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.
Space Cops: Kill Station by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood Avon Books, 1992 Price I paid: $1.50
Life is cheap at the farthest reaches of the space frontier—where the scum of the universe rule, unhampered by the forces of law and order.
Investigating the mysterious disappearance of numerous space-going freight vessels, Solar Patrol Rangers Evan Glyndower and Joss O’Bannion enter this wasteland of humanity—well-armed but outnumbered…and alone.
But these seeming acts of interplanetary piracy mask a far more insidious threat—a conspiracy of chaos and terror that will plunge Glyndower and O’Bannion into the deadliest firefight of their lives—to save themselves…and their solar system.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch by David Bischoff based on the screenplay written by Charlie Haas Avon Books, 1990 Price I paid: 90¢
KEEP AWAY FROM BRIGHT LIGHT,
AWAY FROM WATER—
FEED THEM AFTER MIDNIGHT!
Who would have thought that within every playful, cuddly Mogwai there lurked a gleefully, malevolent gremlin? Billy Peltzer and his girlfriend Kate Beringer found out the hard way—and it nearly destroyed their hometown of Kingston Falls. Now the young lovers have come to New York to seek their fortunes. But the towering, high-tech office building in which they work is about to become a breeding ground for a whole new batch of deliciously malicious creatures.
Start spreading the news. The gremlins—lots of them—have come to take Manhattan…and they’re itching to comically paint the Big Apple gremlin green!
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.
Cyberweb by Lisa Mason
Avon Books, 1995
Price I paid: $1.95
Carly Nolan was once a professional telelinker with a powerful corrupt legal firm. Now she lives an outlaw life at the bottom of the human garbage heap―a penniless recovering cram addict wanted by the authorities for dubious crimes against the Data Control bureaucracy. But with a new job―and the help of an aging standalone A.I. entity named Pr. Spinner―she hopes to find the fast track back into public telespace.
Her assignment, however, has sticky strings attached. For it has made Carly the target of a ruthless mercenary Ultra fembot, the love obsession of the young shaman of a savage urban tribe―and a possible pawn of Silicon Supremacists plotting no less than the annihilation of humankind.
Primortals: Target Earth by Steve Perry
Aspect/Warner Books, 1997
Price I paid: none
Sixty-five million years ago, aliens rescued a handful of promising species from doomed Jurassic Earth. They let them survive on new worlds and evolve into beings and civilizations far older, far wiser―and sometimes far deadlier―than anything we can imagine. Today, one of Earth’s lost descendants is coming home…
Grad student Stewart Davies, working at a minor SETI listening post on Long Island, is the first to intercept the signal. It is not a hoax or an accidental burst of radiation. It reads: “I am Zeerus of Achernar Three…We have much to discuss.” Those words will transform the lives of Stewart Davies and his girlfriend, Jess Rossini; of Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Larry Hightower and White House Chief of Staff Laurie Sherman; of NSA specialist Maj. Steve Hayes; and of Jake Holcroft, an eleven-year-old genius on the run from his fanatic father’s underground militia.
For the signal hasn’t come across billions of light years. A starship, carrying one alien, has entered the solar system, approaching Earth. And every old movie and TV show has suddenly become terribly real.
Is Zeerus ambassador or invader? Explorer or fugitive? Can we even understand his motives? What questions should we ask? What answers can we believe? If we don’t want Zeerus on our world, how can we stop him from coming? And if we are wrong about this being’s purpose for visiting, what are the consequences for humankind?
The Hidden War by Michael Armstrong
Price I paid: 90¢
Thanks to the wonder of the hide, no one starves or freezes or gets sick on the perfect worlds of the Solarian Alliance. Like a synthetic skin, the hide protects and heals, and can transform people into anything they want to be. Nothing threatens this wondrous utopia until an extraterrestrial message of unspeakable horror is received. An evil race terrorizes the galaxy, and it’s coming toward Earth….
Into this world the Solarian Alliance frees Krim, the last survivor of the Beat asteroid known as the Jack and a prisoner since he saw his world vanish into that strange other space known as Ur. Disgusted with this utopia, Krim enlists in the distant fight at the edge of the solar system, the battle no one on Earth may know about, lest it disrupt their perfect peace…the Hidden War.
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.
Space Cops: Mindblast by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Avon Books, 1991
Price I paid: $1.95
HYPER-2: A dangerous new drug manufactured in zero gravity—an irresistible essence that enriches every thought, enhances every sensation.
Officer Lon Salonikis discovered the dark secret behind the Hyperprocess—a conspiracy of mind-altering proportions buried in the deviant quarter Freedom II. And now Salonikis has been terminated.
Only Solar Patrol Rangers Even Glyndower and Joss O’Bannion are fearless enough to venture downlevel—courting certain death to unmask their former partner’s assassin…and to learn the terrible price of the ultimate ecstasy.
The Virgin and the Dinosaur by R. García y Robertson
Avon Books, 1996
Price I paid: $1.50
In a far-future Megapolis free of disease, pollution, and money, Jake Bento is master of the wormhole—until an unforeseen catastrophe nearly strands the professional time traveler and his beautiful young paleontologist companion Peg in a world of huge extinct beasts. Luckily, Jake’s deft manipulation of wormhole technology can bring them home—after several stopovers in more manageable eras—with enough 3V recordings to make them both legends in their own, and other, times.
There are those, however, who resent such newfound celebrity—specifically Jake’s dangerous erstwhile employers at FASTER-THAN-LIGHT. And now Peg and Jake must watch their backs, from Pleistocene to the present. For there are no treacheries their enemies won’t stoop to—and no time left in which to hide.