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

The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott.png

 

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Six Ballantine Originals With Cover Art By Richard Powers

Ballantine Books is a major US publisher which was founded in 1952 by husband and wife team Ian and Betty Ballantine. The imprint quickly gained recognition soon after it was established for its science fiction originals, early editions of which are now highly sought after by collectors the world over.

I’ve been a huge fan of these wonderful books myself for some time now and have been lucky enough to assemble a fairly sizeable selection over the years. I tend to go for these versions for two reasons; firstly, the lure of tracking down first editions of original SF novels but more importantly the fact that many of these fine paperbacks had cover art by the outrageously talented Mr Richard Powers.

My love for Powers artwork is probably well known to regular visitors of this blog as I have featured quite a number of his covers over the past three years. Indeed, my last Powers-related post was only a few months ago (here).

So, here are a half dozen Ballantine Originals pulled from my library shelves which all have fantastic cover paintings by the great man himself. I’m sure that I shall be posting more like these in the near future as and when I manage to find them. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, I’m sure I’m not the only Powers obsessive out there!

The Climacticon by Harold Livingston
This version was published in 1960 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Climacticon by Harold Livingston

Out Of My Mind by John Brunner
This version was published in 1967 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Out Of My Mind by John Brunner

30-Day Wonder by Richard Wilson
This version was published in 1960 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

30 Day Wonder by Richard Wilson

Needle In A Timestack by Robert Silverberg
This version was published in 1966 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Needle In A Timestack by Robert Silverberg

So Close To Home by James Blish
This version was published in 1962 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

So Close To Home by James Blish

The Girls From Planet 5 by Richard Wilson
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Girls From Planet 5 by Richard Wilson

Ace On Sunday #4

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Today’s novel is a continuation of the book I chose at random last week by Ray Cummings (here) which I ended up enjoying a lot more than I initially thought I would despite its fantastic cover. Flipping the book upside down reveals I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott which is actually a pseudonym for John Brunner and bears the tagline;

The Man With Seven Faces

I love the cover painting by the inimitable Emsh, a row of overlapping heads which when looked at closely show that the mouth of each ascending figure is in fact the eye of the one below. It’s a very clever piece that works incredibly well to trick the eye if scanned from arm’s length. There is however a slight disparity in the number of faces portrayed, the tagline clearly says seven whereas Emsh only has available space to paint six!

Time to stop pondering this conundrum now and get on with reading the novel, I’ll be selecting a new Ace Double from the library shelves next Sunday so please do join me then. I hope you enjoy this fine example of vintage SF cover art, feel free to let me know your thoughts as always in the comments.

I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott
(Serial Number D-497)
This version was published in 1961 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

D-497 I Speak For Earth by Keith Woodcott

Ace On Sunday #2

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Last weekend, you may recall that I decided to embark upon a trip through some recent additions to my Ace Doubles collection as a substitute for the now completed Badger books which had become my usual Sunday reading partner. The plan is to select a new volume, complete the first title and then flip it over to read the other side on the following week. I began my journey with serial number D-457, Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick (here) which was a sterling read as I expected it would be from one of my all time SF heroes. And so today I’ve turned over the book to reveal a title by John Brunner who I also wrote about last Wednesday (here) and stated that I was surprised to find how many of his novels I have in my library – this one had gone completely unnoticed until now.

Like its companion on the reverse side of the book, this tale bears a tagline which reads;

Human fuses for a galactic explosion

The cover art is superb showing a number of rocketships blasting away from an exploding, fiery planet. There’s something very familiar about this cover painting that I became convinced I had seen it used before on another title which sent me scurrying to the library shelves. I couldn’t locate a match after performing a cursory search so if you know where else it has appeared (if at all) then please do let me know.

Temporary diversion over, it’s now time for me to settle down in my favourite seat and read on. I’ll be back next Sunday with a new book to share so join me then for more Ace Double action. Your thoughts are always welcome so feel free to drop me a comment.

The Skynappers by John Brunner
(Serial Number D-457)
This version was published in 1960 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

D-457 The Skynappers by John Brunner

Off The Shelf; John Brunner

It sometimes amazes me whilst browsing through the shelves of my library just how many titles I have by particular authors. Recently I realised that I have almost forty books penned by John Brunner although it has to said that his work is relatively easy to find on the secondhand market as he was such a prolific writer in his day.

The ISFDB (here) lists a total of sixty two novels, some two dozen collections and countless more short stories to his credit. It makes my rather modest stash seem tiny and incomplete just looking at those figures. Still, I continue to read and buy more Brunners all the time because on the whole I do enjoy his writing. I thought I’d dip into my collection and select a number of my favourite covers to share here.

Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what you think of my choices. Maybe you too have a large number of books written by a specific author, tell me what’s lining your library shelves.

The Sheep Look Up
This version was published in 1976 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Murray Winkelman

The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner

Now Then
This version was published in 1965 by Mayflower-Dell
The cover artist is Jacks

Now Then by John Brunner

Double Double
This version was published in 1969 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Double Double by John Brunner

The Stone That Never Came Down
This version was published in 1975 by Daw Books
The cover artist is Kelly Freas

The Stone That Never Came Down by John Brunner

The Dreaming Earth
This version was published in 1963 by Pyramid Books
The cover artist is John Schoenherr

The Dreaming Earth by John Brunner

The Long Result
This version was published in 1966 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Hoot Von Zitzewitz

The Long Result by John Brunner

The Stardroppers
This version was published in 1972 by Daw Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

The Stardroppers by John Brunner

To Conquer Chaos
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

To Conquer Chaos by John Brunner

Stand On Zanzibar
This version was published in 19761 by Arrow Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Stand On Zanzibar by John Brunner

Born Under Mars
This version was published in 1977 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Michael Herring

Born Under Mars by John Brunner

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.22, Yet More Cover Oddities

Over the past few weeks I have featured a number of covers which fall squarely into the category marked ‘strange’ (here and here). And so once again I find myself pulling out books with slightly dodgy and altogether questionable cover art. It’s not that any of these are particularly bad examples (well, maybe just the one), they’re all just a bit strange, campy or downright odd.

I’ll leave the final word to you and your impeccable tastes dear readers, feel free to leave a comment.

Times Without Number by John Brunner
This version was published in 1975 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Don Punchatz

Brunner Times Without Number

So Bright The Vision by Clifford D. Simak
This version was published in 1976 by Ace Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Simak So Bright The Vision

Caviar by Theodore Sturgeon
This version was published in 1968 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is David Davies

Sturgeon Caviar

Dagger Of The Mind by Bob Shaw
This version was published in 1981 by Pan Books
The cover artist is George Underwood

Shaw Dagger Of The Mind

Some Of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon
This version was published in 1967 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Sturgeon Some Of Your Blood

The Two Dimensional World Of Ace Doubles, Part Four And A Half

Following on from last month’s rather successful Ace Double posts I decided that I should quickly add these recently acquired titles to the pile. I came across these books purely by accident last week as I was buying a number of Badger titles at the time and was contacted by the eBay seller Arthur about paying too much postage for the individual books. He mentioned I might offset payment by choosing one or two other books he was about to list including a host of Ace Doubles. After a little fan dangling sending photos via eBay (it’s just not allowed my friends!) I ended up choosing the following four titles which Arthur priced extremely reasonably for me after taking into account my overpaid postage on the last batch. The postie was good enough to knock at my door yesterday bearing the package containing these goodies.

It’s sellers like Arthur and a few others I’ve dealt with regularly in the past (Bernie and Julian, I’m looking at you!) that continue to give me a warm feeling inside and make me happy to be a part of this small but caring community.

This post is therefore dedicated to the real five star sellers of eBay, long may you continue to offer up your wares!

Listen! The Stars! by John Brunner
(Serial Number F-215)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Listen! The Stars! by John Brunner

The Rebellers by Jane Roberts
(Serial Number F-215)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

The Rebellers by Jane Roberts

The Puzzle Planet by Robert A. W. Lowndes
(Serial Number D-485)
This version was published in 1961 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

The Puzzle Planet by Robert A. W. Lowndes

The Angry Espers by Lloyd Biggle Jr.
(Serial Number D-485)
This version was published in 1961 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

The Angry Espers by Lloyd Biggle Jr.

The Duplicators by Murray Leinster
(Serial Number F-275)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

The Duplicators by Murray Leinster

No Truce With Terra by Philip E. High
(Serial Number F-275)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

No Truce With Terra by Philip E. High

Our Man In Space by Bruce W. Ronald
(Serial Number M-117)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is John Schoenherr

Our Man In Space by Bruce W. Ronald

Ultimatum in 2050A.D. by Jack Sharkey
(Serial Number M-117)
This version was published in 1965 by Digit Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Ultimatum in 2050A.D. by Jack Sharkey