Saturday, November 26, 2016

Paperback 982: Nothing More Than Murder / Jim Thompson (Dell 738)

Paperback 982: Dell 738 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Nothing More Than Murder
Author: Jim Thompson
Cover artist: George Geygan

Estimated value: $60-75
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Seriously, what part of him is she stroking? It looks like a lion's paw is growing out of his stomach.
  • I think the bed is supposed to be on fire, but all I see is his hair on fire. Like, "Oh my god, she's stroking my paw ....!!!" and then cartoon fire shoots out of his head.
  • Her hair is nuts, but she is otherwise not hard to look at.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Love love love the color blocks, and the terse, terse blurbs.
  • More blurbs should be as succinct and enigmatic as "Strong meat"
  • But then "both in style and story" shoulda been lopped. Adds nothing. Why am I editing this back cover copy 60+ years after the fact!?

Page 123~

A couple of bobby soxers stood up near the popcorn machine, giggling and talking to Harry, and watching me out of the corner of their eyes.

The period of pulp culture I'm most interested in can probably best be defined as "that period during which the term 'bobby soxer' had currency" (so, '40s-'60s, give or take)


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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Paperback 981: Hangover House / Sax Rohmer (Graphic 78)

Paperback 981: Graphic 78 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: Hangover House
Author: Sax Rohmer
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 6/10
Estimated value: $12-18

Best things about this cover:
  • Dang. That's one bad hangover.
  • The ever-so-delicate, blood red FEAR HAND
  • The line and shape and color of her gown and gloves, truly exquisite
  • Her molded plastic hair, however, yeeps.
  • Fantastic eyebrows. She looks a lot like ... that actress ... from "Downton Abbey" ... Dockery? Mockery? Clockery? Yes, Dockery. Michelle Dockery. Tuesday Weld meets Michelle Dockery.
  • Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you don't spend tomorrow in, well, the Hangover House.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Usually gay. Screw your categories.
  • Storm Kennedy LOL. Storm Kennedy, Porn Detective.
  • Jeez, explain the plot more, why don't you? Ugh.

Page 123~

"Titles? Yes. Mrs. Muller was playing a published song of mine, last night—after the band had gone: Summer Is Winter When You're Not Around."

I Feel Like They've Taken My Dog to the Pound...
I'm Haunted by Demons Who Don't Make a Sound...
I've Run Your Dad's Company Into the Ground...



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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Paperback 980: Away and Beyond / A.E. Van Vogt (Berkley F812)

Paperback 980: Berkley Medallion F812 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Away and Beyond
Author: A.E. Van Vogt
Cover artist: Richard Powers

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 7-8/10 (near perfect, but w/ smushed corner on back cover)

Best things about this cover:
  • I feel like a crucial part of this scene is *just* off-cover: what is the humanoid figure holding / pointing toward / squeezing? Another humanoid? A Nobel Prize? Pancakes?
  • Powers could basically draw anything and it looked amazing. Who has any idea what is going on here? Who cares?
  • Loopy laser lines swooping in and out of figures. Structural, skeletal, electric.

Best things about this back cover:
  • August Derleth ... is not a dynamic writer.
  • Those samples are Unevocative. Scare quotes don't do what you think they do, copywriter.
  • Only way you're buying this is if you already like Van Vogt. Or are bored and will take a flyer on anything that looks this cool.

Page 123~

[from "Film Library"]

Mr. Arlay said, "Careful, Tania. We're almost at rock bottom."

Next time someone goes too far, forget "Slow your roll" or "TMI"—just tell 'em "Careful, Tania."


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Monday, November 21, 2016

Paperback 979: Caught / Henry Green (Berkley BG472)

Paperback 979: Berkley Medallion BG472 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: Caught
Author: Henry Green
Cover artist: photo

Estimated value: $30-50
Condition: 9/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Major English author, sleaze-ified. I love when that happens.
  • Get it? The net is because ... she's "caught." It's, like, a metaphor or something.
  • This book is exquisite. A booksale steal. Belonged to a distinguished professor at Binghamton University (he signed his name inside—the only thing keeping this from a 10/10 condition rating)
  • Armpits have their own tag on this blog. I am terribly proud of this.

Best things about this back cover:
  •  LOL scare quotes. "'Caught,' see? We're speaking metaphorically."
  • Look, if there's not an enmeshed naked dame involved, then I don't wanna know about it.
  • Most pulp paperbacks are not blurbed by Christopher bleeping Isherwood.
  • Just wanted to let you know that the teaser passage that precedes the title page of this book features this choice bit of prose: "She murmured to herself, 'THIS MAN'S MY GONDOLA...'" (emph. orig.)

Page 123~

"Now why, that's what we've got to consider," Pye heard as, in self defence, he let his eyes wander out to the cream yellow sunlight on the ungrowing, still winter grass. "Why," the voice came at him again, "Why? There must be a reason. That is where we want your help."

OK that is bleeping ominous. I really should read this guy.


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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Paperback 978: Pemmican / Vardis Fisher (Cardinal C-253)

Paperback 978: Cardinal C-253 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Pemmican
Author: Vardis Fisher
Cover artist: Daniel Schwartz

Estimated value: $7-10
Condition: 7/10

[from the Laura R. Braunstein Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • The only thing scarier than her fright makeup is her linebacker hands. Look at those meat claws, dear god!
  • Why would you kneel in the river like that? Serious question.
  • Her mouth! We get it, she's "savage," dial it back.
  • I do like the way the light shines off her hip.
  • Chief Wahoo on Cleveland Indians uniforms. Dakota Access Pipeline. This dehumanizing shit must be exhausting.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, the "savage white girl" trope. See Natalie Wood in "The Searchers."
  • I wish this were titled "A Virile Young Scotsman, or, The Debauchery"
  • Rawboned! The bones of this book have not seen fire! Like sushi, are these bones!

Page 123~

"Coming!" he whispered.

He whispered with an exclamation point? Wow. Graphic.


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Friday, October 7, 2016

Paperback 977: The Weirwoods / Thomas Burnett Swann (Ace 87941)

Paperback 977: Ace 87941 (PBO, 1977)

Title: The Weirwoods
Author: Thomas Burnett Swann
Cover artist: Stephen Hickman

Estimated value: $5-10
Condition: 8/10

[Part of the Laura R. Braunstein Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Where woods? There woods.
  • Slow your roll, fantasy fiction Teri Garr.
  • That dress is pretty hot.
  • She doesn't have Fear Hand™but somethin' ain't right.
  • "Welcome ... to the Land of Towering Sex Toys. The pegasi will be here shortly to take you to pleasures unknown..."
Best things about this back cover:
  • Those are some respectable blurbs right there. Makes me wanna read this. LADY OF THE BEES also sounds promising.
  • This back cover's sense of the boundary between reality and fantasy seems a little feeble. Rome, real, Etruscans, real, Centaurs, uh ...
  • Well, sure, you name a guy Lars Velcha, what do you expect him to become?

Page 123~

She skittered down the trunk with the speed of a hungry squirrel.


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Monday, September 26, 2016

Paperback 976: Century of the Manikin / E.C. Tubb (Daw No. 18)

Paperback 976: Daw Books No. 18 (PBO, 1972)

Title: Century of the Manikin
Author: E.C. Tubbs
Cover artist: Jack Gaughan

Estimated value: $8-12
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • The latest anti-Hillary ad is pretty intense.
  • Not sure whom I'm supposed to support here, but I'm going with Tron-Medea over the nameless faceless horde of enrobed white dudes. History says: roll the dice on the tough broad.
  • Those spaceships are super-cool. Simple design, spooky design.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Drugs that controlled warlike emotions"—Ask your doctor about Negroni
  • Of course the feminist doesn't *really* want peace, she just wants to bitch you to death, [sigh] [shakes head] women, amirite? [trips over shoelaces]
  • You can't make an omelet without shattering a few civilizations.

Page 123~

A remarkable woman, he mused, leaning back, the skin sagging on his heavy features. Hard and strong and, in a way, ruthless, but they were qualities he could admire. A person who had fought all her life and was still fighting. And was still doomed, he thought bleakly. The disease from which she had run could not be cured.

I really didn't need this just 7 hours before the debate. I really didn't.


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