Reference Errata, Anomalies, Trivia & Other General Info
This page is to collect any information regarding errors in any reference material, mysteries and other miscellaneous information such as the different dust jackets that were issued with Gnome Press books, Book Club editions, misprints/misspellings and so forth. These things will be collected and posted here as they come to light. If anyone can add or contribute to this page, or correct any mistakes I have made, please let me know. I’ll give credit where it’s due, of course.
The titles are organized alphabetically, but aside from that modicum of order it will be basically just ramblings. Book club editions will be referred to as BCEs, as is the convention.
There are two bindings. That there are two isn’t noted in any reference that I can find. Chalker & Owings don’t make note of it, and Currey doesn’t even list F.L. Wallace. One is blue boards with yellow titling on the spine, and the other is tan boards with black lettering on the spine. According to a vendor on ABE Books (check the link while it’s still there..), the tan binding is second state, though I have no idea where they got that information. In any case, I have both states. UPDATE 27th Jan 2012: I contacted the vendor on ABE to ask about where they got their binding info and they said they had no recollection and couldn’t find the book (which was cataloged way back in 1993) anyway.
Armed Forces Paperback Editions
I bought the Armed Forces paperback issue of Pattern for Conquest from Morgan Wallace. He has all four Gnome paperback issues, and wrote a piece for Paperback Parade back in 2005 outlining the history of the Gnome Press paperback dalliance. Morgan sent me scans of his article and of the four GP paperback titles. Check out the article on the GP Collectors page.
Many thanks and credit must go to Morgan for these images of the covers.
Book Club Editions
There were five titles issued as BCEs from Gnome Press.
Foundation & Empire
Mixed Men, The
Sands of Mars
See the relevant entries on this page for more details.
Children of the Atom
Wilmar H. Shiras
Cover artist Frank Kelly Freas’ name is spelled incorrectly on the rear flap.
His name is misspelled Frank Kelley Frease here.Forgotten Planet, The
Murray Leinster, pseudonym for William Fitzgerald Jenkins
‘Jacket Design’ is credited to Ed Emshwiller on the back flap, but Ric Binkley’s name appears on the cover art itself. See the Close Up for a close view. The ‘official’ William F. Jenkins site credits the cover art to Binkley – see this page.
This book had an alternative dust jacket designed and printed as part of a never-released ‘Gnome Juniors’ series – an attempt to get into the public library juvenile market. Christophe alerted me to this and I have since got a bit more detail from Currey. The design was considered unattractive and was never released on the book, though copies of it turn up from time to time.
‘Gnome Junior’ jacket on the right. The credited artist is Ed Emshwiller. The picture comes from a French specialty press and pulp sf site. You can find it here. Thanks again to Christophe for pointing me to it. UPDATE 29th May 2012: I have both these variants now. Check out the Close Up for the regular version here, and the Gnome Juniors version here.
This is the Big One. It might be a long time before I get my hands on this. To pick up a copy of this book, you are talking a few thousand dollars. They are around, it’s not as if they are as rare as hen’s teeth, but because of the significance of the book – the first mention of the ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ and all that – it does command a premium. The main reason I mention it here is that there is an ‘Armed Forces Edition’ paperback. At only 1000 copies according to Eshbach and due to the flimsy nature of the book, it is much rarer than the hardcover edition. There is one currently available over at rare book specialists ‘Between the Covers’.I’ve nabbed their picture of it for posterity. You can check it out in 3D at their site, until it gets sold I suppose. But at $9500, it might be there for a while. UPDATE 27th Jan 2012: It’s been ‘discounted’ to $6650. Swoop in while it’s still available…
Journey to Infinity
Martin Greenberg, editor
No Currey listing. I assume because Martin Greenberg was only ever an editor, and not an author.
I’ve seen two dust jackets on this book – identical except for the title listing on the back. The copy I have has a listing of 30 other Gnome titles on the back (see the Close Up) headed by ‘The Robot and the Man’ which was published in 1953 – 2 years after ‘Journey’. What looks to be an earlier state jacket has only 10 titles listed. The pic above is of a first state jacket. There were two print runs according to Eshbach, of 5000 and 2500. I don’t know how to determine which run my copy is from. Perhaps the jacket is an indication.
Men Against the Stars
Martin Greenberg, editor
Eshbach says there were two printings, 5000 and 3000 copies respectively. There were two states to the dust jacket. The copy I have has the first state jacket – advertising three contemporary Gnome titles on the back. As is usually the case with the subsequent state jackets, the second state has a later and longer title listing.
Second state above. Observe the longer listing there on the rear.
I have since purchased this copy. You can find a direct comparison of my two copies here.Mixed Men, The
A.E. van Vogt
Currey lists two different bindings for the regular edition, both blue. There is also a BCE which has a different binding again. I take it that Currey doesn’t recognize BCEs? The BCE is below. Note the bland cover and the green binding.
The other difference is on the copyright page. in the above pics, the BCE is on the left and the regular Currey-listed hardcover on the right. This is interesting as Eshbach claims a single 5000 copy printing for The Mixed Men. Perhaps he wasn’t including BCEs either.Pattern for Conquest
George O. Smith
Strangely absent from Eshbach’s listing, yet is mentioned in the Gnome Press chapter of his book with regards to some trivia.
… jacket design for Pattern for Conquest was drawn and hand-lettered by Edd Cartier – and at the last moment [David] Kyle noticed that an “s” had been omitted on the spine. It read “Conquet.” The patch-up job Kyle produced accounts for the white block dividing the title.
Interesting. Another mistake on the dust jacket is in a non-existent title listing on the back. Along with ‘Minions of the Moon’, ‘Minions of Mars’ is listed as an upcoming release. While ‘Minions of the Moon’ was released in 1950, ‘Minions of Mars’ never made print.
A Book Club style mail order catalog
Pick-A-Book was a kind of book club idea used as a marketing device by Gnome Press in the later years of their existence. Back when I picked up my nice copy of ‘The Dawning Light’ from Joe Wherle, we exchanged some correspondence. He very kindly mailed me some GP memorabilia in the form of a couple of scans. Joe participated in Pick-A-Book and he still has one of their catalogs. I’ll let Joe tell it in his own words from his site:
…until I ordered something that was out of print, and got a postcard about it, hastily typed and signed by Martin M. Greenberg, publisher of Gnome Press! Imagine ordering something from Doubleday and Co. and the chairman of the board drops you a line, “Gee, Billy, I don’t think we have any more of those, we’ll have to give your four dollars back. How’s your folks?”
So, Martin Greenberg personally replied to Joe and along with the letter was enclosed a Pick-A-Book catalog.Joe is an artist, writer and collector, and has a nice little article on his site titled Specialty Press Science Fiction in a Nutshell. Many thanks Joe for the memorabilia and the effort. Much appreciated.
Robots Have No Tails
I was informed about a copy of this book that has a very unusual flaw. From page 33 to page 64 the corresponding pages from Clifford D. Simak’s City have supplanted the originals somehow. This seems to be quite an unusual situation, and I’m mystified as to how it came about. Derrick from Austin, Texas (the owner of the book) kindly sent me pics illustrating the issue. Check them out.
That’s pages 32 and 33. Here are pages 34/35, 36/37, 38/39, 60/61 and 64/65:
Very strange. If anyone can tell us how this kind of thing could occur, please let us know. I guess some kind of human error in the binding process.
Many thanks for the alert and the pics Derrick. Cheers.
I’ve made the missing pages available via Scribd. You can find them here.Sands of Mars
Arthur C. Clarke
There is no Currey listing for this – though Gnome Press was first with the US edition in 1952, the UK edition was the true first.
This has two dust jacket states that I’m aware of, though there could possibly be three as Eshbach claims three print runs: 5000 in the first and 1500 in both the second and third. The first state has the same design but is much brighter and more colorful on the front and a smaller Gnome Press title listing in the back – only four books. The jacket I have on my copy has 37 titles listed, headed by ‘Earthman’s Burden’ which was published 7 years after ‘Sands’. I’m guessing that this points to my copy being from the third printing. It was also released as a BCE, but I’m not sure exactly when.
From right to left – the front and rear cover of the first state dust jacket and the cover of the BCE. When I get around to doing the Close Up for my copy of Sands, you will see the difference in the covers. There were fewer colors used on the jacket I have – the first state is far superior. I have since learned that the difference is much greater than just a reprint with fewer colors. They are actually different pictures. See below.They are quite obviously dissimilar. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it earlier. Click the image for a larger view. I wonder why?? Time for some speculation… I suspect GP didn’t own the rights to the original image otherwise they could have reproduced it, even with fewer colors if they wished. I imagine that they couldn’t afford to purchase it’s use again so they commissioned the original artist Ric Binkley to produce a cheap and nasty version of the same image. Or perhaps the original was lost… I’d like to know the answer to this, so if anyone knows the true story, or can provide a similarly plausible theory, let me know.Science Fiction World, The
Short-lived SF newsletter
This was a kind of newsletter published by Gnome Press about happenings in the SF world. Edited by Bob Tucker, only 6 issues were released between 1955 and ’57. These are among there rarer of the GP items around – you’re looking at about $800 – $1000 or more for a complete set of 6. I had the opportunity on issue no.3, but unfortunately books are my priority at present. Matt kindly sent me some pics of that particular issue, you can see it below.
Click for a bigger view. Unfortunately the center pages are a bit hard to read, Matt had to photograph it rather than scan it because it’s a little too brittle to be smashed flat on a scanner. Nevertheless, it’s a great addition to the site, thanks for the trouble Matt. If you’re interested in it, let me know and I’ll hook you up with him.Survivors, The
The author is a surprising omission from Currey. Tom Godwin was one of the great classic SF writers and I am mystified as to why he isn’t included. Christophe kindly sent me a scan of the original cover art by Wallace Wood.There is no cover artist credited on ‘Survivors’ but Mr Wood is credited by Wikipedia, and from what I’ve seen it does look like his style. The other Gnome title that Wally Wood did the cover art for is ‘The Shrouded Planet’ and he isn’t credited on that either. I wonder why…Travelers of Space
Martin Greenberg, editor
Two printings according to Eshbach who also lists it incorrectly as ‘Travelers in Space’. 5000 in the first and 2500 subsequently. Two different dust jackets, I imagine that they correspond to the two printings. The first and best version of the jacket by Edd Cartier is primarily red and sports many colors. The second, poorer and rarer version from Ric Binkley has only one: blue.Both these covers are mine. The difference in the dating of the versions is reflected in the dates of the GP books promoted on the back cover. The red cover’s back is headed by an anthology contemporary to this in the form of ‘Journey to Infinity’ published in 1951. The blue version’s list is longer and is likewise headed by an anthology – ‘The Robot and the Man’ from ’53.
Most of the pics here are from my own collection, though a few have been kindly donated or otherwise come from various sources around the Internet. I hope people don’t mind, after all, they are here for the edification of all. If you see an uncredited pic of yours here, let me know so I can give credit where it’s due.