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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Guardians of the Gate

guardians-of-the-gateGuardians of the Gate by Louis and Jaquelyn Trimble
Ace Books, 1972
Price I paid: 75¢

Two alien powers contended for that world. One, Eliff, had assumed a godlike identity; the other, Udrig, imprisoned beneath the polar ice cap, was branded as the evil one―the would-be destroyer of the planet.

Unknown to himself, Teron of Korv was the key to their conflict. If he could meet the right girl, the noble Eldra the Seventh, and if they could combine their powers―the fight would be resolved.

Against that meeting worked Udrig’s human agents, certain that the legends were wrong and Udrig was truly the Good One. In favor of the meeting was Eldra herself and the mysterious forces of the orbiting Eliff.

Guardians of the Gate is a space adventure reminiscent of the questing of Tolkien, the legendry of Merritt, and the action of Andre Norton.

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The Sword of Rhiannon

wp-1476034517499.jpgThe Sword of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackett
Ace Books, 1953
Price I paid: $1.50

MARS—a million years ago…

MARS—Planet of science-lords and man-monsters…

MARS—world of mystery and marvels…

Into this lost world plunged Matt Carse, explorer of interplanetary ruins, to find himself inhabiting the body of a mythical “god” and slated to fight that immortal’s battles all over again—this time with the knowledge of Earth’s unborn future as his sole scientific secret.

Leigh Brackett’s THE SWORD OF RHIANNON is an epic of interplanetary adventure by a writer comparable only to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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Streetlethal

StreetlethalStreetlethal by Steven Barnes
Ace Books, 1983
Price I paid: 90¢

Los Angeles is a teeming metropolis with a rotten core: Deep Maze, where the Thai-VI ghouls—the disease-spreading Spiders—roam. Here the all-powerful Ortegas rule over their empire of drugs, prostitution, and black-market human organs “donated” by their helpless victims.

All Aubry Knight, the former weightless boxing champion, wants is to be left alone. But you’re either with the Ortegas or against them, so they made his life a hell. First they tried to control his mind, then they tried to reduce him to “spare parts.”

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