Friday, October 3, 2014

Paperback 822: Human? / ed. Judith Merril (intro by Fredric Brown)

Paperback 822: Lion Books 205 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Human?
Editor: Judith Merril
Introduction: Fredric Brown
Cover artist: Rafael DeSoto [R. DeSaint??] [signature in bottom right corner, hard to make out—I read it as "R. DeSoto" because Rafael DeSoto is a famous cover artist. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database has "R. DeSaint," but I can't find any other mention of such a person on the Internet, so …?]

Yours for: $18


Best things about this cover:

  • And that's when the 2213 Miss Glotron-X swimsuit competition got a little weird …
  • "Um … sir? … your mankini top … it's just … if you could … maybe pull it … a little …"
  • "This device allows me to speak to my own jugular veins directly!"
  • "'Human?' The game show where you … decide what the answer to that question is. Are you ready, Bill? Let's bring out our first set of subjects!"
  • Bill does not look confident. Or else that's just his "ill-fitting mankini-bottom" face.
  • I'm all for body modification, but I think I draw the line at chicken-fishing.


Best things about this back cover:

  • don marquis is the e. e. cummings of paperback scifi anthologies.
  • Some heavy hitters in there. Also, Graham Doar. "My friends call me 'Trap'!" Sure they do, Graham.
  • Just how many anthologists are there, Boucher? That's about as ringing an endorsement as "Sammy Hagar is among the very best Van Halen frontmen."

Page 123~
Immediately the room seemed to shake itself; things wavered uncomfortably; then I realized Drip was astigmatic.

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Anonymous said...

Is the back cover blurb missing a word? Shouldn't it read, "...Judith Merrill *IS* just about...?"

Karl said...

Tut, tut, Mr. Parker. In science fiction, there have always been tons of anthologists (including Mr. Boucher himself). The genre is more friendly to short stories than any other, and hence there have been endless anthologies -- and anthologists.

Unknown said...

I wonder, is that the same Don Marquis who was the humor writer? Who wrote the Archie and Mehitabel stories.

DemetriosX said...

I was going to say what Karl did. Lots of anthologists in SF, especially in the 50s and early 60s as the genre was just starting to get some book publishing.

This looks to be a pretty good anthology, based on the author list. There's only 2 names I don't recognize (Collier and Doar), though I had no idea don marquis wrote anything but the archy and mehitabel stories.

As for the cover, while Rex seems to have gone with a catwalk theme, my first impression was a weird sort of "Ascent of Man" thing.

Also, what story is the page 123 quote from?

DemetriosX said...

Did a little checking. The cover copy is not telling the truth. Actually there are 18 stories from 16 authors, but 3 of the stories are from Merril herself. Apparently 3 of the stories are not "great stories of science-fantasy".

Also, Rex how sure are you about the artist? Both ISFDB and the Science Fiction Encyclopedia give the artist as R. DeSaint, not DeSoto.

Rex Parker said...

Who is R. DeSaint?

I added a note about the cover artist confusion.



Rex Parker said...

And actually, the story count is correct: 15. Merril writes a bunch of little introductory essays to the book's three sections: "As Others See Us," "Earthlings All," and "Tomorrow Will Be Better" (in the table of contents, she doesn't even get writer credit for those "essays"—they just look like section headings).


highwayknees said...

@DemetriosX: You really shouid get acquainted with John Collier. He was famous for his slyly macabre and humorous short stories collected in his
great Fancies and Goodnights, but also wrote a weird novel, His Monkey Wife. Some of his stories were also used as the basis for some of the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents tv show scripts. You can easily find a copy of Fancies & Goodnights at amazon/ebay, etc. Happy Reading!