This weekend while browsing the books in a second-hand shop I picked up a few Alastair Maclean paperbacks from the early 1980s, namely The Satan Bug, The Dark Crusader, Circus and Bear Island. They were very cheap and in very good condition so I was happy to add them to the collection. Here are a few cover scans.
The dynamic art featured on the covers above are very much like the kind of art one used to see on movie posters (back when movie posters had art in them) with various characters and situations being displayed in a montage. I like them.
Later in the 1980s all the Maclean books published by Fontana paperbacks in the UK would be given wrap-around cover art by the artists Paul Wright and Vicente Segrelles. In contrast these covers would usually show a moment from the novel, normally depicting a ship or aircraft and would rarely show any human figures.
I have a feeling I’ll be looking out for more of these “montage” covers as I have decided to call them.
For years now I have been subscribing to the James Bond Car Collection. This started back in the dim and distant days between Die Another Day and Casino Royale. (I think. The collection was only supposed to last 40 issues but keeps getting extended. Currently we are up to number 119.)
Along with each issue there is a 1:43 scale model of a car that appeared in a James Bond movie in some capacity. Also included is a slim magazine with some info on the car and the movie.
One bonus bit of content is the “coming in the next issue” page at the back of the mag. Here they preview the next car and as a way of illustrating it they use a photo of one of the Bond girls from that movie.
Which brings us onto the subject of this post. Issue 118’s preview of a car from Thunderball was accompanied by a very nice photo of Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona Volpe. She played the memorable villan lady in that movie, happily disposing of a NATO pilot so he could be replaced by a double and getting rid of Count Lippe while wearing motorcycle leathers.
Later in the movie Bond finds her taking a bath in his hotel suite. “Would you mind giving me something to put on?” she asks Bond. He complies by handing her some shoes.
Anyway, the photo in the mag was so nice I decided to scan it.
Recently I read the new Dark Tower novel by Stephen King, The Wind Through the Keyhole. Here are my comments.
The book is set between the existing Dark Tower Book 4 Wizard and Glass and Book 5 The Wolves of the Calla. Roland and his ka-tet are making their way along the path of the beam and while crossing a river Roland realises that a starkblast is coming, a storm that is preceded by unseasonably warm weather but will quickly turn violently cold and freeze objects and people where they stand. They quickly get to shelter and Roland starts to tell his friends a tale of his younger days.
So in the story in the story he tells of an early mission his father sent him on to find the culprit behind some violent murders in a small outlying mining town. It becomes apparent that the murderer is in fact a ‘skin-man’ a shape changing beast not unlike a werwolf but capable of changing form to any creature. The only question is whether the individual responsible is aware of the changes or not.
One witness left alive, a boy, is able to describe an identifying mark on the man so Roland sends his companions to round up the suspects. While they wait for the suspects to arrive Roland tells the boy a story.
So now we have a story in a story in a story called The Wind Through the Keyhole and deals with a boy called Tim who must venture into the Endless forest to find a magician who may be able to help cure his mother of an ailment. It is supposedly Mid-World’s version of a fairy tale but includes an individual who is clearly the Man in Black from the other books in the series as he signs his initials ‘RF’, i.e. Randal Flagg. So I wonder if the fairly tale we read is Roland’s version or if it is actually the truth behind whatever story he tells.
The fairy tale section is by far the longest bit of the book, and clearly the other sequences are framing devices for it. My own favourite sections deal with the young Roland hunting the skin-man. I hope Stephen king gives us more tales of the young Roland in future volumes.
Also worth mentioning, I enjoyed the ‘artyfact’ Tim gets his hands on in his tale, an electronic device called DARIA that is essentially a GPS device constructed by our old friends North Central Positronics.
In any event it is always a pleasure to revisit Mid -World.