Sunday in the unsubscriber household is indeed a glorious day of rest for me. A day of quiet reflection of the week gone past and thoughts of the possibilities to come during the next seven days. I’m in no way a religious man but on Sundays in particular I always try and find a little time to spend musing over the good Reverend and his companion’s works for they bring me succour my friends. They deliver to me hope in despair, pleasure in fruitlessness and above all, a little bit of fluff in the sometimes over serious world of science fiction.
For those of you who don’t know of the Harley Davidson riding Rev. R. L. Fanthorpe, he worked for the Badger Books publishing company as a staff writer in the 1950s & 60s and produced an astonishing number of titles during his fifteen year tenure there under a variety of different pseudonyms. These alternative pen names are brilliant work in themselves, he used Olaf Trent, Othello Baron, Elton T. Neef, René Rolant, Deutero Spartacus, Bron Fane and Oben Leterth amongst many others. He also worked with other staff writers on collaborative efforts which would have their own set of bizarre pseudonyms. His bibliography is a vast and hugely daunting prospect to navigate due to this fact. As an example of his almost superhuman prodigiousness, he penned a total of eighty nine books over a three year period whilst working at Badger – that’s an entire novel completed every twelve days!
So today’s book is one that started off my Badger/Fanthorpe obsession – Hand Of Doom, which was published under Fanthorpe’s own name. Yes it only runs at a slim 158 pages and is never going to be classed as one of the towering philosophical cosmic greats, it’s merely a little slice of guilty pie for me to nibble on when I’m peckish but I’m so glad that I picked it up when I did.
To be honest, it was the title and cover that did it for me after spotting it in the bookshop and the fact that Black Sabbath’s second LP, 1970’s Paranoid also had a track called Hand Of Doom on it. If it was good enough for the mighty Sabbath, it was surely going to be good enough for me… and so it was.
Hand Of Doom by R. L. Fanthorpe
This version was published in 1960 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller (thanks to Bernie for her invaluable help on this one.)