Monday, August 22, 2016

Paperback 970: The Illustrated Man / Ray Bradbury (Bantam 991)

Paperback 970: Bantam 991 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: The Illustrated Man
Author: Ray Bradbury
Cover artist: [Charles Binger]

Estimated value: $15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Happy Bradburthday! (b. Aug. 22, 1920)
  • Ooh, the rarely seen *male* Fear Hand. Cool.
  • First story in this collection is "The Veldt." It is holy-smokes great. Legendary. Rereading today.

Best things about this back cover:
  • This is the greatest back-cover bio of all time. OF ALL TIME.
  • Decry the hogwash!
  • After this book came out, Bradbury continued writing for another *60* years.
  • Had no idea he rocked the bow tie. Hot.

Page 123~

(LOL ... uh, this book is missing p. 121-152; not torn out, just ... never included!? Whoa. So ... p. 23!)

The first concussion cut the rocket up the side with a giant can opener. The men were thrown into space like a dozen wriggling silverfish. They were scattered into a dark sea; and the ship, in a million pieces, went on, a meteor swarm seeking a lost sun.

[Opening paragraph of "Kaleidoscope"] [insert quiet admiration here]


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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Paperback 969: Half-way to Hell / Serg Ross (France F41)

Paperback 969: France F41 (PBO, 1963)

Title: Half-way to Hell
Author: Serg Ross
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $20-25
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Feels closer than that.
  • It's like he emerged from the sea just to have his soul sucked out of his face.
  • The vibe here is so "Exploitation" that it makes me a little uncomfortable. The horrid decor. The cheesy plaid dude. The alcohol. Nothing good is happening here.
  • It's a fold-out cover, but not a continuation of the cover picture (thank god). Not gonna show it, as it is a photo of a random naked woman and you can see her nipple and while I know none of you care and I don't care, I've had my website(s) blocked for harmless stuff like that before. Also, the photo continues the ick vibe of this cover, and I think we've had enough. . . . wait, I can just block out the "offending" nipple ... hang on ... 


Gratuitous nude photo! Enjoy. Or don't.

And now the back cover:

Best things about this back cover:
  • I am not "highly stimulated" by any of this, especially with that damn monster-kiss hovering over everything.

Page 123~

"That's the bartendah, I take it?" Tom asked, pointing obviously at Adam. "Those niggahs are always late."

Ugh. This book is the worst. Booo!


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Paperback 968: Eros Laughed / Bart Mayes (France Books F19)

Paperback 968: France F19 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Eros Laughed
Author: Bart Mayes —credited nowhere on either front or back cover :(
Cover artist: "Cover photo by Sam Wu" ("photo posed by professional model")

Estimated value: $25
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Jesus wept.
  • Is that a bare mattress?
  • It is at least somewhat remarkable that these books provide a *photographer* credit. Most paperbacks don't give their *fully painted covers* an artist credit.
  • This book is immaculate, but for a bent-up corner of the back cover.
Here's the fold-out!:
  • "Odd" and "ball" desperately want to be reunited. See also "twenty" and "eight."
  • Hey! Hidden lesbian content! That stuff's not normally, uh, hidden where these books are concerned.
  • Based on the last two France covers, it appears that what men want in their fold-out covers is a generous expanse of haunch. Nothing wrong with that.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Gonna start referring to myself as "on the dark side of thirty." I'm 46, so I think it works.
  • Wow this writing is straight terrible. First, it just doesn't got with the girl pictured. Second, the whole last third of the paragraph adds nothing to either the "eros" of the passage or to character development or Anything.
  • Oh, Gawd, indeed.

Page 123~

When Louise saw her fully clothed, she dressed, too, and they sat together tiredly, letting the coffee do its beneficial work.

Good ol' coffee. Doing the work. Easing the shame. My best friend.


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Paperback 967: Silent Sex / Jim Harmon (France F21)

Paperback 967: France F21 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Silent Sex
Author: Jim Harmon (credited on back) (?)
Cover artist: "Cover Photo by Ralph Poole / Cover posed by professional model"

Estimated value: $25
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Doesn't sound like much fun tbh
  • Should the main visual component of the cover of a book called "Silent Sex" be the fabric pattern on the couch? Seafoam Sex!
  • France books are ... so odd. They combine the fanciness of a fold-out front cover with the low-rent ickiness of everything else. Here's the out-folded cover:

  • I guess we get a pretty good stretch of hind quarters there, but once again, I'm queasily mesmerized by the decor. Sex in a gilded frame!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Whoa. 1920s Hollywood? Did NOT see that coming.
  • Next time someone doesn't recognize your (or anyone else's) name, just follow it up with "... of the Purple Gloves?" and see what happens.
  • I want to like Sherri Novak because like me she appears to be a medievalist of sorts, but that blurb makes no sense.
  • I really want "Billy" to be a literal horse.

Page 123~

Now, six years later, he was sleeping at the side of a girl who had learned "tricks" from an under-the-counter book. Full circle.

He shook her awake. "Do the rabbit one again! Please!"


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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Paperback 966: I.O.U. Murder / William Francis (Signet 865)

Paperback 966: Signet 865 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: I.O.U. Murder
Author: William Francis
Cover artist: uncredited

Estimated value: $6-10
Condition: 3/10

Best things about this cover:
  • This is pretty brutal. Normally, these dead-ladies-reclining-over-beds-or-couches covers are pretty sexed-up affairs, and there's definitely a sexual element here, but the violence of the scene, particularly her chillingly open eyes, really undercuts the eroticism. Which is probably as it should be.
  • That window is oddly free of ... well, everything.
  • That circle in the middle—the one that makes her look like she died doing some kind of odd trick with a hula hoop—is not original to the cover. Someone set something circular and tacky on the book, and then yoink: circle. Puts me in mind of a peeping tom's telescope lens. A happy accident.
  • I'd've fought hard for keeping "Rough on Rats"

Best things about this back cover:
  • A hard-boiled tagline if I've ever seen one.
  • Also, nothing says "hard-boiled" like "third-rate Los Angeles bar."
  • That last line spirals off into incoherent purple territory. Otherwise, fine, standard-issue crime fiction cover copy.

Page 123~

I waited in the car for Barney. He joined me in a few minutes and we drove back to the office and hauled the case up to my rooms. I paid Barney, and watched the elevator drop out of sight before I went in and locked the doors and opened the suitcase. It was full of round, flat cans, each of which held a spool of film.

The best part of this is that after the first sentence, my mind imagined the entire scene as part of an episode of "The Flintstones."


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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Paperback 965: Ruby MacLaine / John Roeburt (Hillman 151)

Paperback 965: Hillman Books 151 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Ruby MacLaine
Author: John Roeburt
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $6-9
Condition: 3/10

Best things about this cover:
  • So ... that is a plausibly human head, torso, and backside. After that, the wheels come off. She would have to have 10-ft-long legs for that foot size to be right. Also, no one can stand like that and not put at least *some* pressure on the bedclothes. But mostly, the problem is perspective. The bed looks like it's for a child, and the lamp and bedstand are comically small. Trump-hand tiny. Dollhouse tiny.
  • Still, credit where credit is due: the backside makes it highly unlikely anyone's fretting too much about the mini-furniture.
  • "FEEL MY MORBID POWER!" exclaimed a drunk and exultant John Roeburt as he stumbled along Broadway, a rumpled New York Times in his hand.

Best things about this back cover:
  • See. Back cover designer knew what to do with that front cover: CROP.
  • "Backstreet"? Take that, N*SYNC!
  • "There'll be compensations" is an utterly implausible bit of dialogue. Also, I was proposing ... asking ..." makes no sense. You were proposing or you were asking, but you were not proposing asking. Although maybe a guy who ruffles a girl's hair as a come-on has bigger problems than grammar.

Page 123~

"I want to be admired for my mind," Ruby said winkingly.
Coulter looked critically at her. "That was on the square," he said slowly.
She looked levelly at him. "I want resources other than just my sex."

Later, Coulter says, "I get the dig." That makes one of us, Coulter.


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P.S. the first line on the first (teaser) page of this novel is: "They made their agreement in a motel." I probably would've bought this book on the strength of that premise alone.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Paperback 964: This Kill Is Mine / Dean Evans (Graphic 131)

Paperback 964: Graphic 131 (1st ptg, 1956)

Title: This Kill Is Mine
Author: Dean Evans
Cover artist: Oliver Brabbins

Estimated value: $12-15
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • She knows we know she's justified. If anyone's begging to be shot, it's that guy. I can almost hear him saying "Cheers, m'lady [hic!]"
  • I'm oddly mesmerized by the lamp, which appears to be apparating.
  • I believe those are what Christa Faust would call "bitch eyebrows."
  • Liquor gone. Glasses empty. Nothin' left to do but shoot this bozo and burn the place down. (At least I assume what that matchbook in the foreground is for)

Best things about this back cover:
  • When Musical Chairs Gets Out of Hand.
  • She Taunted the Loser ... with Dance!
  • Awesome double fear-hand on our anonymous victim here.
  • I literally don't understand that first sentence.
  • "Arnold Weir figured" is an awkward way to intro your protagonist's name.
  • The more I read, the stranger—and less grammatical—this story gets.

Page 123~

Little burrs and clicks floated across space between us while I thought about it.
"All right," I said finally. "Your place."


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