Lancer Books  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Lancer Books was a line of paperback books published from 1961 through 1973 by Irwin Stein and Walter Zacharius. While it published in a number of genres, it was most noted for its science fiction and fantasy line, particularly its series of Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Barbarian" stories, which marked the first appearance of most of them in paperback. Lancer paperbacks had a distinctive look, many bearing mauve or green page edging.


In 1954, Stein and his wife Helen had entered the magazine field with their Royal Publications which published Our Life and Celebrity from Royal's East 44th Street offices. In 1955, he added Infinity and Suspect Detective Stories (which became Science Fiction Adventures with its fifth issue). In 1958-59, Stein published two monster magazines, Monster Parade and Monsters and Things.

As various genre magazines vanished from newsstands, Stein decided to leave the magazine field for paperbacks. He launched Lancer Books in June 1961. Larry Shaw, who had edited Infinity returned as the editor at Lancer.

The firm went bankrupt in the mid-1970s, but Stein continued as a book packager into the 1980s. Zacharius went on to found Kensington Books in 1974 and write the World War II novel, The Memories We Keep (2005).


Lancer's science fiction and heroic fantasy line was noted for its frequent use of Frank Frazetta cover art. Frazetta began doing covers for Lancer with John Benyon Harris's The Secret People (1964) and Ted White's Phoenix Prime (1966), which he followed with a number of covers for Lancer's Conan series.

In addition to the science fiction and heroic fantasy, Lancer also published private-eye adventure with strong sexual themes, true crime and espionage titles, and gothic romances such as Shadows (1970) by Jan Alexander (pseudonym for Victor J. Banis.

Lesbian fiction authors published by Lancer included Rea Michaels (Duet in Darkness, Cloak of Evil), Sylvia Sharon (pseudonym used by Paul Little) and Florence Stonebraker.

Lancer Books also published paperback editions of classic novels and non-fiction works In this series, Lancer reprinted public domain works. This series was designated Magnum Easy Eye Classics, as the type in the books was larger. Readers could avoid eye strain with these books. Among the authors represented in the series were H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Samuel Clemens, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Helen Keller, and Bram Stoker. Besides included the complete and unabridged text of the work, each book included a brief, unsigned biographical article on the author. Because the works were in the public domain, Lancer included a copyright notice for the special contents (i.e., the biographical information) for each book.

Lancer also published books of social commentary, such as The Angry Black, edited by John Williams, and pop culture, such as The Beatle Book.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lancer Books" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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