I Speak for Earth by Keith Woodcott Ace Books, 1961 Price I paid: none
“One citizen of your planet shall go to the capital of the Federation of Worlds. He shall live there for thirty days. If your representative can survive and demonstrate the ability to exist in a civilized society with creatures whose outward appearance and manner of thinking differ from his own, you shall pass the test. You will be permitted to send your starships to other planets of the galaxy.
If he fails the test, if prejudice, fear, intolerance, or stupidity trip him up, then your world will be sealed off from the stars forever!”
This was the ultimatum from space. The task before our world then was—who shall go? What man or woman could be found to take this frightening test for the whole of humanity and be certain not to fail?
It’s an edge-of-the-seat science-fiction thriller.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch by David Bischoff based on the screenplay written by Charlie Haas Avon Books, 1990 Price I paid: 90¢
KEEP AWAY FROM BRIGHT LIGHT,
AWAY FROM WATER—
FEED THEM AFTER MIDNIGHT!
Who would have thought that within every playful, cuddly Mogwai there lurked a gleefully, malevolent gremlin? Billy Peltzer and his girlfriend Kate Beringer found out the hard way—and it nearly destroyed their hometown of Kingston Falls. Now the young lovers have come to New York to seek their fortunes. But the towering, high-tech office building in which they work is about to become a breeding ground for a whole new batch of deliciously malicious creatures.
Start spreading the news. The gremlins—lots of them—have come to take Manhattan…and they’re itching to comically paint the Big Apple gremlin green!
Lurid Dreams by Charles L. Harness Avon Books, 1990 Price I paid: 90¢
Though basically a skeptic, William Reynolds had known out-of-body experiences in the past. But never before had he floated past the boundaries of Baltimore…and across the borders of time. And now, with the fires of Civil War looming on the horizon, the astonished graduate student was hobnobbing with none other than the dark poet Edgar Allen Poe. But their meeting of minds was to have chilling consequences. For a desperate Confederacy planned to use them both to remold the world—and to change history…for the worse.
The Time Machine Did It by John Swartzwelder
Kennydale Books, 2002
Price I paid: It was a birthday present
I probably should have realized a lot earlier that this book doesn’t have any back matter. No cover matter at all, in fact. Not even artwork. That’s okay. I’ll get into that in a minute. I just felt like something needed to go in this space.
The Time Masters by Wilson Tucker
Price I paid: none
In Knoxville, Tennessee, the men involved in the top-secret Ridgerunner project are about to complete work on the first rocket designed to probe beyond the solar system, and Secret Service agents in that city are becoming frantic over the presence of one Gilbert Nash, a man without a past.
The investigation of Nash began when it was discovered that he subscribed to every journal of science currently published in the free world—archeology [sic], geology, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, medicine and, most disturbing of all, nuclear physics. Was he merely showing a healthy interest in science, or perhaps something more sinister? Determined to find out, the government agents are soon plunged into the most baffling and frustrating case of any of their careers.
Every fact they uncover only adds to the mystery surrounding Nash’s identity. He seems to have come into existence out of nowhere on March 8th, 1940, the date the United States decided in earnest to build an atomic bomb, and then migrated to Knoxville just in advance of the establishment of the Ridgerunner project. On the door to his office appear only his name and the word “Investigations.” And, although Nash gave his age as 31 in 1940, he appears not to have aged a day since that time.
When a key member of the Ridgerunner project goes to Nash’s office and then commits suicide a few days later, the search for Nash’s true identity and purpose becomes desperately urgent. But only Shirley Hoffman, secretary to one of the agents, is able to get close enough to Nash to actually converse with him. What he says adds a new and frightening dimension to the ever deepening mystery.
While dining, he begins to tell her the story of Gilgamesh, hero of an epic written thousands of years ago in ancient Assyria. Supposedly immortal, Gilgamesh was a man whose origins were either unknown or unrecorded, and who stalked through the land accomplishing mighty deeds.
As the story of Gilgamesh unfolds, Shirley Hoffman begins to wonder just what Nash’s interest in this ancient tale is—and by the time he reaches the end of the epic, she learns the incredible and terrifying answer.
THE TIME MASTERS is a compelling novel of science fiction that will hold readers i the grip of suspense until the very end. As the identity of Gilbert Nash is revealed—and the countdown begins that will blast the first rocket outside of the solar system—the book builds to an unforgettable and shattering climax.
King of Argent by John T. Phillifent
DAW Books, 1973
Price I paid: $1.25
They told John Lampart that he would have to have his entire bodily metabolism altered to survive on Argent. Because that unknown planet was his most valuable find, he agreed.
He landed on Argent, golden-skinned and different. He had expected to find himself on a barren world, destined for two years of hard work. But Argent had life of its own of a different kind, weird, wild and endlessly challenging.
Not the least challenge to him was the discovery that his Earthly bosses regarded him as expendable—his work would end in his death while they got rich….
Spaceling by Doris Piserchia
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: $1
The ability to see the other-dimensional rings that float in Earth’s atmosphere was a late mutation of a few space-age humans. Daryl was under the care of the institution for muters, and she had discovered that if you jumped through the right ring at the right time it would land you in another dimensional world and another shape.
SPACELING is the story of Daryl’s desperate efforts to unravel the mystery of why she was being held captive and of what was really going on in a certain alien dimension. Because she was sure it was all bad and that someday everyone would thank her for the revelation.
But instead everyone was engaged in a wild effort to hold her down, to keep her on this Earth, and to keep the world simply intact!
It’s a fast and furious escapade of a future Huck Finn, female gender, by the author of EARTHCHILD.
“I Made You” by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
from The Metal Smile, ed. Damon Knight
Belmont Science Fiction, 1968
Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, March 1954
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…
The Cosmic Eye by Mack Reynolds
Price I paid: 50¢
Morris should have functioned perfectly in the rigid totalitarian society of the future where every thought, every word, every action was controlled by the superstate. A state where everyone was watched night and day by the Great Eye of the internal security forces. It was a strange, in many ways inhuman world, but the rewards were great for those who belonged to the right caste. Morris belonged to the master class which ruled the entire world by brain power or brutality, depending on which was needed. Morris was born right at the top—he had everything the Technate Society could provide—and yet he didn’t belong. Nonconformity could mean liquidation, but he was prepared to take the risk.