Times Without Number

The cover of this novel features a futuristic Spanish conquistador standing in front of a futuristic device.

Times Without Number by John Brunner
Ace Books, 1962
Price I paid: $6.99 ÷ 2

Traveling backwards in time, Don Miguel had to undo the errors and interruptions of other time-interlopers; he had to preserve the present. Even the most insignificant nudging of the past could entirely alter his world! And he suspected that this had already happened: that a maniacal genius crazed with a desire for nationalist vindication had plotted to alter the victorious outcome of the Spanish Armada of 1588—thus changing recorded history and perhaps even imperiling the mighty Spanish Empire of 1988!

If Don Miguel did not successfully intercede, when he came back to the present he might find a different world…a different time…a time in which he probably didn’t even exist!

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Destiny’s Orbit

Destiny’s Orbit by David Grinnell
Ace Books, 1961
Price I paid: $6.99 (although you could half that because it’s an Ace Double?)

Though Ajax Calkins was wealthy enough to buy anything on Earth his heart desired, the one thing he wanted most was strictly forbidden. That was a world of his own—a planet, however small, which would be his private kingdom in the sky. The Earth-Mars Space Administration stood in his path. They would tolerate no such Eighteenth Century derring-do in the commercial and workaday interplanetary channels of the Twenty-First Century. Empire-building was out.

But when an offer from a bearded stranger opened the way to just such an adventure, Ajax leapt at the chance. In his luxury spacecraft Destiny he shot out through the inner planets to the tiny world that waited a king—and, unwittingly to a monster outer-planet empire that waited a detonator for a cosmic war.

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Dare

Dare by Philip José Farmer
Ballantine books, 1965
Price I paid: $1 or 2, can’t remember

Jack Cage lived on the planet Dare. He knew that he was human, and that he was the oldest son of a wealthy human farmer. But he hardly dared admit to himself, let alone to his family, the keen interest he felt in the ‘native’ inhabitants of Dare—those spectacularly beautiful humanoid creatures whose magnficent hair, growing clear down to the base of the spine, had given them their name of “horstel.”

It was death for any human to consort with any horstel after they became adult. For the humans of Dare still lived by the standards and mores of three hundred years before when they had been mysteriously whisked away from Earth and brought to this new planet.

Except that Jack Cage suspected this was no mystery to the horstels…

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Bug Jack Barron

Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
Doubleday, 1983
Originally serialized in New Worlds, 1967-1968
Price I paid: $7

“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.

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The Mercy Men

The Mercy Men by Alan E. Nourse
Ace Books, 1984
Originally published in 1968
Price I paid: *A picture of Ronald Reagan saying “I don’t recall, mommy”*

It’s the 22nd century and mass mental illness is reaching epidemic proportions. At the Hoffman Medical Center, illegal brain research is performed on living subjects. The victims come as volunteers, already mad enough to risk their remaining sanity for the high prices Hoffman offers. These new-age mercenaries go by the ironic title of—

THE MERCY MEN

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Time Cat

The cover of the novel TIME CAT by Lloyd Alexander. A black cat with the title of the book has a very long tail that spans the rest of the cover, on which various scenes from history can be seen. The background is a whirlpool of dark and light green colors.
Cover image from isfdb.org

Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander
Square Fish, 2012
Originally published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963
Price I paid: Having fun’s not hard/when you’ve got a library card

He doesn’t have nine lives, it’s true, but Gareth the cat is far from ordinary. For one thing, he can talk. What’s more, he has magical powers that even Jason hasn’t dreamed of.

“Anywhere, any time, any country, any century.” Gareth tells Jason he can take them traveling through time. And in a single wink of the eye, he does. From ancient Egypt to Japan, from the land of young leonardo da Vinci to the town of a woman accused of witchcraft, Jason and Gareth are whisked from place to place and friend to foe.

Full of excitement, discovery, and a world of intriguing history, Time Cat takes the imagination on an unforgettable ride—into nine amazing adventures in life.

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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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The Cosmic Eye

1534692091275.jpgThe Cosmic Eye by Mack Reynolds
Belmont, 1969
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.

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The Lady from L.U.S.T. #1: LUST Be a Lady Tonight

LUST Be a Lady TonightThe Lady from L.U.S.T. #1: LUST Be a Lady Tonight by Gardner Fox (as Rod Gray)
The Gardner Francis Fox Library, 2007 (Revised Kindle Edition)
Originally published by Tower Books, 1967
Price I paid: $2.99

A fair exchange can be robbery—sometimes. Count Guido della Faziola wanted my body. I wanted the pictures that were hidden in the stateroom of his luxury yacht, I would give him the flesh fest he wanted. But the Count was not likely to hand over the negatives even in exchange for little old me, I was going to have to steal them. My skin tight evening gown with its low, low-cut bodice was an open invitation. The Count’s hand accepted the invitation. Oh, well, I, was in the service of my country. Vive la patriotism!
“Come into my stateroom, cara mia,” he breathed into my ear.
“Yes, let’s,” I breathed back. “I’m going to love you to death.”
Little did he know….

(Amazon.com summary)

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