Archive for Journey to Infinity

Beautiful Cover Art

Posted in Adventures in Science Fiction Series with tags , on June 5, 2011 by Aaron

I mentioned recently that I’d picked up a couple of nice dust jackets.  I thought I’d scan them and share.  Both are first state jackets; I have the second states as well.  Check out Close Up II for Men Against the Stars and the Close Up for Journey to Infinity for second state views.  Click the images to go through to my Gnome Press Flickr site where you can enjoy big 3000 pixel wide images.

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A New Jacket…

Posted in New Arrivals with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2011 by Aaron

Well, three jackets actually… And two new books.

From Jim at The Exiles Bookshop over at abebooks.com

Near Fine copies of The Bird of Time by Wallace West and Judith Merril’s SF’59, which completes the SF’xx series from Gnome Press.  Though starting with GP, the series ran on under a different title with other publishers into the 1960s, – up until 1967 with SF12, I believe.

The two of the jackets I picked up are first states of Men Against the Stars and Journey to Infinity, and the other is from Earthman’s Burden.  All three are in mint condition – never having been on books by the look – with absolutely no creasing at all.  Can someone answer me as to why?  Could they be surplus from print runs?  This begs the question: what should I do with them?? Should I put them on the books (I have them all)?  I’m inclined to think that a protected jacket is safest actually on a book rather than stored away somewhere…

Anyway, I’m very happy with the service I got from Jim and recommend you drop by for a look.

Review II: Journey to Infinity – Foreword & Intro

Posted in 1953, Adventures in Science Fiction Series with tags , on August 29, 2009 by Aaron

Added as I just realized I didn’t include this with the Review of this book.  Here it is for your enjoyment, and best read in conjunction with the Review.

View this document on Scribd

Confirmation

Posted in Comparisons with tags , , on March 30, 2009 by Aaron

I’ve recently been in contact with a fellow Gnome Press collector – Christophe Burg.  It’s been great to share thoughts with a like mind.  Christophe has a signed copy of Travelers of Space and kindly sent me an image of the signature in that book for comparison with the signature I have in my copy of Journey to Infinity.  Comparison below.

They certainly look the same to me.  I raised the question in the Close Up of ‘Journey’ and it’s great to have someone out there come up with an answer.  I have some additional tidbits of information from him, and these will come up in the future once I get around to the books concerned.  Many thanks Christophe, much appreciated and stay in touch.

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
1951

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 ??”

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

condition

Review: Journey to Infinity

Posted in 1951, 4:Stellar!, Adventures in Science Fiction Series, Review with tags , on February 13, 2009 by Aaron

Martin Greenberg, editor
1951

The tag-line on the cover reads “Arranged as a Story of the Imaginative History of Mankind”  I like the concept.  The editor, Martin Greenberg came up with a great idea.  I don’t know if this had been done in literature before (probably), but certainly I hadn’t encountered it prior to my Gnome Press experience.  What he has done in this anthology is collect disparate stories from different authors and arranged them in a kind of timeline to illustrate that ‘imaginative history of mankind’ that is mentioned on the cover.  Brilliant.  He had done this previously apparently with the collections Men Against the Stars and Travellers of Space and also subsequently in The Robot and the Man, which collectively are known as the ‘Adventures in Science Fiction Series’.  To highlight this, in the foreword Greenberg makes a point of repeating the opening paragraph of the foreword in the first book of the series.

“This book was planned from the very beginning to be more than just a collection of interesting adventure stories.  It was organized around a central idea, one theme which moves logically from story to story.  By building upon this unifying theme, we who prepared this book sincerely believe, a new idea in science fiction anthologies has been developed – a science fiction anthology which, taken in its entirety, tells a complete story.”

As I mentioned, I like this idea a lot.  If you have been reading this blog, you know I have read Robot & Man.  The arrangement worked well in that book – tracing the development of robots from their conception to their ultimate destiny.

This collection boasts an impressive array of well known and quality authors, but I’m not going to dwell upon them or the stories too much.

The first story by A. Bertram Chandler is called “False Dawn” and is set in a pre-modern ‘human’ society that is technologically advance though in a slightly eccentric fashion – dirigibles and balloons are popular for air transport for example.  It somewhat brings to mind Fritz Lang’s vision for Metropolis, but without the tall buildings.  Also there is an accepted but mysterious civilization on the moon which is where the problems begin.  The earth-dwellers notice the city lights gradually disappearing from the moon.  A refugee rocket from the moon attempts to land in an area containing many natural volatiles and sets off a apparently world-wide conflagration culminating in a global flood.  You can see where this is going.  After rescuing what they could, the survivors eventually ground on land they call ‘Mount Arrak’.  That’s not the only near-homophone in the story.  The names of the characters are eerily familiar too.

This story set the book up nicely.  We then have the predictable Atlantis story, an all-too-brief retrospective interlude with a near-immortal character in the 1950s who has seen the rise and fall of humanity over thousands of years, and a 20th-century-man-battles-his-warlike-nature story before heading into more traditional SF fare.

In the final story, “Metamorphosite” by Eric Frank Russell, man has come full circle.  We’ve colonized the galaxy, incorporated other species into our galactic civilization and forgotten about our homeworld.  Meanwhile, the original Terrans back on Earth have evolved powers of telepathy and mind control and moved on from the war-like, militaristic and paranoid state of mind we know so well.  Mankind unknowingly discovers his ancestors and after a brief pursuit on man’s capital world, the Terran representative convinces the powers-that-be that they would be outmatched by the Terrans in any conflict by a demonstration of how different the by now two species are.

The common theme throughout the book is disaster and rebirth.  For mankind to avoid stagnation and decay, and to keep progressing, some kind of crisis needs to occur.  In story after story this is the case.  From the intercontinental war that destroys “Atlantis”, to the workers uprising that results in ill-prepared refugees blasting off for the stars in Jack Williamson’s “Breakdown”, to man rediscovering fear itself after generations of total domination during galactic conquest in “Barrier of Dread” by Judith Merril, mankind faces, overcomes and moves on from these setbacks.

These stories were all written in the ’40s and ’50s.  Once again the bugbear of now-outdated technological thinking raises it’s head.  Why an entrance would be described as “…heavy enough to withstand a howitzer…” at a time 1.5 million years in the future is a little hard to fathom these days.  However, this brings me back to the introduction.

Written by Fletcher Pratt, he raises a couple of good points before the stories get underway.  Regarding technology, he reminds us that H.G. Wells had air war being fought in hydrogen-filled balloons and points out that the precise details aren’t really important (the general idea and effects described by Mr Wells were apparently very accurate).  The awry extrapolation of the future existence or use of a certain technology shouldn’t be the focus, but instead the idea or concept behind it.  After all, the stories in the book are extrapolations of what might exist or what might come to pass, and are not meant to be accurate predictions.  For me, that’s where the fun and adventure are – in those ideas – not in the technical details that are so often derided by the critical modern reader.

In summary, the stories are good.  An enjoyable read that kept me wanting to move on to the next tale wondering to where mankind had progressed next.  I’m certainly looking forward to obtaining and reading the remaining books in this series.

On to a new book at last

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 11, 2009 by Aaron

I finished Journey to Infinity and am currently working on the review.  I don’t know how insightful it will be, I haven’t done a serious book review since school a long time ago… and even then it wasn’t that serious.  However, it’ll be up this weekend sometime probably along with the photo review.  I chose Agent of Vega to read next, I’d read some good things about it on the ‘net.  It’s shaping up pretty well too, I’m about a quarter of the way through.