Digital Digits One. Spaceships

Brown Watson Ltd were a paperback publishing house established in the 1940s and began by issuing mainly westerns and crime thrillers, the mainstays of the pulp fiction market at that time. In the mid 1950s however, the public became fascinated with science fiction and all the new writing that was being produced so Brown Watson Ltd launched the Digit imprint to capitalise on this boom. During its run from 1956 to its eventual closure in 1967, Digit published a veritable mountain of sci-fi books which were loved by the general public and collectors alike. They’re still sought after today, some titles fetching quite large sums of money on the secondhand market.

I’ve always had a thing for cover art as I’m sure you’ll be no doubt aware by now and many of these books did indeed have great covers. My favourites are the ones which take their design cues for spaceships, people etc. from the 1950’s as they brilliantly reflect the stories within. Something worth noting about Digit books is their relative lack of publishing detail, artists are left uncredited and even the year of issue is not printed within. Luckily however, all copies bear a serial number which helps with collecting and identifying individual titles.

My Digit collection has grown somewhat in the last year after many lucky finds on eBay and a little help from friends (thanks Julian). I’ve now decided its time to digitise my Digit covers and share them over several posts, the first few batches of which will be themed.

The theme I’ve decided on for the first two parts is spaceships, mainly because they seem to be so prevalent amongst my collection. There are all manner of shapes and sizes chosen here from the classic cigar-shaped rocket to the flying saucer, its difficult to pick a favourite as I love them all. Which one would you choose though?

And so here then is my first selection of a half dozen books, join me again next week for another helping of these tasty digits.

The House That Stood Still by A. E. Van Vogt
Serial Number – D361
This version was published in 1960 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Van Vogt The House That Stood Still

Invaders Of Earth edited by Groff Conklin
(Serial Number R526)
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Conklin - Invaders of Earth

Split Worlds by Tyrone C. Barr
Serial Number – R563
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Barr Split Worlds

Conditioned For Space by Alan Ash
(Serial Number R478)
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Ash, Conditioned For Space

Into The Darkness by A. G. C. Clarke
Serial Number – R550
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Clarke, Into The Darkness

The Uncharted Planet by V. Ranzetta
Serial Number – R557
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is Charles Bril



7 thoughts on “Digital Digits One. Spaceships

  1. johncnash 22/04/2015 / 11:36 am

    Glorious covers! Weirdly, I only have a single digit in my own collection, it’s an Edgar Allan Poe (Digit R512).

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 22/04/2015 / 12:56 pm

      Ooh, I’d like that one! Still, no excuses now and over the coming five weeks Mr Nash. Hope you’re well, all the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bernie 23/04/2015 / 10:26 am

    A week offline and on my first day back – THIS!! Oh joy, I’ve been so looking forward to this new series from you, and you do not disappoint 🙂 For various reasons I don’t have a decent record of my old Digit collection, or even those sold, or even those sitting in boxes waiting to be sold, so this is a special pleasure for me. I know I had Split Worlds, but with a different cover to yours. Favourite this time is the van Vogt, though I can’t give a reason, I just like it 🙂

    Many thanks for doing this blog, can’t wait for the next one. Take care, Bernie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 23/04/2015 / 3:01 pm

      Thanks for your kind words and continued support Bernie, it’s much appreciated. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this first instalment so much, I must admit that it’s been pure joy for me putting this whole series together – I just adore Digits! Tough for me to pick a favourite in this first haul although I know what you mean about the van Vogt, it just has a certain something doesn’t it? Plenty more to come over the next five weeks so sit back and enjoy, it’s always a pleasure to have you along for the ride. Very best wishes xxx


  3. lcmt 24/04/2015 / 5:44 am

    I don’t know why I thought you didn’t like spaceships. These are some great classic beauties. I like the first three covers the best. The first book is a “wow” with that flat white stealth fighter shape against the red. The ships on the second book have a 50’s dream car style: Studebakers in Space. If I had to pick one favorite, it would be the third, Split Worlds–the paint job on the saucer is nearly as gaudy as a Chris Foss.


  4. Bernie 25/04/2015 / 11:08 am

    Just been looking at these again and I think I’ve spotted something. On the van Vogt, bottom right corner there seems to be a truncated/cropped sig. Am I seeing things?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s