Ace On Sunday #17

Ace Double Header

This Sunday’s pick from the Ace Double shelves is serial number F-253, a book which was originally published back in 1964. The first novel I’ve chosen to read is One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox – a pseudonym for none other than Robert Silverberg. Let’s open the cover and take a look at the blurb;

John Storm’s return to Earth was triumphant:he was about to become a millionaire. Now there was only the routine job of validating his claim to the asteroid he’d found. But there was one problem – the computer had no record of Storm’s claim And stranger yet, the computer had no record of John Storm. He did’t officially exist!

There seemed only one possible explanation to the nightmare Storm found himself in – someone wanted Storm’s asteroid. There had to be something on that tiny celestial body worth a great deal more than the reactive ores Storm had discovered. And that something was obviously worth the obliteration of anyone or anything getting in the way.

The cover illustration is another fantastic piece by Ed Valigursky featuring a bald headed figure with pointed ears removing his space helmet amidst a tangle of orbiting planets and stars.

This sounds like it has all the ingredients of a decent plot and so I’d best brew another cup of tea, recharge my vape and find out how Mr Storm resolves this strange predicament. Join me next weekend to find out what’s on the flip side and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.

One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox
(Serial Number F-253)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox

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 #9

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I’ve been enjoying this weekend trip across the library shelves which house my Ace Doubles, it’s proving to be a wonderful substitute for last year’s Badger titles that became a regular fixture of my Sunday reading. This week I’ve selected a book which was originally published some fifty eight years ago and is understandably a little bit fragile.

The first novel I’ll be tackling from serial number D-291 was penned by Robert Silverberg under the pseudonym Calvin M. Knox and bears the following tagline;

Only a few believed that the Earth still existed

The moody cover painting by Ed Valigursky shows the protagonist Hallam Navarre exploring a dimly lit corridor and shining his torch on a chamber containing a blonde woman clad in a fetching pink all-in-one. I’m convinced I’ve seen this cover used on another book as was often the practice during this period, I seem to think it was a Badger title so I must have a rifle through my shelves later on.

Let’s see what happens to Mr Navarre on his strange journey and find out who the mysterious woman in pink is. I hope that you’re enjoying this series of covers, please do share your thoughts in the comments. Come back next Sunday when I’ll be flipping this book over to find out what’s on the other side, happy reading in the meantime.

Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Calvin M. Knox
(Serial Number D-291)
This version was published in 1958 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

D-291 Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Calvin M Knox

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.15, The Unidentified

Ah, the 60s & 70s. They gave us so many worthwhile things (far too numerable to mention here in a rather brief blog post naturally) including sci-fi book covers which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I’ve previously covered Shapes & Symbols (here) and Psychedelics (here) in this mini-series but now it’s the turn of the downright unintelligible to take centre stage. Here is my humble offering of five titles with covers that communicate absolutely nothing to the potential buyer, just a strange photograph of… well, something.

Is it just me or am I missing a very obvious point here, answers in the comments or on a good old fashioned postcard if you’d rather.

The Seedy by Robert Ray
1969 – Panther
Cover artist uncredited

Ray The Seedy

Time In Advance By William Tenn
1966 – Panther
Cover artist uncredited

Tenn Time In Advance

The Screaming Face by John Lymington
1965 – Corgi
Cover art by Sir George F. Pollock

Lymington The Screaming Face

Needle In A Timestack by Robert Silverberg
1967 – Sphere
Cover artist uncredited

Silverberg Needle In A Timestack

Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber
1966 – Four Square Books
Covert art by James Holt

Leiber Gather, Darkness

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.12, Rise Of The Machines

When will we ever learn? We build the most sophisticated machines and supercomputers to do our bidding but the bloody things just go on to malfunction with disastrous consequences, rise up against us or even plot to kill their human creators! Do we honestly need a toaster with a microchip inside or a vacuum cleaner that completes its chores without human intervention? But this dear friends is the future where everything possible is mechanised and computerised to within an inch of its very nuts and bolts. It’s completely inescapable I tell you.

Whilst you consider the serious social and political implications of such a future, browse the following five books which all feature machines of one kind or another on their covers. They may offer you a clue to the origin of all this madness and therefore prevent any mechanical misdemeanours from occurring. I hope that for all our sakes they do…

I, The Machine by Paul W. Fairman
1968 – Lancer Books
Cover art by Hoot Von Zitzewitz

Fairman I, The Machine

The Very Slow Time Machine by Ian Watson
1979 – Ace Books
Cover art by Paul Alexander

Watson The Very Slow Time Machine

Recalled To Life by Robert Silverberg
1967 – Lancer Focus
Cover artist uncredited

Silverberg Recalled To Life

The Brain Machine by George O. Smith
1968 – Lancer Books
Cover art by Frank Kelly Freas

Smith The Brain Machine

Master Of Life And Death by Robert Silverberg
1979 – Panther Granada
Cover art by Tony Roberts

Silverberg Master Of Life And Death

The Art Of The Sublime, Part Two

In the first part of this article (here) I spoke of my sometimes blinkered pursuit of underlying themes in cover artwork and a certain (partial) freedom from this in my ongoing series of open library posts. I still find myself connecting the artistic dots however and producing these thematically inclined articles. I can’t help myself, maybe I just have a deeply seated psychological aberration of some kind.

The whole point of this piece then was to simply ignore themes, connections or randomness and simply choose a series of covers whose artwork I would rate as outstanding. To me, These represent some of the best examples of period sci-fi cover art I have ever had the pleasure to come across. It’s perhaps worth noting here that I haven’t included any work by my favourite cover artist Richard Powers as he has been covered extensively elsewhere on this blog.

Enough of the waxing lyrical for now, what are your thoughts on my humble choices? What covers would you have selected for this list? You know where the comments are my friends…

Testament XXI by Guy Snyder
This version was published in 1973 by Daw Books
The cover artist is Kelly Freas
A somewhat Richard Powers styled rock formation looms in the foreground of this great Kelly Freas piece.

Snyder, Testament XXI

Born With The Dead – Robert Silverberg
This version was published in 1977 by Coronet Books
The cover artist is Jim Burns
I’m a sucker for the anatomical of course and this cover ticks all the right boxes for me.

Silverberg Born With The Dead

One Million Tomorrows by Bob Shaw
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artists are Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
More gorgeous psychedelics from the Dillon camp.

Shaw One Million Tomorrows

The Mutants by Kris Neville
This version was published in 1966 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited
Once again, it’s hard to believe that such a stunning piece as this should be left uncredited.

Neville The Mutants

The Silent Speakers by Arthur Sellings
This version was published in 1965 by Panther Books
The cover artist is uncredited
Another scandalously uncredited piece of fantastic artwork.

Sellings The Silent Speakers

Asylum Earth by Bruce Elliott
This version was published in 1968 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is Jerome Podwil

Elliott Asylum Earth

The Two Dimensional World Of Ace Doubles, Part Four

Over the past month I’ve been writing about the wonderful Ace Books and their innovative use of the tête-bêche binding technique which allowed two books to be included in a single volume, one on each side. Preceding parts of this article can be found here, here and here.

My collection is looking a little ransacked now but there are still enough books for another outing. And so for my fourth and final instalment of this series, I thought I’d include six books which results in 12 twelve covers. Once again, I’ve included the original serial number in each listing for completeness as I have done in the past. I hope these selections have been of some interest and enjoyment for you, feel free to head over to the comments and share your thoughts.

The Rites Of Ohe by John Brunner
(Serial Number F-242)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Ace F-242 (a)

Castaways World by John Brunner
(Serial Number F-242)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Ace F-242 (b)

The Golden People by Fred Saberhagen
(Serial Number M-103)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Ace M-103 (a)

Exile From Xanadu by Lan Wright
(Serial Number M-103)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Ace M-103 (b)

The Gates Of Time by Neal Barrett Jr.
(Serial Number 27400)
This version was published in 1970 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Ace 27400 (a)

Dwellers Of The Deep by K. M. O’Donnell
(Serial Number 27400)
This version was published in 1970 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

Ace 27400 (b)

The Ship From Outside by A. Bertram Chandler
(Serial Number F-237)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Ace F-237 (a)

Beyond The Galactic Rim by A. Bertram Chandler
(Serial Number F-237)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

Ace F-237 (b)

Alton’s Unguessable by Jeff Sutton
(Serial Number 76096)
This version was published in 1970 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

Ace 76096 (a)

The Ships Of Durostorum by Kenneth Bulmer
(Serial Number 76096)
This version was published in 1970 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Kelly Freas

The Ships Of Durostorum by Kenneth Bulmer

The Seed Of Earth by Robert Silverberg
(Serial Number F-145)
This version was published in 1962 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

Ace F-145 (a)

Next Stop The Stars by Robert Silverberg
(Serial Number F-145)
This version was published in 1962 by Ace Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Ace F-145 (b)