Earth’s new order has declared non-productivity a crime—dooming Johnsmith Biberkopf to life imprisonment in a Martian penal colony. Sentenced to a life of never-ending toil and despair, he seeks escape in the hallucinogenic power of “onees”—a government-banned substance that will lead Biberkopf through the portals of a strange and timeless dimension where ancient Viking ships sail the cosmos…and illusions become uniquely, terrifyingly real.
All Right, Everybody Off the Planet! by Bob Ottum
Bantam Books, 1972
Price I paid: 90¢
What happens when an extraterrestrial made of plastic and passion meets a lusty, liberated earthling made of flesh and blood?
Somewhere out there among the stars there had to be a greater intelligence than man’s. Though mankind had spread out, none had yet contacted such an intelligence. The first of the now fiercely competitive planetary empires to do so might gain power over all the others—if it survived at all.
Arcturus was ambitious. Its emblem was the hawk and its leaders thought of themselves as birds of prey. When they were the first to reach an alien powerhouse, the hawks of Arcturus prepared to pounce.
And only Chen the Earthman stood in their way.
Arcturus may have considered itself to be an irresistible force—but this despised, imprisoned, and insignificant Earthling turned out to be the immovable object.
“You are an artificially constructed being, a mobile data-gathering device.”
Locked in his cell, there is no way Tanner can dispute the computer’s metallic-voiced assertion, for he has no memories. The machine releases him to get facts on the present state of humanity.
Naked, without weapons, Tanner emerges into the savage world of the twenty-third century. He is prey for the bears and cannibals that roam the forested streets of Manhattan.
Struggling to stay alive, Tanner learns that it was the power-crazed computer that had destroyed civilization. If he follows its orders, the machine will again control the state of mankind. If he rebels, he faces the brutality of a world united on only one thing—its eagerness to destroy his existence as THE SPAWN OF THE DEATH MACHINE.