Archive for the 'Books' Category

Robert Adragna Cover Art for the Three Investigators Series (Random House, 1979 – 1985)

Three Crooked

Three Coughing

Three Phantom

Three Haunted

Three Invisible

Three Magic

Three Blazing

Yes, many of you will remember these wonderful books. If you held onto them, good for you. They’re costly today. It’s one of many series we plan to review at We Are the Mutants (launch still scheduled for late August or early September).

The Three Investigators debuted in 1964 and went through several editions. Pictured here are a few of the “Hitchcock” and “Keyhole” editions (the ones I read), published between 1979 and 1987, with cover art by Robert Adragna. Read more about Adragna, and see more of his fantastic covers, here.

Products of Your (Sexist) Imagination: TSR’s Heart Quest Books, 1983 – 1984

Heart Quest 1984

Heart Quest 1984-2

Following the immediate success of the Endless Quest books (1982), TSR released a new series directed at girls. The “Pick a Path to Adventure” tagline was changed to “Pick a Path to Romance and Adventure,” and endless quest became heart quest, because, ladies, your life’s journey ends in the kitchen, seeing as how “you want his love to fulfill your life.” I haven’t actually read any of the books, to be honest, because they’re so rare, but I can’t imagine the quality is high enough to make up for the shameful product. The books are obviously designed to resemble the Harlequin romances of the time, and each volume had “stepback” art, meaning the cover illustration is framed by a cut-out front cover. Turning the cover reveals the full page illustration.

Larry Elmore and Jim Holloway did the cover and interior art, respectively, for the first four volumes, and children’s author Linda Lowery wrote volumes three and five. You can find more information on the series here.

Douglas Adams and Nick Landau in Forbidden Planet Bookshop, 1979

Forbidden Planet 1979

Douglas Adams (holding The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy double LP) is on the left; Nick Landau (co-founder of the original Forbidden Planet and Titan Books, holding the just published Hitchhiker’s novel) is right. All comics 12p!

Forbidden Planet was one of London’s first comic book specialty shops, after Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed and Weird Fantasy.

I found the photo at the Collectors Society forums. It was taken by Colin Davey.

Cover Art for No Way Back by Karl Zeigfreid (Badger, 1964)

No Way Back Zeigfreid 1964-3

No Way Back Zeigfreid 1964-2

Karl Zeigfreid was a house name for Badger Books; in this case, R.L. Fanthorpe is the author. The cover artist is unknown, and the synopsis of the book makes it highly unlikely that a skeleton in a spacesuit holding what appears to be a South Seas dancing girl made an appearance. Skeleton astronauts are often seen on sci-fi covers, but rarely have anything to do with the stories inside.

Bigfoot by Hal G. Evarts (Scribner, 1973)

Bigfoot Evarts 1973

Bigfoot Evarts 1973-2

I had this as a kid and vaguely remember the plot: an English professor researching Bigfoot hires a camping guide to help track the elusive beast. They’re later joined by the professor’s plucky daughter. Strange happenings abound, but I believe there’s some sort of rational explanation for Bigfoot at the end of the novel. I can’t quite remember what it is.

Evarts, who died in 1989, is primarily remembered for his Westerns and mysteries, although Bigfoot was a popular entry in the children’s book phase of his career. The hardcover of the book featured a slight indentation of the footprint.

Nobody Wants a Nuclear War by Judith Vigna (Albert Whitman & Co., 1986)








Read the rest at Awful Library Books. It’s actually quite touching, and immediately recalled a fascination and terror I haven’t felt in 25 years: just one more reminder of the idiocy and decadence underlying the giddy sheen of the 1980s. I just hope that my kids don’t ever feel the need to read books addressing the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation.

Ed Valigursky Cover Art for The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein (Ace, 1972)

Heinlein 1972

The book is a collection of short stories, none of which feature a dead astronaut. See more of Valigursky’s work here.

(Image via MPorcius Fiction Log)

Cover Art for Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible (Ace, 1975)

Invincible 1973-1975

Very similar to the Angus McKie piece that was published the following year. The artist of the Lem cover is unknown, and you can see details on the book here. More skeleton astronauts, a recurring theme in sci-fi since the genre’s beginning, here.

Queen City Book Store, 1977 – 1980

Queen City 1977-4

Queen City 1977-3

Queen City 1977-2

Queen City 1978-2

Queen City 1978

Queen City 1979

Queen City 1979-2

Queen City Late 1970s

Queen City Early 1980s

Emil J. Novak, Sr. opened Buffalo, New York’s Queen City Bookstore in 1969. He and his family still own and run the place. I found all of the remarkable photos on the website’s history gallery. Some of the gems I spotted are posted below.

What can I say that I haven’t said before? We need more stores like this. Kids need more awesome stuff like this. They deserve the chance to roam around in places that exist with them in mind (I’m talking about libraries too), flip open a random book, and have their minds blown forever. What we now dismiss as “obsolete physical media” once propped up local communities and ignited the imagination of generations. It’s not just books that influenced and inspired me, but the places I found them in.

You can see more book stores and comic book stores here.

Alien Trading Cards 1979

LOTR Fotonovel 1979

Star Trek Catalog 1979

Star Wars Special Edition 1977

Space Wars 1979

The Hamlyn Book of Horror by Daniel Farson (Hamlyn, 1979)

Hamlyn Horror 1979





The second book in Hamlyn’s horror/occult series is the hardest to find at a reasonable price, and I couldn’t locate any pages online. Luckily, I found some of the interior paintings at series artist Oliver Frey’s site.

Following the two cover images, we have depictions of the legend of Sawney Bean and his incestuous, cannibal clan, who, according to legend, ate more than 1,000 people; peasants set on fire by Vlad the Impaler; and “wolf boys” allegedly found in India in 1920 (the boys were actually girls, and the story is likely a hoax). In other words, nightly reading for ’70s kids.

The Hamlyn Book of Horror was published originally, minus the illustrations, as The Beaver Book of Horror (1977), seen below. The excellent cover of the Beaver (a Hamlyn imprint) edition is by Alan Lee.

Beaver Horror 1977

(Images via The Cobwebbed Room, Oliver Frey, and misen 23)




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