Dulltown, Europe: Today’s random dictionary words are: ‘whirret’, ‘sacerdotal’, ‘lansquenet’, and ‘eremacausis’.
Do impress your friends by slipping one of these into your conversation today.
Here we are, another 1960s British pulp ‘Supernatural Special’ Badger Book from my modest collection. The writer of ‘The Immortals’ is Leo Brett, one of the many pseudonyms of the great and much-loved Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS.
Let’s have a look at what it says on the back cover my dear reader:
‘Xalia was old when the pyramids were built. Xalia was a woman when Gaza was an untouched coastal plain. Xalia was a woman when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees…
Even a goddess can fall in love, and when she does Time and Space become meaningless. Xalia was prepared to go to any lengths to achieve her purpose… Could Martin Slade resist the advances of the goddess? What would happen to a man who was loved by an immortal?’
Well, I suppose that is the lovely Xalia on the cover, lolling in her bath trying not to get her magnificent hair wet whilst practising pouting and giving those puny splashing mortals the evil eye – she is obviously deciding whether they should go down the plughole, both real and metaphorical, or not… actually I don’t think that that is water she is in, it may be some kind of swirling ectoplasm, or perhaps Time and Space (Brett’s capitals, not mine) taking liquid form, that she flicks around at will with a snap of her skinny pointed fingers. Look at those poor souls pleading with her – I notice that they all have similar dark spiky hair – they must all frequent the same hairdresser.
Yes, this fine and colourful cover painting is by the master of the genre, ‘Fox’ – even if he hadn’t signed it, his painting style, his treatment the big girl’s hair, and his use of little crosses in the ‘sky’ instead of stars, is unmistakable. Shall I thumb through these speckled brown pages and try to find a choice couple of pieces of the text so that we can get a flavour of the tale?
‘Martin Slade felt as if he had been run over by a bulldozer. It was like being hit by a train. He had never experienced any sensation in the physical world which could even begin to approach the touch of the goddess’ lips. He felt as though a million volt shock had passed through him, becoming trapped, and gone back the way it had come in…’
‘Before their very eyes Xalia began to shrink away into herself. The particles of which her strange incorporeal being was built seemed to be strangely subsumed as though in answer to a deep psychic law. Her indiscerptibility left her. Ethereal molecule by ethereal molecule, bodiless atom by bodiless atom, Xalia the ex-immortal drifted out of existence…’