Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Cool Book Cover

Now here is a Nessie book cover I haven't seen before. It's the paperback version of the more familiar hardback book cover from Ted Holiday's "The Dragon and the Disc". It's a nice bit of artwork, though the creature on the cover could not be described as a "Nessie" but more like the titled "Dragon" (Holiday referred to the Loch Ness Monster as a Dragon or Orm).

It has to be said that the 1970s were the zenith of cool Loch Ness Monster book covers. Some serious effort went into producing imaginative covers of prehistoric or mythical monsters to capture the eye of the public as they browsed the well stocked "Mysteries" section of their local book shop.

This particular paperback was published by Futura in 1974. Now, I don't know about other readers' collections, but a scan of my shelves showed a few titles from Futura, Sphere and Target books. These publishers were not averse to putting out various titles on the likes of UFOs, monsters and so on. That was on top of the titles from more well known publishers such as Penguin and Corgi.

Looking at these covers reminds me of how my own collecting of Nessie books has progressed. First you buy the titles, for example, Dinsdale's "Loch Ness Monster". That will give you just about everything you need. But that is only the first edition.

Subsequent to that, authors will republish their titles as revisions in which they alter some of the book's contents according to their changing experience or thinking plus they may add new photographs, sighting reports and so on. So, Dinsdale's book underwent three revisions in 1972 and 1976 and 1982, but Holiday's book was never revised.

Then we have the reprints in which none of the content is revised but the general format of the book changes. We see that in our two Holiday books as it went from hardback to paperback and the cover art was also changed. Dinsdale's book also underwent one reprint in 1966 (I do not own a copy). One could argue every revision is a reprint, but not every reprint is a revision.

For me personally, I have practically all the titles. I think I have most of the revisions, but I probably do not have most of the reprints as that requires a bit more motivation since you are not getting much more for your money. You can browse the various artistic covers on my booklist. You can also have a look at my current bookcase below (with some titles not in the picture)!

The author can be contacted at


  1. Fantastic collection!! I have a decent collection as well , prob bout 20 books. My latest addition was ted holidays great orm. Surprisingly it's a better book than I imagined and now it's one of my favourites. Love the mystery and I take it all in..... believers or sceptical.

  2. Seeing those gave me a pang. I gave away both Holiday's books, having decided he was probably wrong about the nature of the beast. Now I'm regretting it. I've found the Great Orm 2nd hand for £4, but the Dragon book is £23 and I'm not sure I want to pay that.

    On the bright side, I've found I can read The Goblin Universe for free on Kindle Unlimited, and plan to do so.

    1. Thanks for the tip on Goblin Universe on Kindle. I note it is £7 to purchase. However, I am bit wary of some titles being retro-fitted to Kindle as the results have been unreadable on a smartphone (I think of some CFZ publications).

      If you do download it, can you tell me how readable it is David? Thanks.

    2. This book reads well on my phone, a Moto G with a 5 inch screen. (Even better on my Kindle Paperwhite!) There are no pictures or fancy formatting to cause trouble.

      As to the content:

      As usual with Holiday it's a pleasure to read. He argues that lake monsters, fairies, Bigfoot, alien big cats etc are all the same kind of thing - either wholly paranormal or,if partly material, created or controlled by a paranormal mind. In any case they are not normal animals, because they don't leave enough traces and because, he says, they are surrounded by strange coincidences and other effects. He has some interesting anecdotes, in particular when, after observing the Rev. Ormand's exorcism of Nessie, he is attacked by something like a poltergeist. He also has a regrettable chapter trying and failing to disprove Darwinian evolution.

    3. I can't see how evolution is incompatible with some kind of physics quirk. I think both have merit.