PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

Desmond Digby, Google Mobile Test, ‘Childhood’s End’ and a Flier!

Gumbles2I was sorry to hear of the death of Desmond Digby last week in Australia. He was on my list of ‘to contact’ book artists probably best known for illustrating the ‘Bottersnikes and Gumbles’ series by Sidney A Wakefield. I will put a page together to show the Piccolo editions in a later blog.

There was an advert for our local brew, Bank’s Beer, which said ‘Unspoilt By Progress’ and I’m pleased to say that applies to my PAN website. Because it doesn’t use anything fancy it passes the Google mobile friendly test, unlike my other two, as it is the same as it was in 1999. Back then it was at the cutting edge of technology using frames and a screen resolution of 800×600 when the standard was 640×480. I seem to remember having the amazing amount of hosting space of 10gb(!) so every image counted hence the small size of the oldest ones.

CE8Just sorting books on the shelves and I started to realise how many copies of Arthur C Clarke titles I have. I’ll be putting together a few pages of them over the next months and todays is “Childhood’s End” written in August 1953. Still looking to identify some of the artists. Why couldn’t PAN be more like US publishers and acknowledge them which is why I’ve included the Ballantine as it lists Dean Ellis as the cover artist.

On a completely different note my son thinks my wife and I need to get out more so he is signing us up for interesting experiences such as aerial walkways, Segway riding, tobogganing and last Monday sky diving in a wind tunnel. I don’t think I was quite a supple as I needed to be. This was about as high as I got where as my wife and son went up over twenty feet! airkix

Cartland Bantam versus PAN & Happy Birthday to my Wife

Looking at a few of the Bantam covers of Barbara Cartland novels shows they used the same artwork as PAN for some titles and very similar images for others. I’ve put a random selection HERE. It’s interesting to see how many different styles Bantam used while PAN was consistent over the 18 or so years they published Cartland titles.

On a different note it is my wife’s Birthday tomorrow and as she is a Robinson Crusoe fan I’ve got her some original artwork and had it framed. It was coincidence that while looking through some Readers Digest Condensed Books (see previous blog) I saw ‘Robinson Crusoe’ with artwork by Jack McCarthy which I ignored as he didn’t do work for PAN as far as I can ascertain. It was a couple of days later that a message popped up on eBay, while I was looking at something completely different, saying I might be interested in some artwork which turned out to be the original for the frontispiece. Needless to say I bought it along with another McCarthy which I presume is the front cover of another ‘Best Loved Books’ I’m guessing the legionnaires could be ‘Beau Gest’ but the other parts don’t go with the only copy of the book I can find as it is a US version and the UK ones had different sets of titles. Does anyone know of a copy as below?RD

Ron or Josh Kirby?

I was in communication with Derek Stowe recently as I had picked up a copy of Peter Benchley’s “The Island” from 1980 which has a cover credited to a Ron Kirby but is there more than one?The Island Now I know Josh Kirby’s name was really Ronald and Derek mentioned working with him in the mid 50’s on “Authentic Science Fiction Monthly” Derek said

“Yes, my friend Ron Kirby was known by many as ‘Josh’. He was an incredible intelligent guy – always interested in the ‘The other World’ the world of the fantastic. Among other things he was always wary of cats as he believed that they made you stroke them to gather electricity for the Moon! He acquired the nickname ‘Josh’ while studying at the Liverpool City School of Art. He said ” Some wag thought I painted like Sir Joshua Reynolds” He thought that his first paperback was a PAN in 1956 of Ian Fleming’s MOONRAKER, and first magazine cover was for the Authentic Science Fiction Monthly ( March 1957) illustrating a book by Douglas West – Dead Weight. His official list of covers runs to more than 400. For all his vauge and dreamy personality, he was a great influence on me – he seemed to always know the answer to life”

I have all of the 6 covers Ron/Josh did for “Authentic Science” and they can be seen if you click HERE while the 2/3(?) painted by Derek can be seen HERE.

PAN Books and Readers Digest Quiz

I was again looking through some old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and being amazed at how many familiar names did the illustrations. So for this blog I have scanned in a few pages of illustrations by artists who also did covers for PAN. To make it a quiz I’ve given the title but not the artist. Click HERE to go to the page where you will find a random selection of seven images by seven artist some of who are very well know.

When you have had enough click HERE for the answers.

UPDATE I have added another 3 titles to the Cartland page which now brings the number scanned to 105 and making the total of know PAN titles 133(?) as one was a title I hadn’t got on the original list. TheMarquisWinsThis meant a complete rejig of the table as 132 was neatly divided by 4 but 133 …!