Ace On Sunday #18

Ace Double Header

Today sees me turning over the book I selected for reading last week to find out what lies on the other side; This week’s novel is The Twisted Men by Canadian SF giant A. E. Van Vogt. Strictly speaking this isn’t a novel as such, rather a collection of three unrelated short stories which aren’t really short enough for inclusion in a regular anthology. The book therefore contains The Twisted Men, The Star-Saint and The Earth Killers. The inside cover blurb has the following to say;

A spacecraft returns with the discovery that the solar system is doomed. Nobody believes it, but a handful of people decide to attempt the migration to another star system, just in case. They pin their chances on an experimental star ship called, appropriately, Hope of Man.

That’s just the beginning of a spectacular trio of cosmic adventures and mind challenging concepts, which involve the whole future span of humanity and the length and breadth of the universe.

The Jack Gaughan cover painting shows three very stylised figures in the middle of an asteroid field with their arms raised in a bid to fend off the rocks. I love the way Gaughan has depicted these figures, even to the point of making their helmets look like hoods.

It’s time I dived in and immersed myself in Van Vogt’s triple header, I hope that you enjoyed this week’s cover and will join me again next weekend for another selection. Your thoughts and comments are as always welcome.

The Twisted Men by A. E. Van Vogt
(Serial Number F-253)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

The Twisted Men by A. E. Van Vogt copy

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Off The Shelf; Keith Laumer

Keith Laumer Portrait

The next author to come under the spotlight as part of this ongoing mini-series is Keith Laumer who is probably familiar to many for his Retief novels. I first discovered him via a rather tatty copy of A Plague Of Demons which I picked up in a dusty old bookshop one rainy afternoon. I must admit that I bought it mainly for the cover as it was the 1967 Penguin version with an illustration by Alan Aldridge but I did rather enjoy reading it following my purchase.

Since then, I have replaced my battered copy of this book with a much tidier copy and have also expanded my collection of Laumer’s writings considerably. I haven’t included this novel here though as it was featured as part of an earlier article on the Penguin/Aldridge series which can be found here if you’d like to see it.

I’ve become more aware of his output through Berkley Medallion recently due to the fact that a great deal of these publications were illustrated by Richard Powers. They tend to be quite hard to come across being US versions so consequently fetch higher prices once shipping is factored in.

So, onto the covers! I’ve selected eight titles as usual, each one featuring particularly eye-catching artwork. The first four books presented below are pulled from my modest collection of Berkley Medallions for all you Powers fans out there.

I’ll be back again soon with another Off The Shelf selection so be sure to follow the blog to receive notifications of all new posts. Let me know what you think of this week’s covers in the comments too, your feedback is always greatly appreciated.

The Shape Changer by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1973 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Shape Changer by Keith Laumer

The Infinite Cage by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1974 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

The Infinite Cage by Keith Laumer

Time Trap by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Time Trap by Keith Laumer

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1968 by Berkley Medallion Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy by Keith Laumer

Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Mayflower Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer

Nine By Laumer by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1970 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Nine By Laumer by Keith Laumer

A Trace Of Memory by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1968 by Mayflower Books
The cover artist is uncredited

A Trace Of Memory by Keith Laumer

The Great Time Machine Hoax by Keith Laumer
This version was published in 1965 by Pocket Books
The cover artist is uncredited

The Great Time Machine Hoax by Keith Laumer

Ace On Sunday #17

Ace Double Header

This Sunday’s pick from the Ace Double shelves is serial number F-253, a book which was originally published back in 1964. The first novel I’ve chosen to read is One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox – a pseudonym for none other than Robert Silverberg. Let’s open the cover and take a look at the blurb;

John Storm’s return to Earth was triumphant:he was about to become a millionaire. Now there was only the routine job of validating his claim to the asteroid he’d found. But there was one problem – the computer had no record of Storm’s claim And stranger yet, the computer had no record of John Storm. He did’t officially exist!

There seemed only one possible explanation to the nightmare Storm found himself in – someone wanted Storm’s asteroid. There had to be something on that tiny celestial body worth a great deal more than the reactive ores Storm had discovered. And that something was obviously worth the obliteration of anyone or anything getting in the way.

The cover illustration is another fantastic piece by Ed Valigursky featuring a bald headed figure with pointed ears removing his space helmet amidst a tangle of orbiting planets and stars.

This sounds like it has all the ingredients of a decent plot and so I’d best brew another cup of tea, recharge my vape and find out how Mr Storm resolves this strange predicament. Join me next weekend to find out what’s on the flip side and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.

One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox
(Serial Number F-253)
This version was published in 1964 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

One Of Our Asteroids Is Missing by Calvin M. Knox