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Although this was a low point in the ever-changing space career of the legendary John Grimes, it was not without its surprising moments. Between jobs, between loyalties, Grimes was owner and pilot of a small auxiliary vessel whose principal oddity was that it was made of gold. But precious metal or not, Grimes was running errands with it.
Until he fell into the clutches of terrorists. Susie and her comrades had a Cause and it was going to take all his efforts to keep the one thing he had to have―his ship.
Especially since they left the ship infested with a constantly increasing horde of mini-Susies―vicious little homunculi that looked exactly like their sexy prototype except that they were hungry, sharp-toothed, and their only Cause was to eat Grimes alive!
The Lion Game by James H. Schmitz
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢
was just a college girl―but she was one of the most valuable assets that the human-colonized worlds had. Because, besides her sharp mind and warm personality, she possessed a most unusual mutant accumulation of talents.
So when she found herself being hounded by a psi-powered killer, she was not too worried. But when that incident turned out to be merely the opening gambit in a game of mental chess with a planet of beast-masters who were challenging humanity for the grand-mastery of the universal board, Telzey was put to her full capacity.
Because she was never sure whether she was just someone else’s mind-pawn or really the queen on the human side of…
THE LION GAME
His name was Archer and he thought he was an ordinary man. The collectors of panorama eggs knew better. For Archer was such a collector, and there was a very special find awaiting him: the panorama egg that contained a world.
He was guided in the use of that incredible masterwork by the enigmatic grey woman, Mera Melaklos. That was her name in this everyday world. But her real name could have been something else beyond this space-time continuum.
For indeed Archer and the grey woman crossed into a world that was not Earth, found they had special roles to play in a land where alternate science reigned and a mission of heroism was the price of existence.
THE PANORAMA EGG is a novel of strange enchantment and mystery, and of a man who wanted and found an end to a humdrum 20th century existence.
A space opera is what science fiction readers call an adventure in outer space and on alien planets. But a space opera could also be an opera, a musical work, that originated in outer space….
Jack Vance’s unique novel SPACE OPERA fits both definitions marvelously! Because it starts with the mysterious opera company from the equally mysterious planet Rlaru that arrives on Earth to astonish and infuriate music-lovers―and then disappears without a trace!
And when Roger Wool’s wealthy aunt determined to reciprocate by bringing an Earthly operatic team into space and to the unknown world Rlaru, there unwinds a complex and surprising space opera of the first kind…filled with enigmatic aliens, weird worlds, and all the special color and cunning that is the hallmark of the best Jack Vance.
In the Barnum system, Malagra was considered to be the most uninviting planet of them all. In fact, among the engineers and androids of Kip Bundy’s set, it was known as the pesthole of the universe.
Which made things quite sticky when Kip’s rich uncle assigned him to Malagra to make certain top secret reforms. Because Kip was no Hercules, and this task would have balked even that mythical fixer.
But then there were compensations—if you could call them that—a sex-mad photographer, a couple of lovely maidens in distress, and the ardent guerillas of the Boy Scout Liberation Army.
It’s Ron Goulart at his whackiest best.
It was the contention of one galactic historian that similar planets must have similar histories. It was the contention of another that this did not imply identical histories. The challenge could only be settled by actual testing in the infinity of the cosmos.
The computer came up with the story of Joan of Arc on the Planet Earth. Programmed anew, it produced a similar world, the Planet Noldaz of Sigma 32, with a human race rising from medievalism among whom a maid would appear to lead her country’s knights on a war of liberation.
The question: was she inevitably doomed to die at the stake, as Joan had before her? Did identical situations always mean identical conclusions?
Pierre Barbet, master of alternative histories and parallel worlds, spins a marvelous science fiction novel out of one of the great enigmas of history.
“The Force is from outside our time and space, from outside anything we can humanly comprehend. I conceive of a great machine somewhere—alien beyond human thought—sending out tendrils like electric impulses…In the days of the Kalevalan heroes, actually before our present cycle of civilization began, the Force was thrust in on Earth….”
Such is the theme of the first novel of Emil Petaja’s classic science fiction series based on the brilliant epic of Finnish lore, the Kalevala. A mighty saga of heroes and witches, of beings from the stars and beyond the stars, of powers that came to Earth and shaped humanity.
A student of the Kalevala, Petaja has created from its mind-stunning material a cycle of four novels—science fiction fantasy adventure of the highest order—retelling in the eyes of modern scientific conjecture the great worlds-shaking events that may be concealed by the folklore of an ancient and mysterious people.
SAGA OF LOST EARTHS, with which is included a complete second novel, THE STAR MILL, brings two of these unique sf classics back to today’s modern sf readers.
Camelot in Orbit by Arthur H. Landis
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: 90¢
Fomalhaut II was an inexplicable enigma in the annals of the Galactic Watchers. A world of knights and ladies, of dungeons and dragons, it was truly medieval and therefore out of bounds for science-armed Terrans. Yet science seemed thwarted there for magic really worked and witchcraft baffled the secret watchers.
Camelot was their name for it, and Kyrie Fern was their Adjustor on its surface—a knight in truly shining armor, a champion of chivalry, and the only one who actually stood between the Arthurian natives and the alien being that menaced both their world and the advanced planets that swung unseen through their sky.
Once again Arthur H. Landis has worked the magic of combining the wonders of swords-and-sorcery with the science adventure of high space.
THE TERRAN UNION
had sent Sarah Anders to Ardel to establish a trade agreement. For the very sands of this world were laden with materials vital to offworlders but of little value to the low-tech Ardellans. Unfortunately, the Union was not alone in seeing the worth of the planet. Other, far more ruthless humans were about to stake their claim with the aid of forbidden technology, treacherous double-dealing, and threats of destruction to the clans of Ardel.
Alone, Sarah could not stand against this mercenary invasion. Yet the Ardellans had defenses of their own, powers which only a human such as Sarah could even begin to understand. For she, too, had mind talents locked within her, and the FreeMasters of Ardel just might provide the key to her long-dormant abilities. But the Ardellans were also fighting to preserve the slowly diminishing population of their clans and Houses. And Terran interference—even that of a human who was on their side—just might push them past the point of no return….
Dale Tulliver was his name and he was a product of the 21st century, the era of non-violence, permanent peace, and the drugs that controlled warlike emotions. He was a police agent of the Peace Committee that controlled the world.
Naomi Constance Fisher was her name, and she had been a crusading writer of the 20th century. She had been a vigorous advocate of world peace, woman’s liberation, and social progress. She had been frozen in near-death all these decades—and then they brought her back to life to enjoy the fruits of her thinking.
But instead of augmenting the forces of peace it turned out that what Dale’s world meant by peace and what Naomi meant by peace were two different–and violently conflicting things.
The mixture could shatter civilization.