Monday, December 12, 2005

Aaron's Book of the Week :: Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley

Untouched by Human HandsThe Book of the Week is Untouched by Human Hands by noted science fiction author Robert Sheckley, who passed away on Friday.

Robert Sheckley was an important contributor to the science fiction field in the 1950s and 60s, and continued to write sporadically and to interact with fans until his death. He was one of the earliest science fiction and fantasy writers to make humor an important part of nearly all his work, and he is said to have been a major influence on Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Sheckley was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001. Untouched by Human Hands, a collection of short stories, was Sheckley's first book. My copy is the first printing, paperback original (cover art by Jack Coggins), published in 1954.

Incidentally, "paperback original" (or "PBO") means that there was no prior hardcover edition. From the 1950s through the 70s, most science fiction books went straight to paperback without any hardcover edition (and many still do to this day), which is why any science fiction collector must necessarily also be a collector of vintage paperbacks - speaking of which, we will still get to Pocket Book #1 eventually.

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