Ace On Sunday #13

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Last weekend I took a break from my usual Ace Double routine due to a variety of random delays and so today I’m feeling pretty excited to be back choosing a new volume from the shelves for company. My random selection has brought forth serial number H-85 which was published in 1968 and have decided to read Invader On My Back penned by British author Philip E. High.

The blurb from the inside page has this to say;

What are you, stranger from a century to come?

Are you a Delink: Tough, warped, always anti-social, impossible to trust?

Are you a Scuttler: A seemingly nice guy who dares not go out in the daylight, who scuttles along in shadow and fears to look up?

Are you a Stinker: The kind of person everybody wants to kill on sight, someone they’ve got to stamp out in fury real fast?

Are you a Norm: A guy who just wants to get along in the world, and never will with all those others around?

Or are you one of the terrible new ones – a Geek: Who thinks the world is his oyster and that everyone else has got to be crushed… and maybe has the talent to do it?

Intriguing, albeit a little harsh on us geeks I think. The Jack Gaughan cover piece is as brilliant as expected from this great artist and depicts two rocketships flying underneath a rather psychedelic bird. I love the slanted typography used for the title and author’s name too.

Righto, my brew is fresh and my vape is to hand – it’s time I began to read and discover just why we humble geeks have riled Mr High so much. I’ll be back again next Sunday to turn over the book and find out what’s on the flipside so do join me then. Your comments are as always welcome on this title or Ace Doubles as a whole.

Invader On My Back by Philip E. High
(Serial Number H-85)
This version was published in 1968 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

Invader On My Back by Philip E. High


Ace On Sunday #11

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The author of this Sunday’s Ace Double book is originally from my own home county of Yorkshire in England which is hardly known as being a hotbed for science-fiction. I’ve previously read a couple of novels by Brian M. Stableford which I enjoyed immensely and so I was pleased to find one of his earlier stories amongst a later batch of Doubles I recently acquired which were all published in the seventies. The tagline is most perplexing;

Complete the quadrilateral – and the universe is yours

The inside blurb talks of a king who is “black of body and of blood” who has claimed the earth but struggles with a controlling “powerful aggregate mind” in the form of the blind worm. The novel describes a vicious battle through time and the universe between this “pseudo-man and animal-machine”.

The rather psychedelic cover art by Jack Gaughan is fantastic and is a great example of the reaction against more conservative, genre-specific artwork beginning to take hold during this period.

I suspect that this will be a more thought-provoking read than is usual for my weekend choice but am ready to dive right in. Let me know what you think of this cover illustration in the comments and join me again next Sunday as I turn over the book for more Ace Double mayhem.

The Blind Worm by Brian Stableford
(Serial Number 06707)
This version was published in 1970 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

06707 - The Blind Worm by Brian Stableford

Ace On Sunday #10

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This week, I’ll be reading the reverse side of Ace Double serial number D-291 which I began last Sunday with Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Calvin M. Knox (here). Today it’s the turn of Raymond Z. Gallun to provide the story which is described on the front cover by the Detroit Times as “packed with action”. Here’s the blurb from the inside page;

Scientific experiments on the moon and an accidental lunar explosion that seared the earth triggers another tale from the imaginative pen of Raymond Z. Gallun.

The secret of life and the retiring to the living of victims of the holocaust initiate a conflict for Ed Dukas, Gallun’s scientific pioneer of the future. Restoring persons through scientific methods, personality records and the memories of near kin, leaves one fatal flaw. They lack one indefinable quality – a divine spark, perhaps a soul.

Gallon depicts a struggle between the restored people and the natural living. Life on the asteroids, thought machines, a journey to Mars and a star ship expedition to Sirius are woven into the plot.

People Minus X is packed with action, science-fiction style.

Sounds rather intriguing doesn’t it? The Emsh cover is yet another brilliant example of this great artist’s talent. It depicts a trio of falling people who are clad in what look like bandages and are tethered together as they plummet. The background image is that of a human face rendered in an impressionistic style.

Time to read now and discover the outcome of this struggle between the living and the previously dead. I’ll be back in week’s time with yet more Ace Double action so be sure to join me then. Your thoughts and comments are as always, warmly appreciated.

People Minus X by Raymond Z. Gallun
(Serial Number D-291)
This version was published in 1958 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Emshwiller

D-291 People Minus X by Raymond Z. Gallun

Ace On Sunday #9

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I’ve been enjoying this weekend trip across the library shelves which house my Ace Doubles, it’s proving to be a wonderful substitute for last year’s Badger titles that became a regular fixture of my Sunday reading. This week I’ve selected a book which was originally published some fifty eight years ago and is understandably a little bit fragile.

The first novel I’ll be tackling from serial number D-291 was penned by Robert Silverberg under the pseudonym Calvin M. Knox and bears the following tagline;

Only a few believed that the Earth still existed

The moody cover painting by Ed Valigursky shows the protagonist Hallam Navarre exploring a dimly lit corridor and shining his torch on a chamber containing a blonde woman clad in a fetching pink all-in-one. I’m convinced I’ve seen this cover used on another book as was often the practice during this period, I seem to think it was a Badger title so I must have a rifle through my shelves later on.

Let’s see what happens to Mr Navarre on his strange journey and find out who the mysterious woman in pink is. I hope that you’re enjoying this series of covers, please do share your thoughts in the comments. Come back next Sunday when I’ll be flipping this book over to find out what’s on the other side, happy reading in the meantime.

Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Calvin M. Knox
(Serial Number D-291)
This version was published in 1958 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Ed Valigursky

D-291 Lest We Forget Thee, Earth by Calvin M Knox

Ace On Sunday #8

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Last Sunday I began a new Ace Double book, serial number 58880 to be precise which contained two novels by Swedish author Sam J. Lundwall (here). The first story, No Time For Heroes was a strange and slightly campy romp which I thoroughly enjoyed. Today I’ve flipped over the volume to reveal another odd sounding novel which has this as its tagline;

Terra through the science fiction looking glass

To make things a little more odd, this novel (like last week’s story) features a wonderfully bizarre cover painting from the talented Josh Kirby. The picture shows an urbanised planet-scape from an elevated viewpoint, a humanoid robotic figure stands in the foreground as a young female dressed in classic Alice In Wonderland garb plays with a skipping rope on the roof of a building behind him. Curiouser and curiouser…

I’m looking forward to reading this one today after my first taste of Lundwall last week, something tells me I’m in for a few twists and turns along the way. Please feel free to share your thoughts via the comments and do come back next weekend when I’ll be making a fresh choice of Ace Double from the unsubscriber library shelves.

Alice’s World by Sam J. Lundwall
(Serial Number 58880)
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

58880 - Alice's World by Sam J. Lundwall

Ace On Sunday #7

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It’s Sunday once again and so I’m making a trip to my library shelves to choose a brand new Ace Double book for today’s reading pleasure. This week I thought I’d dip into a recently acquired batch which were all published in the early seventies and have pulled out a volume containing two novels by Swedish author Sam Thore Jerrie Lundwall.

First up from serial number 58880 is No Time For Heroes which bears the following tagline;

Survival technique for a one man planet team-run!

This doesn’t really give too much away regarding the storyline and so here’s an extract from the blurb inside the cover;

“There’s no time for heroes like the present,” said General Superhawk, as he was relieved from his laundry duties to head the spaceship’s invasion of the untouched-by-human-hands-or-feet planet, which had been dead for 200,000 years.

“This is absolutely no time for heroes” said the planet’s central brain computer which had, in its long, long loneliness, peopled its planet with fabled literary creatures created from its monstrous protoplasma vats.

“I’m no hero!” screamed the small, fat man with the moustache as he was bullied onto the planet as the ship’s Number One scout.

Intriguing stuff for sure. The novel features a sterling piece of artwork by Josh Kirby depicting a mechanical insect with a humanoid head and rather psychedelic eyes. The landscape in the background of the painting is filled with bizarre structures amongst which stand a number of robotic figures. It’s a typically brilliant effort from Kirby who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite SF cover artists.

The time has now come to discover how this novel plays out, accompanied as ever by a steaming hot cup of tea. I hope that this wonderful vintage book cover appeals to you as it does me, let me know what you think as always in the comments. I’ll be back next Sunday to flip over this book to find out what lies on the opposite side so join me then for more Ace Double action.

No Time For Heroes by Sam J. Lundwall
(Serial Number 58880)
This version was published in 1971 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

58880 - No Time For Heroes by Sam J. Lundwall

Ace On Sunday #6

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It’s Sunday once again and I’m finding myself completely settled in my new routine of working through the Ace Double library shelves. Last weekend I chose serial number M-109 which contained two titles which were both penned by US author G. C. Edmondson and began with the short story collection Stranger Than You Think (here). This week, it’s time to flip the book over and read the second novel which is titled The Ship That Sailed The Time Stream.

There isn’t a tagline on this cover so I’ll include these nuggets from the inside cover blurb;

“Ensign Joe Rate, captain of the experimental Navy yawl Alice, figured that everything that could happen to him in one day had already happened. First, after a freak electrical storm at sea the Alice had somehow been thrown a thousand years backwards in time, and it looked like they were stranded in the past.

Then there was the voluptuous barbarian girl they’d saved from captivity – her presence on board a ship full of normal sailors wasn’t likely to lessen the problems of the situation.

Then he saw the four Viking raiding ships bearing straight for him, and in a few minutes the first spear thunked into the Alice’s foredeck.”

The brooding Jack Gaughan cover illustration shows the Alice being struck by lightning amidst the aforementioned electrical storm as an unsavoury cast of historical warriors loom menacingly above the stricken vessel.

This tale sounds like it has all the elements of a fine time-travelling and decidedly purplish yarn so I’ll dive straight in. Join me here again next Sunday when I’ll be making a new choice of Ace Double book from my library to share with you. I hope that this cover meets with your approval, please do drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

The Ship That Sailed The Time Stream by G. C. Edmondson
(Serial Number M-109)
This version was published in 1965 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Jack Gaughan

The Ship That Sailed The Time Stream by G. C. Edmondson