Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede

Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede by Bradley Denton
William Morrow and Company, 1991
Price I paid: Libraries are fun and educational

Several years ago Bradley Denton’s first novel appeared as a paperback original entitled Wrack & Roll. Locus called it “an eccentric triumph, recommended reading for members of that paradox-ridden generation where rock ‘n’ roll will never die, but kids have turned into grownups all the same.” “Moves at breakneck pace, filled with comic invention and brutal satire,” said Booklist. “Impressive work, highly original…Highly recommended,” said Science Fiction Chronicle.

Now he breaks into hardcover with Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, an extraordinary novel of realism and wild fantasy in the postmodern vein. This book brews a heady concoction out of such diverse elements as space aliens living in disguise next door in suburban Kansas; a resurrected Buddy Holly appearing on TV worldwide with the planet Jupiter in the background, on all channels, twenty-four hours a day, a desperately depressed computer-store clerk, Oliver Vale, whose nutty mother worships rock ‘n’ roll. What results is a car-and-motorcycle chase across the southern Midwest ending in a huge revival rally at the drive-in movie theater. Attending are a motorcycle gang, a murderous renegade secret agent, a sympathetic psychiatrist, a robot Doberman who likes beer, various alien beings in human disguise, and thousands of worried people whose TVs won’t work right.

Along with the strange and wonderful aspects of the story comes a strong sense of what life and the world have gone though over the last thirty years, a gently jaundiced view of the world at present, and a deep and abiding love of rock ‘n’ roll and its saving powers.

Bradley Denton is a strong and original voice in American fiction, dealing with pop culture elements and finely tuned characters in a hyperbolic plot reminiscent of early Vonnegut novels or the work of James Morrow, with a dash of Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker’s Guide mode. Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede has wit, color, intensity, narrative drive, and an involving story. Hold onto your seats, Bradley Denton is here.

from the inside flap
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Space Cops: High Moon

Space Cops: High Moon by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Avon Books, 1992
Price I paid: $1.50

RED DAWN RISING

THEY DREAM OF WORLD CONQUEST: The Red Dawn—a radical band of space outlaws dedicated to destruction.

THEY HOLD THE TOOL OF CHAOS: A decoder prototype stolen from the Solar Patrol—rendering the security apparatus of the elite, interplanetary peacekeeping force ineffective. Now, unless Rangers Joss O’Bannion and Evan Glyndower can recover the device, their home world, Mars, is doomed.

THEY WAIT IN TOMBSTONE: A violent and lawless “Wild West” ghost town reborn on the dark side of the red planet—drawing O’Bannion and Glyndower, outmanned and outgunned, into a high-powered shootout that threatens to put Star Wars to shame.

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The Road to Mars

Cover image from isfdb.org

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.

from the jacket flap
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Space Cops: Kill Station

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.

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch

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—

AND NEVER…NEVER…

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!

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Lurid Dreams

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.

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Cyberweb

CyberwebCyberweb 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.

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Primortals: Target Earth

target earth
Cover image from Amazon.com via isfdb.org

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?

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The Hidden War

the-hidden-warThe Hidden War by Michael Armstrong
TSR, 1994
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.

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