A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 32

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

I’m a little later than usual with this week’s Badger book due to an outbreak of flu-like symptoms this past few days and so a sleep-in was the order of the day this morning. Now I’m up, showered, breakfasted and ready to settle down with my cuppa and this week’s title. I’ve chosen to read The Man From Beyond by John E. Muller who, as you’ll no doubt be aware before I even tell you is the writing trio of R. L. Fanthorpe, John S. Glasby and A. A. Glynn. Let’s have a look at that all important tagline first shall we;

Dare humanity accept the strange teachings of the man from beyond

Hmm… dare we indeed. A great, although sadly uncredited cover on this tome depicting yet another one of Badger’s beloved disembodied heads – this time the noggin in question is bald, green and appears highly perturbed by the bright red rocketship blasting off to his left. I love the range of emotions these heads seem to portray, from the slightly concerned to the seriously vexed – Badger has all bases covered.

Time to spend my lazy Sunday amongst the pages of this title now, tea and tissues to hand. I’ll be back at the same time next week with another selection from my Badger archive so please do join me and as ever, feel free to leave me a comment.

The Man From Beyond by John E. Muller
(Serial Number SF111)
This version was published in 1965 by Badger Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Badger - Muller, The Man From Beyond

Muller, The Man From Beyond (Back)

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.12, Rise Of The Machines

When will we ever learn? We build the most sophisticated machines and supercomputers to do our bidding but the bloody things just go on to malfunction with disastrous consequences, rise up against us or even plot to kill their human creators! Do we honestly need a toaster with a microchip inside or a vacuum cleaner that completes its chores without human intervention? But this dear friends is the future where everything possible is mechanised and computerised to within an inch of its very nuts and bolts. It’s completely inescapable I tell you.

Whilst you consider the serious social and political implications of such a future, browse the following five books which all feature machines of one kind or another on their covers. They may offer you a clue to the origin of all this madness and therefore prevent any mechanical misdemeanours from occurring. I hope that for all our sakes they do…

I, The Machine by Paul W. Fairman
1968 – Lancer Books
Cover art by Hoot Von Zitzewitz

Fairman I, The Machine

The Very Slow Time Machine by Ian Watson
1979 – Ace Books
Cover art by Paul Alexander

Watson The Very Slow Time Machine

Recalled To Life by Robert Silverberg
1967 – Lancer Focus
Cover artist uncredited

Silverberg Recalled To Life

The Brain Machine by George O. Smith
1968 – Lancer Books
Cover art by Frank Kelly Freas

Smith The Brain Machine

Master Of Life And Death by Robert Silverberg
1979 – Panther Granada
Cover art by Tony Roberts

Silverberg Master Of Life And Death

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 31

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

Another Sunday has finally arrived and so I’ve made myself that all important steaming hot cup of tea (splash of milk, no sugar, optional biscuit on the side) and settled in to read yet another rollicking tale bursting with improbable plot lines so beloved of Badger books in the 1960s. This week’s pick comes from the typewriter of Leo Brett, otherwise known as the duo of R. L. Fanthorpe and Harry O. Mansfield.

These books just wouldn’t be the same without a cover tagline and here’s what this one reads like;

It was the biggest discovery since the Bomb, and far more dangerous.

The cover is brilliant as always – a pair of distinctly feminine hands delicately holds a madly flaming test tube aloft as a bald headed scientist, mouth agape and brow furrowed holds out his hand in horror at the prospect of explosive dangers occurring. The back cover blurb states that the contents of the tube could destroy galaxies, not something to be idly pissing about in a laboratory with then!

I can never resist the lure of a Badger cover, its sensationalist tagline and back cover blurb which I always seem to read in a stern news reader type voice. This one is no exception and so you’ll have to excuse me whilst I dig in. I’ll be here again next Sunday with another selection from my Badger shelf so be sure to join me then.

The Alien Ones by Leo Brett
(Serial Number SF94)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Brett, The Alien Ones

Brett, The Alien Ones (Back)

Raymond Queneau’s Écritures Via Secret Books

Some weeks ago I received a large letter envelope through the post bearing the stamp of the good Mr Lestaret and so put it to one side so I could give it my full attention later in the day. During the afternoon, I sat down to open the envelope carefully and found inside a protective card bearing the stamp ‘Secret Books’ and a small orange chapbook titled ‘Raymond Queneau – Écritures.

Ecritures Cover

I must confess to knowing absolutely nothing about Raymond Queneau but helpfully, a brief summary of his life and work was printed on the inside cover as follows;

English-speakers have described Raymond Queneau as the James Joyce of Frence Literature. He achieved renown as a writer of novels, poet essayist and founder of the OuLiPo (Workshop For Potential Literature) with a mathematician friend.Raymond was also in charge of an encyclopaedia, worked as an editor and translator, and argued that written French should be pushed towards how French is actually spoken in daily life.

These handwritten pages, originally recorded in a notebook, could be described by the contemporary terms asemic writing or écriture asémique, and expose yet another facet of this ingenious writer.

The book itself is beautifully handcrafted by Lestaret (as always) and contains pages of tiny pictograms, lines of flowing asemic text and other wild outpourings of ink. It’s a fascinating document of a writer whom I suspect is very little known in this country by most people. As a bonus of sorts, the penultimate page is a fantastic simulated collaboration between Tim Gaze and Queneau whilst the final page contains a beautifully rendered portrait of the writer by Lestaret. I’d recommend this superb little artefact to anyone with even a passing interest in asemic writing or experimental artforms.

Secret Books is the work of asemic guru Tim Gaze from Australia and Christopher Skinner, better known to readers as Lestaret. They have a website (here) which gives a fascinating insight into the book and its production as well as a link to Big Cartel where copies can be purchased for the sum of £5. (Direct link here) It is an edition of 100 however so make sure you order a copy quickly to avoid disappointment.


Here are a few fragments of the pages to tempt you even further;




Queneau Portrait

Note: My copy of Écritures (number 50) remains intact, the above illustrations are all simulated. Playing with matches whilst reading a book is not endorsed by the unsubscriber or his affiliates.

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 30

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

A sense of normality has finally descended on Unsubscriber Towers which means I can go about my usual Sunday business of drinking tea whilst curled up in my favourite chair with a Badger book. I’ve decided once again to venture onto the supernatural end of the shelf to choose this week’s title which is by Pel Torro – that’s R. L. Fanthorpe and Harry O. Mansfield to the uninitiated.

The intriguing tagline reads as follows;

Did the sinister stranger belong in the 20th Century?

The cover depicts a turbaned, goatee beard sporting magician brilliantly named The Great Jazro seemingly in a trace with his hands held mystically aloft. In the foreground is a young, rather terrified looking woman with a plunging neckline succumbing to the evil spell cast by this fiendish conjuror. Is she firmly in it’s grip or will she break free just in the nick of time? It’s definitely all very sinister looking.

Well, I feel compelled to open the book and begin reading this tale of the supernatural now and so I’ll bid you farewell. Join me again next week as ever for another selection from my bulging Badger shelf. Your thoughts are always welcome so feel free to leave a comment.

The Face Of Fear by Pel Torro
(Serial Number SN82)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Torro, The Face Of Fear

Torro, The Face Of Fear (Back)

The Art Of The Sublime, Part Two

In the first part of this article (here) I spoke of my sometimes blinkered pursuit of underlying themes in cover artwork and a certain (partial) freedom from this in my ongoing series of open library posts. I still find myself connecting the artistic dots however and producing these thematically inclined articles. I can’t help myself, maybe I just have a deeply seated psychological aberration of some kind.

The whole point of this piece then was to simply ignore themes, connections or randomness and simply choose a series of covers whose artwork I would rate as outstanding. To me, These represent some of the best examples of period sci-fi cover art I have ever had the pleasure to come across. It’s perhaps worth noting here that I haven’t included any work by my favourite cover artist Richard Powers as he has been covered extensively elsewhere on this blog.

Enough of the waxing lyrical for now, what are your thoughts on my humble choices? What covers would you have selected for this list? You know where the comments are my friends…

Testament XXI by Guy Snyder
This version was published in 1973 by Daw Books
The cover artist is Kelly Freas
A somewhat Richard Powers styled rock formation looms in the foreground of this great Kelly Freas piece.

Snyder, Testament XXI

Born With The Dead – Robert Silverberg
This version was published in 1977 by Coronet Books
The cover artist is Jim Burns
I’m a sucker for the anatomical of course and this cover ticks all the right boxes for me.

Silverberg Born With The Dead

One Million Tomorrows by Bob Shaw
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artists are Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
More gorgeous psychedelics from the Dillon camp.

Shaw One Million Tomorrows

The Mutants by Kris Neville
This version was published in 1966 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited
Once again, it’s hard to believe that such a stunning piece as this should be left uncredited.

Neville The Mutants

The Silent Speakers by Arthur Sellings
This version was published in 1965 by Panther Books
The cover artist is uncredited
Another scandalously uncredited piece of fantastic artwork.

Sellings The Silent Speakers

Asylum Earth by Bruce Elliott
This version was published in 1968 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is Jerome Podwil

Elliott Asylum Earth