Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Book cover: "Monsters and Such"

  • Title: Monsters and Such
  • Additional cover text: "Seven startling stories of the inhuman and nonhuman by the unrivaled master of the impossible"
  • Author: Murray Leinster (pen name of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, 1896-1975)
  • A little about Jenkins: According to Encyclopedia Virginia, in a 1937 short story (with a racist title I won't repeat), Jenkins describes the perspective of a Black man who observes a violently drunken white man verbally abuse his wife and cause a scene at a wharf before passing out. The story implies that the Black man, named Pete, kills the abusive drunk by rolling him into the water, saving the wife from a potentially fatal marriage. The encyclopedia adds this: "Jenkins's life in Virginia led to other stories touching on racial prejudice. 'The Castaway' (Argosy, September 1946) can be read in the context of southern racism and small-town prejudice combined with guilt over colonialism. An alien crash lands on Earth and flees from a lynch mob that wants to kill him. The mob members are particularly enraged when they think he has abducted a small girl, although he has actually saved her."
  • Cover artist: Victor Kalin (1919-1991), per signature at lower right
  • A little about Kalin: According to his website biography: "A life-long music lover, he traveled to concerts and festivals with a press pass and camera, capturing images that would later appear as illustrations on album covers, liner notes, concert programs and personal works of art. Some photos went as-is directly into jazz magazines and books. A natural photo-shopper before Photoshop, he processed all his own black and white film and experimented with double exposure, distortion, and recomposition."
  • Publisher: Avon (T-345)
  • Cover price: 35 cents
  • Year: 1959, per the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Pages: 174
  • Format: Paperback
  • Back cover excerpt (see full back cover below): "Things that creep, crawl and crouch in dark corners of space and time. Things that run, fly and chase through the endless night. And things that just sit and wait."
  • Story titles: The Lonely Planet, If You Was a Moklin, The Castaway, Proxima Centauri, Nobody Saw the Ship, The Trans-Human, De Profundis.
  • First sentence: Alyx was very lonely before men came to it.
  • Last sentence: Given during the Peace Tides...
  • Random sentence from the middle: Rabbits, hardly hopping out of her reach, munched delightedly upon the unfamiliar but satisfactory leafed vegetation underfoot.
  • Footnote! This book contains a footnote on Page 33. It states: "Pure metallic tin, at low temperatures, sometimes changes spontaneously to a gray, amorphous powder, the change beginning at one spot and spreading through the rest of the material. — M.L."
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.83 stars (out of 5)
  • Some final trivia and such: Leinster apparently coined the phrase "First Contact" in his 1945 novelette of the same title. That story might also be the first to feature the idea of a universal translator.

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