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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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry
Simon and Schuster, 1979
Price I paid: $2

Space—the final frontier…

But for James T. Kirk, late of the starship Enterprise, it looks as though the days of exploration are over. After the completion of his five-year mission, he has been promoted to Admiral—and assigned to a permanent ground job. The Enterprise has been completely refitted, and placed under new command.

But when a destructive alien force threatens Earth itself, only Kirk possesses the courage, the ingenuity, and the loyalty of the finest crew in Starfleet to venture into deep space to meet the challenge.

One by one they return: Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Chapel, and at last, Mr. Spock, his mind called back from Vulcan mysteries to join his old companions. Added to the old crew are the Deltan navigator, Ilia, an alien woman as compelling as she is beautiful; and the young captain, Willard Decker, whose life is mysteriously entwined with hers. As the Enterprise embarks for deepest space, the crew have very little time to discover the nature of their unknown adversary, for a huge, luminescent, and deadly cloud is coming nearer and nearer to Earth…

Written with the insight and authenticity that could come only from Star Trek‘s creator, here is the inner story of the Enterprise’s most dangerous and spectacular mission.

from the inside front flap
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The Time-Swept City

Image from isfdb.org

The Time-Swept City by Thomas F. Monteleone
Popular Library, 1977
Price I paid: $1

ETERNAL CHICAGO

built to serve man and now seeking mastery of man

ETERNAL CHICAGO

evolving like a live organism over the milleniums toward the zenith of monstrous perfection

ETERNAL CHICAGO

flourishing behind its force fields as disaster ravishes the globe—and voyagers from space vanish among the stars

ETERNAL CHICAGO

the ultimate battleground between human and extrahuman power—where the future of earth and the universe will be decided

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The Day the Gods Died

The Day the Gods Died by Walter Ernsting
Bantam Books, 1976
Originally published as Der Tag, An Dem Die Goetter Starben
Translated by Wendayne Ackerman
Price I paid: 75¢

ERICH VON DÄNIKEN CONTACTED WALTER ERNSTING BY TELEPATHIC TELEGRAPH…Then entrusted him with the most important object on Earth—a small stone sphinx. The tiny statue was the secret key to the Gods from outer space. It unlocked a hidden stronghold in Peru, revealing their ultrahuman civilization. Walter Ernsting entered a sense-shattering world unbounded by time or space—where he saw the fantastic technology that enabled the Gods to bridge 20,000 years in an instant. Where he discovered the true purpose of the Gods’ interplanetary mission. And where he learned the awesome prophecy that foretells the fate of humanity. THE DAY THE GODS DIED.

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The Moon is Hell

Hannes Bok cover to the 1951 Fantasy Press edition/isfdb.org

The Moon is Hell by John W. Campbell
Gateway/Orion, 2011
Originally published by Fantasy Press, 1951
Price I paid: $2.99

John W. Campbell was the man who made modern science fiction what it is today. As editor of Astounding Stories (later Analog), Campbell brought into the field such all-time greats as Asimov, Heinlein, Sturgeon and many others, while his own writing blazed new trails in science fiction reading pleasure. The Moon is Hell is this great writer-editor’s vision of the first men on the moon – written 18 years before Neil Armstrong made history. This is the story of the American space programme – not as it happened, but as it might have been.

From Goodreads
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Speaking of Dinosaurs

The cover image is a large picture of an iguana with the title and author text in red and yellow, respectively, at the top. In the bottom right is the logo for Hale SF.
Cover of the 1974 Robert Hale edition/isfdb.org

Speaking of Dinosaurs by Philip E. High
eBook by Gateway/Orion, 2011
Originally published by Robert Hale, 1974
Price I paid: $3.99

Most people accept Darwin’s theory of evolution. Well, David Standing did…until one day he wandered by chance into a museum and saw the dinosaur.

As a gifted engineer his enquiring mind made him question how such a massive skeleton had been able to balance and move; his experiments proved it was impossible. Then attempts were made on his life… And, in a horrifying time shift, back to the distant past, he visits Primeval Earth – where, naked and unarmed, he comes face to face with the truth about the evolution of man…

from Goodreads
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The Mummy!

Title page of the 1828 second edition/Wikipedia.

The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century by Jane Webb
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Originally published anonymously by Henry Colburn, London, 1827
Price I paid: none (library)


Within a decade of the 1818 publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, another Englishwoman invented a foundational work of science fiction. Seventeen-year-old Jane Webb Loudon took up the theme of reanimation, moved it three hundred years into the future, and applied it to Cheops, an ancient Egyptian mummy. Unlike Shelley’s horrifying, death-dealing monster, this revivified creature bears the wisdom of the ages and is eager to share his insights with humanity. Cheops boards a hot-air balloon and travels to 22nd-century England, where he sets about remedying the ills of a corrupt government.

In recounting Cheops’ attempts to put the futuristic society to rights, the young author offers a fascinating portrait of the preoccupations of her own era as well as some remarkably prescient predictions of technological advances. The Mummy! envisions a world in which automatons perform surgery, undersea tunnels connect England and Ireland, weather-control devices provide crop irrigation, and messages are transmitted with the speed of cannonball fire. The first novel to feature the concept of a living mummy, this pioneering tale offers an engaging mix of comedy, politics, and science fiction.

From the back of the 2017 Dover edition
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