What’s in that case? His clothes? His lunch?…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s drab and fairly boring artist is Walter Richard Sickert. (W.R.S.)
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Ah, another British pulp science fiction novel from the early 1960s, a ‘Badger Book’ from my small collection. Here we have ‘Android’ (SF79) by Karl Zeigfreid, one of the many pen names of R. L. Fanthorpe M.B.I.S., who produced one of these books for Badger every couple of weeks, for several years. As you can see this one started off priced at two shillings and sixpence, and later found itself in ‘Stringers Booksellers’ at ninepence, and finally, marked with a felt tip pen, in another secondhand bookshop here in Dulltown, at nine ‘new pence’, (after decimalisation in 1971).
Shall we see what the back cover blurb has to tell us dear reader?
‘Dakos was an alien humanoid who hated earth; he detested the planet; its people were anathema to him. He loathed its cities; its countryside was an abomination to him…
Security agents Blanthus and Croberg were after him, but Dakos covered his tracks with all the cunning of a diabolically clever homicidal maniac…
Are you sure that man sitting on the bus next to you isn’t an alien?… What’s in that case?… His clothes? His lunch?… Or an alien bomb?…’
Hm… Time to examine the front cover painting I think – this one, though unsigned, is almost certainly by Henry Fox, the usual Badger cover artist, I love his work! Shall we assume that this lurching figure, who seems to be about to fall over backwards, (perhaps he’s been to one of those noisy earth pubs that he hates so much) is the aforementioned Dakos? Yes, I’m sure it must be him – doesn’t he look a bit like Bruce Willis though? If Hollywood ever decided to make the film version of this book, Bruce would be begging for the part…
So, what is it he’s wearing? Obviously it’s the everyday fashion of the planet he’s from – it looks like a one-piece, padded, long-sleeved, short-skirted, dress of some kind. It certainly shows off his shapely girlish legs very nicely – I’ll bet he get loads of compliments on them from the other androids! – do you think he’s deliberately hitched one side up to give us a cheeky glimpse of thigh?…
Now Dakos, just a couple of questions before you run off: are you wearing spray glitter, or is that sparkle natural to your alien body form?; secondly, what’s that thing in your right hand? Is it a tube of B&Q exterior mastic frame sealant?; and finally Dakos, what happens if someone presses that prominent red button in the middle of your chest? Oh dear, I think I might have upset him now!.. Look out!… If you ever meet an android, never mention, or point at, the red chest button!…
By the way, do look bottom right, at those super green pointy ‘alien mountains’ with the pair of spindly spinning space stations hovering above, parallel, in the pink sky. Ah, good old Henry Fox, he’s a star!…
Shall we now dip in to these crumbling brown smelly pages and find some items of text to give us a feel of the writing style dear reader?
‘Big as he was, Dill Blanthus was dwarfed by the gargantuan figure of Slam Croberg. Croberg looked like a hybrid between a gorilla and an heroic granite carving…
The telephone rang.

“Take it will you, Slam?” Dill’s powerful voice penetrated finally through the thick bone which formed a very large part of Slam Croberg’s cranium.
“Yah, sure!” said the mighty Croberg. His enormous hand closed over the telephone receiver like a bunch of bananas falling off a tree and landing on a small black beetle.’
And…
“If I were an android,” he said. “If I was stranded on this planet, hating it; where would I go to fill in time? Where would I find a place that would take my mind back to where I was from?… If I was a marooned space-creature where would I find something which, to me, was a kind of mental link with home?”
Blanthus and Croberg looked at him stupidly. Then Colonel Carruthers snapped his fingers.
“By gad,” he exclaimed. “The planetarium! Of course!…”

 

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...
This entry was posted in art, books, brain, colours, design, fashion, history, humour, information, photography, reading, story, style, surrealism, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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