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Space Opera

Space Opera

Image credit: ISFDB.com

Space Opera by Jack Vance
DAW Books, 1965
Price I paid: 75¢

A space opera is what science fiction readers call an adventure in outer space and on alien planets. But a space opera could also be an opera, a musical work, that originated in outer space….

Jack Vance’s unique novel SPACE OPERA fits both definitions marvelously! Because it starts with the mysterious opera company from the equally mysterious planet Rlaru that arrives on Earth to astonish and infuriate music-lovers―and then disappears without a trace!

And when Roger Wool’s wealthy aunt determined to reciprocate by bringing an Earthly operatic team into space and to the unknown world Rlaru, there unwinds a complex and surprising space opera of the first kind…filled with enigmatic aliens, weird worlds, and all the special color and cunning that is the hallmark of the best Jack Vance.

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Frostworld and Dreamfire

Frostworld and Dreamfire by John Morressy
Popular Library, 1977
Price I paid: 50¢

Since the beginning of time, the Onhla tribe had flourished amid the dramatic extremes of heat and cold on the planet Hraggellon. But now the race was on the verge of extinction.

Within its ranks, a mysterious, murderous malady was running wild. Meanwhile, from another galaxy, the spearhead of an all-conquering empire had made its initial penetration.

Only one hope remained. A youth name [sic] Hult, newly emerged into humanoid form after his animal childhood, and beginning a desperate, daring quest for the elusive key to survival that would take him to the most perilous regions of his world―across the unknown reaches of outer space―and into the most secret and startling depths of himself….

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The Hidden War

the-hidden-warThe Hidden War by Michael Armstrong
TSR, 1994
Price I paid: 90¢

Thanks to the wonder of the hide, no one starves or freezes or gets sick on the perfect worlds of the Solarian Alliance. Like a synthetic skin, the hide protects and heals, and can transform people into anything they want to be. Nothing threatens this wondrous utopia until an extraterrestrial message of unspeakable horror is received. An evil race terrorizes the galaxy, and it’s coming toward Earth….

Into this world the Solarian Alliance frees Krim, the last survivor of the Beat asteroid known as the Jack and a prisoner since he saw his world vanish into that strange other space known as Ur. Disgusted with this utopia, Krim enlists in the distant fight at the edge of the solar system, the battle no one on Earth may know about, lest it disrupt their perfect peace…the Hidden War.

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The Unicorn Girl

the-unicorn-girlThe Unicorn Girl by Michael Kurland
Pyramid Books, 1969
Price I paid: 75¢

BLIP!

It wasn’t exactly a sound. It was more like a feeling―a gut-wrenching, universe-shaking, giant blip of a feeling. Then came the changes.

The legendary powers of Mike and Chester―fearless explorers of a thousand legendary worlds―are no help in handling the extraterrestrial perspective where time, space and sanity all find new meanings.

A perspective you too can discover with the help of

the unicorn girl

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To Escape the Stars

to-escape-the-starsTo Escape the Stars by Robert Hoskins
Del Rey, 1978
Price I paid: 75¢

IT BEGAN…

…when freesailer, plunderer Jamas Oregas and his beautiful business partner set out to bilk the unsuspecting denizens of the backwater planet Llango.

IT GOT COMPLICATED…

…when Jamas, who knew the ins and outs of stargates, was doublecrossed and had to disappear―and fast.

IT MOVED INTO HIGH GEAR…

…when Jamas landed on Prime―a repository planet of galactic history―and learned of a mysterious lost race that held the master key to all the stargates for all the worlds.

AND IT FINALLY EXPLODED…

…when Jamas himself decided to scour the galaxy, looking for that long-lost race, following a trail that would lead him to power beyond his wildest dreams―if he somehow managed to stay alive!

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The Solar Invasion

the-solar-invasionThe Solar Invasion by Manly Wade Wellman
Popular Library, 1968
Originally published in Startling Stories, 1946
Price I paid: none

It comes from beyond the fifth dimension―an alien intelligence both invulnerable and totally evil.

Its aim: bring the universe to its knees. Its primary objective: destroy the Solar System.

As doomsday rushes ever closer, one lone man dares oppose the creature from beyond. Only he can save the universe from a brutal, blazing cataclysm.

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The Iron Dream

 

thirndrm1972

Cover of the 1972 Avon paperback, courtesy of isfdb.org

The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
Gregg Press, 1977
Originally published by Avon Books, 1972
Price I paid: none

Renowned science fiction writer Adolf Hitler’s Hugo Award winning novel!

Ferric Jaggar mounted the platform. A swastika of flame twenty feet high stood out in glory against the night sky behind him, bathing him in heroic firelight, flashing highlights off the brightwork of his gleaming black leather uniform, setting his powerful eyes ablaze.

“I hold in my hand the Great Truncheon of Held. I dedicate myself to the repurification of all Heldon with blood and iron, and to the extension of the dominion of True Humanity over the face of the entire Earth! Never will we rest until the last mutant gene is swept from the face of the planet!”

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Zelde M’Tana

zelde-mtanaZelde M’Tana by F.M. Busby
Dell Books, 1980
Price I paid: 90¢

Young, untried, but a lethally trained fighter, Zelde M’Tana found herself legally shanghaied by the oppressive UET―imprisoned on a starship bound for the brothels of a mining planet. There was no way Zelde was going to stand for that―and when the ship’s first officer, Parnell, led an anti-UET revolt, Zelde joined the mutineers and single-handedly turned defeat into victory.

First as Parnell’s lover, then as his assistant, Zelde was mistrusted by the crew―but when the UET struck once again and Parnell died, there was only one choice for Captain: Zelde M’Tana.

Pungent and vivid as its heroine, ZELDE M’TANA is a gripping epic of spacefaring, battle, and human conflict.

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NYPD 2025

nypd-2025NYPD 2025 by Hal Stryker
Pinnacle Books, 1985
Price I paid: 90¢

IN A WORLD OF THE NEAR FUTURE,
WHERE DECENT PEOPLE LIVE IN FEAR,
WHERE JUSTICE IS DYING AND
THE LAW PROTECTS THE GUILTY―
THE COMBAT OPERATIONS POLICE COME ROARING IN!

The bleeding heart lawmakers have taken lethal weapons out of the hands of the law enforcers―and in the world’s largest city criminals are on a perpetual holiday. Rape, murder, robbery, and sabotage are the order of the day. The answer:

COP
COMBAT OPERATIONS POLICE

A special enforcement unit made up of the toughest, bravest, and most cunning street-smart fighting men, using the best in weaponry―including Andy Jumbles, an android, indestructable against bullet, dynamite, or laser. They are heading right into the deadly shadows of Manhattan to stomp the human trash that rules the dark―and give the city back to its people!

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The Big Time

the-big-timeThe Big Time by Fritz Leiber
Ace Books, 1961
Price I paid: none

“A superior adventure-mystery about the strangely assorted crew of men and women, snatched out of their lives by emissaries from the far future, who fight and scheme to change the structure of time and history. Two unseen forces are at war in the Big Time, the enemy Snakes and the Spiders. The plot has suspense, but it is the personalities of the participants in the Change War, and the concept of the War itself that is fascinating.”

―P. Schuyler Miller, Analog

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