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Clone

Clone by Richard Cowper
Pocket Books, 1979
Price I paid: 90¢

Spawned in a dangerous 21st-century experiment, they were brought into a world where educated apes did manual labor and the government encouraged suicide as a method of population control.

Their existence as cones was unknown to anyone―even to each other―known only to their creator.

But then came the strange, haunting visions, the peculiar psychic sensations that drew them closer and closer together―revealing once and for all the mysterious secret they shared that would change the world!

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Runts of 61 Cygni C

Cover image snagged from isfdb.org

Runts of 61 Cygni C by James Grazier
Belmont, 1970
Price I paid: none

Capt. Alex and his team had been computer-selected to explore the sun-twin planet Cygni C. They found there a race of men who wiled away their lives playing childish games, making love, and vegetating in the deep, luxuriant jungles. Alex’s friends quickly succumbed to the planet’s many delights. Only he felt duty-bound to return to earth.

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“Answer”

The Metal Smile“Answer” by Fredric Brown
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Angels and Spaceships, 1954, E.P. Dutton
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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Orbit One

Orbit OneOrbit One by Mel Jay
Modern Promotions, 1966(?)
Price I paid: none

SOMEWHERE
IN THE DEPTHS
OF SPACE,

a strange intelligence was directing the destruction of the little band of humans on Kolar.

So far the colonists had been beset by fires and floods, hurricanes and tidal waves. Glen Bridger, their leader, knew these catastrophes were occurring too often to be the world of Mother Nature. But the new planet had been explored and was completely uninhabited.

Kolar must be concealing some alien life force. But where?

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Frontier Earth: Searcher

Frontier Earth SearcherFrontier Earth: Searcher by Bruce Boxleitner
Ace Books, 2001
Price I paid: 50¢

Bruce Boxleitner, best known for his role as Captain Sheridan on the hit television series Babylon 5, crafts a thrilling science fiction adventure featuring Earth’s first contact with an alien species―not on the final frontier of tomorrow, but on the wild frontier of yesteryear…

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Shakespeare’s Planet

Shakespeare's PlanetShakespeare’s Planet by Clifford D. Simak
Berkley/Putnam, 1976
Price I paid: $1

After a thousand years in space, the earth vessel lands on a remote planet capable of supporting human life. Inside the explorer ship an almost inaudible hum fills the silence; computer lights blink softly, signaling the awakening of the cryogenically preserved crew.

But only one crew member awakens from his artificial sleep. A systems malfunction has killed the others. Carter Horton is alone.

Horton learns almost immediately that the planet is inhabited by a bizarre creature who calls himself Carnivore. And the creature addresses him in English, the language he had learned from an earlier traveler who called himself Shakespeare. Now, Shakespeare is dead, and Horton soon learns that he and Carnivore, too, face certain peril unless they can get away from this strange planet.

Leaving is no simple affair. Carnivore, and before him, Shakespeare, had come to this planet via an inner-space tunnel, one of many such tunnels that exist throughout the galaxy. But this tunnel has broken down and works only one way―the wrong way―and there is no exit. And Horton’s explorer ship is a thousand years obsolete―incapable of returning them to civilization.

The creature called Carnivore and the earthman, Horton, are marooned on a planet of mysterious ruins bespeaking a catastrophic end to a once-grand civilization. The portentous signs they begin to encounter intimate some dire, ominous happening will soon befall them―unless they can repair the inner-space tunnel and leave Shakespeare’s Planet.

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The Last Policeman

the last policeman

Cover image snagged from isfdb.org

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
Quirk Books, 2012
Price I paid: none

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.
 
The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.
 
The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

(from amazon.com)

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Mythmaster

MythmasterMythmaster by Leo P. Kelley
Dell, 1973
Price I paid: 90¢

Stealing lives and peddling them from one end of the galaxy to another for unspeakable uses, the Mythmaster thought he was a free man. The Patrol that had cashiered him couldn’t catch him now. He was making his own life, alone.

Then a supposedly dead man decided he wanted a piece of the action―and the Mythmaster’s body―and the chase was on. Between the Patrol and the sinister Oxon Kaedler he knew his freedom was a mirage. Now he was fighting for his very life!

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“The New Father Christmas”

The Metal Smile“The New Father Christmas” by Brian W. Aldiss
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1958
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…

(more…)

Chrome

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Cover art from the 1979 Jove Books paperback edition from isfdb.org

Chrome by George Nader
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1978
Price I paid: none

In the future, there will be only one taboo: to love a robot. But in the desert hideaway where Chrome and the warrior King Vortex meet, a bond between man and machine is unknowingly taking shape. . . a bond that will ignite intergalactic violence and bring Earth once more to the brink of total destruction.

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