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The Time Machine Did It

The Time Machine Did It by John Swartzwelder
Kennydale Books, 2002
Price I paid: It was a birthday present

1541952472833.jpgI probably should have realized a lot earlier that this book doesn’t have any back matter. No cover matter at all, in fact. Not even artwork. That’s okay. I’ll get into that in a minute. I just felt like something needed to go in this space.

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The Time Masters

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Image courtesy of isfdb.org

The Time Masters by Wilson Tucker
Doubleday, 1971
Price I paid: none

In Knoxville, Tennessee, the men involved in the top-secret Ridgerunner project are about to complete work on the first rocket designed to probe beyond the solar system, and Secret Service agents in that city are becoming frantic over the presence of one Gilbert Nash, a man without a past.

The investigation of Nash began when it was discovered that he subscribed to every journal of science currently published in the free world—archeology [sic], geology, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, medicine and, most disturbing of all, nuclear physics. Was he merely showing a healthy interest in science, or perhaps something more sinister? Determined to find out, the government agents are soon plunged into the most baffling and frustrating case of any of their careers.

Every fact they uncover only adds to the mystery surrounding Nash’s identity. He seems to have come into existence out of nowhere on March 8th, 1940, the date the United States decided in earnest to build an atomic bomb, and then migrated to Knoxville just in advance of the establishment of the Ridgerunner project. On the door to his office appear only his name and the word “Investigations.” And, although Nash gave his age as 31 in 1940, he appears not to have aged a day since that time.

When a key member of the Ridgerunner project goes to Nash’s office and then commits suicide a few days later, the search for Nash’s true identity and purpose becomes desperately urgent. But only Shirley Hoffman, secretary to one of the agents, is able to get close enough to Nash to actually converse with him. What he says adds a new and frightening dimension to the ever deepening mystery.

While dining, he begins to tell her the story of Gilgamesh, hero of an epic written thousands of years ago in ancient Assyria. Supposedly immortal, Gilgamesh was a man whose origins were either unknown or unrecorded, and who stalked through the land accomplishing mighty deeds.

As the story of Gilgamesh unfolds, Shirley Hoffman begins to wonder just what Nash’s interest in this ancient tale is—and by the time he reaches the end of the epic, she learns the incredible and terrifying answer.

THE TIME MASTERS is a compelling novel of science fiction that will hold readers i the grip of suspense until the very end. As the identity of Gilbert Nash is revealed—and the countdown begins that will blast the first rocket outside of the solar system—the book builds to an unforgettable and shattering climax.

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King of Argent

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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….

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Spaceling

1537134518510.jpgSpaceling 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.

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“I Made You”

The Metal Smile“I Made You” by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, March 1954
Price I paid: none

“DO NOT FOLD, BEND, OR MUTILATE”

marked the beginning of our cybernetic society. How will it end?

The varied answers to that question have proved to be fertile ground for some of the greatest science fiction imaginations. But perhaps we shouldn’t look too closely into the future of cybernetics. It may be that the survival capacity of the thinking machine is greater than that of its maker…

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The Cosmic Eye

1534692091275.jpgThe Cosmic Eye by Mack Reynolds
Belmont, 1969
Price I paid: 50¢

Morris should have functioned perfectly in the rigid totalitarian society of the future where every thought, every word, every action was controlled by the superstate. A state where everyone was watched night and day by the Great Eye of the internal security forces. It was a strange, in many ways inhuman world, but the rewards were great for those who belonged to the right caste. Morris belonged to the master class which ruled the entire world by brain power or brutality, depending on which was needed. Morris was born right at the top—he had everything the Technate Society could provide—and yet he didn’t belong. Nonconformity could mean liquidation, but he was prepared to take the risk.

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FirstFlight

1532271215004.jpgFirstFlight by Chris Claremont
Ace Books, 1987
Price I paid: $2.00

The brass called it a by-the-book mission. Lt. Nicole Shea was too green to know that, in space, there’s no such thing…

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The Unfrozen

1529853692292.jpgThe Unfrozen by Ernst Dreyfuss
Tower Books, 1970
Price I paid: Gift! I love gifts!

They lay together through the mist of countless centuries, while the Earth, the galaxy, the infinities of the universe shifted and resettled and changed again. When they awoke it was to an existence tranquil yet hideous, where human emotions had no place. Their love-making was viewed with suspicion and disgust. Now they were the outsiders, the throwbacks. Yet, with all their human imperfections, they were the only hope for a dying civilization.

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The Cyborg and the Sorcerers

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The Cyborg and the Sorcerers by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Del Rey, 1982
Price I paid:

Slant the Cyborg Warrior had been ordered to kill the enemies of Earth and return with their weapons technology. His robot spacecraft was to see that he did―and kill him if he didn’t.

Problem wasEarth had perished three hundred years before, and no one had told the ship.

Slant’s dilemma seemingly had no solution…then they landed on a strange world where the computer detected “gravitational anomalies.”

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Conquest of Earth

1525011785185-f767b9e1-15fd-4f9a-8428-69f4f9e9534a.jpgConquest of Earth by Manly Banister
Airmont Books, 1964
Originally published by Bouregy, 1957
Price I paid: 75¢

Earth’s elusive masters tolerated only one planet-wide organization—the Scarlet Order of Men. Only the most favored of the People could enter the Institute, as children, to undergo rigorous training. Those unfit for the Order became Blue Brethren, servants and guides of the People, aiding and instructing them as loyal members of society, under the rule of the benevolent Trisz.

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