The Dueling Machine by Ben Bova
(Originally published 1969. Short story originally published 1963.)
Price I paid: none
The dueling machine, the perfect pacifier for all man’s tensions. You could enter a world of your own creation, destroy your enemy or be destroyed by him, and emerge from your mental fantasy world completely unharmed.
Dr. Leoh, creator of this ultimate placebo, could not believe that someone had now found a way to use his machine as a tool for destruction. But apparently someone had. And now this someone, Dictator Kanus of Kerak, was using the dueling machine to conquer the Acquataine Cluster.
Leoh realized it was up to him to stop Kanus before the man began a war of conquest against the Terran Commonwealth and Star Watch. But how, equipped only with an eccentric and bumbling Star Watch Lieutenant and the dueling machine itself, was he to accomplish this? And even if Leoh could discover how the dueling machine was being turned into a death machine, could he stop Kanus and his cohorts before civilization ended in an intergalactic war?
The Alien Trace by H.M. Major
Signet Books, 1984
Price I paid: $1
Mehira, home world to a totally empathic race, is a place ruled by love not violence. After all, when you experience the feelings of others as if they are your own wouldn’t you rather share the joy of pleasure than the horror of pain? Yet even Mehira is not completely free of lawbreakers, and so there are the Catchers. Police, bounty hunters, no matter what they are called, Catchers like Cord and his family are looked upon by their fellow Mehirans as a necessary evil in a not quite perfect world.
And then humans come to Mehira to establish a trading post, and suddenly the planet’s carefully ordered society is plunged into chaos, forcing Cord to face the greatest challenge of his career. For the traders have brought with them far more than rare metals and advanced technology. In their midst lurks Death, stalking the echoing spaceport tunnels, prowling throughout the peaceful Mehiran nights, seeking a key that will unlock the universe, and ready and eager to destroy Cord or anyone else who gets in its way…
Hello, friends! Today we have a very special post, a guest post! Constant readers might remember Philip Stiff as being the blesséd soul who sent me the Star Quest books at the end of 2015. It seems he’s found something of his own to review. Something that, I have to admit, I’m jealous I didn’t find first. I hope you enjoy his review as much as I do.
What on Earth…
Cris Holman’s world is turned inside out when insectlike aliens attack and destroy his hometown, murdering his family and his friends.
Motivated by vengeance, Cris volunteers to become a Cyborg Commando, a new breed of soldiers who allow their brains to be removed from their bodies and placed inside computer-operated fighting machines specially designed to combat and conquer the alien menace.
As Cris Holman’s body lies in cryogenic storage, the new Cris is dispatched to help defend the planet – before all of mankind becomes subjugated to the awful plans of the aliens. He and others like him are Earth’s best defense…and its last hope.
The Executioner #32: Tennessee Smash by Don Pendleton
Pinnacle Books, 1978
Price I paid: none
That familiar byline on millions of copies of Executioner novels has now become a guarantee of the most exciting writing in a whole new category of hard-hitting adventure fiction.
Don Pendleton had written more than thirty books before writing the first book in the Executioner series, War Against the Mafia, a few years ago. That was the start of what is now America’s hottest action series. With thirty-two volumes complete and three more on the drawing board, Don has little time for writing anything but Executioner books. Each book is written in about six weeks as Don simultaneously gathers and directs the research for upcoming adventures.
A much-decorated veteran of World War II, Don saw action in the North Atlantic U-boat wars, the invasion of North Africa, and the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He later led a team of naval scouts, who landed in Tokyo preparatory to the Japanese surrender. As if that weren’t enough, he went back for more in Korea, too!
Before turning to full-time duty at the typewriter, Don held down positions as a railroad telegrapher, air traffic controller, aeronautical systems engineer, and even had a hand in the early ICBM and Moonshot programs.
He’s the father of six and now makes his home in a small town in Indiana. He does his writing amidst a unique collection of weapons, photos, and books—usually half-buried in research, news clippings, and maps. Whether it’s Boston, Cleveland, or Nashville, you’ll get the feeling Don and Mack were there.