Estelle Wilde and the Green Globe…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s featured biscuit is the ‘Garibaldi’ – what an unpleasant nasty little thing this is – even dipped in hot tea it fails to excite! Its only use is for putting under the leg of a table to prevent it from rocking.
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‘She represented a culture so strange that it threatened their civilisation.’Yes, this is another ‘Badger Book’ from my modest collection – a fine example of British pulp science fiction from the early 1960s – two shillings and sixpence – old money…
Karl Zeigfreid is the author, which is almost certainly another pseudonym of that prolific man of letters, Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS. I have just noticed that the name ‘Zeigfreid’ looks a bit odd… I really don’t know much about foreign languages, but I reckon that the ‘i’s and the ‘e’s perhaps ought to be the other way around, still no matter… let’s press on…
What does it say on the back cover to try to persuade us to dive in and allow our Karl have his wordy way with us?
‘Thursday was an ordinary day as far as Estelle was concerned… Breakfast… Tube… Office… Lunch… And then the safe, sane, simple, everyday world began to fade… One moment she was walking along the pleasant tree-lined familiarity of her home town – the next she was involved in a strange translucent sphere and life had turned into a nightmare…
There were strange stars in the unknown sky above her and the flora and fauna of her new surroundings were disturbingly unfamiliar…’
…and at the bottom of the page:
‘This mature and thought-provoking novel is a challenge to the sensitive, imaginative reader of Science Fiction who asks, ‘How would I react in that kind of situation?’
I am presuming that the ‘girl’ on the cover of this work, in the sensible blouse and skirt, with the flowing auburn, (or is it blonde?) hair, is the aforementioned Estelle…
So, is it she who is threatening somebody else’s civilisation, or is that another girl from a strange realm beyond, who is threatening ours? Sorry dear reader I seem to have slipped into taking this a bit too seriously… Let’s look at the beautiful cover painting instead…
Aha! This is the work of the usual ‘Badger Book’ artist, ‘Fox’, and this time it is actually signed on the bottom left near that pale cloud-shrouded ‘mountain’. Lovely Estelle certainly seems a bit concerned about something – she looks to be only a second or two away from deciding to hitch up her tight skirt and run like hell out of it!…
That’s a very nicely executed giant translucent green sphere isn’t it? Is it rolling and bouncing across the icy, and surprisingly tiled, tundra after her, do you think? She’d better get a move on!
I was just looking at Estelle’s rather inappropriate (considering the conditions) footwear, and happened to notice that she is wearing odd shoes – but I expect that that will be explained somewhere in the story… possibly…
Hello, what’s that on the right? A solid gold planet rather like our familiar Saturn hanging in the air, the tilt of its axis exactly matching that of the bumbling sphere of doom – and very nice it looks too!
Shall we dip into the text at random and get a taste of Karl’s style dear reader?
Page 33. ‘The ship, or force field, or whatever it was, had gone. She appeared to be completely alone…
Estelle wondered if she would be able to preserve her sanity… Outside in the darkness invisible things seemed to be waiting for her mind. She turned quickly on her heel, not once but twice, as though half expecting to catch something invisible…

She thought of the dangers it could contain. She thought of ravines, of mountains, gulleys, and precipices; she thought of swamps and quicksands, and perhaps hostile flora and fauna. It was not the most encouraging of lines to pursue…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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