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A space opera is what science fiction readers call an adventure in outer space and on alien planets. But a space opera could also be an opera, a musical work, that originated in outer space….
Jack Vance’s unique novel SPACE OPERA fits both definitions marvelously! Because it starts with the mysterious opera company from the equally mysterious planet Rlaru that arrives on Earth to astonish and infuriate music-lovers―and then disappears without a trace!
And when Roger Wool’s wealthy aunt determined to reciprocate by bringing an Earthly operatic team into space and to the unknown world Rlaru, there unwinds a complex and surprising space opera of the first kind…filled with enigmatic aliens, weird worlds, and all the special color and cunning that is the hallmark of the best Jack Vance.
Since the beginning of time, the Onhla tribe had flourished amid the dramatic extremes of heat and cold on the planet Hraggellon. But now the race was on the verge of extinction.
Within its ranks, a mysterious, murderous malady was running wild. Meanwhile, from another galaxy, the spearhead of an all-conquering empire had made its initial penetration.
Only one hope remained. A youth name [sic] Hult, newly emerged into humanoid form after his animal childhood, and beginning a desperate, daring quest for the elusive key to survival that would take him to the most perilous regions of his world―across the unknown reaches of outer space―and into the most secret and startling depths of himself….
To Escape the Stars by Robert Hoskins
Del Rey, 1978
Price I paid: 75¢
…when freesailer, plunderer Jamas Oregas and his beautiful business partner set out to bilk the unsuspecting denizens of the backwater planet Llango.
IT GOT COMPLICATED…
…when Jamas, who knew the ins and outs of stargates, was doublecrossed and had to disappear―and fast.
IT MOVED INTO HIGH GEAR…
…when Jamas landed on Prime―a repository planet of galactic history―and learned of a mysterious lost race that held the master key to all the stargates for all the worlds.
AND IT FINALLY EXPLODED…
…when Jamas himself decided to scour the galaxy, looking for that long-lost race, following a trail that would lead him to power beyond his wildest dreams―if he somehow managed to stay alive!
The Solar Invasion by Manly Wade Wellman
Popular Library, 1968
Originally published in Startling Stories, 1946
Price I paid: none
It comes from beyond the fifth dimension―an alien intelligence both invulnerable and totally evil.
Its aim: bring the universe to its knees. Its primary objective: destroy the Solar System.
As doomsday rushes ever closer, one lone man dares oppose the creature from beyond. Only he can save the universe from a brutal, blazing cataclysm.
Zelde M’Tana by F.M. Busby
Dell Books, 1980
Price I paid: 90¢
Young, untried, but a lethally trained fighter, Zelde M’Tana found herself legally shanghaied by the oppressive UET―imprisoned on a starship bound for the brothels of a mining planet. There was no way Zelde was going to stand for that―and when the ship’s first officer, Parnell, led an anti-UET revolt, Zelde joined the mutineers and single-handedly turned defeat into victory.
First as Parnell’s lover, then as his assistant, Zelde was mistrusted by the crew―but when the UET struck once again and Parnell died, there was only one choice for Captain: Zelde M’Tana.
Pungent and vivid as its heroine, ZELDE M’TANA is a gripping epic of spacefaring, battle, and human conflict.
The century is 10,000, Earth dating. The boundaries of the world as we know it have expanded beyond belief, beyond thought. Earth still remains―but as one of many planets throughout the galaxies, where myriad life forms exist.
Life has taken a new direction, to a new future, but there are still problems to overcome―and the same struggle for survival.
And Ryder Hook is just one Earthman who is equally at home on a starship, on an alien planet, and on Earth. But he has been singled out for a purpose―to take place in a singular experiment…
This is the first novel in a spellbinding new science-adventure series about a superhuman warrior of the future. Ryder Hook travels through the cosmos as a master of all he encounters. He is a man of supreme adventure, timeless in his fearless conquering spirit! Watch for further books in the action-packed saga of Ryder Hook!
The discovery of live, incorruptible human cells embedded in the Shroud of Turin has led to an incredible genetics experiment, even as biblical prophecy is coming to pass. Combining the visionary thrills of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins with the scientific accuracy of Michael Crichton, James BeauSeigneur continues the powerful, epic mystery of U.N. diplomat Christopher Goodman—the clone of Jesus Christ…
His coming prophesied by more than a dozen major religions, Christopher Goodman was born into the most turbulent time in human history. Already two nuclear holocausts have shaken the planet, killing hundreds of millions.
Now, in Jerusalem, 144,000 messianic Jews develop supernatural powers and pledge their service to a man claiming to be John the Apostle. Fated to live from biblical times to Christ’s return, the apostle awaits fulfillment of the End Time visions he described in Revelation. But John and his cohort, apostate Hasidic rabbi Saul Cohen, don’t plan to merely witness the Apocalypse—they intend to cause it.
Harnessing their spiritual powers, the two menacing prophets threaten the human race with a terror just beyond the earth’s horizon. Thrown from their orbits, three asteroids are hurtling toward the planet, as John and Saul Cohen plan to subject humanity’s survivors to global destruction, demon possession, and homicidal madness.
Yet Christopher Goodman must wait and allow it to happen, for he has discovered that scattered throughout the Bible and other religious texts are clues pointing to an incredible hidden truth—a secret of devastating, universal importance that will reveal the astonishing future of Man…and the true nature of God.
It is far more than life and death that hang in the balance. It is the fulfillment of galactic destiny—humankind’s final evolutionary step that will propel man as far beyond his current state as humans are now above the insects. It is the Birth of an Age!
Convention, morality, and genius crumble when the brilliant “lunatics” scatter across the earth to join in the desperate race to put the first man on the moon.
2042—Not a good year for Mundito Rosinante. As the space colony’s orbit drew it farther from Earth, the tiny world’s troubles just seemed to grow. It was caught up in the power struggle between the Japanese and the successors to the U.S. Citizens revolted. Robots got uppity. Someone even threw a grenade at Governor Cantrell!
If Rosinante was to survive, Cantrell would have to act fast and think faster. Well, at least the robots thought he had God on his side.