The Road to Mars: A Post-Modem Novel by Eric Idle Pantheon Books, 1999 Price I paid: Some Amazon funny-money
What makes humans bark? Is the funny bone funny? What is the algebra of comedy? Did the sitcom originate with the ape?
Carlton is an android (a 4.5 Bowie Artificial Intelligence Robot) who works for Alex and Lewis, two comedians from the twenty-second century who travel the outer vaudeville circuit of the solar system known ironically as the Road to Mars. His problem is that although as a computer he cannot understand irony, he is attempting to write a thesis about comedy, its place in evolution, and whether it can ever be cured. And he is also studying the comedians of the late twentieth century (including obscure and esoteric acts such as Monty Python’s Flying Circus) in his search for the comedy gene.
In the meantime, while auditioning for a gig on the Princess Di (a solar cruise ship), his two employers inadvertently offend the fabulous diva Brenda Woolley and become involved in a terrorist plot against Mars, the home of Showbiz.
Can Carlton prevent Alex and Lewis from losing their gigs, help them overcome the love thing, and finally understand the meaning of comedy in the universe? Will a robot ever really be able to do stand-up? As Einstein might have said, nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of laughter.
Frontier Earth by Bruce Boxleitner
Ace Science Fiction, 1999
Price I paid: 25¢
Bruce Boxleitner, best known for his role as Captain Sheridan on the hit television series Babylon 5, delivers an exciting science fiction novel of Earth’s first contact with an alien species—in the year 1881.
Doomsday, 1999 by Paul MacTyre
Ace Books, 1962
Price I paid: none
What would happen if man’s mastery of the world was suddenly snatched away by a new and more advanced type of life? This is the startling premise of this unusual novel.
It fell to two people to face the news that mankind was about to follow the dinosaurs off the Earth’s stage. One was Angus, veteran of a defeated Western army in a world devastated by atomic warfare. The other was Liu, woman officer of a conquering army she already knew was destined for destruction.
How these two found the new master species and what they did about it is an exciting and thought-provoking science-fiction adventure.
The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 by Jake Saunders and Howard Waldrop
Del Rey Books, 1974
Price I paid: 90¢
On August 12, 1992, England’s tiny nuclear arsenal fell on Ireland, on South Africa, and finally on China. Instantly the planet went up in flames. In the first half of what was to be called the War of ’92, half the Earth’s population perished.
The United States was reduced to a vast underpeopled land—and, to make matters worse, Texas had seceded and taken her precious oil reserves.
But Israel, virtually untouched in a world ravaged by war, was painfully overpopulated. So Sol Inglestein and Myra Kalen had come to America looking for a place to settle. As mercenaries on the side of the Union in its war with Texas, the Israelis had been promised land in exchange for their services.
Leading their bedraggled troops into the heartland of Texas, Sol and Myra head up Operation King, Mission: Rescue the President of the United States!