A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 27

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

This week’s pick from the groaning Badger shelf is a little different from past titles in two ways; Firstly, it’s not written by a gaggle of staff pen jockeys at Badger nor does it have anything to do with the good Reverend Fanthorpe. Secondly, it’s a film novelisation/movie tie-in. It was actually penned by a Hollywood movie director, one Robert A. Wise and is his only book listed on the ISFDB. I haven’t actually seen the film so I don’t know what to expect from its pages.

The tagline is more of an advertisement for the film and reads;

An action packed science fiction story from the Fred O. Gebhardt motion picture hit produced in Hollywood

The cover shows a rocket ship flying past a sun-bathed earth whilst several astronauts stand below on a suspiciously green and verdant looking lunar surface. They all appear to be engaged in some form of the hokey-cokey, arms outstretched toward each other. It doesn’t look to be anything like the action packed, life or death situation as promised by the blurb on the back cover.

Ah well, that could all change inside and so I’ll dive in headlong and read on…

More Badger fun and games next weekend, feel free to use the ‘like’ and comments buttons. It’s what they’re for after all.

12 To The Moon movie novelisation by Robert A. Wise
(Serial Number SF59)
This version was published in 1961 by Badger Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Badger - Wise, 12 To The Moon

12 To The Moon Rear

Digital Digits One. Spaceships

Brown Watson Ltd were a paperback publishing house established in the 1940s and began by issuing mainly westerns and crime thrillers, the mainstays of the pulp fiction market at that time. In the mid 1950s however, the public became fascinated with science fiction and all the new writing that was being produced so Brown Watson Ltd launched the Digit imprint to capitalise on this boom. During its run from 1956 to its eventual closure in 1967, Digit published a veritable mountain of sci-fi books which were loved by the general public and collectors alike. They’re still sought after today, some titles fetching quite large sums of money on the secondhand market.

I’ve always had a thing for cover art as I’m sure you’ll be no doubt aware by now and many of these books did indeed have great covers. My favourites are the ones which take their design cues for spaceships, people etc. from the 1950’s as they brilliantly reflect the stories within. Something worth noting about Digit books is their relative lack of publishing detail, artists are left uncredited and even the year of issue is not printed within. Luckily however, all copies bear a serial number which helps with collecting and identifying individual titles.

My Digit collection has grown somewhat in the last year after many lucky finds on eBay and a little help from friends (thanks Julian). I’ve now decided its time to digitise my Digit covers and share them over several posts, the first few batches of which will be themed.

The theme I’ve decided on for the first two parts is spaceships, mainly because they seem to be so prevalent amongst my collection. There are all manner of shapes and sizes chosen here from the classic cigar-shaped rocket to the flying saucer, its difficult to pick a favourite as I love them all. Which one would you choose though?

And so here then is my first selection of a half dozen books, join me again next week for another helping of these tasty digits.

The House That Stood Still by A. E. Van Vogt
Serial Number – D361
This version was published in 1960 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Van Vogt The House That Stood Still

Invaders Of Earth edited by Groff Conklin
(Serial Number R526)
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Conklin - Invaders of Earth

Split Worlds by Tyrone C. Barr
Serial Number – R563
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Barr Split Worlds

Conditioned For Space by Alan Ash
(Serial Number R478)
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Ash, Conditioned For Space

Into The Darkness by A. G. C. Clarke
Serial Number – R550
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Clarke, Into The Darkness

The Uncharted Planet by V. Ranzetta
Serial Number – R557
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is Charles Bril

digit-ranzetta-the-uncharted-planet

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 26

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

Righto, it’s that time of the week again and my tea, reading specs and Badger book are all awaiting my attention on the side table. After last week’s Supernatural Special choice I’ve gone back to the SF side of the Badger bookshelf and selected another John E. Muller title from my collection. In The Beginning was actually penned (as if you didn’t know) by the threesome of R. L. Fanthorpe, John S. Glasby and A. A. Glynn. Unlike last week’s book we do have the usual tagline which reads;

It was, beyond any doubt, from Outside, from far away in space and possibly from another dimension too

Wordy, troubling stuff indeed!

The cover is another sadly uncredited affair depicting a naked green man draped in a long piece of material, arms aloft as a trio of rocket ships blast off beneath him. In the background is yet another disembodied, bald head (what is it with Badger and their fascination with us noble baldies?) He’s wearing a fine moustache and deeply concerned expression. The rear of the book features brilliantly lurid typography t00, all great stuff as usual!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m itching to get to the beginning of the book and discover what was from far away in space and possibly from another dimension. I’ll see you back here next week for another dose of Badger goodness, comments at the ready people.

In The Beginning by John E. Muller
(Serial Number SF76)
This version was published in 1962 by Badger Books
The cover artist is uncredited

In The Beginning by John E. Muller

In The Beginning Rear

Teece’s Bit… Covered From All Angles!

I dropped in to visit my fellow reader and listener Teece a few weeks ago. As usual, he had a surprise in store for me – a collection of LPs each with a garish, lurid or just plain bizarre sleeve. My head reeled as we sipped our tea and nibbled on some tasty biscuits, would this latest stash of vinyl goodies finally take my readers over the edge or would they pounce on this offering with the same fervour I have come to expect from them after posting that series of ‘What The?’ covers. It’s time to draw in close now my friends, fire up the gramophone and let Teece’s very latest bit take you on a voyage through the stranger zones of his record racks;

Teeces Bit Header

My record collection has survived the cd revolution, the mp3 revolution, several house moves, an equal number of “it’s me or your records” ultimatums, and some heavy pruning in times of need. One bonus of the big 12″ format is of course the cover art. Here are a few of the more ‘inspired’ covers from my collection along with my interpretation of the stories behind them. See what you think – you may well come up with different ideas, which is all part of the fun.

Johnny Guitar Watson – A Real Mother
DJM/Vogue Records, 1977

As you can see, this cover shot gives us a literal interpretation of the album title, A Real Mother, featuring as it does Johnny’s real mother, Wilma (Wilma Guitar Watson?)! Wilma is taking Johnny for a walk in the park in his pimped-up perambulator. It reminds me of the resolutely DIY go-karts our dads used to make us as kids. Over on the back cover Wilma is nowhere to be seen. She’s probably had to go home to get the tea on. But look, she’s left Johnny in the care of three experienced baby-sitters, who look more than capable of taking care of all little Johnny’s needs…

Johnny Guitar Watson - Front

Johnny Guitar Watson - Back

Chet Baker & Art Pepper – Playboys
Vogue Records, 1959

OK, so this is one of those ‘fresh-faced, semi-naked girl holding sinister glove puppets’ type album covers. Quite how this relates to the cool jazz sounds of Chet and Art, I’m not sure. Looks more like a still from a lost David Lynch film to me.

Playboys LP Sleeve

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass – What Now My Love
A&M Records, 1966

What Now My Love indeed, as here we see Herb Alpert frozen on the cusp of what could well be a life-changing decision. His lady friend, clearly in a state of arousal, is whispering suggestions in his ear (probably reminding him of that jigsaw puzzle they still need to finish) and wants Herb to stay home and spend time with her. However, Herb has his trusty trumpet in hand and, look, there in the background are his boys from the Brass posse, itching to cause some Tijuana mayhem. Mates or girlfriend? It’s an age-old dilemma. So then… what now Herb?

What Now My Love

Killer Dillers Volume 4 – Various
Rumble Records, 1993

So, you’ve put together an album of red-hot rock ‘n’ roll obscurities and now you just need some appropriate cover art to compliment those wild primal sounds. What do you go for? A leather–clad rocker wielding a flick-knife? A dangerous blonde in pencil skirt and high-heels, smoking a cigarette under a street-lamp? No, don’t be daft! What you go for, obviously, is a cross-eyed vampire poodle in leopard-skin accessories! Add some garish colours and amateurish fonts and there you have it – a truly awful album cover.

Killer Dillers

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 25

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

It’s been an up and down sort of week here at Unsubscriber Towers and so this week’s choice of book has come from the “Strange, Weird, Eerie” end of my Badger Supernatural Special collection. The title is by Leo Brett – R. L. Fanthorpe and Harry O. Mansfield to those of us in the know and unfortunately doesn’t have a tagline. What it does have however is a great cover piece;

A highly distraught looking blonde gazes fixedly upwards at a materialising spectre complete with bald head and decidedly pointed features. Makes me shudder just to think what’s going on in the turreted old house in the right hand corner of the jacket.

Time to read on now and find out who and why they never came back. Join me next week for more Badger madness and mayhem, comments as ever are welcome.

They Never Come Back by Leo Brett
(Serial Number SN68)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - They Never Come Back by Leo Brett

They Never Came Back Rear

The Strange Case Of The Ballantine Job Lot

It all started some time ago now, I was happily browsing eBay on my iPad sipping a cup of tea when an auction caught my eye. It was for a job lot of fifteen Ballantine books in excellent condition with a starting price of just £10. There were no bids and only a few hours to completion. This had to be too good to be true!

I scrutinised the photos of the books in the ad, they were nearly all by Richard Powers. I knew I might have to bid hard in the closing stages and so planned my strategy meticulously. My head was full of calculations, how much would this collection go for if the books sold separately? I had plenty to think about whilst the clock ticked.

With a minute to spare there was a solitary bid which surprised me greatly given the rarity and usual quality of decent Ballantines around these days. I won’t disclose what I did put in as my final bid but it was a hell of a lot more than my winning price of just £12.16! That equates to approximately 81p for each book – staggering!

When the box arrived and was carefully unpacked, each book was indeed in excellent condition and I was a very happy soul for being the lucky winner of this Ballantine/Powers jamboree. It’s just a shame there are two uncredited covers amongst these beauties so if anyone has any bright ideas as to who they’re by then I’m all ears.

Here’s the haul in all it’s glory for you to enjoy;

Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon
This version was published in 1956 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn

The Fourth “R” by George O. Smith
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Fourth %22R%22 by George O. Smith

Robots And Changelings by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1957 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Robots & Changelings by Lester Del Rey

Far And Away by Anthony Boucher
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Far and Away by Anthony Boucher

Beyond Eden by Davis Duncan
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Beyond Eden by David Duncan

The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth

No Boundaries by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

No Boundaries by Henry Kuttner:C. L. Moore

Turn Left At Thursday by Frederik Pohl
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Turn Left At Thursday by Frederick Pohl

Search The Sky by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Search The Sky by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Wolfbane by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

The Undying Fire by Fletcher Pratt
This version was published in 1953 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Undying Fire by Fletcher Pratt

Citizen In Space by Robert Sheckley
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Citizen In Space by Robert Sheckley

Gladiator-At-Law by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Gladiator-At-Law by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 24

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

It’s that day of the week again, my lazy day spent doing nothing but reading a Badger book from the comfort and privacy of my favourite armchair. This week’s book is yet another John E. Muller title which, if you’ve been keeping up you’ll know is the work of R. L. Fanthorpe , John S. Glasby and A. A. Glynn.

The tagline rather intriguingly reads;

These were no ordinary children – their weapons were enough to destroy Stellar Polaris herself.

Cover art is once again ably provided by Emsh who puts a willowy looking young girl against a background of rockets and a green skinned, wide eyed alien. There’s almost something maternal in the alien’s eyes – a female connection of some sort. It’s a brilliantly executed piece that, despite its obvious luridness has a tender, gentle quality about it. I never expected to be typing a sentence like that about a Badger cover!

More Badger books to be discussed same time, same place next week. See you then.

Space Void by John E. Muller
(Serial Number SF34)
This version was published in 1960 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Badger - Muller, Space Void

Muller, Space Void Rear