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Lurid Dreams by Charles L. Harness
Avon Books, 1990
Price I paid: 90¢
Though basically a skeptic, William Reynolds had known out-of-body experiences in the past. But never before had he floated past the boundaries of Baltimore…and across the borders of time. And now, with the fires of Civil War looming on the horizon, the astonished graduate student was hobnobbing with none other than the dark poet Edgar Allen Poe. But their meeting of minds was to have chilling consequences. For a desperate Confederacy planned to use them both to remold the world—and to change history…for the worse.
THE TERRAN UNION
had sent Sarah Anders to Ardel to establish a trade agreement. For the very sands of this world were laden with materials vital to offworlders but of little value to the low-tech Ardellans. Unfortunately, the Union was not alone in seeing the worth of the planet. Other, far more ruthless humans were about to stake their claim with the aid of forbidden technology, treacherous double-dealing, and threats of destruction to the clans of Ardel.
Alone, Sarah could not stand against this mercenary invasion. Yet the Ardellans had defenses of their own, powers which only a human such as Sarah could even begin to understand. For she, too, had mind talents locked within her, and the FreeMasters of Ardel just might provide the key to her long-dormant abilities. But the Ardellans were also fighting to preserve the slowly diminishing population of their clans and Houses. And Terran interference—even that of a human who was on their side—just might push them past the point of no return….
Rising on twin pillars of white-hot fire, the U.S. space shuttle Phoenix curved up from its Cape Canaveral launch pad into a low-altitude orbit around earth. The crew’s mission: train and instruct three fledgling French astronauts in the secrets of space flight. But short hours after liftoff, Commander Ed Cochran knew he must scrub the mission for a far more perilous task—the rescue of three Russian cosmonauts suddenly trapped in orbit in a space-debris-damaged Soyuz space capsule, its heat shield gone, its fuel depleted, and its supply of life-giving oxygen rapidly running out.
Or so Cochran thought—until the Politburo abruptly declined Phoenix’s offer and the White House threatened that any rescue operation might set off the beginning of World War III. As the three Soviet cosmonauts televised their last good-byes to a waiting world below, Cochran suddenly realized that the differences between men who challenged the deadly hazards of the space frontier and those concerned with bureaucratic politics on the earth below much finally be resolved—even if it meant the risk of turning the world into a radioactive cinder to which there would be no return!