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.
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.
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!
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…
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…..
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.
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…”
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.
“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…
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.