Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Paperback 904: Redburn / Herman Melville (Anchor A118)

Paperback 904: Anchor Books A118 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Redburn: His First Voyage
Author: Herman Melville
Cover artist: Edward Gorey (!)

Estimated value: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • Well, it's a Gorey, so there's that.
  • Sooooo much erotic tension.
  • His shirt is so red it hurts my teeth.
  • Barefoot! Adorbs.
  • Look at the rounded serifs on the "U" and "N"; again, adorbs.
  • I want a big checklist of all Gorey's cover art work. I don't actually want to see the covers ahead of time. I just want to know the titles to hunt for, so when I finally discover them, my joy can be fresh.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, nothing, so ... moving on.

Page 123~

"What was not wrong then, is right now," said Max; "so, mind your eye, Buttons, or I'll crack your pepper-box for you!"

OK that's as good as any hardboiled tough-guy film noir dialogue I've ever heard, even though I think he's just making phrases up.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paperback 903: Joy Killer / Ralph Brandon (Vega V-4)

Paperback 903: Vega Books V-4 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Joy Killer
Author: Ralph Brandon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $20 (unread / perfect condition)

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection!]

Best things about this cover:
  • I think that's her underwear on the floor wax can there. I think. For their sakes, I really hope the floor wax is for the floor.
  • Seaman Apprentice! Subtle.
  • I can't get over the fact that together, their names make BABY KILLER.
  • Once again, Vega (and Fabian, and Saber) books are the best, that is, the worst, in a good way. God bless Sanford Aday and his short-lived Fresno-based softcore ridicu-porn empire.

Best things about this back cover:
  • That first sentence of the second paragraph makes me think the writer hasn't really mastered the art of the conjunction.
  • So they're both kinky, but not in compatible ways? Am I reading that last sentence right?
  • I believe that the title "Joy Killer" makes absolutely no sense. Unless there is some as-yet unmentioned character named Joy ... nope, even then, no sense.

Page 123~

"An orgy of sensual lust! Oh Killer, that sounds so exciting."
"I'm trying to help you, you depraved female. Now pay attention to what the book says."

There follows several pages of Killer reading aloud from some kind of sex-phobic sex manual for new wives, which is then followed by a marriage consummation scene in which "I plunged my throbbing masculinity into the depths of her quivering feminity [sic]."


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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Paperback 902: The Black Curtain / Cornell Woolrich (Ace H-104)

Paperback 902: Ace H-104 (1st thus, 1968)

Title: The Black Curtain
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: Stan Hunter [signature]

Estimated value: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • Conjoined twins connected at the forehead are pulled apart like taffy. The good twin becomes a stock broker, while the evil twin becomes someone who shoots squirrels with a shotgun. The stress of all this causes their mother to have a stroke that lands her in a wheelchair. I hate covers that give away the whole plot.
  • The one-mass-of-images style of cover art was, unfortunately, a popular thing for about five years in the '60s. It's as if, as the amount of real estate for images on covers shrank, the images that should have filled a whole cover decided to huddle together in a kind of amorphous glob. Rather than give the cover art room to breathe, or simplifying the art concept, the cover designers give us ... this.
  • My favorite part of this cover is the astonishingly legible full-name signature of the cover artist. Now I know whom to be mad at.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Text. Boring. Boo.
  • "You've heard of amnesia victims." Have I? How do you know? You don't know me.
    "An average person, like you..." Hey, that stings. YOU DON'T KNOW ME!
  • Frank Townsend would eventually find out he's spent three years pretending to be Dick Nixon.

Page 123~

The awful propinquity was over.


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