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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The Big Jump

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.”

—Inside

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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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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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Wandl the Invader

Wandl the Invader by Ray Cummings
Ace Books, 1961
Originally published in Astounding Stories, 1932
Price I paid: none

There were nine major planets in the Solar System and it was within their boundaries that man first set up interplanetary commerce and began trading with the ancient Martian civilization. And then they discovered a tenth planet—a maverick!

This tenth world, if it had an orbit, had a strange one, for it was heading inwards from interstellar space, heading close to the Earth-Mars spaceways, upsetting astronautic calculations and raising turmoil on the two inhabited worlds.

But even so none suspected then just how much trouble this new world would make. For it was WANDL THE INVADER and it was no barren planetoid. It was a manned world, manned by minds and monsters and traveling into our system with a purpose beyond that of astronomical accident!

It’s a terrific novel from the classic days of great science-fiction adventure—now first published in book form.

From the inside flap
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Frontier Earth: Searcher

Frontier Earth SearcherFrontier Earth: Searcher by Bruce Boxleitner
Ace Books, 2001
Price I paid: 50¢

Bruce Boxleitner, best known for his role as Captain Sheridan on the hit television series Babylon 5, crafts a thrilling science fiction adventure featuring Earth’s first contact with an alien species―not on the final frontier of tomorrow, but on the wild frontier of yesteryear…

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Time of the Great Freeze

Time of the Great FreezeTime of the Great Freeze by Robert Silverberg
Ace Books, 1980
Originally published in 1964
Price I paid: none

NEW YORK CITY
2650 A.D.
UNDERGROUND!

Miles beneath the layer of ice that covered Earth in the New Ice Age of 2300 A.D., men survive in the subterranean cities they built to save themselves as the ice crept with killing cold over all living things. For three hundred years no one has seen the surface or communicated with any other city. Until now. Now the few scientific instruments that remain seem to indicate that the Ice Age may be ending; outside temperatures are reaching a level that may make life possible―though not easy―on the outside.

But life in the underground cities is comfortable, and those few who are brave enough to be curious about the unknown frozen world above are suspect; troublemakers. A small party of these “troublemakers,” led by Dr. Raymond Barnes, with a few scientists and others who think they might prefer freedom to safety, has been allowed to take the long-unused elevator up through the ice to the outside. But they go more as exiles than as a scientific expedition; they are not expected―and may not be allowed―to return.

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The Big Time

the-big-timeThe Big Time by Fritz Leiber
Ace Books, 1961
Price I paid: none

“A superior adventure-mystery about the strangely assorted crew of men and women, snatched out of their lives by emissaries from the far future, who fight and scheme to change the structure of time and history. Two unseen forces are at war in the Big Time, the enemy Snakes and the Spiders. The plot has suspense, but it is the personalities of the participants in the Change War, and the concept of the War itself that is fascinating.”

―P. Schuyler Miller, Analog

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