Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two-fer Tuesdays: Beasts Within

A twice-monthly pairing of book covers that just seem to go together. Click on either of these images to open up an enlargement.

Strange Abominable Snowmen. Really, some bright bulb thought it necessary to add the adjective “Strange” to the title of a book about the giant Yeti and his equally legendary, hirsute cousin, Bigfoot? As if “Strange” wasn’t already quite obvious?

I don’t usually remark on works about the supernatural, monsters, and other creeps that go crawling through the night (and through the human imagination), but this pair of images has been sitting in my computer files for some while, screaming for attention. I held off only because I haven’t been able to find out much about either title. 1970’s Strange Abominable Snowmen, a Popular Library paperback, was produced by Iowa writer Warren Smith (1931-2003). Wikipedia says the book “claimed to offer scientific proof as to the existence of Bigfoot,” much of it provided by a “‘Major Stoyanow,’ who allegedly came into contact with a Bigfoot and relayed the information.” However, this post about Brad Steiger—another Iowan interested in the pseudoscience of cryptozoology, with whom Smith co-wrote several books under the pseudonym Eric Norman—contends that Strange Abominable Snowmen “is partially fictionalized.” (Under the Norman guise, Steiger had previously penned another book, 1969’s The Abominable Snowmen, but the authenticity of that one doesn’t seem as broadly questioned.) Unfortunately, the artist behind Strange Abominable Snowmen’s cover illustration isn’t identified, and the original painting is said to have been lost for decades, until it suddenly turned up in a yard sale back in 2014.

A bit more is known about our second book under consideration today, Nights with Sasquatch, by John Cotter and Judith Frankle (Berkley, 1977). This is not your usual yarn dealing with unlikely sightings of hominid-like creatures, mysterious beings that appear in America’s Pacific Northwest only long enough to be hastily photographed and leave scattered footprints behind. The cover line here promises “an explosive ordeal of rape and revenge beyond any woman’s experience.” Fortunately, Nights with Sasquatch is a novel. Here’s the back-cover description of its plot:
Does Sasquatch exist? The terrifying truth behind the ancient legend. A team of young scientists sets out to explore the Northwest Mountains. Both John Cotter and Judith Frankle were trained level-headed observers with liberated views on life and love. Until they confronted Sasquatch—a half-human monster who claimed Judith as his captive mate. This is the explosive novel of a woman forced to endure barbaric, sexual lusts beyond any human experience. And a man driven by revenge.
Again, the art fronting Nights with Sasquatch isn’t credited. Which, I think you’ll agree, is hardly the strangest aspect of this book.

READ MORE:Some Enchanted Evening … You May Meet a Yeti,” by Mimi Hall (Mimsywords).


Art Taylor said...

But wait! You're still going to give us #6 today too, right? I've been enjoying the countdown!

J. Kingston Pierce said...

No reason to fear, Art! Number six in our series celebrating The Rap Sheet's 10th anniversary is coming this afternoon.