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“The New Father Christmas”

The Metal Smile“The New Father Christmas” by Brian W. Aldiss
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1958
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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Chrome

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Cover art from the 1979 Jove Books paperback edition from isfdb.org

Chrome by George Nader
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1978
Price I paid: none

In the future, there will be only one taboo: to love a robot. But in the desert hideaway where Chrome and the warrior King Vortex meet, a bond between man and machine is unknowingly taking shape. . . a bond that will ignite intergalactic violence and bring Earth once more to the brink of total destruction.

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Sorcerer’s World

Sorcerer's WorldSorcerer’s World by Damien Broderick
Signet Science Fiction, 1970
Price I paid: $1.25

Klim Xaraf, son of a nomadic chief, awoke from his monumental fall to find himself the prisoner of time―trapped a thousand million years in the future.

Around him was a dying world, its incredible power sucked by necromancers through a hole to the past…it’s cities preserved in stasis, awaiting his liberation, or their final doom.

Yet Klim could neither meet his world’s challenge, nor conquer the wizards of his own, until The Powers primed him for the battle. For with their knowledge, they would erase his memory and plunge him into a nightmare training ground…where all the wonders of tomorrow were the forgotten souvenirs of an ancient yesterday.

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The Lion Game

The Lion GameThe Lion Game by James H. Schmitz
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢

TELZEY AMBERDON…

was just a college girl―but she was one of the most valuable assets that the human-colonized worlds had. Because, besides her sharp mind and warm personality, she possessed a most unusual mutant accumulation of talents.

So when she found herself being hounded by a psi-powered killer, she was not too worried. But when that incident turned out to be merely the opening gambit in a game of mental chess with a planet of beast-masters who were challenging humanity for the grand-mastery of the universal board, Telzey was put to her full capacity.

Because she was never sure whether she was just someone else’s mind-pawn or really the queen on the human side of…

THE LION GAME

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Strata

StrataStrata by Terry Pratchett
Corgi Books, 1989 (Reprint)
Originally published by Colin Smythe Ltd., 1981
Price I paid: none

The excavation showed that the fossilized plesiosaur had been holding a placard which read, ‘End Nuclear Testing Now.’

That was nothing unusual.

But then came a discovery of something which did intrigue Kin Arad.

A flat earth was something new…

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Sacred Locomotive Flies

Sacred Locomotive FliesSacred Locomotive Flies by Richard Lupoff
Beagle Books, 1971
Price I paid: none

CAN FREDDIE FONG FINE SAVE THE WORLD? IF SO, SHOULD HE?

These are the questions that may or may not be the core of this extremely odd novel of the world of 1985. What the Israeli hyponuclear submarine Traif, Mavis Montreal the groupie, the giant cavern under the earth, Upchuck the Barbarian, and the Sacred Locomotive have to do with it all is hard to figure out. But entertaining―so who needs to figure?

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Primortals: Target Earth

target earth

Cover image from Amazon.com via isfdb.org

Primortals: Target Earth by Steve Perry
Aspect/Warner Books, 1997
Price I paid: none

Sixty-five million years ago, aliens rescued a handful of promising species from doomed Jurassic Earth. They let them survive on new worlds and evolve into beings and civilizations far older, far wiser―and sometimes far deadlier―than anything we can imagine. Today, one of Earth’s lost descendants is coming home…

Grad student Stewart Davies, working at a minor SETI listening post on Long Island, is the first to intercept the signal. It is not a hoax or an accidental burst of radiation. It reads: “I am Zeerus of Achernar Three…We have much to discuss.” Those words will transform the lives of Stewart Davies and his girlfriend, Jess Rossini; of Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Larry Hightower and White House Chief of Staff Laurie Sherman; of NSA specialist Maj. Steve Hayes; and of Jake Holcroft, an eleven-year-old genius on the run from his fanatic father’s underground militia.

For the signal hasn’t come across billions of light years. A starship, carrying one alien, has entered the solar system, approaching Earth. And every old movie and TV show has suddenly become terribly real.

Is Zeerus ambassador or invader? Explorer or fugitive? Can we even understand his motives? What questions should we ask? What answers can we believe? If we don’t want Zeerus on our world, how can we stop him from coming? And if we are wrong about this being’s purpose for visiting, what are the consequences for humankind?

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Bill, the Galactic Hero

Bill, the Galactic HeroBill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison
Avon Books, 1979
Originally published by Doubleday, 1965
Price I paid: 90¢

He was just plain Bill, enrolled in a correspondence course for a career as Technical Fertilizer Operator down on the farm, until a recruiting robot turned his head with visions of bright nebula lights, snappy red uniforms―and a cup of deep-space knockout drops…and Bill suddenly found himself aboard the Empire Space Ship Christine Keeler, fighting the Empire’s war against the lizard-like Chingers.

But an act of accidental heroism won him the Purple Dart (and an all-expenses-paid trip to fabulous Helior, the aluminum-plated Sin City of the Empire_―and that’s when Bill’s adventure’s really began…

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No Review Today

Hey, all, for a variety of reasons I’m gonna take a break this week from the old blog. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere any time soon, I’m just a little bogged down right now.

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Here’s a micro-review, just so you didn’t come all this way for no reason:

I read my first Michael Moorcock novel this week, Behold the Man, and it was very, very good.

Holy crap.

I know I have a rocky relationship with a lot of the New Wave writers, but Moorcock might be my favorite. The next time that I’m reading a pointless, tepid literary experiment in the guise of a science fiction novel, I’ll just remember that he’s out there, making New Wave science fiction great.

Have a nice weekend!

The Floating Zombie

The Floating ZombieThe Floating Zombie by D.F. Jones
Berkley Medallion, 1975
Price I paid: $1.25

Before AT1 had ground down the slipway unchristened―rightly, said seamen, for it would be a ship with no soul―it had been dubbed “Zombie.” That sinister name would stick, and prove its accuracy. AT1 was a robot-ship, a ship with no crew, only a tiny security force of 3 men and a woman. “Invulnerable,” said its inventors, and “foolproof.”

But it was neither―not if one of the 4 security guards was an insane, ruthless killer. And if the greatest and most powerful self-contained nuclear reactor in the world fell into the hands of such a person, the whole world was in peril!

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