Friday, October 8, 2021

Book cover with creepy keys:
"Never the Same Door"

  • Title: Never the Same Door
  • Author: John Rankine (1918-2013, a native of Wales)
  • Designer of creepy cover: Richard Weaver
  • About Richard Weaver: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction states: "Almost nothing is known about this artist, who created numerous covers of sf books for the British publisher Dennis Dobson from 1965 to 1980 and apparently did no other genre work. His covers sometimes seem minimalist, products more of graphic design (such as collaged clip-art) than of studio art, though others are more conventionally pictorial."
  • So, where did Weaver get those keys? We'll never know.
  • Are they real keys, or is this some kind of photo manipulation? We'll never know.
  • Whose faces are those? We'll never know.
  • What if I search Google for skeleton keys with human faces? Very little that's relevant turns up. And, frankly, you should be glad about that.
  • Publisher: Dennis Dobson/Dobson Books/Dobson Science Fiction
  • About Dennis Dobson: Wikipedia has this curious tidbit: "Dobson died in 1978 aged 59, after suffering a brain haemorrhage on the train returning from the Frankfurt Book Fair. After his death the publishing company was wound down and his widow bought and restored Brancepeth Castle [in England]."
  • Wait. She bought a castle? Yes, and the Dobson family still owns it. And it gets better. Wikipedia adds that the widowed Margaret Dobson bought the castle specifically to store the stock of books from her late husband's publishing company. She restored the castle over many years and hosted craft fairs and Shakespearean performances there. But, to be clear, she first bought the castle in order to store books in it. That's a pantheon-level achievement right there. Also, consider this: If those skeleton keys with human faces exist, they might just be in that 12th century castle, which by the way is open to the public on certain days of the year.
  • Ok, phew. Let's get back to the book: OK.
  • Publication year: 1967
  • Pages: 173
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • Price: 18s
  • Dust jacket excerpt: A man does not step into the same river twice. He never goes through the same door. To Kurt Yardley, this is amply borne out by the train of circumstance which follows the forced landing of his freighter Charib on the bleakly inhospitable plains of an unlisted planet.
  • First sentence: Commander Kurt Yardley of the freighter M.M. Charib cleared an ivorine tablet and began again.
  • Last sentence: 'Check.'
  • Random sentence from the middle: 'O.K. Let them get well down into the valley and given them a high-power raspberry.'
  • Rating on Amazon: 5 stars out of 5, but with just one reviewer as of this date.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3 stars out of 5, but with just one reviewer as of this date.
  • Does anyone have anything to say about this book? Apparently not. There are plenty of blogs that review piles of science-fiction books from the 20th century, but it doesn't seem that this one has made it onto anyone's "to do" list. If you're reading this and have thoughts on Never the Same Door, send them my way and I'll post them.
  • But what about those keys? We'll never know.

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