cart outside Falling Leaves in Ithaca last weekend.
  • This book is literally a numbered list of 1001 ways to beat the draft. There are illustrations and documents interspersed throughout. It's a very, very serious joke, this book. 


Best things about this back cover:
  • Kill for Peace
  • If LBJ got drafted …
  • Signature is a nice touch

Page 123~ (pages are unnumbered, so here is a sampling of Ways to Beat the Draft)
11. Start to menstruate (better red than dead)
479. Contemplate the horror of murder
480. Sleep late with your warm girlfriend
782. Be so ugly you fail even Army standards
4. Die 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paperback 764: The Sirens of Titan / Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Dell First Edition B138)

Paperback 764: Dell First Edition B138 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Sirens of Titan
Author: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Yours for: $65


Best things about this cover:
  • Yes, *that* Vonnegut.
  • This year's sexiest accessory—the asteroid belt!
  • God bless Richard Powers. Most of his stuff does not contain what is traditionally known as "Great Girl Art" (GGA), but … this'll do.
  • I love her electric blue emanations.
  • Seriously, the colors on this are Gorgeous.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow. Terrible cover copy—at least in the headers.
  • I have not read this book, but it sounds like the future is not awesome. How can that be?
  • Isolation of the female figures here is a nice touch. Not sure why they have a handle. But I don't mind.

Page 123~

Unk went into the furnace room and closed the door.

He was excited, though he didn't know why. He began to read by the light from the dusty window.

Dear Unk:—the letter began.


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Paperback 763: Ten North Frederick / John O'Hara (Bantam F1554)

Paperback 763: Bantam F1554 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Ten North Frederick
Author: John O'Hara
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $7


Best things about this cover:
  • Wow, this is a strong entry in the Shittiest Cover Ever contest.
  • "Oh, Steve. Hold me in your pea green embrace!"
  • I like how the title is reinforced by the door in the background. Wait, did I say "like"…?
  • I almost like her messy painted dress and the curvaceous alien legs of the … let's call it a "hat stool."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Honestly, they couldn't make this book more boring-sounding if they tried.
  • Wait, go back to the "sweetheart" part … now change it to "buxom mistress" … yes, that's better.
  • So it's about a guy with a hat and cane who doesn't get to be President. I love John O'Hara, and I'm sure the book is fine, but I'm gonna require a sexier come-on than JOE CHAPIN.

Page 123~

"Ever see a fellow named Guyon Bardwell? He lived on Staten Island, and I imagine still does."

"Bardwell. No, I don't think so, although I did go to Staten Island this year. It's a beautiful place."

Staten Island? The one in New York? OK, if you say so.


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paperback 762: Case of the Cold Coquette / Jonathan Craig (Gold Medal 645)

Paperback 762: Gold Medal 645 (PBO, 1957)

Title: Case of the Cold Coquette
Author: Jonathan Craig
Cover artist: George Mayers

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Cold? Maybe if she put her shirt back on …
  • Oh, *that* kind of iceberg. The ones that are beautiful and are thawed by money. I was thinking of the ones that are made of ice and float in the ocean and are thawed by the rays of the sun. But I get it now. Good analogy.
  • If you're looking for your right shoe, lady, it's under the bench … there … toward your left … no, not in the corner—down … straight down … are you even trying? 
  • Seriously, what is she doing? Some kind of weird half-naked bench yoga?


Best things about this back cover:
  • "I'm a cop." Original!
  • Champagne tastes … but caviar guts-on-the-track!
  • We get it. Cold, thaw, etc. Give the metaphor a rest; I think it's tired.
  • I always say, the best leads are succulent leads. Like aloe. A great lead, aloe.

Page 123~

"The mark is so hotted up he can't think straight."


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Paperback 761: Guys and Dolls / Damon Runyon (Pocket Books 1098)

Paperback 761: Pocket Books 1098 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Guys and Dolls
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: photo cover / unknown

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • Brando unsure about quality of doll's breath!
  • I sort of kind of love this art/photo hybrid. Also, the Vincent Price-esque title font. Random.
  • LOVE the full-body "fuck off, boys" pose of the be-stoled smoking doll. Classic.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, it's … uh … not particularly soiled or torn. That's something.
  • "Master of the Main Stem" — not a phrase I'd ever really want to be called.
  • Lusty Slice was my favorite Slice Girl.

Page 123~

Dave the Dude is more corned than anybody else, because he has two or three days' running start on everybody. And when Dave the Dude is corned I wish to say that he is a very unreliable guy as to temper, and he is apt to explode right in your face any minute. But he seems to be getting a great bang out of the doings.

When your corned, a great bang is just the thing.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Paperback 760: Slan / A.E. Van Vogt (Dell 696)

Paperback 760: Dell 696 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Slan
Author: A.E. Van Vogt
Cover artist: [Richard Powers, per William H. Lyles, Dell Paperbacks, 1942—Mid-1962]

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:
  • "I Was a 22nd-Century Gun Moll!"
  • Her mouth! Is she talking? Hissing? Shouting "Slan!"?
  • I have seen the future. It is full of 8th graders' atom diagrams.
  • Pretty bold to paint right on top of a well-used bandage.
  • Quintessential mid-century sci-fi cover art. Iconic. Beautiful. Perfect.


Best things about this back cover.
  • Why aren't people named "Groff" any more? Or "Jommy"?
  • Idea: Western / Scifi epic with a hero named "Slim Tendrils"…
  • I'm guessing that's not "Jommy" on the cover. But who knows what the future holds…

Page 123~

The impression smashed into fragments. Granny.

That has to be the weirdest two-sentence sequence in literary history.


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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Paperback 759: Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper / Georges Simenon (Signet 1188)

Paperback 759: Signet 1188 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper
Author: Georges Simenon
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • That guy has the best "[sigh] Dames…" face ever. Ever.
  • His hands are amazing. This pose is so weird, the framing of the stripper so unusual. I kind of want to shout "Get Out Of The Way, Dude!" but then I remember a. she's dead, so that's kind of wrong, and b. artistically, this cover is original and cool.
  • It's hard to believe she's dead with her right arm in that position and her right knee up like that. I say she's alive, and therefore, "Get Out Of The Way, Dude!"


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Yes, I smoke a pipe. Why? Because I'm manly and Belgian—what the fuck do you care, buddy?"
  • Mmm, "dark bistros" and "smoke-filled dives" … tell me more.
  • Simenon is one of those writers I keep meaning to read and never do. I read one novel, I think: "Maigret à New York." In French. I enjoyed it. The end.

Page 123~

They had only about five hundred yards to go in the nearly deserted boulevard. The nightclubs, their signs glowing in the rain, couldn't be making a fortune in this kind of weather, and the bedecked doormen stayed under cover, ready to unfurl their big red umbrellas.


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Friday, April 4, 2014

Paperback 758: Beyond Eden / David Duncan (Ballantine 102)

Paperback 758: Ballantine Books 102 (PBO, 1955)

Title: Beyond Eden
Author: David Duncan
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • "I see the source of life itself—there! Beyond Eden. Eden … hey Eden … *EDEN*, would you get your giant body out of the way so we can see the damned source of life itself!?" 
  • Eden looks like giant space actress who has forgotten her line.
  • Richard Powers is the king of interplanetary fever dreams and wackadoodle future machines. My favorite scifi/fantasy cover artist (even if this isn't exactly his best work) (with respect to Valigursky, Emshwiller, etc.).


Best things about this back cover:
  • Living Water ™ —part of the Coca-Cola family of horror beverages
  • Excellent back cover art by somebody's 13-month-old niece.
  • If the "man" and the "woman" had names, this cover might be milligrams sexier.

Page 123~

Spectralium grew rapidly in Gayley's pilot tank.

That is some grade-A space porn right there.


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