Two Unicorns – Or, Finish Searching Before You ‘Buy It Now’

Some time ago I was on the hunt for a copy of Theodore Sturgeon’s E Pluribus Unicorn. I was scanning eBay as usual and found many modern reprints but nothing that remotely tickled my fancy in the cover department. One evening however I came across this slightly tatty looking 1969 Panther edition with rather groovy psychedelic cover art;

Sturgeon E Pluribus Unicorn 1

The seller had marked the copy as ‘Acceptable’ which I don’t usually buy but I suppose I was blinded by that crazy, sadly uncredited cover painting. I decided to take a chance and believing my search was now over duly clicked the ‘Buy It Now’ button. I don’t know what possessed me to keep scrolling down the page, after all I now had what I needed but scroll I did. Then to my shock, another older copy appeared on my screen. I couldn’t believe it and told myself that I didn’t need two copies of this book but something about the cover nagged at me. Here’s the second volume published by Ballantine in 1965;

Sturgeon E Pluribus Unicorn 2

I headed over to the ISFDB (here) and was amazed to learn that the cover was actually by Richard Powers! I hopped straight back onto eBay and bought my second copy of E Pluribus Unicorn of the evening. Both books arrived a few days later and the Panther version was indeed in a bit of a sorry state, the Ballantine however was in pristine condition and having only cost £2 more than the first I was relieved that I hadn’t made a more foolish mistake than I could have done.

The Moral of this story – finish your search before buying your book of choice. I’d like to think I’m a little more careful now in light of this incident!


3 thoughts on “Two Unicorns – Or, Finish Searching Before You ‘Buy It Now’

  1. Joachim Boaz 09/06/2014 / 10:55 am

    I have the Powers cover. I’ve alway loved it — although my copy is crumbling into pieces.


    • unsubscriber 09/06/2014 / 11:05 am

      The cover is not really done in the usual Powers style is it? Still, I can’t complain having got what I wanted in the end… twice!


      • Joachim Boaz 09/06/2014 / 6:22 pm

        Definitely not. I suspect he did a few more collages but I can’t really think of them off the top of my head….


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