A PLAGUE OF DEMONS
—that’s what the people of Lost Haven called the six children (seven, if you counted Bad John) of the Dulanty Family. They looked like normal Earth children…except when they flicked their ears like animals, or made their eyes glow with a green fire…and if you looked at them sideways they did look strangely like nightmarish gargoyles.
The truth is: these children are Pucas, aliens from a strange planet. And they have taken it upon themselves to reduce the world to a population of six (seven, if you count Bad John). Wishing will make it so, for by making up an appropriate death rhyme, they can destroy their victims.
These frightening, far-out kids take a black delight in destroying their neighbors, and the Earth people are defenseless against them….
Syzygy by Michael G. Coney
Ballantine Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢
The Planet Arcadia has six moons, describing erratic orbits. But once every fifty-two years, the Moons of Arcadia come together in a constellation that creates havoc on the surface—raging tides, storms…and worse.
For the inhabitants of Arcadia are themselves affected in some strange way by the unusual gravitic pulls. Or so it would seem. For few on this new, recently colonized world can remember exactly what happened fifty-two years before; those old enough to remember are curiously reticent.
And meanwhile the Moons grow closer…
The Ayes of Texas by Daniel da Cruz
Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 1982
Price I paid: 90¢
It was 1994, but Gwillam Forte was an entrepreneur of the old school. Twenty-three disabled Veterans needed a reason to live, so he gave them a rusty hulk—the battleship U.S.S. Texas—and unlimited funds to make her beautiful and seaworthy in time for Independence Day, 2000.
But the world changed quickly and for the worse. By 1998, the Texas and her supermodern weapons were needed for duty far more important than guarding the National Monument in which she rode at anchor.
The Glass of Dyskornis by Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron
Bantam Books, 1982
Price I paid: $1.25
For Ricardo Carillo, taking over the life of the swordsman Markasset on the desert world of Gandalara had its compensations: a strong, young body, a beautiful fiancee, and a mighty telepathic war-cat named Keeshah, who obeyed his every command. It also had its problems. Markasset had many enemies, and one was out for blood. So Ricardo and Keeshah left Raithskar to join the Sharith—the warrior brotherhood of sha’um cat-riders. But trouble followed, and he soon found himself in the company of a jealous lieutenant and a lovely but treacherous illusionist, on the track of a murderer who had stolen Gandalara’s most precious jewel.