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A World of Trouble

A World of TroubleA World of Trouble by Robert E. Toomey, Jr.
Ballantine Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢

Belaker Meas, agent for galactic control CROWN, did not really have any choice: He could spy for them—and risk a rapid death—or he could die, period. But slowly.

He knew going in that his job of Jsimaj was not going to be the gentlest in the galaxy, at lest not if he could judge from the ground transport CROWN had provided, “Pacesetter” was a rendal, originally from Jsimaj, a twelve-legged, armor-plated, fanged, clawed behemoth who was, totally and ideally (and significantly) adapted to his native planet.

But Pacesetter proved to be an affectionate, staunch, and gentle friend in comparison with the other inhabitants of Jsimaj…

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“Fool’s Mate”

“Fool’s Mate” by Robert Sheckley
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, March 1953
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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Level 7

Level 7

Sorry about the crap on the L. There was a sticker that refused to come off nicely.

Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald
Signet Books, 1959
Price I paid: $1.25

OFFICER X-127 IS 4000 FEET UNDERGROUND

He is safe from nuclear war…safe from sunshine, blue skies, and love. His perpetual assignment is the Bomb―to stand guard ready to push the button that will turn the world into a charred ember of smoking death…

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To Keep the Ship

To Keep the ShipTo Keep the Ship by A. Bertram Chandler
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: $1.25

Although this was a low point in the ever-changing space career of the legendary John Grimes, it was not without its surprising moments. Between jobs, between loyalties, Grimes was owner and pilot of a small auxiliary vessel whose principal oddity was that it was made of gold. But precious metal or not, Grimes was running errands with it.

Until he fell into the clutches of terrorists. Susie and her comrades had a Cause and it was going to take all his efforts to keep the one thing he had to have―his ship.

Especially since they left the ship infested with a constantly increasing horde of mini-Susies―vicious little homunculi that looked exactly like their sexy prototype except that they were hungry, sharp-toothed, and their only Cause was to eat Grimes alive!

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The Penetrator #41: Hell’s Hostages

The Penetrator #41: Hell’s Hostages by Lionel Derrick
Pinnacle Books, 1981
Price I paid: 50¢

Mark Hardin takes on one of the most explosive challenges of his career―on foreign turf. Crazed rebel students, under the banner of the self-styled prophet Ayatollah Kohbali, have gone wild and imprisoned a staff of American diplomats in the consulate―an impenetrable compound.

A mysterious KGB agent―in skirts―is taking orders from the Kremlin and passing them on to the rebels. Somehow, she’s always one step ahead of the Penetrator and his special team of trained fighters―and Hardin smells a rat.

He’s got to figure out―and fast―how to match sharp wits against raw violence if he’s ever going to break through the wave of Muslim madness!

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Cyberweb

CyberwebCyberweb by Lisa Mason
Avon Books, 1995
Price I paid: $1.95

Carly Nolan was once a professional telelinker with a powerful corrupt legal firm. Now she lives an outlaw life at the bottom of the human garbage heap―a penniless recovering cram addict wanted by the authorities for dubious crimes against the Data Control bureaucracy. But with a new job―and the help of an aging standalone A.I. entity named Pr. Spinner―she hopes to find the fast track back into public telespace.

Her assignment, however, has sticky strings attached. For it has made Carly the target of a ruthless mercenary Ultra fembot, the love obsession of the young shaman of a savage urban tribe―and a possible pawn of Silicon Supremacists plotting no less than the annihilation of humankind.

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Bloodworld

BloodworldBloodworld, by Laurence M. Janifer
Lancer Books, 1968
Originally published as You Sane Men in 1965
Price I paid, 75¢

What is a Remand House? Who are the Bound Men and Bound Women? What makes them different from the Lords and Ladies―and why are they the eternal slaves of pain?

They are human beings. But their world―their weirdly logical but not-sane world―is isolated in time and space, and totally insulated from humanity as we know it. It is a world where suffering and torture are essential to the maintenance of civilization.

Except for one man…

But Bloodworld can not be described in a few brief words. To understand it, you must read this unique book from its first searing words to its violent and all-important last page. It is a science-fiction novel with a difference. And it will shock you as only a vital, living thing can shock.

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Essay: Writing About Pals

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I don’t have a review for you folks today because I was in Nashville all day yesterday (Saturday = reading day) seeing a live show of My Brother, My Brother, and MeIt was 100% fantastic and amazing and I love those good McElroy brothers and their hilarious goofs.

I know that if I’d tried I probably could have gotten a book read in time. I had all week. Plus the car ride to Nashville was three hours each way. Plenty of time to knock out a paperback. I’d even picked one out and started it. I think you’re going to like it. The cover has a naked dude with a whip and it looks like he’s going to hit a planet with it.

But yeah, I didn’t read it all and so instead of a review I’m going to give you a short essay about something I’ve been thinking about. Don’t worry, it’s generally relevant. I’m not going to just go off on my favorite Halloween candy or something.

(Candy pumpkins.)

All right, let’s get ready to ramblllllle

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Clone

Clone by Richard Cowper
Pocket Books, 1979
Price I paid: 90¢

Spawned in a dangerous 21st-century experiment, they were brought into a world where educated apes did manual labor and the government encouraged suicide as a method of population control.

Their existence as clones was unknown to anyone―even to each other―known only to their creator.

But then came the strange, haunting visions, the peculiar psychic sensations that drew them closer and closer together―revealing once and for all the mysterious secret they shared that would change the world!

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Runts of 61 Cygni C

Cover image snagged from isfdb.org

Runts of 61 Cygni C by James Grazier
Belmont, 1970
Price I paid: none

Capt. Alex and his team had been computer-selected to explore the sun-twin planet Cygni C. They found there a race of men who wiled away their lives playing childish games, making love, and vegetating in the deep, luxuriant jungles. Alex’s friends quickly succumbed to the planet’s many delights. Only he felt duty-bound to return to earth.

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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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