PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

Not so much PAN – more Buku Roket

Having come across Greek James Bond titles with a distinctive PAN flavour I have now found a site showing nearly a dozen Indonesian variations on PAN Ian Fleming covers. They are on a blog by Tokohitam called Black Chamber plus I found a few more on other sites. I’ve put them together below as a slide show. If anyone has any spare copies I’d certainly be interested.

I used Google translate on the titles and got some very strange (and amusing) results. I also noticed that a John Creasey had become a Bond (OHMSS) as below and I have to admit I do quite like ‘Thrilling Cities 2′ in red.Gun

Leslie Thomas 1931 to 2014

AutographFollowing an email from Jem I was reminded that we had not only lost Sam Peffer this year but another  PAN stalwarts , Leslie Thomas, winner of a Golden PAN Award for selling over a million copies of ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ MontageBack in May  I started to put together a page of covers and had not realised how many variations there are on his dozen or so titles published by PAN. So while I track them down I’ve adding a slide show of the 11 comic covers from the 80′s. As usual if you know of any more that I’ve missed please let me know.

PS Silly prices time on eBay UK again where a copy of the Domino letter from ‘Thunderball’ sold for £321.11 after 26 bids (and no free postage!)

Printing the ‘Invisible Ink Puzzle Books’

As I mentioned last month my wife and I were made very welcome at Henry Ling Printers in Dorchester when I approached them about their involvement in printing the ‘Invisible Ink Puzzle Books’ under the Piccolo imprint in the 1980′s. Click on the photo below to see how we got on.

HL100The delay in this blog was while I tried to find something on the other uses of invisible ink that got mentioned but all came to a dead end so if anyone out there can help ………….?

Must Stop Buying Domain Names!

Already having 11 domain names and being constantly bombarded with opportunities to buy new domain name extensions I can usually restrain myself from purchasing more but I have recently succumbed and bought two. One I couldn’t resist as it is simply my forename, then a full stop and then my surname (that and nothing else even though people find it hard to accept) ready for my world domination scheme. The second is that us PAN Book collectors/appreciators are often called PAN Fans and imply we are in a sort of club so when the extension club came up I went for which is eventually working as a redirect.Image4I mentioned last week being so near to getting the last title of the 2,391 know ones PAN published under their eclectic numbering system. Well I do have the one that looks just like it apart from not having the magic number X705 in the top right hand corner (it’s a 4th printing) I think I’ll have to count this as a half!Book3

So Near Yet So Far

I’m sure I must be like a lot of people in watching for different items on eBay which 99.9% of the time gives very strange results but when it came up with ‘PAN Junior Crosswords Book 3′ I thought I’d found my holy grail. On clicking on the item it WAS the last title I needed BUT it wasn’t X705. It turned out to the later edition with the same cover but an ISBN. At 50p I bid on it anyway and I’ll use it as a place holder on the shelves until that day when I can actually replace it with the real thing.BurgessGoing back to a past blog where I mentioned the amazing prices asked for copies of “Casino Royale” I see the one that has just ended on eBay failed to get any bids. This might be down to it being a second printing and with a starting price of £249.99 but then again on the up side they did offer free p&p. Another copy with 18 bids just went for £36.10 but didn’t say which printing while there is a second printing ‘buy it now’ on offer for £74.32.

A New Challenge

Passing a pile of books outside a shop I noticed one was a PAN and surprisingly it credited the cover artist but not someone I’d heard of. Having now looked him up the only reference I can find is on “The Illustrated Gallery” website where they say

“Although a popular fantasy artist in the 1990s, almost nothing is known about David Bergen’s career. He was active in the 1970s, illustrating Sphere’s H. G. Wells’ reprints and the cover for SF Digest (1976), as well as books by Arthur C. Clarke and Samuel R. Delaney. Soon after, he could be found contributing covers to DAW Books in the USA. Bergen then seemed to disappear until 1990 when his work began appearing on various Pan fantasy and SF titles as well as the Puffin editions of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series. He continued to produce covers until at least 1997 when his work again disappears from sight”

The cover I found was from 1980 so it looks like he was working for PAN earlier than 1990 but the challenge now is to see if I can contact him and find other examples of his work.
* UPDATE I think I’ve tracked him down to The Netherlands and an email has been sent, watch this space.

Happy 30th Birthday

If you are reading this it means that the scheduled publication has worked. The reason I’ve done it is that I am currently on holiday exploring the coast of Dorset for a couple of weeks. On the day this is be published I  should be at the premises of Henry Ling Printers, Dorchester, where I’m booked in for a guided tour with the Chairman. The PAN connection is that they printed the ‘Invisible Ink Puzzle Books’ which turned out to be a bit of a nightmare but Tony Kennett has promised to tell all. The reason I put ‘Happy Birthday’ as the title is that it is actually 30 years to the day yesterday, June 8th 1984, that the first invisible ink puzzle book ‘Ball Games’ by Tom Case was published.

After seeing a signed copy of Johnnie Johnsons ‘Full Circle’ with dust jacket appear on eBay several times I was waited until the price dropped again on relisting but someone bid on it. I wasn’t going to bother until I saw the name in the inscription and then decided I had to have – and pretend it was for me!

Space Flight & Flight & Flight

Whilst once again flicking through websites showing pages of book covers I spotted a familiar one but with an unfamiliar name at the top.
I already had the
Piccolo Factbook version of ‘Space Flight’ along with the Rand McNally one from the States but I’d not come across Willowisp Press Inc  (St. Petersburg Florida USA) before. The dates are respectively 1981, 1982 and 1984 and all printed by Graficas Reunidas SA, Madrid, Spain.
 Space Flight Factbook

Hay Festival

Every year I’m tempted to go to the Hay-On-Wye Literary Festival that ends tomorrow but then I think of the sort of person that does go and decide it’s not really for me. I’m not ‘yuppie’ enough to have a pair of green wellies, a Burberry jacket and children called ‘Jocasta’ and ‘Orlando’ I’ll just make do with sharing a couple of images that I quite like (although I hope no books were harmed in the making of the circle!)


The French Connection

I had an email recently asking about the anomaly in the book dimensions of the early titles . Most of the smaller ones tend to be printed in France and it’s probably to do with the difference in imperial and metric paper sizes. I thought the only reason that these were printed in Paris was to get around the paper shortage after WW2 and that it stopped around 1950. After mentioning ‘Moonraker’ recently I noticed this was printed by Le Livre Universel as late as 1956. On searching around for more details about Le Livre Universel I found this extract from an article which I think seems to pull everything together.


Robert Gustave Mouzillat Born Suresne 1913 Died Paris 2010

RobertHe was founder of La Stereochromie which traded as RoMo, a stereoscopic image company. In 1947 he became a director and participated in the development of publishing company Pan Books. With the support of the board of Pan Books he developed a means of exploiting a new printing technique, combining text with images. This took him into the use of the photographic process in printing. He later formed a company, of which he was the sole owner, to conceive and develop a camera to produce precision three-dimensional photographic images, identical to those recorded by the human eye. The camera, which has itself not been overtaken by modern technology, produced colour positive images.

Alan Bott
said of his appointment to the board of Pan Books “…the reason why I nominated you as a Pan Books Director is that you had provided excellent (not to say brilliant) service for us in Paris and that,in my opinion, it was a good thing for you to have the status of Director in dealing with officials and with the Heads of the production houses who do work for us.” Simultaneous with this appointment he created two separate companies in Paris in publishing, Les Editions Albatross and Le Livre Universel.