Ace On Sunday #20

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The last time I shared my Ace On Sunday read it was serial number F-199, today I’m flipping over the book to enjoy the second novel contained in this omnibus – The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott. This is an author I was wholly unfamiliar with and so I did a little digging around to find out more information. It turns out that our mysterious Mr Woodcott is actually a pseudonym for the much more widely known John Brunner whom I enjoy very much.

Let’s open the cover and check out what’s in store via the blurb;

Must the universe die with them?

The Starfolk, arrogant masters of vast stretches of the cosmos beyond the Earth’s sphere of influence, were determined to complete the extermination of the mind reading mutants on Regnier’s planet.

But to the mutants themselves, the terror of the Starfolk was nothing compared to the greater dread that gripped their spirits – the obsession that the universe itself was doomed. This obsession ripped into their minds, overwhelmed them, and plunged them into horrifying hysteria.

The message of doom reached the ears of the Starfolk themselves, forcing them to a fateful decision. They would allow an Earthman, archeologist Philip Gascon, to visit Regnier in an attempt to unravel its secrets. What he found would either contain the key to the ultimate destiny of the universe – or the date of doomsday.

The cover of the book features a fantastic Emsh piece featuring three or Regnier’s mutants clad in matching shiny black outfits complete with spiked helmets. They appear to be holding down our hero Philip Gascon in an attempt to insert his face into some kind of shiny black contraption of torture. I think it all looks a little S&M to be honest…

Must find out how Mr Gascon overcomes these fetishistic fiend and what fate lies in store for the universe. I’ll be choosing a new book new time so be sure follow and watch for those notifications arrive in your mailbox. Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott
(Serial Number F-199)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

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A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 24

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

It’s that day of the week again, my lazy day spent doing nothing but reading a Badger book from the comfort and privacy of my favourite armchair. This week’s book is yet another John E. Muller title which, if you’ve been keeping up you’ll know is the work of R. L. Fanthorpe , John S. Glasby and A. A. Glynn.

The tagline rather intriguingly reads;

These were no ordinary children – their weapons were enough to destroy Stellar Polaris herself.

Cover art is once again ably provided by Emsh who puts a willowy looking young girl against a background of rockets and a green skinned, wide eyed alien. There’s almost something maternal in the alien’s eyes – a female connection of some sort. It’s a brilliantly executed piece that, despite its obvious luridness has a tender, gentle quality about it. I never expected to be typing a sentence like that about a Badger cover!

More Badger books to be discussed same time, same place next week. See you then.

Space Void by John E. Muller
(Serial Number SF34)
This version was published in 1960 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

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Muller, Space Void Rear

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 22

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

Ok, you know the drill… Sunday, hot beverage of choice to hand (although tea does go best with all disciplines of sci-fi I have found after conducting exhaustive tests!), favourite seat block booked for the day and a copy of a lovely Badger Book for company. Right, so let’s take a look at what we’ve got on offer this week shall we?

Written by the preposterously monikered Trebor Thorpe, this pseudonym teams up our good old Rev R. L. Fanthorpe with writer Ernest Kemp. Roll the tagline before we get to another cracking Emsh cover;

Men or Gods? The enemy aliens wielded destructive powers far beyond human understanding

And now back to that artwork. A stunned astronaut watches a black fellow wearing a cape and horned headdress shoot bolts of lightning from his outstretched fingers toward an ominous black cloud. Once there, the lightning reigns down against a blood red sky and destroys a futuristic looking settlement. Blimey! This one’s a real teaser and no mistake, I mean Men and Gods? Enemy aliens wielding destructive powers? But who the? … What the? …

There’s only one way to crack this particular nut and that’s to begin at Chapter One where all stories must inevitably start – good, bad or just plain bizarre!

Join me next Sunday for another fine helping of Badger and do feel free to drop a token comment in the box on your way out… all proceeds go towards restoring my organ don’t ya know! Happy reading.

Lightening World by Trebor Thorpe
(Serial Number SF38)
This version was published in 1960 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Badger - Thorpe Lightening World

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 21

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

It’s not a Sunday here at Unsubscriber Towers without a piping hot cup of mid-morning tea ready to be sipped through a haze of ascending steam and another pot luck pick from the Badger shelf that has served me so well over the past twenty weekends. You shall be pleased to know then that all is well here then, brew and book in hand just looking at that cover and wondering how the art department did it week after week.

But first, let’s have a look at what the tagline gives us;

Inside the glowing sphere a human form was crystallising

And there on the cover is a literal interpretation with a human figure indeed gaining strength inside his glowing spheroid embryo. This of course takes place far out in space in front of one of Badgers favourite recurring design devices; the looming disembodied head! A vast galactic baldy with a seemingly benevolent demeanour keeps a close eye on goings on.

This a novel which Fanthorpe actually put his own name to – along with the other eighty or ninety odd he wrote without using one of his many beloved pseudonyms during his Badger tenure. No partners in crime here watching the ass kickin’ Rev’s back then, just lone gun style all the way with this one.

Now, before I mix my metaphors any further it’s time to look past that sterling Emsh cover and plunge headlong into the yellowing pages therein. Oh, I decided that the back cover of this volume warranted a photograph too as it wasn’t the usual cut ‘n’ paste hack job that Badger usually cobbled together for most of their output. Enjoy the covers, happy reading and join me next weekend for more of the same from the good Rev. and his friends.

Flame Mass by R. L. Fanthorpe
(Serial Number SF49)
This version was published in 1961 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

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Badger - Fanthopre Flame Mass Back