Wish I’d never heard of astronomy!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: naughty navy, buggered beige, optimistic orange, veilleuse violet, porporate purple, pornocracy pink, and that funny lilac that Jim’s car seats went after they’d been exposed to the summer sun for a while.
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Yes, another Badger Book from my collection, a cheap British pulp science fiction novel from the 1960s by the man who wrote virtually all the science fiction and supernatural novels for Badger, Robert Lionel Fanthorpe. (click)
By the way, that ‘2/-‘ at the top of the book cover is the price, it’s the way we used to denote ‘two shillings’ in the days when we British still had the ‘old money’ – pounds, shillings and pence. There’s a nice rubber stamp mark inside the cover too – it says Presented by The London Harbour Lights Guild, and it has an image of a flag with The Missions To Seamen and a ‘flying angel‘ on it.
Shall we see what the blurb on the back cover can tell us about the Asteroid Man dear reader?
…Where is the missing Squadron Leader?
Who is the terrible, ageless asteroid man? So strong he can control the destiny of a planet. What is the beautiful Princess Astra of Altain doing in the labyrinth below the surface of the asteroid? (Being the 1960s, I reckon, even though she is a princess, she is probably hoovering the carpet, doing the dishes, and washing Asteroid Man’s socks and shirts!)
“Asteroid Man” is yet another first rate authentic science fiction thriller from one of to-day’s most popular authors, R. Lionel Fanthorpe M.B.I.S.
So, what about this cover painting then? It’s not very good is it? Well I don’t think so. It’s not by the usual and rather good Badger cover artist Henry Fox – look, it’s signed, but I can’t make it out – it looks like C’HA’ CK.I – no, that can’t be right…
The reason I don’t think much of the work? Well, the chap strapped to his chair, in his space suit, twiddling with his knobs, inside a large transparent bubble, is pretty good, and space outside with sparkly cross-like stars is fine too, but it’s the pushy Asteroid Man himself, poking his head in at us from the side saying ‘Hello!’, as if he’s photobombing the book cover. Look at all that black around his head too – what’s that all about then? Perhaps C’HA’ CK.I messed up one side of A M’s face, and thought, Oh bugger! I think I’ll just cover it with black paint, this is only for a cheap SF novel after all! If I’d been doing this piece of work, I don’t think I’d have bothered with those vampire teeth either – they don’t really add much to the composition do they? They look very uncomfortable – imagine him trying to eat porridge or soup from a spoon…
Now shall we delve inside these crumbling brown pages and sample the writing style dear reader?
Jonga kicked over the chart table with a savage oath. Krull raised an eyebrow inquisitively.
“What’s wrong Jonga?”
“Everything!”retorted his colleague. “Every blasted thing in the galaxy! Every blasted thing in the universe! I’m sick and tired and fed up. Wish I’d never heard of astronomy!”
And…
…an enormous sea of concussion, and violence,and destruction.
Everything erupted into a mad, tearing orgy.
Rivets screamed as they left their sockets. Bulkheads and portions of fuselage buckled and twisted and crumpled. The graceful outline of the dart ship broke and twisted and concertina’ed till there was practically nothing left of it…
And…
“Got it,” said Masterson. “Got the swine! Astra, don’t be afraid, it’s dead! Astra! Astra!” he spun round shouting. The corridor was empty. Nothing but echoing darkness. From the darkness, seemingly very distant and far away, he heard a faint guttural laugh and a girl’s faint scream for help…
‘Damn!” he swore savagely.

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 archeology, art, books, cool, drama, history, humour, information, painting, reading, story, style, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wish I’d never heard of astronomy!…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    I might change my name to Jonga. He sounds a grumpy old astronaut, doesn’t he?

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