Times Without Number

The cover of this novel features a futuristic Spanish conquistador standing in front of a futuristic device.

Times Without Number by John Brunner
Ace Books, 1962
Price I paid: $6.99 ÷ 2

Traveling backwards in time, Don Miguel had to undo the errors and interruptions of other time-interlopers; he had to preserve the present. Even the most insignificant nudging of the past could entirely alter his world! And he suspected that this had already happened: that a maniacal genius crazed with a desire for nationalist vindication had plotted to alter the victorious outcome of the Spanish Armada of 1588—thus changing recorded history and perhaps even imperiling the mighty Spanish Empire of 1988!

If Don Miguel did not successfully intercede, when he came back to the present he might find a different world…a different time…a time in which he probably didn’t even exist!

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Destiny’s Orbit

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?)

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.

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Dare

Dare by Philip José Farmer
Ballantine books, 1965
Price I paid: $1 or 2, can’t remember

Jack Cage lived on the planet Dare. He knew that he was human, and that he was the oldest son of a wealthy human farmer. But he hardly dared admit to himself, let alone to his family, the keen interest he felt in the ‘native’ inhabitants of Dare—those spectacularly beautiful humanoid creatures whose magnficent hair, growing clear down to the base of the spine, had given them their name of “horstel.”

It was death for any human to consort with any horstel after they became adult. For the humans of Dare still lived by the standards and mores of three hundred years before when they had been mysteriously whisked away from Earth and brought to this new planet.

Except that Jack Cage suspected this was no mystery to the horstels…

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How Much for Just the Planet?

How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford
Pocket Books, 1987
Price I paid: Either one or two bucks, I don’t remember

Dilithium. In crystalline form, the most valuable mineral in the galaxy. It powers the Federation’s starships…and the Klingon Empire’s battlecruisers. Now on a small, out-0f-the-way planet named Direidi, the greatest fortune in dilithium crystals ever seen has been found.

Under the terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, the planet will go to the side best able to develop the planet and its resources. Each side will contest the prize with the prime of its fleet. For the Federation—Captain James T. Kirk and the starship Enterprise. For the Klingons—Captain Kaden vestai-Oparai and the Fire Blossom.

Only the Direidians are writing their own script for the contest—a script that propels the crew of the Enterprise into their strangest adventure yet!

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The Time Traders

Source: isfdb,org

The Time Traders by Andre Norton
Baen Books, 2000
Originally published by The World Publishing Company, 1958
Price I paid: none (library book)

DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY OF TIME

Intelligence agents have uncovered something which seems beyond belief, but the evidence is incontrovertible: the USA’s greatest adversary on the world stage is sending its agents back through time! And someone or something unknown to our history is presenting them with technologies—and weapons—far beyond our most advanced science. We have only one option: create time-transfer technology ourselves, find the opposition’s ancient source…and take it down.

When small-time criminal Ross Murdock and Apache rancher Travis Fox stumble separately onto America’s secret time travel project, Operation Retrograde, they are faced with a challenge greater than either could have imagined possible. Their mere presence means they know too much to go free. But Murdock and Fox have a thirst for adventure, and Operation Retrograde offers that in spades.

Both men will become time agents, finding reserves of inner heroism they had never expected. Their journeys will take the battle to the enemy, from ancient Britain to prehistoric America, and finally to the farthest reaches of interstellar space….

(Note: This description is from the omnibus edition I read and therefore includes material referring to the second novel, Galactic Derelict. —Thomas)

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The Day of the Triffids

Richard Powers’s cover from the 1964 Crest Edition | isdfb.org

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Audible, 2009 (audiobook version)
RosettaBooks, 2000 (eBook version)
Originally published by Michael Joseph, 1951
Price I paid: $2.99 (audiobook), I don’t remember (ebook)

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

From the audible.com publisher’s summary
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The Big Jump

The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett
Ace Books, 1967
Originally published in Space Stories, February 1953
Price I paid: $1.25

“A good story, with a very good characterization and flashes of an almost Merritteque poetry…

“The story concerns itself with THE BIG JUMP from this system to another sun—Barnard’s Star. The first expedition returned: one man alive, the others missing, and that one man dying of some ghastly sort of radiation sickness.

“Comyn, tough space-bum, sets out to find what happened to Paul Rogers, close friend of his…eventually making the second Big Jump himself. What he finds at the end is not only a brilliant science fiction gimmick, but good, solid writing.”

—Inside

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Bug Jack Barron

Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
Doubleday, 1983
Originally serialized in New Worlds, 1967-1968
Price I paid: $7

“Bugged…Then go bug Jack Barron!” cries the vidphone announcer every Wednesday night to the more than 100 million viewers watching Barron’s call-in show. And bug him they do. If there’s a gripe to air, an injustice to rectify, a cause to consider, Jack Barron will listen to it—if you can get through his gauntlet of screeners—and straight to the top, then and there, on the air. Whether it be a business bigwig or the President himself, no one is “out” when Jack Barron calls. Not with the entire nation watching. And no one is safe when Jack gets really bugged…

But the powers-that-be know they have nothing to really fear from Jack Barron. Jack used to be a hothead radical leader back in the sixties, but he gave up the poverty-stricken life of the activist to enter show biz. Now, as the country’s biggest celebrity, Jack’s not about to blow his goldmine job by skewering some biggie on the air. He may slip in a few well-placed barbs, but he’ll always make time for a convincing rebuttal from the other side.

Until one night Jack runs a show on multi-billionaire Benedict Howards’ Foundation for Human Immortality, a privately owned cryogenic “freeze now, live later” project—a show that might endanger the Foundation’s chance at a federally-sanctioned monopoly. Howards is no man to cross. One of the richest and most powerful men in America, he is ruthless in getting what—and whom—he wants. And now he wants Jack Barron.

Much to Jack’s surprise, Howards tries to buy him off when he could more easily have crushed his career. Suspicious, Jack finds his long-suppressed activist instincts aroused. Soon he uncovers hints of sinister activities by the Foundation—missing children, unexplained deaths—and when Howards tries to use Jack’s continuing love for his ex-wife, Sara, to get at him, the billionaire finds he’s taken on more than he bargained for. This is no vidphone entertainer worried about his job. This is the old firebrand Jack Barron. And when Jack Barron’s bugged, heads roll.

Warning: Sexual content and language may be offensive to some readers.

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The Mercy Men

The Mercy Men by Alan E. Nourse
Ace Books, 1984
Originally published in 1968
Price I paid: *A picture of Ronald Reagan saying “I don’t recall, mommy”*

It’s the 22nd century and mass mental illness is reaching epidemic proportions. At the Hoffman Medical Center, illegal brain research is performed on living subjects. The victims come as volunteers, already mad enough to risk their remaining sanity for the high prices Hoffman offers. These new-age mercenaries go by the ironic title of—

THE MERCY MEN

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After the Rain

The cover of the book "After the Rain" features the Statue of Liberty submerged in water up to her face. All that is visible is the torch and the top half of her head. The sky is dark and cloudy. The title and author of the book are in the top right corner.

After the Rain by John Bowen
Ballantine Books, 1965 (Second edition)
First edition published in 1959
Price I paid: 75¢

The British are a hardy island people. At least two aspects of this country are world-renowned—the astonishing number of high calibre writers they produce, and their climate.

AFTER THE RAIN is an impressive combination of both. In fact, Angus Wilson says:

“If you like cataclysmic novels John Bowen’s AFTER THE RAIN is as exciting as any deluge you can hope to find: but if you think deluges are twoo trivial, John Bowen has a surprise for you: his novel turns out to be a satire of the first order.”

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