Ace Special Editions

(Scans and commentary are by Kenneth R. Johnson)












These were re-issues of books that had been previously issued by Ace as halves of Double Novels, with the same book numbers. These 4 variant editions have been well documented within the SF field and are mentioned in both Hancer's and Holroyd's price guides.  These editions are undated; the only thing that is certain is that they must have been issued before 1961 when the first one (the Leinster) was re-issued with a new number.  They were never advertised in any of the other Ace SF books which suggests that they were produced for some alternate form of distribution; my suspicion is that they were produced for the Teen-Age Book Club for distribution through schools.  All four would have been perfect fare for the young adult market, which most of Ace's mysteries and westerns were not.


(And here's a comment by Bob Weinberg, an avid collector and seller of Science Fiction books and artwork.)

I'm writing about the four Ace Special paperbacks mentioned on your site published for 25 cents each back in the late 1950's.  I can say for a certainty that these were done for the Teenage Book Club (TAB) as I was in grade school when these books were offered for sale in the monthly TAB newsletter.  I bought them all, at a quarter each, and remember them quite well.  I bought them when I was in fifth grade, which would be 1957.  They are the books that started me collecting science fiction. 

I remember the specials quite well because when Ace reprinted the books, they repriced them at 25 cents each, but they did not change the front ad page for the books and at the bottom of these pages (in each book) were the words, TURN THIS BOOK OVER FOR ANOTHER COMPLETE NOVEL.   As an eleven year old in the 1950's who had never seen an Ace Double book, I could not figure out what these words meant.  It made no sense to turn these books over, as I knew I would not be given another book.  But there was no indication what the words meant otherwise.  It was a puzzle that bothered me for months until I finally went to a used bookstore (in Newark, NJ.  I was living in a suburb of the city then) where I encountered my first Ace Double paperbacks and became a devoted collector of those books.  But for months before, I was a very puzzled young man.