Off The Shelf; Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson 1956

The extremely talented Mr Colin Henry Wilson was an English writer and Philosopher whose earliest works were concerned with what he called ‘phenomenological existentialism’. He was originally part of a group of novelists and playwrights working during the 1950s who became known as the angry young men due to their disillusionment with traditional British society but later branched out into fiction, the occult, the paranormal and true crime amongst various other subjects.

I stumbled across a copy of his seminal work The Outsider whilst still at college and read it avidly, its exploration of social alienation via the roles played by various literary and cultural figures struck a deep chord in me and served as great inspiration throughout a large part of my formative years. The fact that Wilson was only twenty four years old when this masterpiece was published only served to strengthen the connection, these weren’t the vacuous postulations of some out of touch academic but compellingly relatable essays from someone who I considered to exist within my own age bracket. Despite the passage of almost three decades between first publication and my own exposure to this book, its contents felt no less relevant and continue to do so.

His fiction includes several studies dealing with the psychology of murder, science fiction and a number of entries into the Cthulu Mythos canon. He also continued to publish other highly regarded non-fiction titles too, his book on the psycho-sexual mores of the twentieth century (Origins Of The Sexual Impulse) should be on everyone’s essential reading list in my view.

Here are eight covers taken from books published in the 1960s, I hope that they serve to inspire you to seek out more information regarding this brilliant author and maybe even pick up a few of his titles.

The Outsider by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1967 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

The Outsider by Colin Wilson

Beyond The Outsider by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1966 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

Beyond The Outsider by Colin Wilson

Adrift In Soho by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1964 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

Adrift In Soho by Colin Wilson

Origins Of The Sexual Impulse by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1966 by Panther Books
The cover artist is not credited

Origins Of The Sexual Impulse by Colin Wilson

The World Of Violence by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1967 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

The World Of Violence by Colin Wilson

Ritual In The Dark by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1967 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

Ritual In The Dark by Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson On Music by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1965 by Pan Books
The cover artist is not credited

Colin Wilson On Music by Colin Wilson

Necessary Doubt by Colin Wilson
This version was published in 1966 by Panther Books
Cover art by Colin Price

Necessary Doubt by Colin Wilson

Ace On Sunday #16

Ace Double Header

Thanks for joining me this Sunday for another Ace Double, I’m continuing to read the reverse of the book I selected last weekend – Computer War by Mack Reynolds. This book contains another Reynolds novel on the flipside which makes this selection a true double. Time to open the cover and find out what the inside blurb has to say;

Section G, the top secret security unit of United Planets, had a special problem on their hands with the situation on Firenze. And for that special problem, they gathered together the most unusual squad in Section G’s unusual history. It Included;

A research biologist who could bend steel bars like rubber bands –

A middle aged lady with total total recall –

An interplanetary cowboy whose bullwhip was deadlier than a ray gun –

A brazen young lady acrobat who looked like an eight year old kid –

A mild young man who never lost a bet in his life –

And the best pickpocket that ever lived.

But Firenze with its CODE DUELLO was to prove a match for the lot of them!

Sounds like another romp to me then… bring it on Mr Reynolds! The cover features more groovy seventies typography like its predecessor and a sterling inset painting from the ever reliable Frank Kelly Freas depicting an astronaut brandishing a smoking ray gun amongst several towering obelisks.

And so now it’s time to make a fresh brew before diving between the slightly musty covers. Feel free to come back next weekend when I’ll be pulling out a fresh new Ace Double to enjoy. I hope that you’re enjoying these random selections from my library shelves, let me know what you think as always in the comments.

Code Duello by Mack Reynolds
(Serial Number 11650)
This version was published in 1973 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Frank Kelly Freas

Code Duello by Mack Reynolds

Audio Sequence, May 2016

May 2016 Mix Cover

The past month or so has been a particularly busy time for me but that hasn’t stopped the music from playing. Quite the opposite in fact, I’m always looking for a soundtrack when I’m working or travelling so  there’s been a decent pool of tracks to act as source material for the May audio sequence.

You’ll find the majority of this month’s mix is instrumental and has a fairly strong bias towards the experimental and cosmic end of the prog & jazz spectrums. I find that these types of music actually help me to relax and concentrate which is the opposite kind of reaction that I usually get from Junior Unsubscriber! Whatever your initial thoughts, give this one a try and see if any of the included tracks or interludes change your mind.

To access your own free copy of this rather tasty set, click on the link below and you’ll be taken to the Mediafire file share site where your download will commence. Unzip the file, throw it into your computer or mp3 player of choice and enjoy…

May 2016 Mix Download Link

Last Month’s audio sequence is also still available for download below and despite being culled from my late 70s/early 80s post punk rarities collection was massively popular in Saint Kitts and Nevis for some odd reason!

April 2016 Mix Download Link

Like what you hear, then collect the set. Previous mixes can be downloaded via the following links;

February 2016 Mix Download Link

January 2016 Mix Download Link 

Rural Weird Mix Download Link

Ace On Sunday #15

Ace Double Header

I’ve been kept from indulging in my usual weekend reading ritual several times over the past month and so I’m very happy to be able to spend this sunny Sunday in the company of a brand new Ace Double from the shelves. Today’s book comes from a set of newer Ace Doubles I picked up from a seller in the states at the end of last year and was originally issued in 1973. Both included titles are by American author Mack Reynolds whose other works I have mainly enjoyed so these should hopefully prove to be good reads. First up is Computer War, the inside blurb is as follows;

The problem with computer warfare is that the computer is always logical while the human enemy is not – or doesn’t have to be.

And that’s what the Betastani enemy were doing – nothing that the Alphaland computers said they would. Those treacherous foremen were avoiding logic and using such unheard of devices as surprise and sabotage. They even had Alphaland’s Deputy of Information believing Betastani propaganda without even realising it.

Of course he still thought he was being loyal to Alphaland, because he thought that one and one must logically add up to two. And that kind of thinking could make him the biggest traitor of them all.

The Ed Valigursky cover for this one is stunning in its use of blue and green, the typography is fantastically groovy in a seventies kind of way too and deserves a mention in its own right.

I’m looking forward to spending the day lazily reading this novel whilst drinking tea and vaping my face off – I hope that your Sunday is well spent too, whatever you decide to get up to. I’ll be back next weekend for another fix of Mack so be sure to join me then. Comments on this title or Ace Doubles in general are more than welcome so do let me know what you think.

Computer War by Mack Reynolds
(Serial Number 11650)
This version was published in 1973 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Computer War by Mack Reynolds

Off The Shelf; Lester Del Rey

This week’s off the shelf features eight books by US author Lester Del Rey, the pen name used by Minnesota born Leonard Knapp. I got my first taste of his writing via a beautifully illustrated two volume set of his early work issued in 1976, both of which are included below. Del Rey is another fairly prolific writer with dozens of novels and short stories to his name, I’ve never really had any problems tracking down reasonably priced copies of his books. His most active period seems to have been during the 1950s and into the 1960s which means the topics covered by his writing were extremely varied and imaginative.

Here is a selection of some favourite books and covers as chosen from my modest collection. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments as ever.

The Early Del Rey Volume 1 by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1976 by Ballantine Books
The cover artists are Tim Hildebrandt and Greg Hildebrandt

The Early Del Rey Vol 1 by Lester Del Rey

The Early Del Rey Volume 2 by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1976 by Ballantine Books
The cover artists are Tim Hildebrandt and Greg Hildebrandt

The Early Del Rey Vol 2 by Lester Del Rey

Nerves by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1956 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Nerves by Lester Del Rey

Siege Perilous by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1966 by Lancer Books
The cover artist is Frank Kelly Freas

Siege Perilous by Lester Del Rey

Tales of Soaring Science Fantasy From “…And Some Were Human” by Lester Del Rey
1961 – Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

And Some Were Human by Lester Del Rey

The Scheme Of Things by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1966 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Scheme Of Thingsby Lester Del Rey

Badge Of Infamy by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1976 by Dennis Dobson Books
The cover artist is Richard Weaver

Badge Of Infamy by Lester Del Rey

The Sky Is Falling by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1974 by New English Library Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Sky Is Falling by Lester Del Rey

Tales Of Horror And The Supernatural; Volume Two

Welcome to the second selection of horror and supernatural books pulled from the darker corners of my library shelves. Last week I began by presenting a half dozen titles as an update to last year’s three part series (here) and so I thought I’d carry on by listing a further six books I’ve been enjoying since the start of the year.

I’ve started this pick of covers with another Arthur Machen paperback, an author who has remained a perennial favourite of mine through the years since first discovering his work as a teenager. Also included is a rather brilliant collection of strange shorts by Robert Bloch, an omnibus of novellas by John Buchan – also known as Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield and a number of anthologies.

Once again, I hope that you appreciate the odd cover art from these weird books as I do. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments as always and join me again next week for more science fiction frolics.

The Novel Of The Black Seal by Arthur Machen
This version was published in 1965 by Corgi Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Novel Of The Black Seal by Arthur Machen

The Living Demons by Robert Bloch
This version was published in 1967 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Living Demons by Robert Bloch

In The Dead Of Night edited by Michael Sissons
This version was published in 1962 by Panther Books
The cover artist is uncredited

In The Dead Of Night edited by Michael Sissons

6 And The Silent Scream edited by Ivan Howard
This version was published in 1964 by Consul Books
The cover artist is uncredited

6 And The Silent Scream edited by Ivan Howard

The Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan
This version was published in 1962 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan

Tales Of Unease edited by John Burke
This version was published in 1966 by Pan Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Tales Of Unease edited by John Burke

Tales Of Horror And The Supernatural; Volume One

Several months ago, my good friend Mr Nash over at the rather wonderful When Churchyards Yawn blog wrote an illuminating piece on a book called The Horror Horn by E. F. Benson (here) which sent me scrambling to the shelves in order to retrieve my copy. I duly re-read the book and began to explore the rest of my library shelves containing horror and supernatural titles which I have been enjoying ever since alongside the usual SF novels.

After finishing reading several of these volumes I decided it might be a good time to feature some of them here as an update to last year’s three part series (here, here & here) which proved to be just as popular as my usual science fiction offerings.

I hope that you enjoy the covers of this first selection of strange old books as much as I have enjoyed reading them and maybe even decide to track a few of them down for your own collection. I shall return next week with a further half dozen volumes tucked under my arm for your perusal so be sure to join me then. In the meantime, please do share your thoughts in the comments.

Tales Of Horror And The Supernatural by Arthur Machen
This version was published in 1963 by Panther Books
The cover artist is R. J. Reynolds

Tales of Horror & The Supertnatural by Arthur Machen

The Unexpected edited by Leo Margulies
This version was published in 1961 by Pyramid Books
The cover artist is John Schoenherr

The Unexpected edited by Leo Margulies

The Horror Horn by E. F. Benson
This version was published in 1974 by Panther Books
The cover artist is Bruce Pennington

The Horror Horn by E. F. Benson

The Twisters by Vern Hansen
This version was published in 1963 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Twisters by Vern Hansen

The Horror From The Hills by Frank Belknap Long
This version was published in 1965 by Brown, Watson Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Horror From The Hills by Frank Belknap Long

Dr. Caligari’s Black Book edited by Peter Haining
This version was published in 1969 by New English Library Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Dr. Caligari's Black Book edited by Peter Haining