Sunday, 18 July 2010

Westlake Score: Anarchaos by Curt Clark

Here's a Donald E. Westlake curio to rank alongside that paperback biography of Elizabeth Taylor Adam got me for me birthday:













This is the US first edition of Anarchaos, a science fiction novel by Westlake, published under the pseudonym Curt Clark in paperback by Ace in 1967. It's been described elsewhere as 'Parker in space': a tough guy on a mission to the eponymous lawless planet to find the man who killed his brother. OK, not quite like a Parker novel then, and also it's written in the first-person, but there is at least a crime element to it. There are loads of copies of this online, probably because many of the listings don't mention Westlake at all, not having made the connection, but this copy's really nice; the page edges are orange and there's some rubbing on the spine, but other than that it looks unread, with no spine creases at all.

Anarchaos was actually collected along with some of Westlake's short SF stories in Tomorrow's Crimes, so I might try and pick that up too at some point. I like the cover illo on this paperback though; when you get up close to it you can see it's almost abstract – those 'cars' whizzing along the highways and the people at the base of the tower merely dabs of paint, while the spacecraft that's just landed looks like a paper plane. It's credited to "Lynch", about whom, as ever, I know nowt. Classy cover though.

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