As regular readers of this humble blog know, last year I’d taken to spending my lazy Sundays here at Unsubscriber Towers curled up with a Badger book for company and enjoyed my travels along the library shelf immensely. Unfortunately however this pleasant journey through the works of Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe and his team of co-writers came to an abrupt end in December when I ran out of books so I was left to contemplate an alternative source of Sunday reading matter to take me into 2016.
Luckily for me I had won several Ebay auctions including a job lot during the first week of December and this got me thinking. The main auction was for a collection of Ace Double books from the US which arrived just before the post became completely swamped by the usual festive brouhaha and I spent several days happily photographing the covers for another future series of posts.
I published quite a number of articles on these wonderful double novels during last year and they seemed to be quite well received but instead of repeating myself once again in this fashion, I have decided to promote these books to my Sunday reading slot. I’ll choose a new Ace Double from the library shelf each fortnight and read the first title before picking it back up a week later, flipping it over and tackling the second. What could possibly go wrong?
And so to get this year underway I’ve selected serial number D-457 as my first read. It’s a novel by Philip K. Dick who is one of my favourite SF authors but I have to admit that I’ve never read this title in all the years I’ve been collecting his work. I have turned up my nose at several copies of later reprints during this period because of poor cover art and when I saw this illustration last year whilst researching Ace Doubles I knew this was the version I had to obtain. It took a while before I found it at a reasonable price but I think you’ll agree that it was worth the wait.
I’ll just state this again for anyone not already familiar with my rather odd quirks; I know the cover doesn’t change the story within but when faced with numerous reprints of any given title then why wouldn’t I go for the most visually appealing artwork? This one has a great Emsh cover – a man looks up with an expression of bafflement mixed with fear as a number of hammer-shaped objects with tiny robotic arms and headlamp eyes rain down from the skies.
Time to delve into the pages now and discover who will win the battle of the brain machines! I hope that you’ll join me next weekend to find out which title graces the reverse of this book and enjoy more wonderful vintage cover art. As always, please feel free to like, comment or share this post if you feel suitably inclined to do so.
Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick
(Serial Number D-457)
This version was published in 1960 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller