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;
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;
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!