Dulltown, Europe: Today’s very nice name for a German Expressionist artist is Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884 – 1976). (KSR)
Gosh! Doesn’t this look exciting!…
Yes, it’s another early 1960s British pulp science fiction junk shop paperback, a Badger Book, from my modest collection. Doomed World is by the writer of nearly all of these sci-fi Badgers, Robert Lionel Fanthorpe M.B.I.S. He wrote under many odd and imaginative pen names: Bron Fane, Pel Torro, John E. Muller, etc., but on this occasion he chose to use his own; perhaps he considered this story rather special?
Shall we see what the difficult to read pale blue lettering of the blurb on the back cover has to tell us dear reader?
George Mallory was out for a quiet day’s shooting. A typical country man, in typical English country. His day’s sport was interrupted by the beginning of the greatest catastrophe in man’s history – an alien space ship was crashing at his feet.
The ghastly monstrosity that emerged was so hideously repulsive that no one would have guessed at the degree of intelligence and potential friendliness in its strange mind. Mallory shot first and asked questions afterwards. With its dying strength the alien cursed the earth with a scientific horror beyond the comprehension of man, a horror that turned the beasts against us…
A masterly authentic science fiction thriller from the able pen of R. L. Fanthorpe M.B.I.S. It needs no further recommendation…
Hm… so what about the front cover painting? It is not by the usual Badger cover artist the great Henry Fox (perhaps he was on holiday that week) but it is signed… I can’t really make out the name… Is it Jacohoy? No, that can’t be right… still never mind, he/she has done a fine job. Phew! What an arid-looking place! But can I see rippling water in those craters? I think there might be some sort of conflict going on here, interpersonal relations do get so strained on these desolate arid planets – or perhaps these chaps are just having a few laughs with the low gravity conditions:
‘Hey Bill, see if you can catch this rock, it’s feels as light as two feathers!’
‘Oh, stop messing about Barry, we are supposed to be on the look-out for hideously repulsive aliens this morning… By the way, did you remember to bring a flask of tea and some sandwiches for lunch?’
“Messing about?’ It was you who built that snowman in the crater!…’
Anyway, it’s a nice piece of work Jacohoy, or what ever your name is.
Shall we peep inside, (oh, that smell of old books!…) and see what the writing style is like?
‘Weird green and yellow pseudopods branched at peculiar angles from its shimmering green body. Its eyes protruded on phosphorescent stalks and its twitching horns were never completely motionless. The alien’s name was Khgnjsdag…’
‘The computor (sic) clicked and chuckled away to itself in a disconcerting undertone which told him that all was by no means well, and then the disc ship was clear of Deep Space and was coasting towards its objective at a steady 50,000 ligs per ras…’
‘ Take the spider, one of the simplest living creatures, but its got a sort of mind… it’s hard to resist the feeling that animals have lost some of out mottoes. They seem when you first look at them to act every day, as though, in the words of the Scriptures, they were looking before they leapt… They would seem to understand that a stitch in time saves nine…’