Planet of the Knob Heads (Is this a joke?)

World War II started in 1939.  This was also the year that Planet of the Knob Heads saw its first and only printing by Atlas Publishing, further establishing Stanton A. Coblentz as a writer of the absurd.  Stanton ‘hears a different drummer,’ as Henry David Thoreau put it.

Stanton A. Coblentz (1896-1982) was an American author and poet, and he wrote over 34 works published between 1925 and (posthumously) 1989.

I admit to never having read any of his work, but he had a book listed in Bizarre Books – a Compendium of Classic Oddities.  Something about Stanton A. Cobletz struck a chord with me.

Maybe it was that his work was never appreciated during his lifetime, or since.

Maybe it was that he wrote from 1925 until his death, in 1982, and I admire a guy who sticks with it.

Maybe it is because he was a weirdo.

I don’t know, but I dig Stanton’s vibe and he may be a kindred soul to those of us in the the wasteland of the struggling author.  Take a deep, cleansing breath and then read the synopsis of Planet of the Knob Heads:

Jack and Marjorie are brought to the distant world of their captors.  In far Andromeda, they struggle against “favors” of the knob-heads – but hope fades as they face the High Knobule!

In about a week I had recovered from most of the effects of the knob operation.

A knob operation!  What sort of a thing is this that he takes a week to recover?  Circumcision pales in comparison!

Planet of the Knob Heads

You’ve got to admire Stanton A. Coblentz’s gall in pushing this out, and props to good old Atlas Publishing for printing it in 1939.

It’s easy to laugh at the premise of this story, but is it so much worse than some of the stuff being published today?

Stanton A. Coblentz somehow sold publishers on his stories and they printed them, and probably paid for them, too.  I doubt it was a lucrative move for the publishers, but Stanton pulled it off, and he did it repeatedly.  He might even be a good writer, suffering from an absurd sense of humor that made him inaccessible to much of the reading audience.

I’d pay money for a readable, original printing of the 1939 printing of Planet of the Knob Heads or any of Coblentz’s work.   I want to read this guy.  I want to see if he was a hack or just misunderstood and ahead of his time.  Those are the same questions I ask of myself as a writer.


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