|The following list includes interesting books and articles relatedto toy space guns. Please let me know of other articles or books you find so they can be added to the list. To order these books, please click on the book's title to order from Amazon.com and support this great site.
Baron, Neil. Ed. Anatomy of Wonder: A Critica Guide to Science Fiction.
4th edition.R.R.. Bowker. New Providence: NJ 1999.
The standard selective bibliography of the genre of science fiction. A remarkable and exhaustive work, this book features evaluations of more than 3,000 SF titles. The 4th edition includes "best book" indicators, a comprehensive theme index, a key to other sources of information about SF authors, and extensive listings of SF films, poetry, comic books and books on tape. This is the mother load for SF mavens. Of particular interest to ray gun colledtors is the review of Leslie Singer's now classic book, Zap.
Breathed, Berkeley. Red Ranger Came Calling.
New York and Boston: Little Brown and Company. 1994.
A children's picture book about a little boy who is captivated by the Red Ranger (Buck Rogers) and who, toting a Hubley Atomic Disintegrator, has a run-in with Santa Claus. When Santa first sees the marvelous red-handled gun he asks "What is it for?" The youngster replies, "I've mowed down a mob of Venusian Hottentots with that. I've even burned a hole through Mars's moon and singed fannies on Pluto."
Carter, John. Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons.
Venice CA.: Feral House, 1999.
A biography of Jack Parsons, scientist, poet, and self-proclaimed Antichrist. Parsons was a bizarre genius whose life reads like an implausible yet irresistible science fiction novel. Sex and Rockets looks at his short life and dual career as cofounder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and leader of the Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). Who says scientists are dull people?
Carter, Paul. The Creation of Tomorrow: 50 Years of Magazine Science Fiction.
New York. Columbia University Press.
A fascinating history of one of the most important popular genres for conceiving of science and the future. These often long forgotten magazines are great. After reading this book you can better understand the cultural impulses which influenced the creation of toy ray guns.
Clute, John. and Peter Nichols. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
NY: St Martins Press. 1993.
Everything you ever wanted to know about science fiction. Won the Hugo Award as best nonfiction science fiction book of the year when it was first published in 1978. This is the second edition. Contains over 4360 entries. Also available in CD Rom.
Clute, John. Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia.
London: Dorling Kindersley. 1995.
Anything you ever wanted to see about science fiction. Absolutely wonderful pictures of everything science fiction.
The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
IIntroduction by Ray Bradbury. NY: Chelsea House, 1969
.A selection of complete episodes of Buck Rogers cartoons (including color Sunday cartoons) from 1929-1967.
Corn, Joseph J. Ed. Imagining Tomorrow: History, Technology, and the American Future.
Cambridge: MIT Press. 1986.
A book of essays about the history and impact of the contemporary idea of the future. Wonderful articles about the impact and cultural meaning of plastic, the radio, X ray technology, the home, electricity, and other topics. A fascinating book that backgrounds popular interest in space
Corn, Joseph J. and Brian Horrigan. Yesterday's Tomorrows.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1996.
A reprint and elaboration of a Smithsonian Institution exhibition catalog for a show which focused on images of the future. Lots of great pictures of the material culture which embodies and creates our understanding of the future.
Cross, Gary. Kids Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.
A fascinating social history of toys and their relationship to changing conceptions of, and practices regarding, childhood. Traces the development of the modern toy industry and comments on the cultural significance of popular toys. Especially interesting in terms of space toys.
Curran, Douglas. In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space.
New York: Abbeville Press. 1985.
A great, offbeat book by a photographer and reporter who traveled throughout the United States and Canada for eight years interviewing people and taking pictures of things related to popular conceptions of outer space and space travel. Here see photos of rocket ships built in backyards, read interviews with people who communicate with aliens on a regular basis, and follow the accounts of groups like Project Starlight International, a national organization which has set up a center for signaling UFOs and communicating with them. Includes a fascinating bibliography.
Gilliam, James H. Space Toys of the 60s:An Illustrated Collector's Guide
Ontario, Canada: Apogee Books, 1999
A collector's guide to the space toys of Major Matt Mason, Zeroid Robots and the Star Team, and the Colorforms Outer Space Men. Numerous color pictures and detailed information on most toys. The most authoritative guide to these toys yet produced.
Hake, Ted. Hake's Price Guide to Character Toy Premiums.
Timonium, MD.: Gemstone Publishing, Inc. 1996.
Includes space-related premiums in a number of sections. See particularly the sections on Buck Rogers, Captain Video, Flash Gordon, Space Patrol, and Tom Corbett Space Cadet for ray gun premiums.
Hanlon, Bill. Plastic Toys: Dimestore Dreams of the '40s and '50s.
Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1993.
The "Bible" on plastic toys. Wonderful pictures of numerous types of toys. The chapter on space toys is especially good, and contains a number of pictures of ray guns.
Higgs, Mike, compiler. Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future.
5 Vols. London: Hawk Books, 1987-91.
A five volume set of facsimile reproductions of Dan Dare comics which appeared in the weekly boys' magazine Eagle. Wonderful artwork. Full color.
Korbeck, Sharon, Ed. Toys and Prices.
5th ed. Iola WI.: Krause Publications. 1997.
A standard reference work from the publishers of Toy Shop. Has a section devoted to space and science fiction toys as well as a section on character toys which includes science fiction characters.
Lesser, Robert. A Celebration of Comic Art and Memorabilia.
New York: Hawthorn Books, 1975.
A beautifully illustrated history and production list of great comic book and media characters from the late 19th century thru the 1950s. A classic. Contains information on many space characters and comics, and includes many pictures of Buck Rogers guns, some in striking color.
McCurdy, Howard. Space and the American Imagination.
Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.
Considers how ideas about space as presented in films, popular magazines and other cultural sources relate to deeply rooted American cultural ideals like the frontier, the idea of the heroic explorer, and technology. A must for anyone interested in the cultural meaning of toy ray guns.
Metcalf, Eugene and Frank Maresca. Raygun
New York: Fotofolio, 1999.
The most recent, and most complete, book on toy ray guns. Contains an introduction which traces the history and social significance of these toys as well as over 130 full color illustrations of toy rayguns and related toys. Aftrword by Leonard Nimoy, aka Mr Spock of Star Trek.
Nesheim, Eric and Leif. Saucer Attack.
Kitchen Sink Press Books, New York, 1997.
Focuses on the flying saucer craze and scare of the 1950s. Presents many wonderful images of popular culture artifacts which portray UFOs. Also includes images of many toys. including a variety of various kinds of saucer ray guns.
Payton, Crystal and Leland. Space Toys: A Collector's Guide to Science Fiction and Astronautical Toys.
Sedalia, Missouri: Collector's Compass. 1982.
An early book on space toys. Includes a section on space guns. An interesting book that discusses not only toys themselves but some of the historical and social forces that contributed to their production and popularity. Includes, among others, sections on science fiction and pop culture, mechanization and the idea of the robot, and armaments and the space race. Outdated in some ways, but perhaps one of the most intelligent books on space artifacts.
Penley, Constance. NASA/Trek: Popular Science and Sex in America
New York: Verso, 1997.
A wry and interesting investigation of the role of space travel in popular imagination that looks at the way NASA has openly borrowed from the TV show Star Trek to reinforce its public standing. The book also celebrates the work of a group of the show's fans who rewrite its storylines in porno-romance fanzines. This is a great and unusual book about the relationship of space science and popular culture!
Sansweet, Stephen J. Science Fiction Toys and Models, Vol 1.
New York: Star Log Press. 1980.
The first book on space toys. Includes many types of toys including some great illustrations of space guns. There is a particularly good page of illustrations on Buck Rogers toys and guns.
Schneider, Stuart. Collecting the Space Race.
Atglen, PA.: Schiffer Publishing Lt. 1993.
A complete guide to collecting space-related artifacts. Includes an interesting introduction which considers the history of human interest in space and the space race as well as a date line of important space-related events. Presents sections on toys, banks, buttons, pins and patches, flags and pennants, "flown" memorabilia and ray guns.
"Space Gun Price Guide," Toy Shop.
March 28, 1997, pp. 212-222.
A price guide to toy ray guns listed by maker. Although the prices are generally not very useful (I wish I could find some of these guns for the low prices they are said to be worth!), this is a helpful list of what has been made, by maker. Guns produced by 57 manufacturers are listed.
Singer, Leslie. Zap: Ray Gun Classics.
San Francisco: Chronicle Books. 1991.
The first book devoted entirely ray guns. Now out of print. Gorgeous photography and wonderful guns. Includes guns from the 1930s through the present. A labor of love by a lovely man.
Tumbusch, T.N. Space Adventure Collectibles.
Dayton, OH.: Tomart Publications. 1990.
IIncludes space collectibles related to films, television, books, comics, and other popular media. Includes a number of toy space guns.