Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
Originally serialized in New Worlds, 1967-1968
Price I paid: $7
Continue reading “Bug Jack Barron” →
“Bugged…Then go bug Jack Barron!” cries the vidphone announcer every Wednesday night to the more than 100 million viewers watching Barron’s call-in show. And bug him they do. If there’s a gripe to air, an injustice to rectify, a cause to consider, Jack Barron will listen to it—if you can get through his gauntlet of screeners—and straight to the top, then and there, on the air. Whether it be a business bigwig or the President himself, no one is “out” when Jack Barron calls. Not with the entire nation watching. And no one is safe when Jack gets really bugged…
But the powers-that-be know they have nothing to really fear from Jack Barron. Jack used to be a hothead radical leader back in the sixties, but he gave up the poverty-stricken life of the activist to enter show biz. Now, as the country’s biggest celebrity, Jack’s not about to blow his goldmine job by skewering some biggie on the air. He may slip in a few well-placed barbs, but he’ll always make time for a convincing rebuttal from the other side.
Until one night Jack runs a show on multi-billionaire Benedict Howards’ Foundation for Human Immortality, a privately owned cryogenic “freeze now, live later” project—a show that might endanger the Foundation’s chance at a federally-sanctioned monopoly. Howards is no man to cross. One of the richest and most powerful men in America, he is ruthless in getting what—and whom—he wants. And now he wants Jack Barron.
Much to Jack’s surprise, Howards tries to buy him off when he could more easily have crushed his career. Suspicious, Jack finds his long-suppressed activist instincts aroused. Soon he uncovers hints of sinister activities by the Foundation—missing children, unexplained deaths—and when Howards tries to use Jack’s continuing love for his ex-wife, Sara, to get at him, the billionaire finds he’s taken on more than he bargained for. This is no vidphone entertainer worried about his job. This is the old firebrand Jack Barron. And when Jack Barron’s bugged, heads roll.
Warning: Sexual content and language may be offensive to some readers.
The Cosmic Eye by Mack Reynolds
Price I paid: 50¢
Morris should have functioned perfectly in the rigid totalitarian society of the future where every thought, every word, every action was controlled by the superstate. A state where everyone was watched night and day by the Great Eye of the internal security forces. It was a strange, in many ways inhuman world, but the rewards were great for those who belonged to the right caste. Morris belonged to the master class which ruled the entire world by brain power or brutality, depending on which was needed. Morris was born right at the top—he had everything the Technate Society could provide—and yet he didn’t belong. Nonconformity could mean liquidation, but he was prepared to take the risk.
Continue reading “The Cosmic Eye” →
The Diabols by R.W. Mackelworth
Paperback Library, 1969
Originally published as Firemantle, Robert Hale, 1968
Price I paid: 75¢
Their bodies were colored lights; their voices were music. But whatever they touched was incinerated!
For a moment in time their destructive powers were limited to a small portion of Earth. Yet they were determined to burn the whole planet to a crisp.
Was there no hope for man’s survival?
As a last resort Boraston is projected into a future where the Diabols have almost won. Only a few humans remain, struggling to stay alive by holding the Diabols off with skirmishes and holding actions.
Can Boraston devise a method to destroy them?
If he succeeds, Earth can plan to save itself from the Diabols.
If he fails, Earth was doomed to become nothing more than a charred and blackened cinder in the galaxy!
Continue reading “The Diabols” →
Moon Zero Two by John Burke
Signet Books, 1969
Price I paid: 50¢
Giant corporations control the colonies on the moon and Mars. Travel is limited to a few safe “milk runs.” Exploration is ended—perhaps forever.
But one maverick pilot, Bill Kemp, still dreams of reaching the outer planets beyond the asteroid belt. Even though his leaky space-ferry is condemned and the corporations are trying to have him grounded, Kemp has a plan—a bold plan that will change the very shape of the solar system and catapult him to Jupiter and beyond!
Continue reading “Moon Zero Two” →
The Unicorn Girl by Michael Kurland
Pyramid Books, 1969
Price I paid: 75¢
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
Continue reading “The Unicorn Girl” →
The Rose by Charles L. Harness
Berkley Medallion Books, 1969
(Originally published in Authentic SF, 1953)
Price I paid: none
The year 1953 is a hallowed one to such connoisseurs of science fiction as Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Moorcock, Brian W. Aldiss, Judith Merril and Damon Knight. It was in that year that a novel called THE ROSE appeared in the British magazine, Authentic SF. It was only the second novel by the American Charles Harness, but he was already a highly regarded writer by those in the know. It was also, unfortunately, his last, until his recent resumption of writing and the publication of a long-awaited new novel, THE RING OF RITORNEL. (Available as a Berkley paperback, X1630)
THE ROSE depicts an ultimate confrontation between science and art, brilliantly and wittily played out between three unforgettable leading characters:
Anna van Tuyl—a composer and also a practicing psychiatrist
Ruy Jacques—Anna’s lover
Martha—Ruy’s wife, who is perfecting a deadly weapon that will render science supreme over art
Here, at last, is a U.S. edition of this superb SF novel, an exciting event for all admirers of little-known science fiction gems.
Continue reading “The Rose” →
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?
Continue reading “The Dueling Machine” →
The Rakehells of Heaven by John Boyd
Penguin Books, 1969
Price I paid: 90¢
John Adams and Kevin O’Hara are graduates of North Dakota’s great Mandan Space Academy. Both trained to be conquistadors of space, explorers in an age of interstellar imperialism, Adams and O’Hara are as different as any two space scouts could possibly be. Now, together, they are sent to explore a distant world called Harlech. The Harlechians are unclassified aliens; relations with their women are strictly forbidden by the Interplanetary Colonial Authority. Adams is willing to play by the rules—but whoever made those rules hadn’t counted on the lusty Red O’Hara, rakehell of heaven…From the Adams-O’Hara probe, only John Adams returns.
Continue reading “The Rakehells of Heaven” →
Star Giant by Dorothy Skinkle
Belmont Tower Books, 1969
Price I paid: 75¢
His name was Ben-oni…
Ben-oni was a refugee, a political exile from the planet Liban sentenced to spend his life on Earth. He looked human, but he was taller than other men and had a brain like the most sophisticated computer.
A study of Earth history taught him that many Libans before him had made their mark on Earth.
Ben adapted to life on the small planet, but when he was threatened by a fellow exile, the young giant had to fight for his life with weapons not yet invented by earthmen.
Continue reading “Star Giant” →
The Doomsday Bag by Michael Avallone
Signet Books, 1969
Price I paid: 25¢
THE PRESIDENT’S “SHADOW” IS MISSING!
And with him, his lethal “Doomsday Bag”—the small black satchel that contains the thermonuclear codes for total world destruction!
Private Eye ED NOON’s assignment—find him, and fast! Even if it means becoming the unwilling target in a bedroom showdown with Washington’s deadliest—and sexiest—counter-spy!
Continue reading “The Doomsday Bag” →