Close Up: Judgment Night

closeupC.L. Moore
1952

Very striking cover art by Frank Kelly Freas graces this title.  When I first say the cover for this book I immediately thought of vampires.  I haven’t finished the title story yet, so I can’t say for certain, but there doesn’t appear to be any vampire involvement in that particular tale at least, though the freaky black koala with sea anemone hands is playing a part.

It’s so difficult and usually expensive to pick up a flawless Gnome Press book, there is usually some underlying problem that is either not mentioned or that can’t be adequately seen in a photograph.  I think I have maybe two or three that I would consider to be – for all intents and purposes – mint.  This copy certainly isn’t mint, but I mention it because of the disappointment I felt when I removed the dust jacket.

So, why a little deflated?  Well, if we look at the jacket pretty much as I saw it in the auction it looks pretty good.  And indeed it is.  I have seen copies around with jackets in worse condition than this for as much as three times the price I paid.  Anyway, lets see what the deal is.
As you can see, good initial impression, and this was the basis I picked this up on.  The logic being, that if the jacket is ok, the the rest usually follows.  Remove the jacket and the issue is revealed.
Need I say more.  The spotting is quite emphasized here in the picture – it doesn’t appear as bad in person – but it’s there nonetheless.  Note the staining along the bottom edge.  This occurs consistently on enough books to suggest that there is a common cause, and I don’t mean that someone spilled something on the bookshelf.  I think that maybe this stain comes from the oil on peoples skin that gets rubbed in to the bottom edge there with repeated reading.  Try this for yourself – the next time you are reading a book, take note of which part of the book gets the most worry from your hands.  I bet it’s the left hand on the bottom edge of the front board.
Other issues with this particular book – the boards are slightly bowed and the spine has a roll.  The spotting on the block is rather typical and not too much of an problem.

Overall, it doesn’t look very flash – rather untidy.  Let’s look at the spine extremities.
The jacket is pretty good all around.  No drama there.
Looking inside we can see the theme of general poor condition continuing.  Foxing and staining you can see.
Actually photographing it does highlight it a little more, but it’s still there nonetheless.
Just a little rubbing on the rear of the jacket there, but otherwise quite clean.

Year: 1952
Paid: $38
Art: Frank Kelly Freas
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Blue boards with darker blue lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: Currey ‘B’ binding.  1st edition so stated.
Comments: This copy has obviously not been abused physically as it’s pretty intact, but just careless storage, I would image, has led to the numerous problems like the bowed and spotted boards and the foxing.  Shame.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

condition

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2 Responses to “Close Up: Judgment Night”

  1. Gregg T Trend Says:

    I sold many of my Gnome Press editions years ago (most were obtained between the ages of 12-16 through GP/Martin Greenberg Pick’a-Book ads in GALAXY at that time.) I still have their newsletters (e.g., the ones from Gnome Press, 1955-59) However, my copy (Fine w/DJ with some small chips)was obtained from a renter of rooms in my former mother-in-law’s, mothers house. He paid for is last rent in books & pulps c. 1960. The late Howard Devore said he was a some-time member of the local SF club. Any way I sold the copy of JUDGMENT NIGHT for $15.00 at a local con in 1988. I have Donald Grant collections of C. L. Moore signed by her at her last Worldcon appearance in 1981. She was already suffering from Alzheimer’s, but her autograph is legible & firm.

    • Many Thanks for the input Gregg, great to hear an interesting story!! You still have the Science Fiction World newsletters?? Cool…
      As a long-time Gnome Press reader I hope you enjoyed this site!!

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