The Overman Culture

The Overman Culture by Edmund Cooper
Berkley Medallion, 1972
Price I paid: 25¢

A REAL SPINNER!…Michael is a ‘fragile’ boy—one of a seemingly small number of children who grow tired when they run, who bleed when they are hurt, who can’t take off their heads….As the fragile children discover each other, probe in the moldering ruins of London, and try to interpret what they find, they come to the conclusion that they have been created by some super-scientist, as guinea pigs for an experiment.

“And what happens if the guinea pigs turn on their creator—on the Overman of the legend they all know? They may be destroyed. They may be set free. They may escape. And who or what are the others, the ‘drybones’ who do not bleed, who can take off their heads? Edmund Cooper has secrets he can hide as well from you as from the fragiles…”

—P. Schuyler Miller, Analog

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Space Cops: Kill Station

Space Cops: Kill Station by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Avon Books, 1992
Price I paid: $1.50

Life is cheap at the farthest reaches of the space frontier—where the scum of the universe rule, unhampered by the forces of law and order.

Investigating the mysterious disappearance of numerous space-going freight vessels, Solar Patrol Rangers Evan Glyndower and Joss O’Bannion enter this wasteland of humanity—well-armed but outnumbered…and alone.

But these seeming acts of interplanetary piracy mask a far more insidious threat—a conspiracy of chaos and terror that will plunge Glyndower and O’Bannion into the deadliest firefight of their lives—to save themselves…and their solar system.

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“Monkey Wrench”

“Monkey Wrench” by Gordon R. Dickson
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1951
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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Singularity Station

Singularity Station by Brian N. Ball
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢ Paperback

Robotic minds made interstellar travel possible, but human minds still controlled the destination and purpose of such flight. Conflict develops only when a programmed brain cannot evaluate beyond what is visible and substantial, whereas the human mind is capable of infinite imagination—including that which is unreal.

Such was the problem at the singularity in space in which the ALTAIR STAR and a hundred other vessels had come to grief. At that spot, natural laws seem subverted—and some other universe’s rules impinged.

For Buchanan, the station meant a chance to observe and maybe rescue his lost vessel. For the robotic navigators of oncoming spaceships, the meaning was different. And at Singularity Station the only inevitable was conflict.

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Spaceballs: The Book

Spaceballs: The Book by Jovial Bob Stine
Based on the screenplay by Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan, and Ronny Graham
Scholastic, 1987
Price I paid: $12.67 in Amazon gift credit

Spaceballs, the nastiest beings in the universe, have decided to kidnap the beautiful Princess Vespa. But she’s already run off from her wedding and is speeding away in a Mercedes space coupe, accompanied by her robot, Dot Matrix. Meanwhile, our hero, Lone Starr, threatened by terrible Pizza the Hutt, is flying his Winnebago as far away as possible.

Will the wicked Spaceballs, led by dreadful Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz, seize the princess? Or will Lone Starr and his friends save the Princess from a fate worse than death!? Don’t miss Spaceballs: The Book!

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The Gods Hate Kansas

The Gods Hate Kansas by Joseph Millard
Monarch Books, 1964
Price I paid: this is my third Interlibrary Loan book in a row

It began with the landing of nine meteors in Kansas. Then, suddenly, it exploded into a massive catastrophe.

First, the meteorite investigating team were turned into automatons, ruled by an unknown, alien intelligence. They barricaded themselves from the world and began building a rocket project, aimed at traversing the stars.

Then, the Crimson Plague struck, sweeping over Earth’s population, destroying human capacities and defying scientific probing.

Only a few escaped the invasion from outer space, among them astrophysicist Curt Temple, whose girl friend, Lee Mason, was enslaved, her personality changed.

Curt knew he had to pit his slim knowledge against the most perfect intelligence in the cosmos to save the world—and the woman he loved.


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I Speak for Earth

Cover image from isfdb.org

I Speak for Earth by Keith Woodcott
Ace Books, 1961
Price I paid: none

“One citizen of your planet shall go to the capital of the Federation of Worlds. He shall live there for thirty days. If your representative can survive and demonstrate the ability to exist in a civilized society with creatures whose outward appearance and manner of thinking differ from his own, you shall pass the test. You will be permitted to send your starships to other planets of the galaxy.

If he fails the test, if prejudice, fear, intolerance, or stupidity trip him up, then your world will be sealed off from the stars forever!”

This was the ultimatum from space. The task before our world then was—who shall go? What man or woman could be found to take this frightening test for the whole of humanity and be certain not to fail?

It’s an edge-of-the-seat science-fiction thriller.

from the inside flap
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Wandl the Invader

Wandl the Invader by Ray Cummings
Ace Books, 1961
Originally published in Astounding Stories, 1932
Price I paid: none

There were nine major planets in the Solar System and it was within their boundaries that man first set up interplanetary commerce and began trading with the ancient Martian civilization. And then they discovered a tenth planet—a maverick!

This tenth world, if it had an orbit, had a strange one, for it was heading inwards from interstellar space, heading close to the Earth-Mars spaceways, upsetting astronautic calculations and raising turmoil on the two inhabited worlds.

But even so none suspected then just how much trouble this new world would make. For it was WANDL THE INVADER and it was no barren planetoid. It was a manned world, manned by minds and monsters and traveling into our system with a purpose beyond that of astronomical accident!

It’s a terrific novel from the classic days of great science-fiction adventure—now first published in book form.

From the inside flap
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Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Gremlins 2: The New Batch by David Bischoff
based on the screenplay written by Charlie Haas
Avon Books, 1990
Price I paid: 90¢

KEEP AWAY FROM BRIGHT LIGHT,

AWAY FROM WATER—

AND NEVER…NEVER…

FEED THEM AFTER MIDNIGHT!

Who would have thought that within every playful, cuddly Mogwai there lurked a gleefully, malevolent gremlin? Billy Peltzer and his girlfriend Kate Beringer found out the hard way—and it nearly destroyed their hometown of Kingston Falls. Now the young lovers have come to New York to seek their fortunes. But the towering, high-tech office building in which they work is about to become a breeding ground for a whole new batch of deliciously malicious creatures.

Start spreading the news. The gremlins—lots of them—have come to take Manhattan…and they’re itching to comically paint the Big Apple gremlin green!

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“Impostor”

“Impostor” by Philip K. Dick
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1953
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…

Continue reading ““Impostor””