Wednesday, 29 February 2012

THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT

Futura paperback, 1979. Cover illustration by Terry Oakes.

"THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT: Frank Herbert's new novel, a swirling, vividly complex story set on the most alien and challenging world he has yet created - a brutal prison planet where 850 million beings are confined in 40 square kilometres. 
THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT: a stunning evocation of alien cultures, and of an experiment so monstrous it threatens the entire galaxy."

GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE

NEL paperback, reprint, May 1984. Illustration: Bruce Pennignton.

"More than three thousand years have passed since the events recorded in Dune and its sequels. Arrakis, once a barren desert planet, is now a green and hospitable world. Gone are the giant sandworms that once roamed its surface. 
One link only survives between the present and the epic past. Leto Atreides, grotesque son of the prophet Paul-Muad'Dib, virtualyl immortal and God Emperor of the galaxy. In the far past of his childhood his symbiosis with the larval sandworms had brought about his slow metamorphosis into a strange creature, huge and recognisably human only in face and arms. 
Tyrannical and secure through his control of the spice melange supplies that confer longevity, he is a ruler with a purpose. Understanding the future he knows that  the evolution of his race is at an end unless he can breed new qualities into the species. He knows also that these vital abilities will only prove their viability by the process of his own destruction."

TRIPOINT

BCA hardback, 1995. Jacket illustration: Rolf Moyr.

"The great powers are at peace - but private conflicts are eternal: witness the blood feud between the Merchanter ships Sprite - crewed by the several-hundred member Hawkins family - and Corinthian, a ship suspected of trading with pirates and smugglers. But this rivalry isn't mercantile; it's fuelled by Sprite Cargo Chief Marie Hawkins's vendetta against Corinthian Captain Austin Bowie, a burning crusade that has warped Marie's life, driving her half mad. When both ships dock at Mariner space station, Marie vanishes. Fearing that she is bent on vengeance - a vengeance that might jeopardize Sprite's trading status and future - Marie's 23-year-old son Tom tries to find and stop her, only to be shanghaied aboard Corinthian. 
Now Tom is trapped, destination unknown on a starship speeding him away from all he has known, with no hope of rescue or return...held prisoner by a crew fanatically loyal to Tom's sworn enemy. 
The man who, decades before, battered and violently raped Tom's mother. 
Austin Bowie. 
Tom Hawkins's father..."

THE CROSSROADS OF TIME

Ace paperback, fourth printing, 1978. Cover by Dean Ellis.

"Blake Walker has never really known who he is, or where his strange flashes of intuition come from. But when they help him to foil a murder, he finds himself drafted in a frantic chase for a criminal genius - a chase that will lead him through almost infinite levels of alternate realities. 
The stakes are high. For if he succeeds, he saves Earth from the ultimate desecration. If he fails, Earth is lost...and he is lost to earth forever, stranded at THE CROSSROADS OF TIME."

BEYOND THE BARRIER

Hamlyn SF paperback, 1978. Illustration: Peter Jones.

"Was he human or alien, sent to rescue Earth or to destroy it? 
This is a novel of Time... 
Of a man who travelled through the swirling worlds of space - and who killed. 
And when he had killed he found himself moving to another dimension - to a time ten thousand years in the future...or in the past."

I AM NOT THE OTHER HOUDINI

Magnum paperback, 1980. Cover illustration: Tony Roberts.

"AD 2079. Sterling, an illusionist extraordinary and going one better than Houdini every time, is planning his greatest trick of all for next July Fourth. To pass through a hoop of molten silver - outside the Earth's atmosphere. 
Arcad, drunken drop-out afraid of his psychokinetic poweers, is 'persuaded' to infiltrate the Sterling household, for political chicanery is suspected. Before the magic stops California is at war with the rest of America and thousands are in danger of political brainwashing."

THE ASYLUM WORLD

Paperback library paperback, first printing, December 1969.
Cover artist uncredited.

"TAKE A TRIP TO THE ASYLUM WORLD, A MIND-BLOWING SCIENCE FICTION SATIRE OF OUR TIMES - AND TIMES TO COME! 
Gears ground and the mechanical voice started describing Newyork. "...such noted tourist attractions as the Mailer Obelisk, the Streisand Catafalque, the ever popular Wax Museum of the Performing Arts...charming ethnic dining spots, prices beginning at 70 credits. Recommended are Nedick's Flaming FIlet, Mother's Hot Chicken Soup Eatateria..." But the visitors from Mars couldn't get to Newyork after all - it was closed except to official personnel. 
Just then a trainload of lunatics passed the barrier. Official personnel? 
WHAT ON EARTH WAS WRONG WITH EARTH?"

TIME AND AGAIN

Penguin SF paperback, 1967. Cover design by Alan Aldridge.

"Asher Sutton has a book in his hands - a book that would change the history of the galaxy, a book by himself...that he had never written. Or had he? Or would he? Simak traces this dazzling paradox along paths of terror and through times past, present and far into the distant future..."

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

MANALONE

Panther SF paperback, 1977. Cover artist uncredited. Possibly
Angus McKie or Colin Hay?

"Tomorrow's Future Shock 
Why is the government deliberately destroying all trace of Man's past? 
Why are the laws of gravity and momentum strangely altered? 
Why has the world's population continually increased without the predicted eco-crisis taking place? 
Why is there international conspiracy to conceal the future of the human race? 
These are just some of the reality-shattering questions that face Manalone, a brilliant computer scientist, when he tries to find out exactly what has happened to humanity. Manalone, outcast from society, must fight the entire machinery of a ruthless police state to discover the truth. And the truth is an awful, chilling one, that sounds only too real in today's world."

TREY OF SWORDS

Ace paperback, 1978. Cover painting by Charles Mikolaycak

"In this long-awaited continuation of Andre Norton's famous Witch World fantasy saga, the past and the future merge as the LOST BATTLE OF WITCH WORLD is fought again - but this time, it must be won! 
For as ancient heroes walk again by day, so do ancient evils - and it is up to Yonan the weakling and Crytha, the untrained witch girl to half the Forces of Darkness by the power of the SWORD OF ICE, the SWORD OF SHADOW and one sword more."

BROTHER TO DEMONS, BROTHER TO GODS

Sphere SF paperback, 1981. Cover painting by Jim Burns.

THE PERFECT ULTIMAN 
In the vast multiverse of the future, genetic engineering has created four human and superhuman breeds. 
The trumen - perfected human beings who are bright and beautiful, without defects or disease, living in perfect harmony. 
The mumen - specialized mutants reshaped for war or space or life on other worlds. 
The stargods - immortals created too much in the image of their blundering Creators, ruling the multiverse with more power than compassion. 
The Fourth Creation - a final attempt to restrain the tryrannic follies of the stargods who have killed the last Creator in their bid to rule supreme. 
Of the Fourth Creation only two young children survive; Davey Dunahoo and Buglet. Doomed to die with the premen on the desolate planet Andoranda V, Davey and Buglet face the awesome challenge of producing the Ultiman to destroy the mighty gods."

THE AUTUMN LAND AND OTHER STORIES

Mandarin paperback, 1990. Cover artist uncredited.

"SIX OF THE BEST FROM SIMAK COUNTRY 
THE AUTUMN LAND 
The Mellow Chimerical county of perpetual autumn where time stands still and its people come as invisibly and unaccountably as they disappear. 
COURTESY 
The basic quality so easy to overlook among the rough and tiny stone-age people so far from Earth. 
RULE 18 
The essential regulation that seems to have stopped Earth from winning the interplanetary football game for the last 67 years. 
JACKPOT 
Buccaneering earthlings think they have hit it when they stumble across the greatest treasure trove in the galaxy. 
CONTRAPTION 
A curiously friendly object stuck in a blackberry bush trades so much good fortune for a poor orphan's pocketknife. 
GLEANERS 
A commercial time-travel organisation that can arrange an interview with Napoleon has a problem with employees who keep defecting."

THE HEAVEN MAKERS

NEL paperback, 1980 reprint. Illustration: Tim White.

"The Chems were the prisoners of eternity, gripped by the despair that immortality brought. They were strange dwellers in a timeless world, inflicting terror and suffering on the creatures they manipulated. 
Enter their world of infinite possibility and discover the fascinating secrets of a master race whose plaything is time. These are the super-beings who control men's destinies and who derive their pleasure from the pain and torture they impose on their human underlings."

A STORM OF WINGS

Sphere paperback, 1980. Cover illustration by Chris Achilleos.

IN THE WASTELANDS OF A FUTURE WORLD, THE PASTEL CITY STRUGGLES IN THE GRIP OF THE SIGN OF THE LOCUST... 
Viriconium: The Pastel City was the last bastion of the civilized world where Queen Methvet Nian ruled supreme. Now she watched, helpless, as the Time of the Locust became a monstrous reality, turning the inhabitants into hideous, mindless insects. 
Cellur, the Bird Lord, emerged from his underground exile, the first to respond to the call. Soon he was joined by Tomb, the Iron Dwarf, and the first of the Reborn Men, Alsath Fulthor. They journeyed to the desolate plains of the North in search of the evil's source, only to encounter a paralysing menace that threatened to destroy their very minds... 
A STORM OF WINGS 
is the new novel in the 'Viriconium' sequence - a brilliant tour-de-force of fantasy fiction by one of the most strikingly original talents on the contemporary scene."

THE GODWHALE

Eyre-Methuen hardback, 1975. Cover artist uncredited.

"A thundering surf drowned the forlorn screams of sand-locked Rorqual Maru. Brine-tossed grains of olivine and calcite buried her left eye, blocking her view of the sky...As the eyelid of sand darkened her world, Rorqual wept over her irretrievable, wasted years. She was a Harvester without a crop - a plankton rake abandoned by Earth society when the seas died. 
Well over 600 feet long, Rorqual was a cyborg: part whale, part ship, and a marvellously complex combination of biology and mechanics. She had been built to serve Man, and yearned for his return and the feel of his bare feet on her decks. 
Then, after centuries, the miracle happened. The sea grew life again - and Rorqual began her long, slow search. But mankind had forgotten all about Rorqual and her kind..."

Monday, 27 February 2012

THE OMEGA POINT

NEL paperback, 1974. Cover painting by Ray Feibush.

"Gorgias was one of the last surviving members of the ancient and mighty race, the Herculeans. Their rival Empire had dared challenge Earth's supremacy of the stars. In vicious retaliation their race was nearly wiped out, and their home planet left lifeless and burnt out. 
These old and terrible memories were etched deep in Gorgias' memory. They drove him on over the lonely and hate-filled centuries, seeking a vengeance that would bring eternal glory. 
But the lovely Myraa, beloved from long ago, had a strange and different vision. A vision that did not include empires and wars and armies. And she constantly called him, drawing him always back to her side..."

TIME'S DARK LAUGHTER

Granada paperback, 1983. Cover illustration by Richard Clifton-Dey.

"INTO THE MUTANT WORLD CAME THE BIRD-CHILD 
Five years have passed since Joshua Green the Scribe and Beauty the Centaur set out across the desert to find the creatures who had destroyed their homes and carried off their wives. 
But now Beauty's wife has willingly abandoned him for the pleasures of mind-link with the mysterious Pluggers. Worse, she has taken with her the helmet that protected Josh from the mental summons of the City With No Name. 
And so Beauty travels once more in search of his wife. And Josh's fifteen-year-old brother Ollie, who has conceived a bitter hatred for the vampires who enslaved him in one of their harems, sets off with the Neuroman Jasmine to rescue Josh. Soon they are engulfed in fantastic adventures in this riotously mutated future world with no use - and little room - for humankind..."

If the function of the rear-cover synopsis is to sell the book to the potential reader, this one didn't work and then it gave me a headache. In all fairness though, this is not the sort of material I'd ever read, and a cursory glance at the actual novel shows that it's not as silly as the bumf on the back makes it out to be. Regardless, it's inclusion here is guaranteed because of Richard Clifton-Dey's cover artwork.

THE EYE OF THE HERON

Panther SF paperback, 1980. Cover illustration by Peter Elson.

"THREE KINDS OF CREATURE CAME FROM EARTH TO VICTORIA: MEN, LICE AND SHANTY-TOWNERS 
These are the words of Falco, leader of the City people. They were the first to come to the penal colony of Victoria, sent away from the cities of Brasil-America in one-way space-ships. When the People of Peace were sent there from Can-America, sixty years later, they found the city had been built, and they were not welcome. They had to live in Shantih and the City people called them vermin. 
But now Falco faces a double threat: the growing restlessness of the pacifist Shanty-Towners and the growing consciousness of his daughter, Luz, in a male-dominated society. 
A new world, a frightening crisis of future history, an intense drama of human relationships, The Eye of the Heron is Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin at her best.

Contents:

No One Said Forever by Cynthia Felice
The Song Of N'Sardi-El by Diana L. Paxson
Jubilee's Story by Elizabeth A. Lynn
Mab Gallen Recalled by Cherry Wilder
Phoenix In The Ashes by Joan D. Vinge
The Eye Of The Heron by Ursula K. Le Guin.

THRESHOLD

Granada paperback, 1982. Illustration by Richard Clifton-Dey.

"It was the threshold place. Far away from suburbs, supermarkets, freeways. It was a calm and soothing place. A forest place where time stood still. He liked to drink the fresh clear water there, and feel new strength flow through his body. It was his place. But Hugh was not alone there. First he heard one voice. Then many. Soon he would discover a fabled city, where the people waited for one who would serve a strange quest. They waited for him..."

THE PAWNS OF NULL-A

Sphere paperback, 1974 reprint. Cover painting by
Bruce Pennington.

"What was the follower? 
Gosseyn knew the creature threatened to destroy whole solar systems but not even his Null-A trained double brain could thwart the Follower's plans. Then he found himself face to face with a force that lay at the very roots of human intelligence.... 
And fighting an insane mind that had once controlled his body."

ECLIPSING BINARIES

Granada paperback, 1984. Cover illustration by Chris Foss.

The evil conspiracy of Lady A takes a new and mysterious turn when Grand Duke Zander von Wilmenhorst - the secret head of SOTE - is implicated in a deadly plot against the Empire. And an enemy is impersonating Jules and Yvette d'Alembert and luring SOTE agents to their deaths. 
The trails lead the Family d'Alembert out into deep space to tackle the source of this disturbing operation. And Etienne d'Alembert has his own mission - to clear the name of Zander from accusations of treason. Before long, SOTE's top agents are locked in mortal combat with some of the Empire's most powerful foes... 
Eclipsing Binaries is the eighth exciting novel in the spectacular space adventure series whose heroes are the Family d'Alembert.

PLANET OF TREACHERY

Granada paperback, 1981. Cover illustration by Chris Foss.

"CHAOS CLOSES IN ON THE EMPIRE OF EARTH 
In an Empire of intergalactic proportions, some space piracy is only to be expected. But not on the massive scale of the operation that is now beginning to cause havoc across the whole of the known Universe. There is only one organization that could be behind such an immense threat to the supremacy of the Space Navy - the brilliantly evil conspiracy of Lady A and the mysterious C. Their plan is nothing less than the conquest of Earth and the Empire. 
With top-secret information leaking to the enemy, only four people can be trusted with the dangerous assignment of stopping this terrifying revolution. They are Jules and Yvette D'Alembert and the spouses they have just married, Yvonne and Pias. But this time, even the extraordinary Family D'Alembert seem to have taken on more than they had bargained for... 
Planet Of Treachery is the seventh volume in the spectacular space series featuring the amazing Family D'Alembert."

THE SKYLARK OF SPACE

Granada paperback, 1979. Cover illustration by Chris Foss.

"FROM EARTH TO THE BLACK DEPTHS OF OUTER SPACE... 
Scientist Richard Seaton had discovered the secret of the complete release of ultimate energy. And his discovery gave him the key to the exploration of the Universe in all its cosmic immensity. But Seaton's arch-rival, the Powerful, unscrupulous DuQuesne, was determined to gain control of this awesome secret too. With his cold intelligence and the backing of a giant industrial combine, DuQuesne was an opponent to be reckoned with. The climax came in deep space, when Seaton, Duquesne and three others - two of them women - were marooned, countless light-years from Earth, with only one chance in a million of ever returning..."

THE IRON DREAM

Panther SF paperback, 1974. Cover painting by Bob Haberfield.

"Let Adolf Hitler transport you to a far-future Earth, where only Feric Jaggar and his mighty weapon, the Steel Commander, stand between the remnants of true humanity and annihilation at the hands of the totally evil Dominators and the mindless mutant hordes they completely control. 
Lord of the Swastika is recognized as the most vivid and popular of Hitler's science-fiction novels by fans the world over, who honoured it with a Hugo as Best Science-Fiction Novel of 1954. Long out of print, it is now once more available in this new edition, with an Afterword by Homer Whipple of New York University. See for yourself why so many people have turned to this science-fantasy novel as a beacon of hope in these grim and terrifying times."

THE NEW TOMORROWS

Belmont Tower paperback, 1973. Cover artist uncredited,
signature: O'Brian.

"The New Tomorrows is a predestined collision of fifteen first-rate stories of somewhat scientific speculative fiction, collected and commented on by Norman Spinrad, himself the author of the controversial novel Bug Jack Barron."

Contents:

The Pleasure Garden Of Felipe Sagittarius by Michael Moorcock
Driftglass by Samuel R. Delany
Sending The Very Best by Ed Bryant
Going Down South by Robert Silverberg
The Garden Of Delights by Langdon Jones
Surface If You Can by Terry Champagne
Masks by Damon Knight
Pennies, Off A Dead Man's Eyes by Harlan Ellison
198-, A Tale Of "Tomorrow" by John T. Sladek
Flight Useless, Inexorable The Pursuit by Thomas M. Disch
The Last Hurrah Of The Golden Horde by Norman Spinrad
Down The Up Escalation by Brian W. Aldiss
Circularization Of Concensed Conventional Straight-Line World-Image Structures by Michael Butterworth
The Definition by Bob Marsden
The Jungle Rot Kid On The Nod by Philip José Farmer.

DANGEROUS VISIONS 2

Sphere SF paperback, 1974. Cover painting by Fred Gambino.

"DANGEROUS VISIONS is the most dazzling science fiction anthology ever published. Between them, the stories it showcases have won two Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards, two Hugo Award runner-up places and one Nebula Award runner-up position. 
This second volume of the three-volume paperback edition of DANGEROUS VISIONS features brilliant stories by 
PHILIP K. DICK 
LARRY NIVEN 
POUL ANDERSON 
FRITZ LEIBER 
and other top SF authors." 

Contents:

The Man Who Went To The Moon - Twice, by Howard Rodman
Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick
The Jigsaw Man by Larry Niven
Gonna Roll The Bones by Fritz Leiber
Lord Randy, My Son by Joe. L. Hensley
Eutopia by Poul Anderson
Incident In Moderan and The Escaping by David R. Bunch
The Doll-House by James Cross
Sex And/Or Mr. Morrison by Carol Emshwiller
Shall The Dust Praise Thee? by Damon Knight.

That's right, it's the return of the phantom permanent-marker-cover-scribbler, the bastard.

DANGEROUS VISIONS 1

Sphere SF paperback, 1974. Cover painting by Fred Gambino.

"DANGEROUS VISIONS is the most dazzling science fiction anthology ever published. Between them, the stories it showcases have won two Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards, two Hugo Award runner-up places and one Nebula Award runner-up position. 
This first volume of the three-volume paperback edition of DANGEROUS VISIONS features brilliant stories by 
ROBERT SILVERBERG 
FREDERIK POHL 
PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER 
BRIAN W. ALDISS 
LESTER DEL REY 
and other top SF authors.

Contents:

Evensong by Lester del Rey
Flies by Robert Silverberg
The Day After The Day The Martians Came by Frederik Pohl
Riders Of The Purple Wage by Philip José Farmer
The Malley System by Miriam Allen deFord
A Toy For Juliette by Robert Bloch
The Prowler In The City At The Edge Of The World by Harlan Ellison
The Night That All Time Broke Out by Brian W. Aldiss.

I want to rant about the fact that the bookshop I bought these from felt the need to scrawl the price on the front cover with a permanent marker, that's overkill, surely. Usually a pencil scribble on the inside front cover does the trick.

THE SAILOR ON THE SEAS OF FATE

Granada / Mayflower paperback, 1981. Cover illustration by
Melvyn Grant.

"Elric of Melnibone, last of the emperors of a once mighty land, self-exiled bearer of the sword of power called Stormbringer, found a ship wreathed in mist waiting for him on an alien seashore. 
When he boarded the mysterious vessel, he learnt from his shadowy captain that he was to serve a strange quest side by side with other heroes from other times. For this ship sailed no earthly waters. These warriors and champions fought sorcerers and demons in a journey spanning seas that seemed to connect not continents and coastlines but whole eras and different worlds. For they were sailors on the seas of fate..."

MINDBRIDGE

Orbit paperback, 1984. Cover artist uncredited.

"When sensors detect the presence of alien intelligence in the region of the star Archernar, a team of 'Tamers' is sent to investigate. They are never seen again. 
Another small team, the elite of the Tamer agency, is ordered out, primed with every defensive and offensive weapon the technology of Earth can devise. 
What they find looks harmless enough at first, but develops into the most hideous confrontation mankind will ever have to endure."

EXTRO

Mandarin paperback, 1989. Cover artist uncredited.

"Scattered throughout the solar system are a group of immortals, dubbed the Molemen. Their latest recruit is Dr Sequoya Guess, an eminent scientist and a valuable addition. 
But Guess has been taken over by the all-seeing, all-hearing supercomputer, the Extro, which controls all mechanical functions on Earth. And when a member of the group turns traitor, the Molemen start to do the impossible: they start to die. 
It is up to Guig, Hillel and their colleagues to destroy the Extro and the renegade or to be destroyed themselves."
I'm sorting out my doubles and copies lately, which is why there's going to be a few "doublers" (with alternate cover artwork, of course) being posted. Of all of them though, Extro and Aldiss' Interpreter seem to haunt me.

MINDSWAP

Ace paperback, 1978. Cover painting by Howard Darden.

"It all started with a perfectly ordinary classified ad: 
"Gentleman from Mars, age 43, quiet, studious, cultured. Wishes to exchange bodies with similarly inclined Earth gentleman; August 1 - September 1. References exchanged, Brokers Protected."
At 31, Marvin Flynn was practically an adult; was it merely the vestiges of adolescent foolishness that sent him to the body-brokerage firm of Otis, Blanders and Klent? Or was it extraterrestrial fervor? Whatever it was,  Marvin knew he must see the Burrows of Mars, the Talking Ocean, the Disappearing Desert and - above all - Mud Heaven. 
What he didn't know was that more than one person had claims on the body of Ze Kraggash, and that before he was finished he would see more strange sights - through even stranger eyes - than he had ever imagined. That in his desperate struggle for continued corporeal existence he would fall pray to Metaphoric Deformation, the limitations of the Set-Expansion Factor, and at last descend/ascend/extend to the strange and unexplainable reaches of the Twisted World - for the ultimate MINDSWAP"

Sunday, 26 February 2012

THE DRAGON MASTERS

Mayflower paperback, 1972. Cover artist uncredited.

"The race of man is growing old, but it's not yet ready to die - not while there are dragons still to kill!
The cross-bred dragon armies of the Men of Aerlith are the most appalling horrors ever to threaten the sanity of our future. 
Termagants
three hundred reptilian giants with six legs apiece, the most fecund breeders of them all 
Juggers
eighteen of them, growling amongst themselves, waiting for an opportunity to snap off a leg from any unwary groom
Murderers (striding and long-horned) 
eighty-five of each, with scaly tails and eyes like crystals 
Fiends
fifty-two powerful monsters, their tails tipped with spiked steel balls 
Blue Horrors, Basics, Spider Dragons
the heaviest, most specialised creatures in the history of Science Fantasy"

THE CURRENTS OF SPACE

Panther SF paperback, 1973 reprint. Cover painting by Chris Foss.

"DOOMED PLANET 
They called him 'Crazy Rik' - but only he knew that they planet was doomed with all its people. The only key to the vital information that could save it was locked in the subconscious memory of this strange, child-minded man...a memory obliterated by a Psychic Probe! 
Caught in a galactic web of intrigue, Rik struggled courageously with his own blasted mind and an unknown enemy in a desperate and one-sided race with time... 
Here is a nova-bright novel of tension and adventure by the acknowledged High Master of today's science fiction, Isaac Asimov."

Panther SF paperback, 1967. Cover artist uncredited.

I'm greedy - here's another book I unwittingly bought two copies of. The 1973 one with the Chris Foss cover (which I didn't think I still had) was/is my reading copy, the 1967 edition is unbelievably free from wear and is unread.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

THE BROKEN LANDS

Ace paperback, 1968. Cover by Richard M. Powers.

"The passing of thousands of years left the planet Earth a series of broken lands ... a mutated world of distant alien empires and near-at-hand rapacious satraps. 
The hunted common people were sustained by one last legend - that some day one would come who would "ride the Elephant" and thereby bring back the Golden Age. 
This is the gripping novel of the young rebel who found out what the legend really signified, and of how he sought to use that banned knowledge in the very heart of the satrap's stronghold of alien magics and well-guarded scientific mysteries. 
THE BROKEN LANDS combines the best elements of sword-and-sorcery and top-notch science-fiction."

JOHN CARTER OF MARS

Four Square paperback, June 1968. Cover artist is Josh Kirby
(thanks, Mark).

"Here is the eleventh, and final, book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' best-selling Martian Series. John Carter is pitted against the infamous Pew Mogel, who has kidnapped his beloved wife, Dejah Thoris. The famous Warlord of Barsoom is lured to a deserted city on the shores of the dread sea of Korvas. But instead of his wife, he finds a huge synthetic giant and hordes of great, white apes into each of which the brain of a man has been grafted. It takes all the skill of Carter's famous fighting arm and extraordinary agility to preserve his life - and meanwhile the sands of time are running out for Dejah Thoris!"

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN

Ace paperback, 1965. Cover by Jack Gaughan.

"The Paratime Police patrolled the vast number of alternate time-dimensions - the worlds which had branched off at every major decision in history. Their aim was to keep the many Earths from mixing and destroying each other. 
But the Time cops could make mistakes and they made a big one when Calvin Morrison, a member of the Pennsylvania State Police on the Fourth Level, Europe-American, Hispano-Columbian subsector, was accidentally tossed through the dimensions and deposited in Aryan-Transpacific, Styphon's House Subsector. 
The man been there only a few weeks and already he was called Lord Kalvan and was masterminding a local war that could blow the whole Paratime secret sky-high!"

WORLD WITHOUT STARS

Ace paperback, 1967. Cover by Kelly Freas.

"When the starship Meteor crash-landed on a strange world orbiting a solitary sun in the vast darkness outside the galaxy, her crew of Earthmen had no idea of what to expect. The planet was Earthlike in gravity, air, animal and vegetable life - but what of the native races they glimpsed from a distance? 
What kind of culture would evolve on a planet whose sky was dominated by the glow of an entire galaxy - and with no other stars save its own dim sun? What kind of gods would they worship? 
The Earthmen had to find the astounding answers to these questions on a planet split by a world-wide war."

THE SUNLESS WORLD

Ace paperback, 1967. Cover by Gray Morrow.

"Forty million years after the death of Earth, one man's brilliant mind lives on - although strangely encased in an indestructible metal body of a Zorome. Professor Jameson and the machine men of Zor continue their danger-laden explorations of the infinite universe: 
In the kelp cities of a watery hydrosphere planet they encounter the race of the Plekne fish-men, eternally enslaved by the alien Uchke... 
In the core of a hollow world, the Zoromes discover a cavern of bones, picked clean by the flesh-devouring predators who feed upon the humanoid Aytans... 
And through the marvels of a time machine, Professor Jameson views the mausoleum of his planet's history: from the glorious birth of Earth as it splits from Sol, to its ultimate devastated end...."

CHRONICULES

Arrow paperback, 1976. Cover art by David Bergen.

"A mysterious explosion, a haunting indefinable smell... 
Sitting quietly by a Cornish creek, reading his favourite comic book, Roses Varco hears the bang, catches a trace of the odour - and understands nothing. 
Which is hardly surprising, since Roses has just witnessed the death of a time-traveller lost in a limbo between worlds. Had he known the truth, it would have terrified him - for that travellers was himself."

THE WORLDS OF FRANK HERBERT

NEL paperback, 1970. Cover art by Jan Parker.

"An infinity of universes each with its own strange stories. A future where they have space suits with chastity belts. A planet where they have a new thrill - but will it ever replace sex? A good government must work - but, what happens if it works too well? The phobias of today translated into the fears of tomorrow. An alien culture who didn't want to change Earth; they just wanted to use it. 
Eight of the very best by the author of the mind-shattering best-seller "Dune". If you care about what's happening or what might happen - these stories are for you."

Contents:

Tactful Saboteur
Committee Of The Whole
Old Rambling House
Mating Call
A-W-F- Unlimited
The Featherbedders
The G.M Effect
Escape Felicity.

DIMENSION OF MIRACLES

Panther Science Fiction paperback, 1977. Front cover illustration
by Peter Gudynas.

"When Thomas Carmody wins the jackpot in the Intergalactic Sweepstakes, he is whisked off to galactic headquarters to claim his prize in person. But when he arrives in outer space, the only problem is - how does he get back to Earth? The odyssey home takes him through the most extraordinary worlds, populated by extraordinary people. And over all looms the terror of his personal predator - a monster of many guises, designed and created specially for devouring Carmodys..."

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

ENTRY TO ELSEWHEN

DAW paperback, 1972. Cover by Jack Gaughan.

"The generation born and raised within the first starship seemed increasingly strange to the Earth-born crew, their own parents. There was a growing gap between them, an alienation none of the psychological planners had provided for. 
When the vast ship reached its destination, the crisis came to a head. Then, for the first time, the great schemes and dreams of Earth to colonize the universe were confronted by the reality of humans whose natural habitat was interstellar space only. They, too, had their dreams - and they were not of planets. 
John Brunner, one of the great masters of science fiction and winner of honors and awards on two continents, makes this just one of the three unusual science fiction themes in his new book."

Contents:

Host Age 
Lungfish
No Other Gods But Me

HAIL HIBBLER

DAW paperback, 1980. Cover art by Josh Kirby.

"His name was Adolph Hibbler and he had escaped the doom of Hitler's Reich by inventing the cryogenic deep freeze long before the rest of the world. As a human icicle he had been just a circus sideshow for many decades until he finally thawed out - in the 21st Century. 
The trouble began with a series of mysterious events and the government had to call in Odd Jobs, Inc. But when Jake and Hildy Pace started uncovering the clues they found an odder job than any previous capers. 
There were the lost cassettes of the world's greatest sex fiend to locate. There were model planes that fired real bullets. There was the army of baby-doll killers. And there were the revolutionary gas station attendants and the Arabian shiek who had ignited them. 
Only Odd Jobs, Inc. could have connected all these cockeyed clues and come up with Hibbler. When they did it sure looked as if they - and the world - were on a spinoff orbit into infinite disaster!"

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

THE OTHER LOG OF PHILEAS FOGG

1973 DAW Books paperback. Artwork by Jack Gaughan.

"Philip José Farmer won the Hugo for the best SF novel of last year. His study of the background of Tarzan made feature headlines in the news. Now in his latest novel he turns his literary wizardry to the astounding science fiction story Jules Verne did not tell in Around The World In Eighty Days. 
Who was Phileas Fogg really - this man whose origins were shrouded in mystery and whose actions were guided as if by clockwork? How could he compute the probabilities of future events so accurately? 
The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg is a thoroughly enthralling novel of what went on behind the scenes during Fogg's unprecedented trip - in which not only do two alien races contend for Earth's mastery, but you will meet some even more famous characters you never suspected were involved in the globe-girdling race!"

WHAT MAD UNIVERSE?

1987 Grafton paperback, cover artist uncredited.

"Pulp SF magazine editor Keith Winton was answering a letter from a teenage fan when the first moon rocket fell back to Earth and blew him away. 
But where to? Greenville, New York, looked the same, but Gems (Bug-Eyed Monsters) just like the ones on the cover of Startling Stories walked the streets without attracting undue comment. 
And when he brought out a half-dollar coin in a drugstore, the cops wanted to shoot him on sight as an Arcturian spy. 
Wait a minute. Seven-foot purple moon-monsters? Earth at war with Arcturus? General Dwight D. Eisenhower in command of Venus Sector?
What mad universe was this? 
One thing was for sure: Keith Winton had to find out fast - or he'd be good and dead, in this universe of any other."

Saturday, 11 February 2012

EPIC ILLUSTRATED, APRIL 1982

Epic Illustrated, April 1982. Painting © 1981 James Fox.

Epic Illustrated April 1982, Vol. 1, No. 11. Contents: Run For The Stars by Harlan Ellison, adapted by Ken Steacy, Abraxas And The Earthman: Initiation by Rick Veitch, An Imperial Message and Before The Law by Leo Duranona, adapted from Franz Kafka's fables, Weirdworld: Journey To Skyhook Mountain by Doug Moench (story) and John Buscema (art), Woody, a tribute to Wallce Wood by Archie Goodwin, Advice To A Barbarian by Robert Rodi (story) and Joe Jusko (art) and Marada The She Wolf by Christopher Claremont (story) and John Bolton (art).

Page from Harlan Ellison's Run For The Stars, artwork and adaptation
by Ken Steacy.

Run For The Stars chronicles the war between Earth and an alien world called Kyba. Drug-addict and thief Benno Tallant is apprehended on Deald's World whilst looting during the Kyban invasion, he is knocked out and has a sun-bomb surgically implanted inside him by the planet's military, he then finds himself abandoned on the planet and left to deal with the alien Kyban.

Abraxas And The Earthman, written and illustrated by Rick Veitch.

"Marine biologist John Isaac is conducting a study into the communication of whales aboard the U.S. Naval submarine the barb. Suddenly, it is attacked and destroyed. Only Isaac himself and Falco, the sub's commander survive the disaster. Captured by the vessel that sank them, Isaac and Falco are shocked to learn that they have become the prisoners of a starfaring crew of whalers, and that their ship was destroyed simply so that the whalers could shanghai two human prisoners. 
To prepare the prisoners for duty aboard the strange, treelike vessel, its captain, Rotwang, turns them over to the Xlexu, enormous insects who function as the ship's surgeons and will alter the Earthmen in whatever means necessary for what lies ahead."

© 1982 Leo Duranona, adapted from the original story 'An Imperial Message'
by Franz Kafka.

© 1982 Leo Duranona, adapted from the original story 'Before The Law'
by Franz Kafka.

Page from Weirdworld: The Dragonmaster Of Klarn.

"Somewhere in the endless heavens, a cosmic game is being played, and eternal contest between the champions of light and darkness. The shifting of the various pieces across the great chessboard, their gains and losses, and reflected in the lives of those who dwell in Weirdworld, the strange and wondrous land beneath.
A few of those whose lives have been touched by the game of the gods are: Tyndall and Velanna - a pair of innocent elves who long to return to their home, the floating island of Klarn, and who have no memory beyond the recent past.
Mud-Butt the dwarf - their loyal and irascible companion.
Black Majister and his henchman, Murkandor - a pair of evil sorcerers working to gain control of Velanna, for they believe that she and Tyndall are somehow crucial to the fate of Weirdworld.
Now, as evil manifests itself across the land, Tyndall, Velanna and Mud-Butt journey to Skyhook Mountain, to seek the aid of the powerful wizard who lives there."
Artwork by Wallace Wood.

Advice To A Barbarian by Rob Rodi with artwork by Joe Jusko.

There's an amusing poke at Sword & Sorcery in Advice To A Barbarian, where Hakalot the barbarian meets Wotatease the necromancer and her small monkey-demon-thing Phyllis, illustrated by Savage Sword Of Conan cover artist Joe Jusko and written by 22 year-old Bob Rodi, who according to the magazine's overview, wrote to Marvel publications frequently.

Page from Marada, The She-Wolf by Chris Claremont with artwork
by John Bolton.
"Her mother was the first-born of Caesar. Her father, a prince in his own land, a slave in Rome. At the age of four, Marada saw her father broken on the rack, disembowelled and, finally, drawn and quartered. It was a public execution and, though the prince was a long time dying, he uttered not a sound. That night, Marada's mother fled the Eternal City, taking her child to be raise free, far from the place that had claimed the life of her beloved. That was twenty years ago. The child is a woman now, and that woman a warrior known and respected throughout the Empire as Marada, The She-Wolf."

I don't mean to criticise John Bolton's artwork but Marada, The She-Wolf is just awful, Heavy Metal style sword and sorcery ... very juvenile sort of stuff where everyone's a muscular hulk and walks around in their underpants, and everyone talks using archaic pronouns like thou and having entire conversations during fight sequences. Bleh.