The Two Dimensional World Of Ace Doubles, Part One

Ace Books is the oldest active specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy. Their first books were published in 1952, a mixture of mystery and Western novels, but it wasn’t until 1953 that science fiction began to take off as a genre in its own right. Ace experimented with a publishing technique called tête-bêche binding meaning two titles presented in one volume that the reader would have to physically turn over to read the second book and thus the ‘Ace Double’ was born. They still also published standard print volumes too at this time.

Ace Doubles were published from 1953 right up to 1973. Other companies tried to adopt similar approaches during this time but no-one came close to the volume or sheer collectability of books released by Ace. The format was revived by other publishers later in the 1980s but the idea didn’t really gain any market traction and was dropped again shortly afterwards.

These are fantastic volumes to collect and often have brilliant or lurid covers produced by named artists of the day. Occasionally a story would have to be abridged to fit the volume but would be published fully elsewhere. My only gripe is that sometimes a great SF story is coupled with a swords ’n’ sandals fantasy epic which really isn’t my bag but it never stops me picking them up when they do occasionally appear.

Over the next four weeks I’ll be presenting a selection of books pulled from my collection, each novel will also include the Ace serial number for ease of each for book identification. I will also show covers from both sides of the book. Enjoy this first part as there’s plenty more covers to come next week. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments;

In The Pocket And Other S-F Stories by K. M. O’Donnell
(Serial Number 27415)
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Karel Thole

Ace - 27415 (a)

Gather In The Hall Of The Planets by K. M. O’Donnell
(Serial Number 27415)
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

Ace 27415 (b)

The Arsenal Of Miracles by Gardner F. Fox
(Serial Number F-299)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is uncredited

F-299 Ace Double Arsenal Of Miracles

Endless Shadow by John Brunner
(Serial Number F-299)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

F-299 Ace Double Endless Shadow

The Wrecks Of Time by Michael Moorcock
(Serial Number H-36)
This version was published in 1967 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

H-36 Moorcock The Wrecks Of Time

Tramontane by Emil Petaja
(Serial Number H-36)
This version was published in 1967 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

H-36 Petaja Tramontane

The Inheritors by A. Bertram Chandler
(Serial Number 37062)
This version was published in 1972 by Ace Books
The cover artist is unknownOff Centre by Damon Knight

Ace Double - 37062 (a)

The Gateway To Forever by A. Bertram Chandler
(Serial Number 37062)
This version was published in 1972 by Ace Books
The cover artist is unknown

Ace Books - 37062 (b)

(Serial Number M-123)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

M-113 Knight Off Center

I absolutely love the raygun totin’ space guy on this cover. His voluminous pantaloons, red satin outfit and tall patent boots are perfect for facing off with the titular creature who resembles that clump of matted hair we all have to fish out of our bathroom plug holes up to once a year.

The Rithian Terror by Damon Knight
(Serial Number M-123)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

M-113 Knight The Rithian Terror

Enigma From Tantalus by John Brunner
(Serial Number M-115)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is John Schoenherr

M-115 Brunner Enigma From Tantalus

The Repairmen Of Cyclops by John Brunner
(Serial Number M-115)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

M-115 Brunner Repairmen Of Cyclops

Android Avenger by Ted White
(Serial Number M-123)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

M-123 White Android Avenger

The Altar On Asconel by John Brunner
(Serial Number M-123)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Gray Morrow

M-123 Brunner The Altar Of Asconel

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13 thoughts on “The Two Dimensional World Of Ace Doubles, Part One

  1. fromcouchtomoon 04/03/2015 / 10:48 am

    Oooh, exciting! This is a great idea for a series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 04/03/2015 / 11:51 pm

      Many thanks for your comment, there are plenty more Ace Doubles to come over the next few weeks. All the best.

      Like

  2. Marcus 04/03/2015 / 1:36 pm

    I recently added the O’Donnell/(Malzberg) to my to-be-read stack. The only Ace double I’ve read is by Sam J. Lundwall. Wasn’t overly impressed compared to the one other Lundwall I’ve read (2018 A.D.). Still trying to decide what to do with it trade it in or save it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 05/03/2015 / 12:02 am

      They can be terribly hit and miss novels but don’t part with it, you’ll only regret it later. Enjoy the O’Donnell/Malzberg, all the best.

      Like

  3. admiral.ironbombs 04/03/2015 / 10:42 pm

    Awesome covers! A good example of why I love collecting Ace Doubles… and most of these are somewhat new to me—I own the O’Donnell (Barry Malzberg), though I have seen those last two covers in stores, but the others are not familiar. Excellent series and looking forward to seeing others from your collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 05/03/2015 / 12:23 am

      Thanks Admiral, glad to see some fellow ‘Doublers’ out there! Bags more to view over the coming weeks so hopefully there’ll be a few goodies to add to your list of collectables. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bernie 05/03/2015 / 2:09 am

    Great new series, really looking forward to seeing more. I’ve had a few of those in the past but many I haven’t seen. I love those TP 2/- stickers on two of them, such memories!! I had 50+ of these books at one time, but all that remain are the Phil Dick ones. Many of them were the true first editions, and such wonderful artwork, oh how I wish I’d been able to keep them!

    Take care, Bernie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 05/03/2015 / 9:43 am

      Glad you enjoyed these Bernie and that they’ve brought back some good memories for you. I knew you’d be a ‘Doubler’ of old! There are a few of us on here now. Plenty more great artwork to come over the next few weeks so stay tuned. Look after yourself Bernie xx

      Like

  5. lcmt 05/03/2015 / 8:29 pm

    Before I started paying close attention to this blog, I would probably have never given some of these covers a second glance. I now have a new appreciation for their designers, and for the visual language of science fiction. A language I thought I was perfectly familiar with, but these old covers are like primers, their messages distilled to unambiguous simplicity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 05/03/2015 / 8:45 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, I’m glad to know that my humble efforts in bringing these forgotten images back into the wider consciousness has sparked your deeper appreciation of them.

      Liked by 1 person

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