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Robots in American Popular Culture

Robots in American Popular Culture

Steve Carper takes a comprehensive look at Robots in American Popular Culture in his new book from McFarland.

“They are the invincible warriors of steel, silky-skinned enticers, stealers of jobs and lovable sidekicks. Legions of robots and androids star in the dream factories of Hollywood and leer on pulp magazine covers, instantly recognizable icons of American popular culture.

“This book examines society’s introduction to robots and androids such as Robby and Rosie, Elektro and Sparko, Data, WALL-E, C-3PO and the Terminator, particularly before and after World War II when the power of technology exploded. Learn how robots evolved with the times and then eventually caught up with and surpassed them.”

Steve Carper is a regular contributor to The Digest Enthusiast and author of an ongoing column about robots on BlackGate.com.

Robots in American Popular Culture can be purchased directly from McFarland and select bookstores. Be sure to visit Steve’s companion site for the book: robotsinamericanpopularculture.com

Bob Hope’s 1941 Digest Paperback

Excerpt from Steve Carper’s series “One-and-Dones” that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:

Bob Hope’s first book, They Got Me Covered, a self-published curiosity from 1941 that’s of interest because it sold four million copies[!] and launched Hope’s long book career of putting his name on his writers’ output. Pepsodent, the sponsor of his hit radio show, is the real publisher, although the company’s name is nowhere to be found except inside the text. Listeners had the connection beaten into their heads nevertheless by the relentless plugging he gave the book on his show and the fact that it sold for a mere dime if you accompanied that with a box (a complete box, not a box top) from a tube of Pepsodent.”

Robots in American Popular Culture

Meanwhile, McFarland has published Steve Carper’s Robots in American Popular Culture. It’s available directly from McFarland Books. And be sure to check out the companion website robotsinamericanpopularculture.com.

Bronze Books

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 pgs 98 & 99

Steve Carper reports on the one, the only, Bronze Books and trailblazers Luke Roberts and Jesse Lee Carter in the latest issue of The Digest Enthusiast.

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 June 2019
5.5” x 8.5”
160 pages, with over 100 digest magazine cover images
$8.99 Print
$2.99 Kindle

Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novel

Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novel

Steve Carper explains his criteria for One-and-Dones in the excerpts below from part one of his series that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:

“My criteria are subjective, obviously. I only include fiction; anthologies and collections count alongside novels, but nonfiction is out . . . . To be included, publishers had to be legitimate companies devoted to putting out the work of others . . . . Trying to settle on a definitionof a “digest” was surprisingly difficult . . . . I do not include chapbooks . . . . This [series] is my attempt to merge all my research into a single source listing.”

Steve proceeds in alphabetical order.

Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novel is about as awkward an appellation as publishers’ lines ever get. Fortunately, its sole book was the 1957 movie tie-in 20 Million Miles to Earth by Henry Slesar. This is a prime collectible because of its rarity and the gigantic space lizard from Venus on its cover.”

Per the criteria, not a true One-and-Done as it was published by giant Ziff-Davis, but nevertheless a fascinating one-shot.

Bob Hope’s They Got Me Covered

They Got Me CoveredLife magazine’s October 27, 1941 profile of Bob Hope: “His most pretentious work, They Got Me Covered, a riotous autobiography, is in the tradition of Josh Billings, Bill Nye and Petroleum V. Nasby, and he is showing signs of developing into a cracker-barrel philosopher.”

They Got Me Covered is a collection of Bob Hope’s quips, cartoons, and photos. Steve Carper reveals the full story behind this 95-page, digest-sized paperback in The Digest Enthusiast book six.

They Got Me Covered

They Got Me CoveredAn excerpt from Steve Carper’s article for The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“Quick. What’s the bestselling digest paperback of all time? Here are some hints. It appeared in 1941. It was self-published. It sold four million copies. And you’ve probably never heard of it.

“If none of those things seem at all probable, here’s the wholly improbable story of Bob Hope’s They Got Me Covered.”

A sample of the quips inside:
“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance—waiting for the bathroom.”
“I get letters written in all languages: French, Spanish and unmentionable.”
“You know what a fan letter is—it’s just an inky raspberry.”

Steve Carper’s website <FlyingCarsandFoodPills.com>, a history of the Future as seen through 19th and 20th century eyes, led to a book in progress, the first comprehensive history of robots in popular culture. That led to a semi-regular column about robots on <BlackGate.com>. His digest novel collection has passed the 1000 milestone.

Bestseller Mystery B128

Bestseller Mystery B128 coverAlthough not labeled officially with the “Ellery Queen Selects” banner, Bestseller Mystery B128 follows the series’ formula: a short story collection edited by Queen, with his introduction. It’s also the last of the series.

Bestseller Mystery, B128, Nov. 1, 1950
“The Monkey Murder and other Hildegarde Withers Stories” by Stuart Palmer

“The Monkey Murder,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jan.1947
“The Purple Postcards,” The Detroit Free Press, July 2, 1939 as “The Riddle of the Purple Postcards” with slight differences in text
“Miss Withers and the Unicorn,” Aug. 3, 1941*
“The Riddle of the Double Negative,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March 1947
“The Long Worm,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Oct.1947
“The Hungry Hippo,” 1943**
“Tomorrow’s Murder,” The Detroit Free Press, June 2, 1940 as “Riddle of the Beggar on Horseback” with slight differences in text.
“Fingerprints Don’t Lie,” Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov. 1947

* date of copyright registration: no findable publication previous to this volume.
** 1943 is copyright date given in the book; earliest findable publication: The Australian Women’s Weekly, Feb. 19, 1944. The text has numerous differences.