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Casca #1: The Eternal Mercenary

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Casca #1: The Eternal Mercenary by Barry Sadler
Casca eBooks, 2014
Originally published by Ace Charter, 1979
Price I paid: $9.98

When they flew Casey into the hospital at Nha Trang, the medics were sure he’d die. That he didn’t was only the first surprise.

The second, bigger one, was that Casey had been fighting for two thousand years, ever since that day on Golgotha when he put his lance into the side of the Man on the Cross.

“Soldier, you are content with what you are. Then that you shall remain until we meet again.”

So does Casca’s journey begin, a man who cannot die, does not age, and knows no skill but those of battle. He becomes The Eternal Mercenary.

copied from Goodreads
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The Time Masters

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Image courtesy of isfdb.org

The Time Masters by Wilson Tucker
Doubleday, 1971
Price I paid: none

In Knoxville, Tennessee, the men involved in the top-secret Ridgerunner project are about to complete work on the first rocket designed to probe beyond the solar system, and Secret Service agents in that city are becoming frantic over the presence of one Gilbert Nash, a man without a past.

The investigation of Nash began when it was discovered that he subscribed to every journal of science currently published in the free world—archeology [sic], geology, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, medicine and, most disturbing of all, nuclear physics. Was he merely showing a healthy interest in science, or perhaps something more sinister? Determined to find out, the government agents are soon plunged into the most baffling and frustrating case of any of their careers.

Every fact they uncover only adds to the mystery surrounding Nash’s identity. He seems to have come into existence out of nowhere on March 8th, 1940, the date the United States decided in earnest to build an atomic bomb, and then migrated to Knoxville just in advance of the establishment of the Ridgerunner project. On the door to his office appear only his name and the word “Investigations.” And, although Nash gave his age as 31 in 1940, he appears not to have aged a day since that time.

When a key member of the Ridgerunner project goes to Nash’s office and then commits suicide a few days later, the search for Nash’s true identity and purpose becomes desperately urgent. But only Shirley Hoffman, secretary to one of the agents, is able to get close enough to Nash to actually converse with him. What he says adds a new and frightening dimension to the ever deepening mystery.

While dining, he begins to tell her the story of Gilgamesh, hero of an epic written thousands of years ago in ancient Assyria. Supposedly immortal, Gilgamesh was a man whose origins were either unknown or unrecorded, and who stalked through the land accomplishing mighty deeds.

As the story of Gilgamesh unfolds, Shirley Hoffman begins to wonder just what Nash’s interest in this ancient tale is—and by the time he reaches the end of the epic, she learns the incredible and terrifying answer.

THE TIME MASTERS is a compelling novel of science fiction that will hold readers i the grip of suspense until the very end. As the identity of Gilbert Nash is revealed—and the countdown begins that will blast the first rocket outside of the solar system—the book builds to an unforgettable and shattering climax.

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The Penetrator #30: Computer Kill

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The Penetrator #30: Computer Kill by Lionel Derrick
Pinnacle Books, 1979
Price I paid: $1.50

Electronics wizard Hector Lattimer has at last figured out a fool-proof way to beat the system. Using his ingeniously designed portable computer terminal, Lattimer can tap into any programmed bank and authorize payment to his account. Then, in a flash of a diode, all data is wiped out—with no one the wiser…and Lattimer the richer.

Even the Penetrator is baffled—until he learns that the engineer is an embittered ex-employee of an electronics firm; a madman whose attempts at extortion have failed, who is now planning to destroy the entire works by automating a deadly device that will trigger an explosion.

It’s a touchy situation, and Mark Hardin’s number may be up—unless he can stop the bomb before it blows!

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King of Argent

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King of Argent by John T. Phillifent
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: $1.25

They told John Lampart that he would have to have his entire bodily metabolism altered to survive on Argent. Because that unknown planet was his most valuable find, he agreed.

He landed on Argent, golden-skinned and different. He had expected to find himself on a barren world, destined for two years of hard work. But Argent had life of its own of a different kind, weird, wild and endlessly challenging.

Not the least challenge to him was the discovery that his Earthly bosses regarded him as expendable—his work would end in his death while they got rich….

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Spaceling

1537134518510.jpgSpaceling by Doris Piserchia
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: $1

The ability to see the other-dimensional rings that float in Earth’s atmosphere was a late mutation of a few space-age humans. Daryl was under the care of the institution for muters, and she had discovered that if you jumped through the right ring at the right time it would land you in another dimensional world and another shape.

SPACELING is the story of Daryl’s desperate efforts to unravel the mystery of why she was being held captive and of what was really going on in a certain alien dimension. Because she was sure it was all bad and that someday everyone would thank her for the revelation.

But instead everyone was engaged in a wild effort to hold her down, to keep her on this Earth, and to keep the world simply intact!

It’s a fast and furious escapade of a future Huck Finn, female gender, by the author of EARTHCHILD.

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The Destroyer #32: Killer Chromosomes

1533490071849.jpgThe Destroyer #32: Killer Chromosomes by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy
Pinnacle Books, 1978
Price I paid: I forgot

What happens when a lady scientist discovers a “key” to the manipulation of genetic patterns that keep different species from intermingling?

The lady becomes a tiger—of the man-eating variety. She is wild, beautiful, and deadly. And she soon decides that she must share her sinister secret with other women. The lovely killer genes multiply geometrically…and so does the fatality rate. The country becomes littered with chewed-up bodies. All men.

Enter Remo and Chiun—The Destroyer—the only weapon against this carnivorous cutie. Handsome Remo, fast on the chase becomes her prisoner—and love slave. Conspiracy and criminality fall into Remo’s usual area of operation. Genetic warfare and animalistic passions are something else again. Especially when the enemy looks like a Playboycenterfold!

So, as Remo is about to choose between going down in flames or up in smoke, Chiun sees a way to preserve the integrity of man’s chromosomes, and stay alive…something to do with the ancient Korean proverb about knowing which tale of the tiger to take!

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The Unfrozen

1529853692292.jpgThe Unfrozen by Ernst Dreyfuss
Tower Books, 1970
Price I paid: Gift! I love gifts!

They lay together through the mist of countless centuries, while the Earth, the galaxy, the infinities of the universe shifted and resettled and changed again. When they awoke it was to an existence tranquil yet hideous, where human emotions had no place. Their love-making was viewed with suspicion and disgust. Now they were the outsiders, the throwbacks. Yet, with all their human imperfections, they were the only hope for a dying civilization.

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The Warrior of World’s End

1519066084799-88d90f03-1dbb-40d7-a0b1-2af981f75eb3_.jpgThe Warrior of World’s End by Lin Carter
DAW Books, 1974
Price I paid: 95¢

I see Gondwane as it shall be in the untold ages of dim futurity, near the time when the Earth shall be man’s habitation no more, and the great night shall enfold all, and naught but the cold stars shall reign. The first sign of the end ye shall see in the heavens, for Lo! the moon is falling, falling. And there shall come a man into the lands, a man not like other men, but sent from Galendil.

The name of the man is Ganelon Silvermane—and this is the first of a new marvel-adventure series by Lin Carter.

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The Gods of Xuma

1516554894833-23c91978-5211-4b9d-8a40-e7497d5a624e_.jpgThe Gods of Xuma by David J. Lake
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: 75¢

If the universe is infinite, it follows that there may be somewhere real physical worlds that duplicate those of the imagination. And when Tom Carson caught sight of the third planet of 82 Eridani he recognized at once its resemblance to that imaginary Mars called “Barsoom” of the ancient novelist Burroughs.

Of course there were differences, but even so this planet was ruddy, criss-crossed with canals, and its inhabitants were redskinned, fought with swords, and had many things superficially in common with the fantasy Mars of the John Carter adventures.

But there were indeed vital variations that would eventually trip up the self-deceived science-fiction-reading travellers from 24th Century Earth. Therein hangs a tale that will delight and surprise everyone who enjoys the thrill of exploring a new world, especially one that seems peculiarly familiar.

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Starsky and Hutch #6: The Psychic

1515339560676-fb6ae284-ba73-4153-97c2-57fc49cd1f7c_.jpgStarsky and Hutch #6: The Psychic, adapted by Max Franklin
Spelling-Goldberg Productions, 1977
Price I paid: 50¢

HELP WANTED: A MENTALIST WITHOUT ANTS IN HIS TRANCE!

Two tough-as-nails jailbirds have snatched Joe Haymes’ beautiful daughter, and asked the football team owner for major-league bucks to get her back. He has signed up Starsky and Hutch to make an end run with the ransom—safely; one fumble and it could mean her life—unless the boys can find her first. Only a mind reader could solve this one, and the one they’ve got hasn’t a thought in his head!

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