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“Two-Handed Engine”

The Metal Smile

“Two-Handed Engine” by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1955
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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Killerbowl

KillerbowlKillerbowl by Gary K. Wolf
Self-published Kindle edition, 2017
Originally published by Doubleday, 1975
Price I paid: $2.99

Thirty years in the future, the ultraviolent sport of Professional Street Football, a phenomenally popular 24-four-hour-long athletic event, combines pro football with mixed martial arts and armed combat. On New Years day, quarterback T.K. Mann plays the most dangerous game of his life, the game known as Killerbowl!

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

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The Other World

1521411040405-b0b7f199-7515-4cc9-9119-861498380452_.jpgThe Other World by J. Harvey Bond
Priory Books, unknown year
Originally published by Avalon Books, 1963
Price I paid: 75¢

George Braderick, a civilian GS-5 Civil Service employee, was also a Sergeant Major in the National Guard. His principal duty was to guard the local armoury. It was as such that he became the target of the sinister Dr. Ludwig Taun—and the victim. Here is a story of a desperate struggle for power in a world out with the dimensions we know.

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The Revolving Boy

1520185962713-4cc96096-6bb8-436e-8ab0-ceecf9512e35_.jpgThe Revolving Boy by Gertrude Friedberg
Del Rey, 1980
Originally published by Doubleday, 1966
Price I paid: 90¢

From early childhood, Derv Nagy was marked out as being different. His uncanny sense of direction, his compulsion to turn and turn again until he felt somehow right, and the slight but definite slant at which he stood—all set him apart. Only his parents knew why Derv was unique among Earth’s billions—and they were determined that their son would never learn the truth.

Eventually Derv realized that his personal “compass” was oriented toward a world far distant from the one he had grown up on—but he did not know of the mysterious transmissions emanating from that invisible point in the sky…

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The Warrior of World’s End

1519066084799-88d90f03-1dbb-40d7-a0b1-2af981f75eb3_.jpgThe Warrior of World’s End by Lin Carter
DAW Books, 1974
Price I paid: 95¢

I see Gondwane as it shall be in the untold ages of dim futurity, near the time when the Earth shall be man’s habitation no more, and the great night shall enfold all, and naught but the cold stars shall reign. The first sign of the end ye shall see in the heavens, for Lo! the moon is falling, falling. And there shall come a man into the lands, a man not like other men, but sent from Galendil.

The name of the man is Ganelon Silvermane—and this is the first of a new marvel-adventure series by Lin Carter.

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“Quixote and the Windmill”

The Metal Smile“Quixote and the Windmill” by Poul Anderson
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, November 1950
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…

(more…)

The Diabols

1517766851329-3054bd54-3884-4f4d-b176-6f2c336f1f51_.jpgThe Diabols by R.W. Mackelworth
Paperback Library, 1969
Originally published as Firemantle, Robert Hale, 1968
Price I paid: 75¢

Their bodies were colored lights; their voices were music. But whatever they touched was incinerated!

For a moment in time their destructive powers were limited to a small portion of Earth. Yet they were determined to burn the whole planet to a crisp.

Was there no hope for man’s survival?

As a last resort Boraston is projected into a future where the Diabols have almost won. Only a few humans remain, struggling to stay alive by holding the Diabols off with skirmishes and holding actions.

Can Boraston devise a method to destroy them?

If he succeeds, Earth can plan to save itself from the Diabols.

If he fails, Earth was doomed to become nothing more than a charred and blackened cinder in the galaxy!

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The Gods of Xuma

1516554894833-23c91978-5211-4b9d-8a40-e7497d5a624e_.jpgThe Gods of Xuma by David J. Lake
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: 75¢

If the universe is infinite, it follows that there may be somewhere real physical worlds that duplicate those of the imagination. And when Tom Carson caught sight of the third planet of 82 Eridani he recognized at once its resemblance to that imaginary Mars called “Barsoom” of the ancient novelist Burroughs.

Of course there were differences, but even so this planet was ruddy, criss-crossed with canals, and its inhabitants were redskinned, fought with swords, and had many things superficially in common with the fantasy Mars of the John Carter adventures.

But there were indeed vital variations that would eventually trip up the self-deceived science-fiction-reading travellers from 24th Century Earth. Therein hangs a tale that will delight and surprise everyone who enjoys the thrill of exploring a new world, especially one that seems peculiarly familiar.

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Ballroom of the Skies

1515885908450-05189bcd-2e9d-4287-b2ad-361ce083c986.jpgBallroom of the Skies by John D. MacDonald
Fawcett Gold Medal, 1968
Originally published in 1952
Price I paid: $1.25

Have you ever stopped to wonder why the world is eternally war-torn? Why men of good will, seeking only peace, are driven relentlessly to further disaster?

In Ballroom of the Skies, John D. MacDonald suggests a strange and monstrous explanation. He pictures an intricate and totally convincing future society, where India rules the globe, and everyone chases the mighty rupee. The First Atomic War has just ended, and already the Second is clearly building.

People shrug. War is man’s nature, they think. And that’s what Dake Lorin thought until he became aware of the aliens living among us—and discovered their sinister purpose.

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Starsky and Hutch #6: The Psychic

1515339560676-fb6ae284-ba73-4153-97c2-57fc49cd1f7c_.jpgStarsky and Hutch #6: The Psychic, adapted by Max Franklin
Spelling-Goldberg Productions, 1977
Price I paid: 50¢

HELP WANTED: A MENTALIST WITHOUT ANTS IN HIS TRANCE!

Two tough-as-nails jailbirds have snatched Joe Haymes’ beautiful daughter, and asked the football team owner for major-league bucks to get her back. He has signed up Starsky and Hutch to make an end run with the ransom—safely; one fumble and it could mean her life—unless the boys can find her first. Only a mind reader could solve this one, and the one they’ve got hasn’t a thought in his head!

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Who Is This Dopey Guy

Hi! My name is Thomas and I’ve been reviewing the cheapest books I can find since January 2013. It has been an interesting experience.

Apart from reviewing books, I am a librarian. It is a good job. You should support your local library.

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