The Groff Conklin / Richard Powers Conundrum

It should go without saying before I write this article that I love both Groff Conklin edited anthologies and the wonderfully sublime cover artwork of Richard Powers but I think you may have guessed this already.

Last week I was indulging myself in a little casual browsing over a cup of tea when I came across a book with rather stunning Richard Powers artwork. I Clicked the link and discovered to my delight that it was indeed a Powers cover and furthermore edited by Mr Groff Conklin. I was however greatly dismayed at the condition and price of the book, the cover was terribly creased and the edges chipped badly. The dealer wanted £8 which I thought was far too high and so I reluctantly passed on.

Imagine my surprise then when a few minutes later a second copy appeared on my screen – what are the chances of that happening? I mean, this is a fairly anonymous 1955 anthology not a towering classic of sci-fi. Condition-wise it was rated VG and so I tentatively looked at the price fearing the worst. it was a US dealer once again and so the exchange rate resulted in around over £4.50! Postage was a little more than I like to pay but nothing too fantastically steep and so I clicked the ‘Buy’ button with a huge grin on my face.

The next thing that happened was either a very strange coincidence or a form of odd cosmic destiny of some weird kind – another, different Powers/Conklin title had appeared on my screen. This one was also located in the US and had a favourable price so I really had to buy that one as well… wouldn’t you have done the same in my circumstances?

Postage from the US can take several weeks usually and so I was checking the postbox every morning for their arrival, the postie must think I’ve finally lost what few marbles I have left rolling around my mind. Finally after just a few short days, they both arrived and I couldn’t wait to open those tempting packages – I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Here then are the objects of my strangely coincidental quest, what do you think – was it worth the waiting time and effort involved involved in searching do you think;

Science Fiction Thinking Machines edited by Groff Conklin
1955 – Bantam Books
Cover art by Richard powers

Conklin SF Thinking Machines

The Big Book of Science Fiction edited by Groff Conklin
1957 – Berkeley Books
Cover art by Richard powers

What I find most comical about this book is the title – it’s not big at all, merely a regular sized volume and not the huge compendium like I thought it might end up to be. Ah dear, I have tears of laughter in my eyes again, another cup of tea beckons I think.

Big Book Of Science Fiction Groff Conklin


2 thoughts on “The Groff Conklin / Richard Powers Conundrum

  1. Bernie 11/09/2014 / 12:03 pm

    This is just so very “you”. EXACTLY the very things you want popping up on your screen, serendipity at its finest, long may it continue 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 11/09/2014 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks Bernie – ah, you know me so well by now. Two at once though, what were the chances of that happening? Hope you’re keeping well, speak soon xx


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