Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paperback 757: Hammett Homicides / Dashiell Hammett (Dell 223)

Paperback 757: Dell 223 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Hammett Homicides
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Gerald Gregg

Yours for: $30


Best things about this cover:
  • Taste the (lead) rainbow!
  • Uh, guys? I think it's probably dead now.
  • I see a pretty butterfly.
  • Gerald Gregg is my favorite early, semi-abstract, non-sleazy cover artist.


Best things about this back cover:
  • [ahem] … MAPBACK!
  • So iconic—Hammett's S.F.!
  • Sausaleto? What the?! … aw, I can't stay mad at you, mapback! Come here!

Page 123~ (opening paragraph of "The Main Death")

The captain told me Hacken and Begg were handling the job. I caught them leaving the detectives' assembly room. Begg was a freckled heavyweight, as friendly as a Saint Bernard puppy, but less intelligent. Lanky Detective-Sergeant Hacken, not so playful, carried the team's brains behind his worried hatchet face.


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Paperback 756: The Wild Palms and The Old Man / William Faulkner (Signet S1148)

Paperback 756: Signet S1148 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: The Wild Palms and The Old Man
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: James Avati

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:

  • Contemptuous Annette Bening resents your intrusion into her back-porch reveries.
  • James Avati is by far the best boring cover artist of all time.
  • There are many nice features to this painting—the expression on her face, the color of her shirt, the … let's call it an 'awning,' her bare feet, the grain in the wood … but still, this is pretty dull as covers go. Maybe they dialed it back out of respect for the Nobel Prize?


Best things about this back cover:

  • Yawn.
  • You can do better than this, Signet Giant!
  • The only part of this back cover that I like is the word "drenched."

Page 123~ (from "The Wild Palms")

The yellow eyes were full on him, she released the bitten lip and as he sprang back toward the bed he heard over the chuckling murmur of the wind the two voices at the front door, the porch—the plump-calved doctor's high, almost shrill, almost breaking, that of the gray gorgon wife cold and level, at a baritone pitch a good deal more masculine than the man's voice, the two of them unorientable because of the wind like the voices of two ghosts quarreling about nothing, he (Wilbourne) hearing them and losing them too in the same instant as he bent over the wide yellow stare in the head which had ceased to roll, above the relaxed bleeding lip.

In case you were wondering what "Faulknerian" meant.


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Paperback 755: A New Kind of Orgy / Con Sellers (Novel Book 6094)

Paperback 755: Novel Book 6094 (PBO, 1961)

Title: A New Kind of Orgy
Author: Con Sellers
Cover artist: "posed by professional models"

Yours for: Not for Sale—part of the Doug Peterson Collection


Best things about this cover:
  • No more togas and vomitoria—it's … a new kind of orgy!
  • "OK, people, we're inventing a new orgy here, so … um … First, everyone push your boobs together. OK … that's … yep, get in there … just … ouch! … OK good … alright, this is pretty hot, right? … Now … let's see … hey, wait, don't fall asleep yet, you two!"
  • "Feel all strange and squirmy" … Did she drop the pronoun 'cause she's intoxicated? Or is that a command? "I said 'Feel strange and squirmy!' FEEL IT! Don't make me shake my big, now bared bosom at you!"

OK, now for the really good part: Imagine what the author of a book like "A New Kind of Orgy" might look like. Go ahead, imagine it. I'll wait … OK, you got a clear image? Well, did it look anything like this? (warning: brace yourselves):


Best things about this back cover:
  • Con Sellers, satanic grave-robbing phys ed teacher.
  • Con Sellers, alcoholic sweater fetishist.
  • Con Sellers, collector of trinkets, smoker of weed.
  • Con Sellers, proud holder of service medals, male fiction writing medals, and other shiny things he keeps in his home dungeon basement.
  • "He's done everything from —" HA ha. Fill in the blank! Even the cover's like "Yep, whatever crazy-ass shit you can imagine, Con Sellers has Done It."
  • That smile … it stays with you … trust me.
  • Count Chocula, retiree.
  • I have never not laughed when looking at this picture. Never. Not once.

Page 123~
Mai gave him a smile. "Nothing to nobody—I know that rule, too. I just don't want you to get hurt, Pio."
"Me? Get hurt?" His laugh was high and brittle. "That ain't the way it goes, baby. It's the other guys that get hurt."
"How do you think I got my medallion collection, baby? Service to my country? [high and brittle laughter] Oh, Mai, you adorable kid, you. Go fetch me my lounging sweater. And all the weed you can carry."


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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Paperback 754: Passionate Trio / John Davidson (Epic Book 120)

Paperback 754: Epic Book Original No. 120 (PBO, 1961)

Title: Passionate Trio
Author: John Davidson
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: Not for Sale (part of the Doug Peterson Collection)


Best things about this cover:

  • I can't believe this cover photo *ever* read as salacious. It could easily be the cover of a modern girl group's album Right Now. Adorable.
  • "Half-female" raises the important question WHAT IS THE OTHER HALF!? IS IT RANCH DRESSING!?
  • Seriously, this photo looks like it was taken yesterday. Fantastic swimsuits! This may be the only cover where my reasons for wanting to see more of the women's bodies are almost purely fashion-related.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Wild Font! Love it.
  • Wow, the tonal gulf between cover photo and cover copy just gets deeper and wider…
  • "Bill Hayward" made me laugh out loud. "Here is the story of something racy … Here is the story of something salacious … Here is the story of some random guy's name."
  • Next time I feel caught in the insane whirl of my existence, and people ask me how I'm feeling, I'll be like "not gonna lie, kinda Bill Hayward today."
  • READ THIS STORY, NOW! = my kind of advertising come-on. No beating around the bush. JUST BUY IT, MOTHERFUCKER!

Page 123~

Even from where he stood he could see that she was drunk.

"Why aren't you at work?"

"Too drunk," she replied. "Aha," he exclaimed. "Just as I thought."


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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Paperback 753: The 1,000-Year Plan / Isaac Asimov // No World of Their Own / Poul Anderson (Ace D-110)

Paperback 753: Ace D-110 (1st ptg / PBO, 1955)

Title: The 1,000-Year Plan / No World of Their Own
Author: Isaac Asimov / Poul Anderson
Cover artist: [Ed Valigursky] / Uncredited

Yours for: $25


Best things about this cover:
  • The Minister of Eyebrows is not pleased.
  • Rocket-shooting epaulets! Sign me up.
  • I saw this sitting on top of the pull boxes at my comic book store and asked the owner if I could look at it. She said, "You like it? Take it." So there's one more benefit to buying local.


Best things about this other cover:
  • Are we not men? We are Smear-Face.
  • This looks like a very polished sci-fi artist's sketchpad. Buncha vaguely space-y stuff, no real concept.
  • The capitalization scheme here is irking me. Titles capitalized, great. Uncapitalized, ok. First two words only … that just adds to the half-baked feel of this entire cover.

Page 123~

Through the shrieking din and confusion, Wienis' bull voice sounded, "Get the flares! Get the flares!"


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Friday, March 14, 2014

Paperback 752: French Model / Cecil Barr (Beacon B133)

Paperback 752: Beacon B133 (1st pb, 1957)

Title: French Model
Author: Cecil Barr
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: Not For Sale (part of the Doug Peterson Collection)


Best things about this cover:

As Doug said to me as he handed me the book: "Motorboat fail."
That guy is *totally* a Cecil.
"Starring Darrin's boss from "Bewitched" and a *very* grown-up Marcia Brady!"
His trousers are gigantic.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Far, far sexier than the cover...
  • ...Until you start reading the words. That's a whole lot of yuck, very very fast.
  • As far as future possible aliases go … I call dibs on "Shockproof Daffodil"

Page 123~

"I'm going to watch you dress, Daffodil. Is this what you're going to wear? It's ravishing, of course, but only you could wear it. What arms, my dear, and I say, what legs! No wonder old Amy—don't rush it, darling, have a heart. Do you mean to say no soutien-gorge? But of course not. Let me—don't be a fool, Daffodil, what are you afraid of. Firm as little rocks. Ugh, you darling! I'm not one of Amy's sort, more's the pity, or what a time I should be having."

My French is a little rusty, but allow me to translate: Daffodil's lady friend/maid is watching her dress and feeling her up while wishing out loud that she was a lesbian (like the mythical "Amy") so she could … watch Daffodil dress and feel her up? It's not clear what Amy would be doing, but one imagines she'd be avoiding laughably unsexy phrases like "Firm as little rocks" and "Ugh, you darling."


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paperback 751: The Oddballs / Stacey Clubb (Softcover Library B853X)

Paperback 751: Softcover Library B853X (PBO, 1965)

Title: The Oddballs
Author: Stacey Clubb
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: Not For Sale—part of the Doug Peterson Collection


Best things about this cover:
  • "I don't think they're so odd," he said, self-consciously.
  • So many questions. Such as, where has her right arm got to? Or, why their bed is a parallelogram?
  • Remember the fad of wearing two differently colored stockings!? Me either.
  • "You awake? … tickle tickle! … alright then, I'm just going to remove your head with my jaws now, OK? Just relax."
  • "The only practical sex was unnatural sex!" — Having trouble understanding the use of the word "practical" here. "Well, see, I would just put my penis in your vagina, but … it's really not practical for me ... right now … at this juncture … you know? So, let's just bring in the elephant and the mustard and see how it goes, mkay? It's just easier that way."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Shadowy = Lesbiany. In case you're unfamiliar with paperback code.
  • INA, ha ha! Calling all crossword constructors, we got a live one!
  • I want a business card that reads "Encourager of odd rites and practices."

Page 123~

The sting of his blow had not penetrated.

Nope, sorry, that was just the first thing I opened to. Hang on … OK, here we go:

"Bernice," he called out.

But the bikini-clad goddess who appeared casually at the top of the mezzanine stairs in response to his blithe summons was not, of course, Bernice.

If ever there was a name custom-made for softcore porn, that name is Blithe Summons.


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Monday, March 10, 2014

Paperback 750: Exotic Sinner / Shep Sheppard (Bedtime Books 953)

Paperback 750: Bedtime Books 953 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Exotic Sinner
Author: Shep Sheppard
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: Not For Sale—part of the Doug Peterson Collection

Another crossword puzzle tournament, another generous paperback donation from Mr. Doug Peterson. Let's see what he brought:


Best things about this cover:
  • Because domestic sinners are not in season.
  • Welcome to … The Purplest Room.
  • "And introducing … antique chair!"
  • I can't believe a woman that hot could talk that stupid to a guy that gee-whizzical.
  • I love her dress so much I can't even tell you. 
  • This exotic sinner has a cute, girl-next-door vibe that I am finding quite adorable. 
  • I think Shep Sheppard *might* be a pen name.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Um, I think you mean "locale." 
  • Um, I think you mean "wastrels." No, wait—a "wastel" is "a kind of white and fine bread or cake," so … maybe "wastels"?

Page 123~

Suddenly out where the barracuda had last jumped she saw the dorsal fin of a requiem shark.

Just in case you thought you knew what this book was about.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Paperback 749: Satan's Child / Peter Saxon (Lancer 73-764)

Paperback 749: Lancer 73-764 (PBO, 1968)

Title: Satan's Child
Author: Peter Saxon
Cover artist: Jeff Jones (Jeffrey Catherine Jones)

Yours for: $15


Best things about this cover:
  • Can't a girl rub her naked bottom on dandelions in peace around here!
  • No need for pepper spray or a handgun when you've got Smoke-jaguar.
  • Is that behelmeted guy out walking his Smoke-jaguar or shape-shifting into a Smoke-jaguar?
  • It's like Rosemary's Baby. Only with more orange. And a Smoke-jaguar.
  • One of my all-time favorite fantasy paperback covers, despite/because of its looniness. Love the orange, love the enigmatic man/jaguar/smoke hybrid, love the not-all-that-worried sunbather.
  • Only just learned that Jeff Jones was (later in life) Jeffrey Catherine Jones (a trans woman). Fascinating story. She died in 2011. Comics Journal obit here.


Best things about this back cover:
  • That is a pretty great use of empty space—like a womb holding the embryonic "Seedling From Hell." 
  • Ooh, terrible vengeance! That's my favorite kind!
  • You're gonna have a hard time finding a greater name in all of literature than "Pricker Gill.

Page 123~
"All of it!" Finlay cried hoarsely. "I wager it all."

Silently his companions met his wager—and threw down their hands. They were identical—and identical to his own.

Finlay's mouth dried and he gave a little groan of despair. "I … I thought I must win."


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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Paperback 748: Fair Prey / Will Duke (Graphic 142)

Paperback 748: Graphic 142 (PBO, 1956)

Title: Fair Prey
Author: Will Duke [pen name of William Campbell Gault]
Cover artist: Oliver Brabbins

Yours for: $22


Best things about this cover:
  • Will duke for food.
  • She is sporting some pretty serious shoulder muscle definition. 
  • It's like fair play. Only it's prey. Get it?
  • It's all kind of chaotic. Too crowded, too many things happening. Like some reality show where people compete to see who gets to be the actual cover subject. Dead man is very convincing, but the lady is going full axilla … that's going to be hard to beat. But wait, here comes a cop … with a drifter in his wake, trying to impede him … this is tough to call, Jim.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Golf. Huh. Didn't see that coming.
  • "Out of my way, baby. That breakfast buffet's calling my name."
  • This is some pretty low-grade cover copy. I'm at least vaguely familiar with golf terminology, but … can you be "in" par? Is that a recognizable play on words, or just faux-sensational nonsense?

Page 123~

I remember the gulp and the moisture in my eyes, but I don't remember what I said. 

"The Gulp and the Moisture" was, of course, Norman Mailer's far, far less successful follow-up to "The Naked and the Dead."


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