Off The Shelf; Keith Laumer

Keith Laumer Portrait

The next author to come under the spotlight as part of this ongoing mini-series is Keith Laumer who is probably familiar to many for his Retief novels. I first discovered him via a rather tatty copy of A Plague Of Demons which I picked up in a dusty old bookshop one rainy afternoon. I must admit that I bought it mainly for the cover as it was the 1967 Penguin version with an illustration by Alan Aldridge but I did rather enjoy reading it following my purchase.

Since then, I have replaced my battered copy of this book with a much tidier copy and have also expanded my collection of Laumer’s writings considerably. I haven’t included this novel here though as it was featured as part of an earlier article on the Penguin/Aldridge series which can be found here if you’d like to see it.

I’ve become more aware of his output through Berkley Medallion recently due to the fact that a great deal of these publications were illustrated by Richard Powers. They tend to be quite hard to come across being US versions so consequently fetch higher prices once shipping is factored in.

So, onto the covers! I’ve selected eight titles as usual, each one featuring particularly eye-catching artwork. The first four books presented below are pulled from my modest collection of Berkley Medallions for all you Powers fans out there.

I’ll be back again soon with another Off The Shelf selection so be sure to follow the blog to receive notifications of all new posts. Let me know what you think of this week’s covers in the comments too, your feedback is always greatly appreciated.

The Shape Changer by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1973 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Shape Changer by Keith Laumer

The Infinite Cage by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1974 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Infinite Cage by Keith Laumer

Time Trap by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Time Trap by Keith Laumer

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1968 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy by Keith Laumer

Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Mayflower Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer

Nine By Laumer by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Nine By Laumer by Keith Laumer

A Trace Of Memory by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1968 by Mayflower Books
The cover artist is uncredited

A Trace Of Memory by Keith Laumer

The Great Time Machine Hoax by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1965 by Pocket Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Great Time Machine Hoax by Keith Laumer

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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

Off The Shelf; Philip José Farmer

This time I’ve decided to pull eight books by Philip José Farmer from the shelves of my library for closer inspection. I came to Farmer quite late on, only discovering him through a title from 1962 called Alley God which I picked up due to it’s wonderful Richard Powers cover. I thought it was a pretty good read and so started buying other titles as I came across them. I’ve enjoyed most of his work so far particularly the 1960 collection Strange Relations which is highly imaginative and suitably twisted.

The first two covers presented below feature gloriously psychedelic paintings by Bill Botton. There is a third title in this series (The Gates Of Creation) but I haven’t managed to find it through any of my various sources or contacts as yet, I live in hope however. The remaining books have quite differently styled covers ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre.

Let me know your thoughts on this selection in the comments and feel free to share any recommendations as I always like to hear what others have enjoyed reading.

A Private Cosmos by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1970 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is Bill Botton

A Private Cosmos by Philip Jose Farmer

The Maker Of Universes by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1970 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is Bill Botton

Maker Of Universes by Philip Jose Farmer

The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1957 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer

The Lovers by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Lovers by Philip Jose Farmer

Tongues Of The Moon by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1970 by Pyramid Books
The cover artist is not credited

Tongues Of The Moon by Philip Jose Farmer

The Stone God Awakens by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1973 by Ace Books
The cover artist is J. H. Breslow

The Stone God Awakens by Philip Jose Farmer

Behind The Walls Of Terra by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1975 by Sphere
The cover artist is Peter Goodfellow

Behind The Walls Of Terra by Philip Jose Farmer

Time’s Last Gift by Philip José Farmer
This version was published in 1975 by Panther Granada Books
The cover artist is by Peter Tybus

Time's Last Gift by Philip Jose Farmer

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

Latest Covers By Richard Powers

Regular readers of this humble blog will already know that I’m a huge fan of Richard Powers and his stunningly modernist cover art. Because of this, I always keep a close eye on eBay auctions, in secondhand bookshops and various other sources for good examples. Despite the fact that I have a huge number of Powers covers in my library, I am always amazed to find myself stumbling over books which I have never seen before and am therefore compelled to add them to my collection.

A few months ago I was browsing the online store of a US eBay seller that I follow when I came across a number of such titles. I was astonished to see so many in one place and all with a very reasonable asking price too. I immediately made a selection, agreed a postage charge with the buyer and set about waiting for my box of beautiful books to arrive.

Some weeks later, a courier knocked at my door bearing a parcel from the States and I eagerly tore into it to reveal a dozen or so pristine novels with eye popping cover art. I thought I’d share the first batch with you as they all feature paintings by the hugely talented Mr Powers. I’ll be hoping to add a few more books like these to my collection during 2016.

I hope that you enjoy this selection, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments as always.

Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr
This version was published in 1954 by Dell Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Beyond Infinity by Robert Spencer Carr

The Metal Monster by A. Merritt
This version was published in 1957 by Avon Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Metal Monster by A. Merritt

Re-Birth by John Wyndham
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Re-Birth by John Wyndham

The Winds Of Time by Chad Oliver
This version was published in 1958 by Pocket Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Winds Of Time by Chad Oliver

Star Short Novels edited by Frederik Pohl
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Star Short Novels edited by Frederik Pohl

The Unsleep by Diana and Meir Gillon
This version was published in 1962 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Unsleep by Diana and Meir Gillon

The Strange Case Of The Ballantine Job Lot

It all started some time ago now, I was happily browsing eBay on my iPad sipping a cup of tea when an auction caught my eye. It was for a job lot of fifteen Ballantine books in excellent condition with a starting price of just £10. There were no bids and only a few hours to completion. This had to be too good to be true!

I scrutinised the photos of the books in the ad, they were nearly all by Richard Powers. I knew I might have to bid hard in the closing stages and so planned my strategy meticulously. My head was full of calculations, how much would this collection go for if the books sold separately? I had plenty to think about whilst the clock ticked.

With a minute to spare there was a solitary bid which surprised me greatly given the rarity and usual quality of decent Ballantines around these days. I won’t disclose what I did put in as my final bid but it was a hell of a lot more than my winning price of just £12.16! That equates to approximately 81p for each book – staggering!

When the box arrived and was carefully unpacked, each book was indeed in excellent condition and I was a very happy soul for being the lucky winner of this Ballantine/Powers jamboree. It’s just a shame there are two uncredited covers amongst these beauties so if anyone has any bright ideas as to who they’re by then I’m all ears.

Here’s the haul in all it’s glory for you to enjoy;

Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon
This version was published in 1956 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn

The Fourth “R” by George O. Smith
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Fourth %22R%22 by George O. Smith

Robots And Changelings by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1957 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Robots & Changelings by Lester Del Rey

Far And Away by Anthony Boucher
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Far and Away by Anthony Boucher

Beyond Eden by Davis Duncan
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Beyond Eden by David Duncan

The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth

No Boundaries by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

No Boundaries by Henry Kuttner:C. L. Moore

Turn Left At Thursday by Frederik Pohl
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Turn Left At Thursday by Frederick Pohl

Search The Sky by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1954 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Search The Sky by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1959 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Wolfbane by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

The Undying Fire by Fletcher Pratt
This version was published in 1953 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Undying Fire by Fletcher Pratt

Citizen In Space by Robert Sheckley
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Citizen In Space by Robert Sheckley

Gladiator-At-Law by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1955 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Gladiator-At-Law by Frederick Pohl:C. M. Kornbluth

A Package From The USA

I’d been after a copy of a particular book for some weeks when I stumbled across it by chance on eBay one evening. I was a little put off at first however as it was located in the States and I always think that postage overseas seems to be extremely steep when compared to other sources. In a bid to negotiate a better shipping fee, I decided to browse the seller’s shop for other books to make up a parcel and I was amazed to find twenty or so titles screaming out for my attention. Eventually I decided on fifteen volumes and duly contacted the seller who gave me a very reasonable price for shipping to the UK. The books were also on the cheap side too so it was a win-win situation.

At the back end of last week, a parcel arrived for me bearing familiar markings and so I tore it open with much relish to reveal the stash of new books waiting for me inside. I thought I’d share most of the covers here, several more of them are destined for other posts. And so here then are ten books fresh from the USA;

A Cupful Of Space by Mildred Clingerman
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Clingerman, A Cupful Of Space

Testament XXI by Guy Snyder
This version was published in 1973 by Daw Books
The cover artist is Kelly Freas

Snyder, Testament XXI

Meeting At Infinity by John Brunner
This version was published in 1969 by Ace Books
The cover artist is John Schoenherr

Ace - Brunner, Meeting At Infinity

The Day Of The Shield by Antony Alban
This version was published in 1973 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Alban, The Day Of The Shield

The Stochastic Man by Robert Silverberg
This version was published in 1976 by Fawcett Gold Medal Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Silverberg, The Stochastic Man

A Sea Of Space edited by William F. Nolan
This version was published in 1970 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Anthology, A Sea Of Space

Other Worlds Of Clifford Simak by Clifford Simak
This version was published in 1962 by Avon Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Clifford Simak, Other worlds Of...

Tomorrow Is Too Far by James White
This version was published in 1971 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Dean Ellis

White, Tomorrow Is Too Far

The Syndic by Cyril M. Kornbluth
This version was published in 1955 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Kornbluth, The Syndic

Day Of The Giants by Lester Del Rey
This version was published in 1964 by Airmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Del Rey, Day Of The Giants