I was sorry to read of the passing of another well know name in the genre of S/F. Brian Michael Stableford was born 25/07/1948 in Shipley, Yorkshire and died 24/01/2024 in Swansea. He was a British academic, critic and science fiction writer who published more than 70 novels, His earlier books were published under the name Brian M. Stableford, but later ones dropped the middle initial and appeared under the name Brian Stableford. PAN published at least seven of his novels including the six in the ‘Hooded Swan’ series.
Thank you once again to Rog Peyton for pointing out something I had not noticed. PAN X73 ‘Rape of the Fair Country’ by Alexander Cordell published in 1961 with artwork by David Tayler shares a part of the back cover with the front cover of PAN X152 ‘The Hosts of Rebecca’ also by Alexander Cordell.
Back in 2020 I posted a page of 56 John D Macdonald ‘Travis McGee’ covers hoping this was all of them but as usual I was wrong. I’ve now found another one, a 1982 edition of ‘The Empty Copper Sea’ just two years after the previous edition. The 1980 cover features a car while the 1982 has a semi clad lady, did PAN feel the need to ‘spice’ it up a little?
While looking at pages on Facebook I came across the artwork of Omer Atakan where he paints retro posters for films including several Bond titles. One in particular caught my eye as he has included a very familiar cover, ‘Goldfinger’, featuring the Pat Owen artwork.
John Winton was the pen name of John I Pratt (Winton was his mother’s maiden name) He was born 03/05/1931 in Hampstead London and had career in the Royal Navy in which he rose to Lieutenant-Commander serving in the Korean War and during the Suez Crisis. Whilst still in the Navy, he wrote six comic novels featuring Commander Robert Bollinger Badger DSC RN otherwise know as “The Artful Bodger” PAN published five of the titles in this series namely ‘We Joined the Navy’, ‘We Saw the Sea’, ‘Down the Hatch’, ‘Never Go to Sea’ and ‘All the Nice Girls’ but not the sixth ‘Good Enough for Nelson’ This weeks original artwork by Glenn Steward is for the fourth title but disappointingly it had been matted when framed and the matte stuck on with double sided sticky tape so it will have to remain as it is. ‘We Join the Navy’ was made into a film in 1962 with a movie poster painted by Tom William Chantrell.
PAN also published three other titles by John Winton of which two were fiction namely ‘The Fighting Téméraire’ and ‘HMS Leviathan’ while ‘Sink the Haguro!’ was non-fiction. Winton wrote a total of 14 fiction titles and 29 non-fiction titles if Wikipedia has them all listed correctly.
I was really pleased to hear from Paul Duncan that his opus ‘James Bond : Dr. No’ will be published by TASCHEN today (19th) Unfortunately the limited edition is a little beyond my price range so I will have to wait for the trade edition. Modesty forbids me mentioning I get a name check!
This weeks original artwork from Glenn Steward is for ‘Come Again Nurse’ by Jane Grant. Jane Grant was a pen name of the author (Evelyn) Barbara Blackburn Leader. She was born in Herefordshire on the 15th July 1898. She wrote 35 novels between 1926 and 1971. Her other pen names were Barbara Blackburn and Frances Castle (a joint pseudonym with Peggy Mundy-Castle). Barbara wrote four nurse books as Jane Grant namely ‘Come Hither Nurse’, ‘Come Again Nurse’, ‘Sisters Under Their Skins’ and ‘Round the Clock Nurse’ but only the first three were published by PAN. She died in Chelmsford in April 1981.
PAN were quick to bring out ‘A Royal Baby Book’ in hardback in 1981 shortly after the announcement that Princess Diana was expecting a child. They didn’t know what it might be so the filled half the book with photos of her and Charles and the other half were blank pages for you to stick in your own photos and cuttings. Prince William was born in 1982 but whoever had the book didn’t feel the need to add to it. I don’t think it’s ever been read and cost me all of 99p!
In 1983 PAN reissued several Arthur Hailey titles with a strapline along the top saying ‘The World’s Number One Storyteller’ There were seven with this but as ‘Strong Medicine’ wasn’t published until 1984 it looks like it was up to RUPA Publishing in India to issue their version using it.
Talking of India my doctor is very good in that she always makes sure I have regular health checks and when I saw her in November we chatted away and I asked her what she was going to do for Christmas? She said visiting family in India. When I came out after seeing the nurse about tablets last week my doctor was just arriving for her surgery. I asked her how the holiday went and straight away I was taken into her consulting room where she wrote down her full itinerary. I came out 20 minute later feeling a little guilty as there were patients there with appointments glaring at me. There is a reason for this story in that my doctor left notes with all her relatives she visited to look out for PAN X705 ‘The Third Pan Junior Crossword Book’ by Burgess Robin. PAN was, and still is, very big in India. I told her about the book once and she has never forgotten I’m looking for it, she even made a note of it on her prescription pad when I met her in the street. I plotted her journey on Google which looks as though she had covered a large part of India but when you actually look it’s still a very small part.
The Penguin book dispensing machine (The Penguincubator) crops up every now and again but having mentioned the ‘Look at Life’ short film ‘Cover Story’ last week I had a better ‘look’ at it and what caught my eye was a different paperbacks dispensing machine. Not only that it has two PAN titles in it. ‘Road to Volgograd’ by Alan Sillitoe is second down on the left while ‘So Disdained’ by Nevil Shute is below that..
This weeks Glenn Steward artwork is for ‘A Lamp is Heavy’ by Sheila MacKay Russell. I think this is one of the more minimalist covers by Steward where he signed on the original artwork but his name only appears in block capitals along the left edge on the book cover. Sheila Mackay Russell was an Albertan nurse and best-selling author. Despite the disapproval of her parents, Russell left her hometown of Airdrie to train as a nurse in Calgary and Edmonton. Based on her nursing experiences, in 1950 she authored the semi-autobiographical ‘A Lamp is Heavy‘ which became an international bestseller. It was made into a film titled in the UK as ‘The Feminine Touch’, in Canada as ‘A Lamp is Heavy’ and in the US as ‘The Gentle Touch’ I’ve also two German editions that use the artwork from the PAN front cover.
I’m always very skeptical when I see books listed as ‘rare’ so when I saw a film tie-in PAN edition for ‘Arnhem‘ (filmed as ‘A Bridge Too Far’) I checked other sites and couldn’t find another copy. Luckily nobody else wanted it so I got it at a reasonable price. Having said I couldn’t find another copy they’ll be everywhere now.
Bob Fowke is holding an Exhibition of his 70s Sci-Fi Art at the Bishop’s Castle Arts festival. He will be at the Open studio, upstairs at the ‘Barn’, Writer’s Lodge, Bishop’s Castle, on the 16th, 17th & 18th February 2024, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Bob painted several covers for PAN before going on to write and illustrate his own books