The Moon is Hell

Hannes Bok cover to the 1951 Fantasy Press edition/isfdb.org

The Moon is Hell by John W. Campbell
Gateway/Orion, 2011
Originally published by Fantasy Press, 1951
Price I paid: $2.99

John W. Campbell was the man who made modern science fiction what it is today. As editor of Astounding Stories (later Analog), Campbell brought into the field such all-time greats as Asimov, Heinlein, Sturgeon and many others, while his own writing blazed new trails in science fiction reading pleasure. The Moon is Hell is this great writer-editor’s vision of the first men on the moon – written 18 years before Neil Armstrong made history. This is the story of the American space programme – not as it happened, but as it might have been.

From Goodreads
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Ecotopia

Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston by Ernest Callenbach
Heyday Books, 2014
Originally published by Banyan Tree Books, 1975
Price I paid: Property and wheel taxes

Twenty years have passed since Northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the United States to create a new nation, Ecotopia. Rumors abound of barbaric war games, tree worship, revolutionary politics, sexual extravagance. Now, this mysterious country admits its first American visitor: investigative reporter Will Weston, whose dispatches alternate between shock and admiration. But Ecotopia gradually unravels everything Weston knows to be true about government and human nature itself, forcing him to choose between two competing views of civilization.

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The Spitfires

The Spitfires by Beril Becker
Pyramid Books, 1964
Originally published as Whirlwind in Petticoats
Doubleday, 1947
Price I paid: $3.50

Vicki and Tennie came out of the Midwest and hit New York like a cyclone. The Robber Barons were in full swing, building famous names and fabulous riches, but they were no match for the whirlwind Claflin girls, who lost no time in

  • squeezing a fortune out of Commodore Vanderbilt
  • ruining the most respected preacher in the city, Henry Ward Beecher
  • preaching a scandalous gospel of free love—and practicing it!
  • defeating Boss Tweed, the powerful, corrupt head of Tammany Hall
  • starting a campaign to make Vicki president of the United States!

The Gilded Age was one of the wildest periods in American history—but the Claflin girls were wilder still. Their story is grippy, bawdy—and strangest of all, true!

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Speaking of Dinosaurs

The cover image is a large picture of an iguana with the title and author text in red and yellow, respectively, at the top. In the bottom right is the logo for Hale SF.
Cover of the 1974 Robert Hale edition/isfdb.org

Speaking of Dinosaurs by Philip E. High
eBook by Gateway/Orion, 2011
Originally published by Robert Hale, 1974
Price I paid: $3.99

Most people accept Darwin’s theory of evolution. Well, David Standing did…until one day he wandered by chance into a museum and saw the dinosaur.

As a gifted engineer his enquiring mind made him question how such a massive skeleton had been able to balance and move; his experiments proved it was impossible. Then attempts were made on his life… And, in a horrifying time shift, back to the distant past, he visits Primeval Earth – where, naked and unarmed, he comes face to face with the truth about the evolution of man…

from Goodreads
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A Dream of Kinship

Uncredited cover of the 1981 Pocket Books Edition / isfdb.org

A Dream of Kinship by Richard Cowper
Gateway/Orion, 2011 (eBook Edition)
Originally published by Gollancz, 1981
Price I paid: $3.99

They came to destroy! The treacherous Falcons, uniformed in the black leather tunics of the fanatic Secular Arm, descended on Corlay to burn and kill. Commanded by Lord Constant, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, they were determined to crush the religious heresy of Kinship. But a new dream rose from the ashes… When four Kinsmen escaped the carnage of their beloved land, each helped to fulfill the miracle that had been foretold: the coming of the Child of the Bride of Time…..

from Goodreads
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The Mummy!

Title page of the 1828 second edition/Wikipedia.

The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century by Jane Webb
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Originally published anonymously by Henry Colburn, London, 1827
Price I paid: none (library)


Within a decade of the 1818 publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, another Englishwoman invented a foundational work of science fiction. Seventeen-year-old Jane Webb Loudon took up the theme of reanimation, moved it three hundred years into the future, and applied it to Cheops, an ancient Egyptian mummy. Unlike Shelley’s horrifying, death-dealing monster, this revivified creature bears the wisdom of the ages and is eager to share his insights with humanity. Cheops boards a hot-air balloon and travels to 22nd-century England, where he sets about remedying the ills of a corrupt government.

In recounting Cheops’ attempts to put the futuristic society to rights, the young author offers a fascinating portrait of the preoccupations of her own era as well as some remarkably prescient predictions of technological advances. The Mummy! envisions a world in which automatons perform surgery, undersea tunnels connect England and Ireland, weather-control devices provide crop irrigation, and messages are transmitted with the speed of cannonball fire. The first novel to feature the concept of a living mummy, this pioneering tale offers an engaging mix of comedy, politics, and science fiction.

From the back of the 2017 Dover edition
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The Overman Culture

The Overman Culture by Edmund Cooper
Berkley Medallion, 1972
Price I paid: 25¢

A REAL SPINNER!…Michael is a ‘fragile’ boy—one of a seemingly small number of children who grow tired when they run, who bleed when they are hurt, who can’t take off their heads….As the fragile children discover each other, probe in the moldering ruins of London, and try to interpret what they find, they come to the conclusion that they have been created by some super-scientist, as guinea pigs for an experiment.

“And what happens if the guinea pigs turn on their creator—on the Overman of the legend they all know? They may be destroyed. They may be set free. They may escape. And who or what are the others, the ‘drybones’ who do not bleed, who can take off their heads? Edmund Cooper has secrets he can hide as well from you as from the fragiles…”

—P. Schuyler Miller, Analog

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Space Cops: Kill Station

Space Cops: Kill Station by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Avon Books, 1992
Price I paid: $1.50

Life is cheap at the farthest reaches of the space frontier—where the scum of the universe rule, unhampered by the forces of law and order.

Investigating the mysterious disappearance of numerous space-going freight vessels, Solar Patrol Rangers Evan Glyndower and Joss O’Bannion enter this wasteland of humanity—well-armed but outnumbered…and alone.

But these seeming acts of interplanetary piracy mask a far more insidious threat—a conspiracy of chaos and terror that will plunge Glyndower and O’Bannion into the deadliest firefight of their lives—to save themselves…and their solar system.

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“Monkey Wrench”

“Monkey Wrench” by Gordon R. Dickson
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1951
Price I paid: none

“DO NOT FOLD, BEND, OR MUTILATE”

marked the beginning of our cybernetic society. How will it end?

The varied answers to that question have proved to be fertile ground for some of the greatest science fiction imaginations. But perhaps we shouldn’t look too closely into the future of cybernetics. It may be that the survival capacity of the thinking machine is greater than that of its maker…

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Singularity Station

Singularity Station by Brian N. Ball
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢ Paperback

Robotic minds made interstellar travel possible, but human minds still controlled the destination and purpose of such flight. Conflict develops only when a programmed brain cannot evaluate beyond what is visible and substantial, whereas the human mind is capable of infinite imagination—including that which is unreal.

Such was the problem at the singularity in space in which the ALTAIR STAR and a hundred other vessels had come to grief. At that spot, natural laws seem subverted—and some other universe’s rules impinged.

For Buchanan, the station meant a chance to observe and maybe rescue his lost vessel. For the robotic navigators of oncoming spaceships, the meaning was different. And at Singularity Station the only inevitable was conflict.

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