Absolute Elsewhere

F50 (1950-1953) Updated 18 January 1999


ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1950, May Issue, available in late April. First appearance of Hubbard's "Dianetics" Followed shortly by DIANETICS, (See below).

Bradbury, Ray, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, 1, 1950, Doubleday. HB.

DESTINATION MOON, Motion Picture, 1950.  This was a historic film in many ways.  It was the first true science fiction movie in over a decade; the first of George Pal's science fiction and fantasy films; and the first science fiction film which tried to present a cutting edge scientific idea (space travel) in an accurate way.  The original script was by Robert Heinlein, based on his 1947 juvenile novel ROCKETSHIP GALILEO (entry).  Space artist Chestney Bonestell's designs and space paintings were used through out (see Ley, 1950 entry, )

Garrett, Eileen J., SENSE AND NONSENSE OF PROPHESY, THE, 1, 1950, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, HB. See 1968 entry.

Heyerdahl, Thor, KON-TIKI, 1, 1950, Rand McNally, HB.
Robert E, Howard, CONAN THE CONQUEROR, 1, 1950, Gnome Press, Hb. Cover art by John Forte.
Hubbard, L. Ron. DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALING, 1950, Hermitage Press (NYC), HB. Available on 9 May (See above entry). Hubbard, L. Ron,
Lee, William [William Burroughs], JUNKIE, 1, 1950, Ace Books, PB. William Burroughs' first novel appeared as an Ace Double Novel original, one of several Beat classics that first appeared as paperback originals. No one even remembers poor Maurice Helbrant now. See Burroughs, 1964 entry.
Keyhoe, Donald, FLYING SAUCERS ARE REAL, 1950, Fawcett, PB.  The first book by the man who "discovered" flying saucers in the late 40s, appeared as a paperback original.  The cover is straight out of the science fiction pulp tradition of the day.
Ley, Willy, and Chesley Bonestell, THE CONQUEST OF SPACE,  1950, Viking, HB.  A truely visionary book which used Bonestell's illustrations to "sell" the idea that space travel was within our reach.  If the rocketship on the cover looks familiar it is because it and most of Bonestell's drawings were used in the 1950 movie DESTINATION MOON (entry).
Miller, Henry, TROPIC OF CANCER, 2, 1950,  Obelisk (Olympia) Press, Paris, HB. Preface by Anias Nin.  This is the 12 edition of Henry Miller's most famous banned book, and the one which sealed his reputation for the rest of his life.  Between the time this edition appeared, a whole series of pirated editions, many of them printed in the orient, were smuggled into Britain and the USA because it was banned in those two enlightened democracies.  Grove Press finally published it in 1961 (entry) after a historic court battle. 
Rohmer, Sax, NUDE IN MINK, 1, 1950, Fawcett,  HB.  First of the Sumuru novels and one of my favorite titles.
Scully, Frank, BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS, 1950, Henry Holt, HB. See Scully, 1951 entry.
Siodmak, Curt, DONOVAN'S BRAIN, 1, 1950, Bantam, PB.  Reprint of 1942 title.  Some old workhorses never seem to die.
Velikovsky, Immanuel, WORLDS IN COLLISION, 1, 1950, Doubleday, HB. This is probably the most important "fringe science" book published in the 20th century. After a century of uniformitarian science, a fairly learned writer presented a well documented case for catastrophism. The physical science community came down on him with everything they had, including economic blackmail of the original publisher, McGraw Hill (it worked). Velikovsky exposed the sorry state of scientific dogmatism and inflexibility in 1950. Secondly, he started some younger physical scientists thinking about possible catastrophic events in the Earth's history. Velikovsky's books became very popular in the 60's and 70's.

Wilson, Edmond, CLASSICS AND COMMERCIALS, 1, 1950, Alfred A. Knopf, HB.

Wiener, Norbert, HUMAN USE OF HUMAN BEINGS, THE, 1, 1950, Houghton Mifflin, HB. Wiener is the father of cybernetics, and the book was an attempt to grapple with the ethical and the sociological implications of the new field. Wiener made "feedback" a household word. His suggestion that the process of thinking was a "self-correcting model" rather than a linear logical order was to become a very important idea. The paperback version of this book became one of the unofficial bibles of the 60's.
Wyndham, John [John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris. ], THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, 1, 1950, Michael Joseph (British Ed.), HB. The first edition of this great classic by the one science fiction writer who beats Piers Anthony out for the title of the "Writer with Way Too Many Names." See 1951, 52, and 1962 entries. 


Apuleius, Graves, trans., Robert, GOLDEN ASS, THE, 1, 1951 Farrar, Straus and Giroux, HB and Trade.
Bradbury, Ray, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, 2, 1951, Bantam, 1951. PB.
Graves, Robert, KING JESUS, 1, 1951, Envoy Books, PB. Original edition published in 1946. The mass paperback edition of Robert Graves' controversial biography.

Hesse, Hermann, SIDDHARTHA, 1, 1951, New Directions, HB. Translation of 1922 German Title. See 1957 entry.

Hoffer, Eric, TRUE BELIEVER, THE, 1, 1951, Harper and Brothers, HB.

Hubbard, L. Ron, SELF ANALYSIS, 1951, International Library of Arts and Sciences, HB.

Miller, Henry, BOOKS IN MY LIFE, 1951, New Directions, HB.
Owell, George, 1984, 2, 1951, Signet. PB.  First US paperback ed.  "Is that a copy of NEWSPEAK in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me." 
Roberts, Kenneth, HENRY GROSS AND HIS DIVINING ROD, 1951, Doubleday, HB. Photo: Henry Gross from the back cover of this ed.
Rohmer, Sax, SUMURU, 1, 1951, Fawcett, PB.  The Second is the Sumuru series by Rohmer.
Frank Scully, BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS, 2, 1951, Popular Library, PB. The cover art by Earle Bergey really shows the difference between hardbound and paperbound. marketing in the 50s. See 1950 entry above.
THING (FROM ANOTHER WORLD), THE, Motion Picture, 1, 1951,Director: Christian Nyby (or Howard Hawks).First of the "monstrous aliens from outer space" motif to appear in the movies. It's most interesting to study for its attitude towards "aliens" and scientists. The scientist's attitude toward the "alien" is almost a parody of the typical McCarthyite view of the relationship of American intellectuals to communists.
Wyndham, John [John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris. ], THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, 2, 1951, Doubleday, HB. See 1952, and 1962 entries.


Gardner, Martin, IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE, 1, 1952, Putnam, HB. See 1957, Gardner, FADS AND FALLACIES IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE.

Heisenberg, Werner, PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE, 1, 1952, Pantheon Books, HB.
Howard, Robert E, CONAN THE CONQUEROR, 1, 1952, Ace, PB. Published as one of the Ace Double Books series along with The SWORD of RHIANNON by Leigh Brackett.
Hughes, Pennethorne, WITCHCRAFT, 1, 1952, Longmans, Green, HB. See 1965 entry.
Huxley, Aldus, BRAVE NEW WORLD, 1, 1952, Bantam, PB.  First American paperback ed. of 1932 work.  I love this cover, because is shows Bantam trying to have it both ways and blowing it.  The cover artist obviously painted both characters naked (but tastefully so).  Some editor has obviously made him go back and paint in an "obscuring mist"  which seems to linger only around the man's pelvic area and amazingly makes itself into a filmy little frock for the lady.  The effect is hillarious.  And it says volumes about the culture of America in the early 50s.
Jones, Raymond F. THIS ISLAND EARTH, 1, 1952, Shasta, HB. 

Murray, Margaret Alice, GOD OF THE WITCHES, 1, 1952, Oxford University Press, HB. Reprint of 1931 British title.

Sauer, Carl O., AGRICULTURAL ORIGINS AND DISPERSALS, 1, 1952, National Geographic Society, HB.
STARTLING STORIES, August 1962, Science Fiction Magazine. Scoop! Science Fiction finally discovers sex! This is the issue which published Philip Jose Farmer's ground breaking (and Hugo winning) short story "The Lovers." It was later expanded into a ground breaking novel (see 1961 entry).
Velikovsky, Immanuel, AGES IN CHAOS, 1, 1952, Doubleday, HB. The bulk of Velikovsky's works are not, contrary to popular opinion, about catastrophies in history. His real interest was ancient history. His main thesis was that there was a 600 year error in the datings of Egypt and mid-East chronology. His catastrophic theory developed as a result of his study of this chronological error. This is the first of his books on this subject. Velikovsky's historical speculations are fascinating reading, and in many ways better books than his catastrophe books.
Wyndham, John [John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris. ], THE REVOLT OF THE TRIFFIDS, 3, 1952 Popular Library, PB. Retitled ed. of DAY OT THE TRIFFIDS. See 1962 entry. 


Adamski,George, and Desmond Leslie, FLYING SAUCERS HAVE LANDED, 1953, British Book Centre, HB. 
Bradbury, Ray, FAHRENHEIT 451, 1, Ballantine, PB. First ed.
Deren, Maya, DIVINE HORSEMEN: THE VOODOO GODS OF HAITI, 1, 1953, Thames and Hudson / British ed., HB.

Herrigel, Eugene, ZEN IN THE ART OF ARCHERY, 1, 1953, Pantheon Books, HB. The quintessential Zen title. The later paperback would become part of every counterculture library.
Heyerdahl, Thor, KON-TIKI, 2, 1953, Perma Books, PB.
Keyhoe, Donald, FLYING SAUCERS FROM OUTER SPACE, 1, 1953, Henry Holt, HB. Major Keyhoe's second book on the saucers, this time for a major publisher. 

*1999 note: Contray to my earlier snide comments about Holt's cheap cover design, this appears to be a pre-publication copy and not the commercial ed.  Points have been substracted from my account in heaven.

Keyhoe, Donald, FLYING SAUCERS FROM OUTER SPACE, 1, 1953, Henry Holt, HB.  OK! This is the right cover!  It ain't that great, either!

PLAYBOY, Magazine, 1953, First issue December, 1953. No date on the magazine.
Rohmer, Sax, FIRE GODDESS, 1, 1952, Fawcett, PB. Third in the Sumuru series by Rohmer.

Seznec, Jean, SURVIVAL OF THE PAGAN GODS, 1, 1953, Pantheon Books, HB. Translation of 1940 French title. See 1961 entry.
WAR OF THE WORLDS, 1953, Director: Byron Haskins. Big budget invasion of the earth, George Pal style. Based loosely (and I mean very loosely) on H. G. Wells' classic novel (see below).
Watts, Alan, MYTH AND RITUAL IN CHRISTIANITY, 1, 1953, Vanguard HB. Watts' book on Christian parallels with pagan myths and practices is another title that had to wait a decade to find its audience.
Wells, H. G., WAR OF THE WORLDS, 1953, Pocket Books, PB. Tie in edition for the George Pal flick (see above).
Wheatley, Dennis, TO THE DEVIL -- A DAUGHTER, 1, 1963, Hutchinson (UK), HB. One of Wheatley's series of "Black Magic" novels.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig, PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS, 1953, New York (publisher needed), HB.

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