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—
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
The Overman Culture by Edmund Cooper Berkley Medallion, 1972 Price I paid: 25¢
“A REAL SPINNER!…Michael is a ‘fragile’ boy—one of a seemingly small number of children who grow tired when they run, who bleed when they are hurt, who can’t take off their heads….As the fragile children discover each other, probe in the moldering ruins of London, and try to interpret what they find, they come to the conclusion that they have been created by some super-scientist, as guinea pigs for an experiment.
“And what happens if the guinea pigs turn on their creator—on the Overman of the legend they all know? They may be destroyed. They may be set free. They may escape. And who or what are the others, the ‘drybones’ who do not bleed, who can take off their heads? Edmund Cooper has secrets he can hide as well from you as from the fragiles…”
“Monkey Wrench” by Gordon R. Dickson from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight Belmont Science Fiction, 1968 Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1951 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…