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I'm 52, and like a lot of American guys my age, I first fell in love with SF by reading the Heinlein juveniles, which my grade-school library had on the shelf. Recently, for nostagia, I've been building up a collection of the Scribner's editions of these books, most of which have illustrations by Clifford Geary in a "scratchbook" white-on-black style. Most of these are available as library discards online at reasonable prices.

As a kid, my favorite of the juveniles was Have Space Suit -- Will Travel, which I had to buy in a mass market paperback edition because my school librarian objected to its references to prescription drugs. ISFDB data here. This one was published by Scribner's in 1958, and the illustrator is listed as Ed Emshwiller.

  • Does anyone know why they switched from Geary to Emshwiller? (Geary lived until 2008).

  • Are the 1958-1977 Scribner's hardcover editions illustrated inside? The cover of the August 1958 F&SF is also an Emshwiller illustration for the novel -- was the F&SF version illustrated?

  • I have not been able to locate used copies of these editions online, except intermittently at very high prices. Any idea why this would be or where I might be able to find them (e.g., maybe UK editions with similar illustrations)?

[EDIT] It appears that The Star Beast (1954) was the last juvenile illustrated by Geary, and probably the last one with interior illustrations. The next one after that was Tunnel in the Sky (1955), which has only the dust jacket illustration, and that's by a different illustrator. I searched again recently and was able to find a number of copies of Have Space Suit for sale at reasonable prices -- I'm not clear on what happened in the interim. Maybe I was just making some dumb mistake previously in my online searches.

  • One of the primary drivers of high prices is rarity -- perhaps those editions weren't printed in the same quantity as the earlier ones? – Zeiss Ikon Oct 8 '18 at 19:33
  • @ZeissIkon: Yeah, I assume they're not coming on the market for some reason, but it seems unlikely to me that they printings were smaller, since Heinlein was at the height of his powers and popularity ca. 1958. I guess it's also possible that a lot of other people, like me, really liked this book, so they're collecting and holding on to their copies. Or maybe something changed about school library acquisitions, since it seems like 100% of these books on the market are ex-library copies. – Ben Crowell Oct 8 '18 at 19:39
  • I notice that on the Wikipedia bio page you linked they show Geary as illustrating The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag in 1959 -- but any juveniles coming out that late were reissues or reprints. – Zeiss Ikon Oct 8 '18 at 19:42
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    You can look at the F&SF issues online at the internet archive. The novel was published in three parts. The first and second parts, at least, have no interior illustrations in the magazine (except for the Mother Thing's musical staves). Both have cover illos. archive.org/details/… the third installment was the annual anniversary best of issue and had a generic cover. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91qV-0CZGZL.jpg – Organic Marble Oct 8 '18 at 19:56

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