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King of Argent by John T. Phillifent
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: $1.25
They told John Lampart that he would have to have his entire bodily metabolism altered to survive on Argent. Because that unknown planet was his most valuable find, he agreed.
He landed on Argent, golden-skinned and different. He had expected to find himself on a barren world, destined for two years of hard work. But Argent had life of its own of a different kind, weird, wild and endlessly challenging.
Not the least challenge to him was the discovery that his Earthly bosses regarded him as expendable—his work would end in his death while they got rich….
Spaceling by Doris Piserchia
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: $1
The ability to see the other-dimensional rings that float in Earth’s atmosphere was a late mutation of a few space-age humans. Daryl was under the care of the institution for muters, and she had discovered that if you jumped through the right ring at the right time it would land you in another dimensional world and another shape.
SPACELING is the story of Daryl’s desperate efforts to unravel the mystery of why she was being held captive and of what was really going on in a certain alien dimension. Because she was sure it was all bad and that someday everyone would thank her for the revelation.
But instead everyone was engaged in a wild effort to hold her down, to keep her on this Earth, and to keep the world simply intact!
It’s a fast and furious escapade of a future Huck Finn, female gender, by the author of EARTHCHILD.
I see Gondwane as it shall be in the untold ages of dim futurity, near the time when the Earth shall be man’s habitation no more, and the great night shall enfold all, and naught but the cold stars shall reign. The first sign of the end ye shall see in the heavens, for Lo! the moon is falling, falling. And there shall come a man into the lands, a man not like other men, but sent from Galendil.
The name of the man is Ganelon Silvermane—and this is the first of a new marvel-adventure series by Lin Carter.
If the universe is infinite, it follows that there may be somewhere real physical worlds that duplicate those of the imagination. And when Tom Carson caught sight of the third planet of 82 Eridani he recognized at once its resemblance to that imaginary Mars called “Barsoom” of the ancient novelist Burroughs.
Of course there were differences, but even so this planet was ruddy, criss-crossed with canals, and its inhabitants were redskinned, fought with swords, and had many things superficially in common with the fantasy Mars of the John Carter adventures.
But there were indeed vital variations that would eventually trip up the self-deceived science-fiction-reading travellers from 24th Century Earth. Therein hangs a tale that will delight and surprise everyone who enjoys the thrill of exploring a new world, especially one that seems peculiarly familiar.
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.