“EPICAC” by Kurt Vonnegut from Science Fact/Fiction, eds. Farrell, Gage, Pfordresher, Rodrigues Scott, Foresman and Company, 1974 Originally published in Colliers, November 25, 1950 Price I paid: $6.56
The Long Loud Silence by WIlson Tucker Dell Books, 1952 Price I paid: 50¢
Corporal Russell Gary—operator—angle man—black-marketeer, junior grade—liberator of anything loose—veteran of Salerno and Normandy—a man who knew how to live by his wits and a gun.
Celebrating ten years in khaki, Gary went on a monumental binge…
While he slept it off, the United States east of the Mississippi was laid waste by atomic bombs and plague germs. The few who survived were immune to the plague but carriers of the toxin. No one from the contaminated area crossed the Mississippi and lived more than a few seconds. The army guarded every bridge, every inch of shore line. If you happened to be east of the river when the bombs fell, you stayed there until you died. There was no other choice, no other future.
When Corporal Gary woke up he was on the wrong side of the river, the bombed and contaminated side…
“Crabs Take Over the Island” by Anatoly Dnieprov translated by George Yankovsky from Science Fact/Fiction, eds. Farrell, Gage, Pfordresher, Rodrigues Scott, Foresman and Company, 1974 Translation originally published in Russian Science Fiction, NYU Press, 1969 Originally published in Russian in Дорога в сто парсеков, 1959 Price I paid: $6.56
“The Gun Without a Bang” by Robert Sheckley from Science Fact/Fiction, eds. Farrell, Gage, Pfordresher, Rodrigues Scott, Foresman and Company, 1974 Originally published in the pages of Galaxy Science Fiction, June 1958 Price I paid: $6.56
Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire Gollancz, 2015 Originally published in Fantastic Universe, March 1957 Price I paid: 99¢
New Texas: its citizens figure that name about says it all. The Solar League ambassador to the Lone Star Planet has the unenviable task of convincing New Texans that a s’Srauff attack is imminent, and dangerous. Unfortunately it’s common knowledge that the s’Srauff are evolved from canine ancestors – and not a Texan alive is about to be scared of a talking dog! But unless he can get them to act, and fast, there won’t be a Texan alive, scared or otherwise!
The Time Traders by Andre Norton Baen Books, 2000 Originally published by The World Publishing Company, 1958 Price I paid: none (library book)
DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY OF TIME
Intelligence agents have uncovered something which seems beyond belief, but the evidence is incontrovertible: the USA’s greatest adversary on the world stage is sending its agents back through time! And someone or something unknown to our history is presenting them with technologies—and weapons—far beyond our most advanced science. We have only one option: create time-transfer technology ourselves, find the opposition’s ancient source…and take it down.
When small-time criminal Ross Murdock and Apache rancher Travis Fox stumble separately onto America’s secret time travel project, Operation Retrograde, they are faced with a challenge greater than either could have imagined possible. Their mere presence means they know too much to go free. But Murdock and Fox have a thirst for adventure, and Operation Retrograde offers that in spades.
Both men will become time agents, finding reserves of inner heroism they had never expected. Their journeys will take the battle to the enemy, from ancient Britain to prehistoric America, and finally to the farthest reaches of interstellar space….
(Note: This description is from the omnibus edition I read and therefore includes material referring to the second novel, Galactic Derelict. —Thomas)
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham Audible, 2009 (audiobook version) RosettaBooks, 2000 (eBook version) Originally published by Michael Joseph, 1951 Price I paid: $2.99 (audiobook), I don’t remember (ebook)
Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett Ace Books, 1967 Originally published in Space Stories, February 1953 Price I paid: $1.25
“A good story, with a very good characterization and flashes of an almost Merritteque poetry…
“The story concerns itself with THE BIG JUMP from this system to another sun—Barnard’s Star. The first expedition returned: one man alive, the others missing, and that one man dying of some ghastly sort of radiation sickness.
“Comyn, tough space-bum, sets out to find what happened to Paul Rogers, close friend of his…eventually making the second Big Jump himself. What he finds at the end is not only a brilliant science fiction gimmick, but good, solid writing.”
After the Rain by John Bowen Ballantine Books, 1965 (Second edition) First edition published in 1959 Price I paid: 75¢
The British are a hardy island people. At least two aspects of this country are world-renowned—the astonishing number of high calibre writers they produce, and their climate.
AFTER THE RAIN is an impressive combination of both. In fact, Angus Wilson says:
“If you like cataclysmic novels John Bowen’s AFTER THE RAIN is as exciting as any deluge you can hope to find: but if you think deluges are twoo trivial, John Bowen has a surprise for you: his novel turns out to be a satire of the first order.”
“Someday” by Isaac Asimov from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight Belmont Science Fiction, 1968 Originally published in Infinity Science Fiction, August 1956 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…