Thursday, July 28, 2022

Paperback 1059: It Was The Day Of The Robot / Frank Belknap Long (Belmont 90-277)

Paperback 1059: Belmont 90-277 (PBO, 1963)

Title: It Was The Day Of The Robot
Author: Frank Belknap Long
Cover artist: uncredited

Condition: 8/10 (unread; crease across top, slightest of warps)
Value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • This looks less like a robot and more like some kind of novelty tent that the little men are having trouble setting up.
  • If this book were a song, the title would be "(It Was The) Day Of The Robot"
  • Writer, to publisher: "Well, here's my book. I call it: Day Of The Robot!" "Hmmm ... I mean, I *like* it, but I feel like it's missing something. Maybe we can spice it up a little. What if we called it: The Day Of The Robot!" "Well ... I guess a definite article does add spice, but ..." "No, no, wait! I've got it! It Was The Day Of The Robot!" "So like ... a full sentence?" "Yesssss!""I don't see how ... I mean, it's just more words, really, isn't it? It doesn't add-" "I think it really makes you feel, like, *there*, you know?" "I-" "Not just any day of the robot—THE day of the robot." "Again, I-" "Ooh, and does the robot vape? The robot should definitely be vaping. Very in, very now."
  • It Was The Day Of The Robot That Vaped While Little Army Men Shot Sad Lasers At It
  • Why does the robot have three legs? Oh god ... that is a leg, isn't it? ISN'T IT!?
  • They shot him right in his left nipple. Rude.
Best things about this back cover:
  • "MAN AGAINST MACHINE" ... that narrative used to hold such dramatic promise. The sad reality of Actual Future is that most MAN AGAINST MACHINE stuff is just me trying to get the ATM to work or struggling to get past those online dealies where I have to prove (to a robot!) that I am not ... a robot.
  • Computers used to be enormous, and life was better that way. It just was. Computers should be ominous and threatening and two stories high and six blocks wide and they should beep and hum and churn out a steady stream of information on ticker tape or paper cards that have to be filed in a giant vault somewhere.
  • He counted his strides? Such a weird detail. I mean, if it had been one or two long strides, I can see remembering, but six? 
Page 123~
Disillusion and rage had made them transfer their allegiance to me. I'd dragged a popular hero down from his pedestal and slugged him unconscious with the chain at his wrist. And I'd meshed his gears before he could score another victory in a contest of skill.
I like "meshed his gears" as a kind of all purpose phrase for beating someone up. So much nicer and colorful than "kicked his ass" or "fucked him up." In this case, I think the gears are probably literal, since it is, after all, The Day Of The Robot, but I think any time you soundly drub someone, physically or otherwise, you should try "meshed his gears" on for size. 

~RP

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4 comments:

Ben said...

Whenever I see a copy of this book, I immediately begin singing the title to the tune of Larry & The Blue Notes' 'Night of the Phantom'...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28jY2q2-mHk
... which then plays incessantly in my head for weeks.

Wonderful to see this blog resurrected incidentally - long may it continue.

Marty McKee said...

I don’t know where you’ve been, but glad to have you back.

wallythe24 said...

I only discovered your blog a few months ago and was saddened to see nothing for a while.
You've had me laughing like a drain.
Glad that there's new posts.
Welcome back.

Tim Aurthur said...

The ghost of Tennessee Williams is tormented over not having named his play "It Was the Night of the Iguana."