Archive for the Close Up Category

Close Up: Judgment Night

Posted in 1952, Close Up with tags , , on January 31, 2010 by Aaron

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

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Close Up: Typewriter in the Sky & Fear

Posted in 1951, Close Up with tags , , on December 18, 2009 by Aaron

closeupL. Ron Hubbard
1951

I jumped on the opportunity to pick this book up.  And I know, it’s not in good shape – probably the worst in my collection aside from my reading copy of City and my ex-library Iceworld.  At $52 for this the price perhaps is a little steep, but from what I can determine it’s not outrageously too much for this title in this condition.  Let’s check out the damage.

I can use one word to sum up the condition of this book: shabby.  You can see the spotting on the jacket and the spine is noticeably faded.  The artwork by David Kyle is a little unconventional, but I like it nonetheless.  Sans jacket it’s not much different.
I really like the imprinting on the front board as GP did for several of their earlier titles.  In this case a cool confluence of the Fear eye and the Typewriter ribbon.
The top and bottom view, along with the close examination of the spine extremities only reinforce the overall first impression.


The spine is a bit wobbly and has a slight lean.

Both the head and tail of the binding are quite badly bruised.
Here’s a closer view of the nasty wear on the top rear edge of the front board.

The jacket, as you noticed over the last five pictures, is in generally poor condition.  Foxing, discoloration and overall wear.
Opening it reveals further misery.  One lengthy split along the front hinge…


..and another beginning to develop in the rear.
The back of the jacket is consistent at least.
Year: 1951
Paid: $52
Art: David Kyle
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Tan boards with black lettering on the spine with a ‘typewriter ribbon and eye’ device embossed on the front board.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: A shabby but important addition to my collection.  I’m in two minds about the worth at that price.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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Close Up: Mutant

Posted in 1953, Close Up with tags , , , , on December 3, 2009 by Aaron

closeupLewis Padgett
1953

It arrived almost one year ago – the longest any book in my collection has been before before making it onto the blog.  This was listed as a Near Fine when I purchased it, but I think it’s not really up to that standard.  More like a VG or VG+.  Interesting if somewhat disturbing cover by my fave Ric Binkley, not one of his better efforts in my opinion though.  Let’s have a look see.
Very bright cover.  The jacket is in pretty good condition except for the spine.  The boards aren’t too bad either.
No staining or any other major problems except this:

It’s had a bump on the top front edge at some time.  You can see the corresponding knock on the jacket below.


The block shows no discoloration though is perhaps a little grubby around the edges.
The head of the spine is the major issue with this copy, it’s been bumped and the jacket is damaged.

The tails ok though, if a little soiled.

The back of the jacket looks nice but also a bit soiled.  Not too bad though.

Year: 1953
Paid: $75
Art: Ric Binkley
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Turquoise blue boards with darker blue lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: A little overpriced at $75 perhaps, but after all this is the Lewis Padgett team. Reasonable condition all-round except for the top of the jacket on the spine.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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Close Up: Address: Centauri

Posted in 1955, Close Up with tags , , on November 21, 2009 by Aaron

closeupF.L. Wallace
1955

I got this in a package purchase along with Renaissance, SF’58 and Space Lawyer, and overall probably in the poorest condition of the four.  Edd Emsh usually provides fantastic cover art, but on this occasion it’s a little on the ordinary side.  However, it does highlight a couple of things about the story which I’ll mention in the Review.  Overall the book is in pretty sound physical condition, but those bugbears of foxing and Gnome’s cheap paper are apparent.  Anyway, let’s check it out.
As I said, physically (tears, chips, wear) it is pretty good, but you can see it’s looking a little mottled, especially down the leading edge.  Some sunning on the spine too.  It’s starting to look better with the jacket off though.  The boards are pretty clean.
Though there is what looks like a slight oil stain along the bottom front edge.
The top and bottom views reveal no issues except that thing I mentioned earlier.
You can see the darkening on the block.  We’ll have a closer look at that later.

The spine extremities are ok, and the edges of the jacket are pretty good.  from the top you can see the discoloration and slight sunning to the spine.  Also on the spine is a graze – right over poor old F.L. Wallace’s name too.  Darn.
You can see the mottling/discoloration too quite well also.
There is staining and/or foxing on the flaps, the rear being the worst.
I’m never quite sure how to tell the difference between what is true foxing and what is a stain from some other source.  I suppose it doesn’t really make much difference as the result is pretty much the same.
The poor quality paper has resulted in the typical browning of the block.
But of more interest to me here (as I am so fond of pointing out) are the cool designs at the beginning of each chapter.  Nice.
The back of the jacket is ok.  General discoloration is apparent, but no real damage.

Year: 1955
Paid: $15
Art: Ed Emshwiller
Quantity: 4000 copies, 1263 copies remaindered.
Binding: Olive/tan boards with black lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: A reasonable copy. Basically poor aging drags the condition of this down a notch or two. Pity.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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Close Up: The Starmen

Posted in 1952, Close Up with tags , , on November 2, 2009 by Aaron

closeupLeigh Brackett
1952

This was a snatch buy from eBay, one of those ones that comes up every so often. I have favorite searches set up so they are emailed to me every day. I know exactly when they arrive so I can get the latest listings as soon as I can. This was listed as a ‘Buy It Now or Best Offer’ auction. Well, as soon as I saw it was listed for only $60 I grabbed it. It’s always a risk – I could only see the cover – but it looked pretty good and this is quite a pricey title to pick up from a dealer.  You would have to pay at least $100 or so for for a copy in this condition from a dealer, and more likely much more.  There is a bit of foxing inside the jacket too.  Lets have a look.

Wonderful cover art from Rick Binkley.  Cover is nice and bright, no damage.  Just a bit of wrinkling at the top of the spine.  Concern becomes apparent when we remove the jacket.

You can see the mildewy stains on the front board and particularly on the spine.  The rear board is in much the same condition as the front.  If anyone knows how to perhaps remove or treat this issue somehow, please let me know.
The top and bottom view reveal no surprises, just a bit of dust spotting and discoloration on the top there.
And the bottom looks pretty good.  The spine sits nice and the block is hardly discolored at all.
Likewise the head and tail.  Just a touch of wrinkling at the head…
..and no problem on the tail.  Very, very nice, in fact.  There is no chipping and any rubbing is practically non-existent around the whole book.
I mentioned the foxing inside the cover, we can see a bit externally too.

The edge of the wrap-around is pretty mottled there.
Like a few other books, this one has that little touch that I really appreciate.  You can see the twelve signs of the zodiac introducing each chapter.

Fantastic.
The jacket has one small score with a small hole in it.  You can see it on the edge of the wrap-around center-pic below.

The rear looks great.  No significant staining or wear.  Super.

Year: 1952
Paid: $60
Art: Ric Binkley
Quantity: 5000 copies
Binding: Slate gray boards with black lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: A nice copy. This is definitely a very good buy at $60.  Shame about the staining on the boards. Anyone know how to clean them??  Can they be cleaned or at least tidied up a little??
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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Close Up: SF: The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy

Posted in 1956, Close Up with tags , , on October 13, 2009 by Aaron

closeupJudith Merril, editor
1956

This is the first installment in a long-running annual anthology series put together by Judith Merril, but I’ll talk more about the series itself in the Review for this.  This is the rarest and typically priciest title in the series, and like its brother I recently did the Close Up on, this is in almost flawless condition.  Actually better than it’s younger sibling. And like with that, there in’t really much to say.  So lets check it out.

Fantastic condition. The dust jacket is completely without issue. Sharp edges all around, bright colors, no fading on the spine – absolutely beautiful. Another cool thing is that the cover art is by Ed Emshwiller. After this, the subsequent Gnome Press editions in this series were inked by W.I. Van der Poel, of whom I am NOT a fan.

The cloth boards are sharp. Looks great. Currey ‘A’ binding too, which is even better.
With the view from the top we can see the only issue this copy has, but well have a closer look at that in a second.


Spine sits square and the binding is tight. You can see the edges of the jacket are nice and sharp. The block is barely discolored at all.

Here’s a closer look at that issue.  I looks like a bit of liquid has at some point gotten on to the cloth somehow.

The jacket is great.  You can see the only touch of wear on the front corner of the tail.  Negligible.
It has a book plate.  It’s one we’ve seen before on The Survivors – different name though.
Mark Wm. Waterbury.  I assume the Wm. stands for William.  I’d like to shake his hand for taking such wonderful care of this book.
The back is spotless and bright.
I have to give a plug to Mike at Mars Books and Wood.  This isn’t actually the copy I picked up.  I purchased the other copy he has there and he said to me he had a better example he could give me for a few dollars more.  I said “Ok.”  Mike and I have had dealings before.  I got Forgotten Planet and This Fortress World off him a while ago on very good terms, so I had a degree of confidence in what I would receive.  Confidence well placed.  Many Thanks Mike!!

Year: 1956
Paid: $93
Art: Ed Emschwiller
Quantity: 3000 copies
Binding: Currey priority ‘A’.  Red cloth with black lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: A superb copy. I’m going to suggest that this is in Fine condition despite that small stain at the top of the spine – am I stretching the truth?? $93 seems to be a pretty good price, I’ve seen worse examples offered for a lot more.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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Close Up: SF 58: The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy

Posted in 1958, Close Up with tags , , on October 6, 2009 by Aaron

closeupJudith Merril, editor
1958

Very nice condition. There isn’t really much to talk about with this, just a couple of things to point out – all on the dust jacket.

Nice, bright and clean. The only blemish on the cover is down on the lower right corner – you can see a small strange circular stain. The spine of the jacket looks like it might be faded as well. It’s hard to tell. I mean it’s definitely a lighter color, but I don’t really know if that’s by design or not.
The bare cloth boards look fantastic.

They are unblemished, bright and there is only one very small bump on the bottom front corner. The head and tail of the spine are
in superb condition. The view from the top looks just as good.

Just a bit of dust spotting to the top of the block. The bottom looks great.

Nice and white as the text block is within. Quite exceptional for a Gnome Press book of the later years. At least some noticeable discoloration is usually evident. Not so here.
The head and tail of the spine look great too.


Just a couple of very minute closed tears.
On to the rear of the cover and we can see the major defect.

It looks like a sticker has been removed at some point from the upper left hand corner. A disappointing end to a book in otherwise fantastic condition. Still, for 8 bucks… I’m not complaining!!

Year: 1958
Paid: $8
Art: W.I. Van der Poel
Quantity: 4000 copies, 1263 copies remaindered.
Binding: Currey priority ‘B’. Red cloth with black lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Excellent condition and a super buy at $8. Possible slight sunning to the spine.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

condition