Saturday, December 12, 2009

Paperback Cover Cavalcade 8

Salamander War by Charles Carr (Digit Book R616, Sep 1962)
A distant planet. The scene is Bel, where only a small fraction of the surface is habitable by humans. __A ruthless foe. Here colonists from Earth are attacked by a foe whose weapons are unimaginable by man... __Tense... enthralling... eerie.
The great system of oxygen plants that has been developed to make life endurable for the colonists of Bel is threatened and the war of a nightmare follows. There is conflict, too, within the human ranks between the fanatical pacifists, who are prepared to die unresisting, and the men who prepare grimly to fight for the survival of the human race. Originally published in hardback by Ward, Lock & Co. in 1955. This is a sequel to Colonists of Space (Ward, Lock & Co., 1954), also reprinted by Digit in September 1962, although the numbering (R617) may have given the impression that the books should be read in the reverse order.
Colonists of Space by Charles Carr (Ward Lock 25, 1955)
Carr was the pen-name of Sydney Charles Mason (1901-1985), about whom very little is known. Born in Richmond, he may have been an officer in the army in the 1920s, stationed in Africa. An announcement in The Times notes the engagement of a Sydney Charles Mason, of the South Staffordshire Regiment, elder son of the late Mr. C. R. Mason and of Mrs. Mason of Hampton, Middlesex, to Muriel Lucie Bodman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Bodman of Kenora, Thames Ditton, in January 1929. The couple married some 20 months later. A son, Anthony A. C. Mason, was born in 1931. Mason's first novels appeared in 1937 and he kept up a solid output until the mid-1970s, mostly westerns and romances, under a variety of pen-names. His most popular books were probably those featuring the Lone Rider (as Colt Henderson) and the Walt Warren westerns (as John Langley).
Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke (Digit Books R802, Jan 1964) Cover by R. A. Osborne
Roy Malcolm is the surprised winner of a T.V. contest sponsored by World Airways and for his prize chooses to go to Inner Station—a rocket base hundreds of miles above the Earth. After undergoing a searching aptitude and physical fitness test, he finds himself en route for the Station—little expecting the terrifying mystery and hazards he was to encounter when he arrived.
Originally published by Sidgwick & Jackson in 1952. The author should need no introduction. I went mad for reading Clarke's books in the school holidays of 1975, having discovered his short stories in the pages of Speed & Power. I read everything I could get my hands on, which, back in those days, was pretty much everything he'd written. Kept my two library cards very busy that summer did Mr. Clarke. And I got to meet him, briefly, at a science fiction convention in 1979 when he sat down next to me at a lecture. I wish I could say how amazing an experience it was, but I think I mumbled something about being a fan and then he was surrounded by other people and wandered off.
Late Final by Lewis Gibbs (Digit Books R487, May 1961) Cover by Paul Rainey
Up to the minute, or even to-morrow's story, this story courageously views the prospect that lies ahead of humanity to-day. It is told in the first person by a man who has been in a prison camp in Siberia for ten years. All his English companions have died. Suddenly he is released, full of fears and reluctantly free, and dropped, without mean of identification, from an aeroplane over England. __He finds it devastated by atomic World War III, sees the deserted ruins of London, and wanders, bearded and ragged, about the home counties.
Originally published by J. M. Dent & Sons in 1951 and well-received on publication. Gibbs was the pen-name of Joseph Walter Cove, born in Mortlake, Surrey, on 10 May 1891, the son of Joseph and Eliza Cove. I don't know much about him, only that he served as a duty gunner and gas instructor with the Royal Field Artillery during the First World War. Before volunteering for service in January 1917 he was a teacher living in Barnes, London. He married Louie A. P. Gibbs in Farnham, Surrey, in 1918—the inspiration for his Lewis Gibbs pen-name probably.
__My thanks to David Candy, who writes: "I believe that after war service his entire career was school teaching. He was the senior English master at my school, Whitgift Middle School in Croydon, in the fifties, and had certainly been there since the 1920s. He wrote the school song, but was far from a flag waver, as evidenced by much of his writing. I owe much to him. Although he would have liked us to share his love of English language and literature he knew that most of us mainly wanted to pass the exams. His advice was always sound — tackling writing on any topic he recommended brevity (no more than 5 paragraphs) and enough quotations from any relevant text to show you knew what you were talking about. He had an entertaining and sardonic wit, and was much missed when he retired in the early '60s. He always said that he had regarded school teaching as a temporary expedient, but somehow never got round to making the break."
__As Gibbs he wrote a number of novels and non-fiction books, mostly biographies of historical figures. He lived in Purley, Surrey, where he died on 16 December 1972.



A Day's Tale. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1932.
Excursion to Lilliput. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1933.
On the Hill
. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1933; New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1933.
Earthquake in the Triangle. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1934.
Parable For Lovers. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1934.
Michael and His Angels
. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1936.
Lois in Love. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1937.
Kitty Villiers
. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1942.
William and the Emperor. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1945.
Late Final. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1951.
The Good Beauties. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1953.
Gowns and Satyr's Legs
. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1958.

Vanessa and the Dean. The ironic history of Esther Vanhomrigh and Jonathan Swift. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1938.
The Diary of Fanny Burney, selected and edited by Lewis Gibbs, London, J. M. Dent & Sons (Everyman's Library), 1940. Sheridan. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1947.
The Admirable Lady Mary. The life and times of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1689-1792. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1949.
The Silver Circle. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1963.


Sir Richard Steele. The Tatler, edited by Lewis Gibbs. London, J. M. Dent & Sons (Everyman's Library 993), 1953.
Evelina; or, A Young Lady's Entrance Into the World
by Fanny Burney, introduction by Lewis Gibbs. London, J. M. Dent & Sons (Everyman's Library 352), 1958.
Sheridan's Plays
by Richard Brinley Sheridan, introduction and notes by Lewis Gibbs. London, J. M. Dent & Sons (Everyman's Library 95), 1956.
Gray's Poems, Letters and Essays by Thomas Gray, introduction by John Drinkwater; biographical notes by Lewis Gibbs. London, J. M. Dent & Sons (Everyman's Library 628), 1966.


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for your information about Lewis Gibbs. Very helpful. In my possession I have the original art work for the dust wrapper of Kitty Villiers illustrated by someone called Hawes. Any idea of who this could be?
    John Ramm

  2. Is it definitely Hawes? The only name I can think of is Hayes, i.e. Jack Hayes, an example of whom can be found here.



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