Archive for Edd Cartier

Close Up: Pattern for Conquest

Posted in 1949, Close Up with tags , , on July 24, 2009 by Aaron

closeupGeorge O. Smith

This is it.  This book is the biggest single reason I started collecting Gnome Press.  I had not long started to collect 1st edition SF, one of my first being Iceworld by Hal Clement.  I had never heard of GP before acquiring that particular book, so I ran a search on eBay for ‘Gnome Press’ and this book – Pattern for Conquest – was the first result I got back.  I remember being captured by the cover art, somehow being enthralled by it’s age… it had a special something that made me burn for Gnome Press.  I’m waxing a bit lyrical here, suffice to say that it all really began here, and now I finally have a copy of the book that got the Gnome Press ball rolling.  It’s the best condition copy I have ever seen, but it does have one solitary significant flaw.  Lets have a look.
Beautiful.  I just love the art that came out of Gnome Press once they got away from their few fantasy titles and before the obvious decline of the mid-late ’50s.  A little shelf wear to the upper right part of the cover and just the odd nick and wear around the edges.  The flaw is quite evident here – sunning on the spine.  It was mentioned in the description, though it’s still a little more severe than I expected.
Boards are nice.  A bit of bumping on the corners, but not really an issue.  There is one other thing to point out, it’s a bit hard to make out and it’s more pronounced on the back, but there is a couple of centimeters of lightening down the front edge of the boards.  Looks like it may have seen a bit of sun sans jacket at some point.
The views from the top and bottom reveal no surprises.
The jacket edges are nice.  Some slight age-toning of the block, but quite negligible.  You can see what looks like a water stain on the bottom of the block – it’s not.  It’s actually a light scratch.

You can see the jacket is very nice here, not much rubbing and practically no chipping.  The head and tail of the spine are very sound also.  The sunning however, is very noticeable in this view.  I’ve highlighted the two tones of orange.
A couple of interesting items of trivia regarding this dust jacket.  Briefly, a correction had to be made to the title on the spine (hence the odd white square) and ‘Minions of Mars’ (a never-published book) is listed on the back.
Check out the Trivia Page for more detail regarding these.
The rear of the jacket is beautiful and clean, rounding out a book in excellent condition.

Year: 1949
Paid: $38
Art: Edd Cartier is credited on the jacket flap and in Eshbach, though I have seen Hannes Bok mentioned as the artist variously around the Internet. I don’t know why that might be.
Quantity: 5000 copies. 3000 in hardcover, 2000 paperback armed forces issues.
Binding: Orange cloth with darker spine and front board lettering.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Like ‘Cosmic Engineers’, I paid a reasonable price for a copy in this condition.  A bit unfortunate though with the sunning on the spine downgrading this to Near Fine.  Still, I’m very pleased with it.  A desire fulfilled.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database



Close Up: Cosmic Engineers

Posted in 1950, Close Up with tags , , on July 22, 2009 by Aaron

closeupClifford D. Simak

I was looking forward to receiving this.  Picked up as an add-on to my eBay purchase of Pattern for Conquest, posted after ‘Conquest’ and received before.  I expect ‘Conquest’ will arrive in the next day or two.  I expected this copy to be in Fine condition and was initially very pleased when I managed to finish unwrapping it.  It was packaged very well – like one of those trick gifts where you keep unwrapping until finally you realize there’s nothing there.  Qdos to Peter for superb packaging. My first impression was very, very good.  But I have to say my joy was tempered somewhat.  I feel I have to downgrade my initial estimation (and the sellers claim) to Near Fine.  Why??  Have a close look and see if you can detect why.  The answer will come at the end.
You can see it’s in fantastic condition.  Absolutely beautiful cover art by classic pulp artist Edd Cartier.  With garments off it looks equally good.
Beautiful cloth binding – the very desirable Currey priority ‘A’.  Much more attractive than the tan colored boards of the ‘B’ binding.  I just love the rocket stamped on the front there.  Super.  From the top and bottom it looks great too.
Very, very little discoloration to the block.  Inside is nice and white too.  Practically no wear to the edges of the boards also.  If we take a close in view of the head and tail, you might detect the issue that the jacket has.
The pinkish color on the leading edge in the tail view is a reflection and not coloration or wear on the jacket.  The head and tail of the binding shows a small amount of bruising.  The problem I mentioned earlier might be visible here to someone with a keen eye.  Can you pick it up??  No??  Then have a look at this:
See it now??  Blue ink.  The jacket has been touched up along most edges.  I must admit, it’s a pretty good job – all but invisible to a casual inspection.  I wonder when it was done??  I’m really going to highlight it now.
I took this pic under the most unflattering lighting.  It really is visible now.  Again, the leading edge of the jacket shows a reflection and not wear.  I must get some proper strobes sometimes so I can avoid that.  Anyway, the touch-ups on the jacket kind of disappointed me, but even so it’s still in great condition.
The back is very nice, a little soiling from shelf-wear, but no problem.

Year: 1950
Paid: $98
Art: Edd Cartier
Quantity: 6000 copies.  5000 in hardcover, 1000 paperback armed forces issues.
Binding: Currey priority ‘A’.  Blue cloth with stamped yellow spine and front board lettering with rocket motif.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Despite the ink application, at $98 this is a great price for a copy in this condition.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database


Close Up: Men Against the Stars

Posted in 1950, Adventures in Science Fiction Series, Close Up with tags , , on May 10, 2009 by Aaron

closeupMartin Greenberg, editor

Fantastic cover. This is one of my favorites. It’s a shame it’s not in better condition, but nevertheless, it’s a pleasure to have a copy. There are numerous little issues with the book, which we will examine presently. The book does have significance as it is the first of the very successful ‘Adventures in Science Fiction Series’ which was the brainchild of Gnome Press co-founder and series editor Martin Greenberg, but I’ll talk a bit more about that in the Review. This volume was issued in two printings according to Eshbach.  5000 in the first run and 3000 in the second.  I have reason to suspect that there are two states to this jacket.  Though the fact that there were two printings is a strong indication anyway.  I’m trying to get that confirmed, but I’m sure that the jacket on this is a first state.  You will see why later.  Right now, let’s take a closer look.

Beautiful.  This was the sixth book from Gnome Press and definitely the best cover up to that time.  The title of the compilation and the art combine so well.  Actually, I would venture to suggest that artist Edd Cartier has elevated this up among the very best covers produced by Gnome Press, along with maybe Ric Binkley’s ‘Robots Have No Tails’, ‘The Survivors’ by Wally Wood and ‘I, Robot’ also by Cartier.

Fawning aside, we can see some issues very plainly.  Numerous chips off the cover and cracking along all edges.  There is a little rubbing to the cover too.  We’ll have a closer look at the chipping soon.  Once we remove the garments we can see that this book hasn’t been cared for in the past.  Soiling of the cloth shelf back is evident with some wear staining which is clearly visible at the tail of the spine.

The boards are nice and clean though.  There are a couple of nice details that deserve a closer look.Nice impression of a couple of stars there, and at the bottom of the spine… can see an impression of the men going up against them.  Lovely.  Unfortunately, the wear and soiling is also quite visible here.  It looks more like dirt than anything, I wonder if this could be cleaned.  Anyone have any ideas??
There is some dust-spotting on the edges of the block as you can see below.

Actually, I’m not sure whether it’s dust or foxing.  In any event, it’s only evident on the edges of the paper, internally the pages are quite nice.  No age browning at all.  The spine sits nice and square despite being a bit on the loose side.

The head and tail of the spine show wear consistent with the overall impression of the dust jacket – general edge wear and a bit of splitting.

Which leads us to have a closer look at the worst instances of the chipping and splitting.

You can see a significant chip off the rear edge of the spine and what looks like flaking of the cover rather than wear.  This is evident on all four edges of the dust jacket.

It seems to be a rather unusual type of wear.  I wonder if it is brought about by a special set of circumstances.  Anyway, the top front corner has a loose piece there.Looks like a bit of moisture has gotten in at some point too.  You can see the front paste-down is a bit mottled and darkened.  This is true on the rear paste-down too, and both exhibit a bit of foxing.A price is written on the front free end-paper.  I wonder when… It’s the same price that the book originally cost.  I mentioned earlier about this being a first state jacket.  I’m pretty sure this is true as the GP books promoted for sale on the rear of the jacket all precede this one.  The two that are advertised as ‘forthcoming’ are the two immediately after this.As you can see, the back is quite clean though there is a bit of rubbing apparent in the area at the top right.

Year: 1950
Paid: $30
Art: Edd Cartier
Quantity: Two printings according to Eshbach – initially 5000, second printing 3000 copies.
Binding: Slate grey boards and purple cloth shelf back. Silver lettering to spine. Nice spaceship and stars imprinting on the cloth.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition
Comments: I just love the cover.  A significant book and well worth the $30 price for mine.  Pity about the poor condition of the cloth spine though.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database


Close Up: Sixth Column

Posted in 1949, Close Up with tags , , on March 27, 2009 by Aaron

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


Close Up: Journey to Infinity

Posted in 1951, Adventures in Science Fiction Series, Close Up with tags , , on February 15, 2009 by Aaron

closeupMartin Greenberg, editor

We saw what it looked like on the inside, so to speak, now for what the external appearance amounts to.  First, a bit of provenance.  This copy I have was previously owned by Charles Miller (the ‘Miller’ in Underwood-Miller Publishing) apparently.  I was told this by the chap I purchased it off, he actually bought it out of Miller’s library.  The nice Art Deco-ish cover art is by Edd Cartier and represents well the structure of the book which I talked about in the review.

There is what looks like sunning down the spine, but I’m not entirely sure whether it is or not.  Perhaps someone out there can confirm that.  One of the features of this book is that it has been inscribed by the editor Martin Greenberg.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I am very unsure if this is Mr Greenberg’s signature.  It says “To Jack with much affection ??”


Admittedly it could be.  I can stretch my imagination to that possibility with no effort at all, but it certainly doesn’t obviously say “Martin Greenberg”.  Not to me at least anyway.  Again, I would greatly appreciate any confirmation on this particular point.

The top and bottom of the book look great.


It’s nice and clean and sits square.  No lean in the spine.  Great.  You can see on the bottom, however, that there has been a bit of chipping along the boards (I’ve highlighted the bottom front corner there).


Close up, the extremities of the spine look good.  Dust jacket nice, Fine in fact.  This is not a first state jacket though, on the back are listed books which appear subsequent to this.


This book was published in 1951 and you can see heading the list is The Robot and The Man, a 1953 publication.  The rear of the jacket also looks great as you can see.  If we take it off, we are able to see the nice binding with attractive silver lettering.


It’s the small touches that make the difference.  Have a closer look at the lettering and the fabric on the front board:


See the symbol for infinity above the Gnome Press lettering and the man reaching for the stars??  Beautiful.

Year: 1951
Paid: $60
Art: Edd Cartier
Quantity: 5000 copies in the first printing, 2500 in the second according to Eshbach.
Binding: Olive boards with silver lettering on green cloth shelf back.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated on copyright page.  I’m not sure which printing my copy is from, but it does have a second state dust jacket if that’s any indication.  See the General Info page for more details.
Comments: Super. I was very tempted to go Fine, but that chipping on the bottom of the boards makes me think otherwise.  Reluctantly, I think Near Fine is more appropriate.  I would appreciate input from anyone who might have any insight into the sunning issue and especially the inscription: is it actually Greenberg’s signature and who is Jack??
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database