Ace On Sunday #20

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The last time I shared my Ace On Sunday read it was serial number F-199, today I’m flipping over the book to enjoy the second novel contained in this omnibus – The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott. This is an author I was wholly unfamiliar with and so I did a little digging around to find out more information. It turns out that our mysterious Mr Woodcott is actually a pseudonym for the much more widely known John Brunner whom I enjoy very much.

Let’s open the cover and check out what’s in store via the blurb;

Must the universe die with them?

The Starfolk, arrogant masters of vast stretches of the cosmos beyond the Earth’s sphere of influence, were determined to complete the extermination of the mind reading mutants on Regnier’s planet.

But to the mutants themselves, the terror of the Starfolk was nothing compared to the greater dread that gripped their spirits – the obsession that the universe itself was doomed. This obsession ripped into their minds, overwhelmed them, and plunged them into horrifying hysteria.

The message of doom reached the ears of the Starfolk themselves, forcing them to a fateful decision. They would allow an Earthman, archeologist Philip Gascon, to visit Regnier in an attempt to unravel its secrets. What he found would either contain the key to the ultimate destiny of the universe – or the date of doomsday.

The cover of the book features a fantastic Emsh piece featuring three or Regnier’s mutants clad in matching shiny black outfits complete with spiked helmets. They appear to be holding down our hero Philip Gascon in an attempt to insert his face into some kind of shiny black contraption of torture. I think it all looks a little S&M to be honest…

Must find out how Mr Gascon overcomes these fetishistic fiend and what fate lies in store for the universe. I’ll be choosing a new book new time so be sure follow and watch for those notifications arrive in your mailbox. Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott
(Serial Number F-199)
This version was published in 1963 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

The Psionic Menace by Keith Woodcott.png


8 thoughts on “Ace On Sunday #20

  1. Joachim Boaz 25/09/2016 / 1:58 pm

    You’re back!

    At one point I considered myself a Brunner completest and this was one of the ones I was least looking forward to. My views on “completism” have changed. I find dredging Brunner’s pupliest morsels is fun for cover art but, I can’t (but others can), read them.


  2. Guy 25/09/2016 / 6:26 pm


    I have to admit that I am one of the others, in that I do read and often enjoy Brunner’s ACE offerings, although Brunner himself complained about the editing. I know I have read this but the rest is kind of foggy. I suspect it was not one of my favourites but I may give it a quick look in the future to see if anything rings a bell.

    Happy Reading


    • Joachim Boaz 26/09/2016 / 2:44 am

      Back in the day I found a few readable — for example, Castaways’ World (I read it under the title Polymath) and perhaps the best (I would argue) of his pre-The Whole Man novels Meeting at Infinity (1961) (also an Ace Double).


      • Guy 26/09/2016 / 3:08 pm

        Interesting, in Had Smith’s book on John Brunner in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series, Brunner states that Polymath was cut so extensively to fit the Ace Doubles format it barely resembled the book he wrote. I will read the DAW version. However I think I should try Meeting in Infinity next.



      • Joachim Boaz 26/09/2016 / 5:46 pm

        Was it reconstructed for the later publication (the version I read was not in the Double Format).


  3. Guy 26/09/2016 / 3:09 pm

    Sorry Jad Smith’s book


  4. Guy 26/09/2016 / 8:15 pm

    Hi Joachim

    Wikipedia states,” Polymath is a science fiction novel by John Brunner, first published in 1974 by DAW Books, an expansion of Castaways’ World (Ace 1963).[1]” I wonder if the expansion was simply returning the book to the uncut version. The Smith book states “Castaways’ World sank like a stone, while DAW’s restored and well-proofed version, Polymath went through seven printings in eight years, becoming one of Brunner’s bestselling novels ever. I hope this answers your question.



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