Close Up: Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars
It’s been about eight months since the last Close Up, and I just completed the review a couple of days ago so this is timely. I have quite a few books on the Gnome Press Flickr site that are still waiting to be delivered here, and this is one. This is one of those books that isn’t that expensive, but notoriously difficult to get a decent copy of. Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars is one of the few genuine GP juvenile (or YA) novels and I’m guessing that the reason why it’s hard to get a decent copy is that they tended to fall into the hands of libraries where books get a hard time, and also into the clutches of said young people who themselves are not known for their upstanding book care practices. I sure know I wasn’t when I was young. Do I have a nice copy? I think so, so let’s check it out.
Looks super, the cover art by the great Ed Emsh is still nice and bright, thought there is some slight rubbing around the title area. The bluish stripe down the leading edge is an artifact of reflected light and not present on the jacket. You can see at the base of the spine that this is proclaimed as ‘A Mel Oliver Adventure’, implying that there have been, or would be others. Sadly, this wasn’t the case and we saw no more of Mel and Rover. A shame.
Nice binding. I like the Mel and Rover impression there. Again, my lighting lets me down a little here. The upper left area looks a bit dark. It’s actually a slight shadow. Let’s crack it open and have a peek inside.
Nice white pages and the images of our heroes are repeated here. Nice touch, I like it.
The only issue in these views is the small tear to the top edge of the jacket visible just to the right of the ‘M’. More prominent in the photo below, along with some slight wear and tear on the jacket at the head of the spine.
The base of the spine looks beautiful, but we finish on a slight downer with the back of the jacket with some obvious rubbing and soiling here.
Art: Ed Emshwiller
Copies: 4000 (Eshbach, wikipedia)
Binding: Yellow boards with red lettering on spine and red Mel & Rover design on front.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated
Chalker & Owings: MEL OLIVER AND SPACE ROVER ON MARS, by William Morrison (pseud. Joseph Samachson), 1954, pp.191, $2.50. 4000 copies printed. Jacket by Ric Binkley.
Comments: Chalker & Owings have stated the jacket is by Ric Binkley. Quite obviously Ed Emsh has his name on the cover. It’s quite uncommon to see this title in this condition, and I’m very happy to have it. 15 bucks was a great deal.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database