Treasure. I already have The Forgotten Planet (see that Close Up), but I’ve been looking to get my hands on a copy with this jacket for quite a while. I first learned about this variant of the jacket from my good collector friend Chris over in France. I made an entry about it on the Trivia Page, and put the acquisition of it into the category of meantime pipe dream. Well, I have one now. This is only the third time I’ve seen this jacket come up for auction in my almost 4 years of collecting. The first was a pristine jacket with a married book (see the ‘Binding’ section at the end..) on eBay that I should (shouldn’t, upon reflection) have bid on, but went to the man himself for $102 (is that right Chris?). Actually, I posted on that here. The second was maybe a couple of months ago that came up at Heritage Auctions. I competed for that, but it went for $350 – more than I was willing to bid. I feel I was lucky to get this one, especially as this copy does have some special provenance.
Just a word on Heritage Auctions. The people that participate in the auctions there are serious – real collectors. That’s a generalization of course, but the sums I’ve seen paid for GP books there are generally greater than equivalent titles that come up on eBay. Those people don’t mess around. It’s another reason that I feel quite lucky to pick this up, despite it being my most expensive book so far.
Let’s look at it. There’s little to explain and no issues with this copy at all, excepting one small thing which I’ll seek input on later in this post. First the cover.
Beautiful. It’s not flawlessly beautiful like Chris’ copy of the jacket, but it’s fine nonetheless. If you check out the details at the tail-end of this post, you’ll see that there was some concern at the time of the jacket’s suitability for a library distribution. Chalker & Owings make the comment about it being good Emsh art, but I don’t totally agree. However, it does illustrate the story much better than the normal distribution artwork. Without the jacket is at least as good.
No problems. Slight bumping to the head and tail of the spine.
Top, bottom, head, tail. No problems. Well, some slight wear there, especially at the tail of the spine. No rubbing at all though. Nice.
I mentioned some provenance earlier, let’s look at it now. This copy was the Gnome Press file copy and is signed to that effect by Martin Greenberg. Nice association for such a rare issue!!
The back reflects the condition we have seen thus far and is beautiful and free from rubbing.
Zooming in though, we can see an issue that I have a query about. Have a look.
Look closely at the listing for Children of the Atom and Wilmar Shiras’ name. Can you see that the ‘S’ is slightly obscured? Closer examination reveals that the view of the ‘v’ at the end of Mr. Asimov’s name is partially impeded also. To anyone who has a copy of this, is this also the case on yours?? Let us know…
Art: Ed Emshwiller
Copies: 5000 (Eshbach, wikipedia)
Binding: Currey priority ‘B’ binding. Greenish-yellow boards with greenish marbling and green lettering on the spine. When I posted regarding this jacket a couple of years ago, I indicated that this jacket didn’t see release on a book, but according to Chalker & Owings, this is the correct binding as issued with this variant of the jacket, for the library market at least. As an aside, like the Currey ‘D’ binding I have, there’s a nice sprinkling of celestial spheres on the front board.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Chalker & Owings: THE FORGOTTEN PLANET, by Murray Leinster [pseud. William Fitzgerald Jenkins], 1954, pp.177, $2.50. 5000 copies printed. Jacket by Ed Emsh[willer]. Points: Four bindings, cream cloth is first state, cream boards second, tan boards third. A small number were bound in gray cloth in 1957. Two jackets also exist; most have map design, but some have different Emsh cover of man facing giant beetle-like creature. Most of the latter went to libraries in second state and rarely show up; bulk were pulled when school librarians complained that the jacket was too repulsive, although it’s actually very good Emsh. Greenberg has over the years told different versions of this, the most common one indicating that none of the beetle jackets went to schools, but the ones in Baltimore public schools had it.
Currey: THE FORGOTTEN PLANET. New York: Gnome Press, Inc., . Four bindings, first two probably as listed, last two later: (A) Cream cloth lettered in yellow-green (copy thus deposited in the Library of Congress); (B) Cream boards with yellow-green marbled pattern lettered in green; (C) Tan boards lettered in green; (D) Gray cloth lettered in red. First edition so stated on copyright page. Murray Leinster, pseudonym. Note: The dust jacket incorporates a map design. A variant dust jacket depicting a man confronted by a giant scarab beetle was prepared to promote the only title in the short-lived Gnome Press “Gnome Juniors” experiment, an attempt to reach the public library juvenile market. Publisher Martin Greenberg states that this design was commercially unattractive and all copies of this title were issued with the map jacket. However, examples of the beetle variant survive and infrequently appear on copies of the book.
Comments: I want your opinion on a couple of things. First, did I pay too much for this? Second, if you have a copy, let us know about the aforementioned flaw on the back. Interestingly, if you look carefully, Facsimile Dust Jackets‘ reproduction also exhibits this aberration.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database