CAMPBELL, John W. (Jr) The Black Star Passes. Fantasy Press, Reading, Pennsylvania, 1953.
8vo. Original purple cloth, titled gilt to spine, with illustrated dust wrapper depicting science fiction astronauts contemplating a huge machine in pink and purple; pp. 254; a clean, tight copy with some minor edge wear to the dust wrapper spine.
First edition. A collection of deeply terrible but rather fun sci fi romps from Campbell, who was a formative influence on science fiction due to his editorship of the periodical Astounding Science Fiction that dominated the field for years and in which these three stories first appeared (though they were heavily edited and revised for this volume). Campbell's stories are full of "crew-cut wisecracking, cigar-chewing" protagonists, as described by Michael Moorcock, often involving a great deal of bustling electronics, flashing buttons and space pirates.
Campbell is credited with introducing to the field Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. He was cancelled in the 60s for his comments on race, his belief in psionic powers and his brief pseudoscientific relationship with L. Ron Hubbard in which he drove the development of Dianetics, all of which drove writers like Asmimov to distance themselves from him entirely. Amongst his peers, Campbell's descent into confusion and disreputable bigotry during the twilight of his life was considered a tragic end to a career which almost single handedly drove a mid-century renaissance of science fiction, with Asmiov quoted as saying "in the last twenty years of his life, he was only a diminishing shadow of what he had once been."