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?)
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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.
The Bird of Time by Wallace West
Ace Books, 1959
Price I paid: none
When the first expedition from Earth arrived on Mars they were not greeted with open arms. Not only had the Martians long ago learned all they wanted about Earth—they wanted nothing to do with us. to quote their welcoming committee:
“You Earth people don’t know your own history. You have always been incorrigible. When Mars was younger, we drove you back to your own planet, whereupon you tumbled into savagery for a gratifyingly long time. The really intelligent Martians then emigrated to the ends of the universe to avoid a second encounter.
“In fact we are not interested in playing cowboys and Indians with your people.”
But Earthmen are incorrigible, and Martians are obstinate, and the result is an adventure-packed novel that spans two planets and several stars and is great science-fiction all the way.
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The Second War of the Worlds by George H. Smith
DAW Books, 1976
Price I paid: 90¢
As everyone knows, there are parallel Earths. So when the Martians failed in their effort to conquer the Victorian world as told in H.G. Wells’ [sic] famous eye-witness account, they took one short step X-wise and, having immunized themselves against Terrestrial bacteria, tried again.
Earth’s parallel world is called Annwn, and it was just slightly behind Victorian England in technology. So when they detected the explosions on the fourth planet, it looked as if this time the Martians would succeed.
But the Martians had failed to take into account one peculiarity of Annwn. Almost everything was the same as Earth, but there were certain curious scientific differences.
Find out yourself in this delightful, action-packed new novel of the Second Invasion from the Red Planet.
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