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!
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.
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.
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.