Ace On Sunday #5

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This Sunday, I’m making a fresh trip to the unsubscriber library shelves to choose a new Ace Double for the next few weeks of weekend reading. My random selection has resulted in a pair of titles which were both penned by G. C. Edmondson, the first of which is a collection of shorts titled Stranger Than You Think. Let’s have a look at the tagline;

Things from space, things from time…

Intriguing stuff to be sure. This book contains a total of seven short stories by Edmondson which are sometimes referred to as his ‘Mad Friend’ series of improbable tales related to the author by an associate who experienced many bizarre happenings.

The Jack Gaughan cover art is another fine example of his work, it features a fully suited astronaut complete with glass fishbowl style helmet against a series of planets in increasing shadow. I particularly like the font used for the title and the way it is contained within the largest of the planets.

I’m looking forward to reading this collection immensely and so I’ll stop typing here so I can immerse myself in the strange tales of Mr Edmondson’s mad friend. I hope that you’ll join me here again next Sunday to find out what title graces the reverse of this omnibus when I’ll reveal more fantastic vintage SF artwork. Let me know in the comments if you’re enjoying this series so far and share your thoughts, they’re always appreciated.

Stranger Than You Think by G. C. Edmondson
(Serial Number M-109)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

M-109 Stranger Than You Think by G. C. Edmondson

Audio Sequence, February 2016

Unsubscribed Audio Sequence Feb 2016

Post updated with new links

This past month has seen me digging deeper into my large collection of psychedelic LPs and so I thought I’d use this exploration as a basis for my February audio sequence. Unlike last month’s mix, this one has a more thematic flow being sourced from a single set of influences which I hope you’ll enjoy just as much.

I’ve chosen lesser known examples of this fine genre and have included tracks recorded by bands from the UK and US in addition to countries not usually associated with this movement such as Spain, Italy, Brazil, France and Turkey.

Once again I’ve decided not to include a tracklist, preferring to let the music to speak for itself instead. So just hit up the link below to download the mp3 file, throw it onto your computer or player of your choice and let the resulting sounds massage your temples.

Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what you think or if you have any queries about my choice of tracks. I’ll be back in March with the next instalment of this series.

February 2016 Download Link

Last month’s audio sequence enjoyed a great deal of attention, particularly in Singapore and is still available to download from the following link;

January 2016 Download Link

Ace On Sunday #4

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Today’s novel is a continuation of the book I chose at random last week by Ray Cummings (here) which I ended up enjoying a lot more than I initially thought I would despite its fantastic cover. Flipping the book upside down reveals I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott which is actually a pseudonym for John Brunner and bears the tagline;

The Man With Seven Faces

I love the cover painting by the inimitable Emsh, a row of overlapping heads which when looked at closely show that the mouth of each ascending figure is in fact the eye of the one below. It’s a very clever piece that works incredibly well to trick the eye if scanned from arm’s length. There is however a slight disparity in the number of faces portrayed, the tagline clearly says seven whereas Emsh only has available space to paint six!

Time to stop pondering this conundrum now and get on with reading the novel, I’ll be selecting a new Ace Double from the library shelves next Sunday so please do join me then. I hope you enjoy this fine example of vintage SF cover art, feel free to let me know your thoughts as always in the comments.

I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott
(Serial Number D-497)
This version was published in 1961 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

D-497 I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott

Latest Covers By Richard Powers

Regular readers of this humble blog will already know that I’m a huge fan of Richard Powers and his stunningly modernist cover art. Because of this, I always keep a close eye on eBay auctions, in secondhand bookshops and various other sources for good examples. Despite the fact that I have a huge number of Powers covers in my library, I am always amazed to find myself stumbling over books which I have never seen before and am therefore compelled to add them to my collection.

A few months ago I was browsing the online store of a US eBay seller that I follow when I came across a number of such titles. I was astonished to see so many in one place and all with a very reasonable asking price too. I immediately made a selection, agreed a postage charge with the buyer and set about waiting for my box of beautiful books to arrive.

Some weeks later, a courier knocked at my door bearing a parcel from the States and I eagerly tore into it to reveal a dozen or so pristine novels with eye popping cover art. I thought I’d share the first batch with you as they all feature paintings by the hugely talented Mr Powers. I’ll be hoping to add a few more books like these to my collection during 2016.

I hope that you enjoy this selection, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments as always.

Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr
This version was published in 1954 by Dell Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr

The Metal Monster by A. Merritt
This version was published in 1957 by Avon Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Metal Monster by A. Merritt

Re-Birth by John Wyndham
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Re-Birth by John Wyndham

The Winds Of Time by Chad Oliver
This version was published in 1958 by Pocket Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Winds Of Time by Chad Oliver

Star Short Novels edited by Frederik Pohl
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Star Short Novels edited by Frederik Pohl

The Unsleep by Diana and Meir Gillon
This version was published in 1962 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Unsleep by Diana and Meir Gillon

Ace On Sunday #3

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It’s been great to start this series on such a high note with titles from Philip K. Dick and John Brunner but this Sunday it’s time to return to the Ace Doubles shelf in my library and select a brand new volume. I decided not to make an informed choice on this occasion and simply pulled out the first book that came to hand, serial number D-497. Today’s novel then is Wandl The Invader by Ray Cummings and has the following tagline;

A new planet menaces the solar system

The cover art features a hilarious yet fantastic painting by Ed Valigursky which somehow manages to land on the right side of kitsch. A startled young blonde clad in wonderfully retro-futuristic garb presses herself against the wall as a strange alien figure approaches. The extraterrestrial being itself is a spherical pink mass with stubby legs, tentacular arms and yellow eyes protruding on stalks. This is most definitely a cover of its time when illustrators pushed at the boundaries of their imaginations when faced with visualising what creatures from other worlds might look like.

It’s time to look past that nifty cover art and settle myself in for a good read, join me here again next Sunday to find out what lies on the other side of this Ace Double. Drop me a comment if you enjoyed this selection or let me know if you have a favourite cover featuring a rendition of some weird alien lifeform.

Wandl The Invader by Ray Cummings
(Serial Number D-497)
This version was published in 1961 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Wandl The Invader by Ray Cummings

Three Chris Yates Wraparounds

Early on during last year I came across a slightly tatty copy of Kalin by E. C. Tubb in a secondhand bookshop for the princely sum of seventy five pence. It was in worse condition than I usually allow myself to go for but it was perfectly readable and had a striking wraparound cover by Chris Yates so I decided to purchase it despite the faults.

Just recently I stumbled across two other Tubb novels which were also issued by Arrow Books in the same year as Kalin, both of which had a Yates wraparound cover. Once again though, neither of the books were in particularly good condition but it seemed a shame not to add them to my small collection especially given how ridiculously cheap they were.

Because of the effort and technical application involved in constructing a good image comprising of both covers and spine, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to try and remove as many defects in post processing. It took a good few hours of work to complete each book but I think the results speak for themselves and show off Chris Yates’ psychedelic painting/collage skills to full effect. It’s certainly the first time these covers have appeared on the web in this format which makes all the time spent hunched over my MacBook Pro worthwhile.

I’m sure that you’ll appreciate these covers too, please be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think. And remember, always check the rear of your books when browsing, you can never be sure when a wraparound will come to hand.

Kalin by E. C. Tubb
This version was published in 1973 by Arrow Books
The cover artist is Chris Yates

Kalin by E. C. Tubb

The Winds Of Gath by E. C. Tubb
This version was published in 1973 by Arrow Books
The cover artist is Chris Yates

The Winds Of Gath by E. C. Tubb

Toyman by E. C. Tubb
This version was published in 1973 by Arrow Books
The cover artist is Chris Yates

Toyman by E. C. Tubb

Ace On Sunday #2

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Last weekend, you may recall that I decided to embark upon a trip through some recent additions to my Ace Doubles collection as a substitute for the now completed Badger books which had become my usual Sunday reading partner. The plan is to select a new volume, complete the first title and then flip it over to read the other side on the following week. I began my journey with serial number D-457, Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick (here) which was a sterling read as I expected it would be from one of my all time SF heroes. And so today I’ve turned over the book to reveal a title by John Brunner who I also wrote about last Wednesday (here) and stated that I was surprised to find how many of his novels I have in my library – this one had gone completely unnoticed until now.

Like its companion on the reverse side of the book, this tale bears a tagline which reads;

Human fuses for a galactic explosion

The cover art is superb showing a number of rocketships blasting away from an exploding, fiery planet. There’s something very familiar about this cover painting that I became convinced I had seen it used before on another title which sent me scurrying to the library shelves. I couldn’t locate a match after performing a cursory search so if you know where else it has appeared (if at all) then please do let me know.

Temporary diversion over, it’s now time for me to settle down in my favourite seat and read on. I’ll be back next Sunday with a new book to share so join me then for more Ace Double action. Your thoughts are always welcome so feel free to drop me a comment.

The Skynappers by John Brunner
(Serial Number D-457)
This version was published in 1960 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

D-457 The Skynappers by John Brunner