Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pure Pulp

Another of my Woolworths finds, and one of my first encounters with raw, primeval space opera. Published in 1968, the stories date from a decade earlier; my favourite is still Edmond Hamilton’s ‘The Starcombers’, which has all the tropes (vagabond starsailors attempting to make a living in a state of pure and untrammelled capitalism, ancient alien artifacts, a ferociously strange niche in a dying world) of the pure quill. The Easy Eye gimmick is long-forgotten; it does actually work, but large type means more pages than usual, which probably wasn’t a great economic model in the cutthroat world of pulp publishing.

I can’t now remember if I bought more short story collections than novels because I preferred collections, or if there were fewer novels on offer. Long exposure to the publishing industry suggests the latter.


Blogger PeteY said...

Count yourself lucky. Where I grew up, there were basically no books available to buy, let alone find in bins. I developed a ferocious mail-order habit, using those little order forms you find on the last page. I'd have killed for a Woolworths like that.

November 29, 2007 2:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I was lucky, all right. I suppose that it will only annoy you further if I mention that this was my first exposure to Clifford Simak and Theodore Sturgeon... This was in the mid 1960s, btw. Woolworth's dropped the bins before the 1970s.

The library remained my best resource, though. For every book I bought, I must have read twenty library books. Starting with Patrick Moore juveniles and working on up to the New Wave and beyond. Happy days.

November 29, 2007 11:13 pm  
Blogger PeteY said...

Consider me duly annoyed. I did once find Lem's Cyberiad in a bargain bin at John Menzies, in hardback even. I still have that. Like you, though, no doubt, I was raised on yellow Gollancz library books. Sheckley was a big fave, but I can't find his stuff nowadays.

November 30, 2007 7:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, cheap charity shops for me. Back in the early 90's when you could get a book for 20p and considered 50p an outrage. Before Oxfam turned into a merciless devil machine of evil (nothing wrong with corporations per se but a charity corporation, well, down that way lies evil).

I used to buy all those 60's/70's/80's books. Good times.

December 01, 2007 8:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought Stephen King's The Stand (monster edition) for 25p from a charity shop. And if anyone is ever in Dalston, I strongly recommend the Oxfam megastore for those essential 70's/80's/90's paperbacks.

December 01, 2007 11:14 pm  
Blogger Frederick Paul Kiesche III said...

"Easy Eye", I remember those! Larger print, but also some had paper that was somewhat blue in color, supposedly made for easier reading in sunlight. I had "The Invisible Man" and some other H.G. Wells books in that style.

As for bookstores--I did not come across such a creature until 1975 or so. Until then it was garage sales where my parent's bought me scores of cast-off SFBC volumes.

December 04, 2007 12:56 pm  

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