Close Up: Sixth Column

closeupRobert Heinlein

Another Heinlein 1st edition.  I just love saying that.  Sixth Column is rather an obscure book in terms of Heinlein.  To me at least anyway – I hadn’t heard of it prior to my Gnome Press awareness.  This isn’t in as good condition as ‘Hoag’ but it’s not too bad.  Actually there are a couple of flaws which I’ll highlight later, but first lets have a look at the cover.  The cover artist is Gnome Press stalwart Edd Cartier and the subtitle proclaims that this is “a science fiction novel of strange intrigue”.  Well, the cover image certainly engenders ‘strange intrigue’ at the very least.  Check it out.

Looks like a couple of refugees from a carnival somewhere.  Bizarre.  Before getting into the story (I’m reading it at the moment) I would have thought that this would bear little relation to what was contained within, as book covers are want to do.  However, much to my mild surprise, it is very appropriate.  But that’s a topic for the review.

You can see on the spine there has been an abrasion of some sort.

Luckily it didn’t break through the dust jacket there.  Must have been a close thing.  The results of this can be seen under the covers.  Actually, the book looks as though it’s taken a few knocks.  Lets get the jacket off and take a peek.

We can see several issues here.  The most prominent of which is the dent on the front.  This is I think connected to the graze I just pointed out.  It looks as though something weighty has been dragged across the book while it has been lying flat before dropping off and grazing down the front of the spine.  You might be able to tell that the book isn’t standing quite straight – the spine is a bit loose.  Cool atom device with the chains on the front board there though.  Nice.

It’s had a bump on the bottom front free corner too.  And somebody has carelessly dropped something on to the back of the book at some stage.

Ouch.  These dings all look worse than they actually are.  I’ve purposely held them at an unflattering angle to the light so as to highlight the dents and things, making them easier to see.

Lets put the wrap back on and zoom in on the spine extremities.

The dust jackets a bit worn, but nothing too serious there.  Actually apart from that abrasion on the spine and the scratch on the back which I’ll point out in a minute, the jacket is good.  No tears to speak of at all.  Some minor rubbing to the bottom edges there.  Lets zoom out now and take in the ends.

Still sits quite square despite the looseness in the spine.  The back is nice, unlike any Gnome book I have thus far.

Looks great.  Nice and clean, the edges of the jacket look great.  But wait, what’s that??  Step closer.

A bit of a scratch there.  Luckily it hasn’t made it all the way through.  To finish on a positive note, I like the gnome astronaut on the back.  Very cool.

Year: 1949
Paid: $180
Art: Edd Cartier
Quantity: 5000 copies
Binding: Black cloth with red lettering to spine with a really cool red atom & chain device on the front.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated on copyright page.
Comments: The book has survived some close scrapes well – it’s been very lucky by the looks of it. Very clean internally and a great price for a Heinlein 1st edition too.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database



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