The good news is that this cover was painted by Frank R. Paul, the brilliant artist responsible for the look of the early Amazing Stories and for shaping in many readers’ minds the “look” of the future as they imagined it in the 1920s and 30s. The bad news is that the cover story really is titled “Planet of the Knob Heads.” Stanton A. Coblentz, what were you thinking? Other interesting items between the covers are an article on the development of television and another on fandom that mentions Forrest Ackerman and the first World Science Fiction Convention. Cool stuff.
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.
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:
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.
Before he was writing I Am Legend or Somewhere in Time, Richard Matheson wrote some hardboiled pulp mysteries. This one, Someone Is Bleeding, was his first. Published by Lion in 1953, it’s the story of a femme fatale and a guy who gets mixed up with her. You’ve also got an icepick involved and some men (pigs! according to the cover) who meet a grisly end.
My urban fantasy novella, Dead Man’s Hand, is available as a free download for the rest of the day–today, September 4th.
This week’s cover is from the Lion paperback edition of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, published in 1950. Lion #14. Cover art by Herman Bischoff. This is one of the stranger covers in this genre, as Jackson’s title story is rather horrific, and even though we get silhouettes of the story’s aggressors and some flying stones as well, we also get the “sexy” Tessie Hutchinson who’s having trouble keeping her clothes on. An odd example, and rather collectible as a result.