Category Archives: 1950s Art

The Green Girl by Jack Williamson (Avon)

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This was the second and final book in Avon’s Fantasy series–Jack Williamson’s The Green Girl, published in 1950 with uncredited cover artist. To further confuse defitions of science fiction and fantasy, the book is clearly part of the Fantasy series (see the logo) but is touted as science fiction in the cover blurb. It takes place far in the future (1999) and follows the adventures of a scientist who discovers an underground world with all sorts of strange creatures in it.

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Filed under 1950s Art, Books, Pulp Covers, Pulp Fiction, Science Fiction, Vintage Paperbacks

Avon Science Fiction Reader No. 1 (1951)

imgThis week’s cover is the first of Avon’s Science Fiction Reader series, which had a run of only 3 issues. This digest-sized pulp is from 1951 and was edited by Donald A. Wolheim, who later go on to edit at Ace books and eventually start his own publishing house, DAW books. Oddly enough, Wolheim included one of his own stories in this issue of Science Fiction Reader. Must have been tough.

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10 Story Fantasy (1951)

Avon’s short-lived 10 Story Fantasy from Spring 1951. The magazine lasted only 1 issue and was edited by Donald A. Wolheim who would soon go on to be an editor at Ace books. Other than the fur-lined bikini on this cover by James Bama, this magazine is most famous for containing the first printing of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Sentinel of Eternity”–usually reprinted as “The Sentinel” and the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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George Orwell 1984 (Signet #798)

What would poor George Orwell have said about this Signet paperback cover of 1984? Published in 1950, just a year after the book’s hardcover publication and the same year as Orwell’s death, for all I know he was aware of it. While no one would call the book itself pulp fiction, the cover certainly gets the pulp treatment with its highlighting of the “Anti-Sex League” and the knowing looks of the man and woman who don’t seem very “anti” about each other.

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Fantastic (Vol. 1 #3) Nov./Dec. 1952

This early issue of Fantastic features stories by Mickey Spillane, Richard Matheson, Cornell Woolrich and others. And for highbrow readers there are also stories by Edgar Allan Poe and E.M. Forster. The poor woman on the cover appears to be having a rough night. Her boyfriend on the back cover seems to be having an even rougher time. The wraparound illustration is by Barye Phillips.

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An Earth Man on Venus (Avon)

This week’s cover is from Avon’s early run of science fiction novels. An Earth Man on Venus by Ralph M. Farley was originally published in the 1930s in the pulp magazines as “The Radio Man.” In Avon’s 1950 rendition, the “Kewpie-Doll Princess” was given some rather interesting treatment. The plot seems very derivative of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first Martian novel. Here’s the back cover:

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Border Town by Carroll Graham (Dell)

Up this week is Border Town by Carroll Graham, published by Dell in 1952. This paperback reprints the first Vanguard edition published in the 1930s. Along with his brother, Garrett, the author is better known for having co-written Queer People, one of the most famous novels about Hollywood. In this book, Graham provides readers with a Latino character trying to build his reputation and empire on both sides of the California/Mexico border. This book was the basis for a film of the same name starring Bette Davis and Paul Muni.

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