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People of the Talisman / The Secret of Sinharat

Ace Double M-Series: Book 101

Leigh Brackett

The Secret of Sinharat

Eric John Stark was a hunted outlaw, a hard, merciless renegade with a twenty-year Moonprison sentence hanging over him. Men called him barbarian, wild man. Women called him beast.

But the Earth Police Control had a use for him, for they knew why he was on Mars. The Martian desert-tribesmen of Kesh and Shun had made alliance with the men of the Low Canals, and following the banner of the enigmatic chieftain Kynon, who promised them eternal life, they would sweep out of the deserts and cast a storm of blood across the planet. Stark was one of the outlaw mercenaries who'd been asked to help lead them.

But if he could lead those men, perhaps he could also stop them. And if the rumors which filtered into Mars' civilized border towns had truth, this uprising had to be stopped - for those behind it were more powerful, and infinitely older, than the barbarian armies they would unleash.

People of the Talisman

When Eric John Stark escaped from the camp of the Lord Ciaran of Mekh, he was nearly dead. His mouth, crazed with fear of the bloody thing that clung to its back, laid its belly to the ground and ran wildly through the bitter wind and snow of the Martian Norlands, and Stark held his seat by a concentration that went beyond the urge to live.

He had a purpose now - to find the city of Kushat, which guarded the mysterious Gates of Death and was in turn protected by the Talisman of Ban Cruach. But the Talisman had been secretly stolen years before, and Kushat now lay helpless before the planned attack of Ciaran's mountain hordes.

What Ciaran didn't know was that Stark himself had the Talisman, and he was grimly determined to use it to exact a savage revenge on the Lord of Mekh.

The Golden People / Exile From Xanadu

Ace Double M-Series: Book 103

Fred Saberhagen
Lan Wright

The Golden People

Planeteers, go home!

The planet was called Golden in honor of the planeteer whose ship had crashed there years before. It was an Earth-type world, with humanoid natives, and other creatures that were--something less.

Or maybe more, for almost all of the planet was covered by an invisible Field which blanked radar, damped the power of the Earthmen's stunners, immobilized their robots and caused watches to run backward. No machine or weapon more complicated than the lever or knife could work inside the Field.

Which meant that the Space Force had to revert to the primitive to explore the world of Golden. And obviously, someone or something hidden in the vast reaches of the planet had planned it that way...

Exile From Xanadu

Regan's last waking memory was of the clamor of alarm bells--a sound that lasted a bare second before it dissolved and was lost in a holocaust of roaring noise and flame. He never did recall the reflex action that flung his screaming body towards the survival capsule.

When he awoke at last, there was nothing but blackness, yet the pain was gone. His body was compressed and comforted in an all-embracing nest of yielding softness that was like a vast mother-womb, so close did it enfold him. He moved slightly, and at once a voice said, "Can you hear me?" In a panic Regan tried to open his eyes, but could not. With dread, he lay very still, waiting. For the voice was not human...

Message from the Eocene / Three Worlds of Futurity

Ace Double M-Series: Book 105

Margaret St. Clair

Message from the Eocene

Legacy of a Lost Race

His name was Tharg, but he was not of any life form we know today. He lived so long ago that the planet Earth had not yet shaped itself. Lava seas roiled and churned, volcanoes spouted and grew, and heavy clouds hung in the hydrogen atmosphere, leaving the planet's surface dark and dangerous.

On that world Tharg met his death, or something very much like it. He became a disembodied, totally nonphysical intelligence, cut off from all contact with the life he had known. He "slept" for hundreds of millions of yhears, unconnected with the world, unthinking, hardly existing.

But then he began to awake--for there was new life on Earth, creatures called "human," and Tharg, knowing an anceint promise from the stars, had to tell them of it. But... how?

Three Worlds of Futurity

Collection of short stories:

  • The Everlasting Food - (1950) - novelette
  • Idris' Pig - (1949) - novella
  • The Rages - (1954) - novelette
  • Roberta - (1962) - shortstory
  • The Island of the Hands - (1952) - shortstory

The Coils of Time / Into the Alternate Universe

Ace Double M-Series: Book 107

A. Bertram Chandler

The Coils of Time

Dr. Henshaw had created what he though was a time travel machine and he had sent guinea pigs through it. But now he needed a human guinea pig to test it with.

Christopher Wilkinson thought the whole idea was absurd, until a book that had been sent through the machine came back with a thumb print on it, the fingerprint of Vanessa, his long lost sweetheart!

So Wilkinson agreed to the experiment. He stood in the white circle facing the machine as it began to gleam and spin, pulling him down through the tortuous coils of time....

Into the Alternate Universe

Others called their expedition a "wild ghost chase." But for Space Commodore John Grimes and the beautiful Sonya Verrill who had initiated the project, it was strictly scientific research. Their trip along the rim of the galaxy in search of two men - two dead men - was also an investigation of the long-puzzling phenomenon of the Rim Ghosts. They would do this by penetrating into alternate universes.

There was only one real problem involved in this study - how to report its results. For once the breakthrough to an alternate world was achieved, there was no known way of getting out....

The Ship That Sailed the Time Stream / Stranger Than You Think

Ace Double M-Series: Book 109

G. C. Edmondson

The Ship That Sailed the Time Stream

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 back in time, and it looked as if they were stranded in the past. They had provisions for two weeks at most. Then there was the voluptuous barbarian girl they'd saved from captivity--her presense 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...

Stranger Than You Think

Contents:

  • The Misfit
  • From Caribou to Carry Nation
  • The Galactic Calabash
  • The Sign of the Goose
  • The Country Boy
  • The World Must Never Know
  • The Third Bubble

Fugitive of the Stars / Land Beyond the Map

Ace Double M-Series: Book 111

Edmond Hamilton
Kenneth Bulmer

Fugitive of the Stars

Doom cruise of the starship Vega Queen.

Wanted: One outlawed space pilot!
Horne, the spaceship's pilot , had been warned."Don't forget the meteor swarm." And Horne's directional calculations for the Vega Queen's course took that advice into account; the spaceship would go fifteen thousand miles out of its way to avoid those deadly celestial rocks

But when Horne went off duty, he felt himself numbed by a curious druglike leadenness. And the next thing he knew, he was in a lifeboat, speeding away from the floating wreckage of the Vega Queen.

Eighteen survivors out of one hundred and fifty-three passengers. And each one in the tiny space shell believed Horne responsible... deliberate negligence, calculated destruction...

Someone had drugged Horne, he knew; someone had tampered with the ship to alter its course. But who? And for what cosmic purpose?

Land Beyond the Map

Take this route to... Oblivion.

Expressway to an uncharted sphere.
"They're about!" the woman whispered, and Crane abruptly saw a strange light shining through the heavy black curtains that shrouded the house. He crossed to the window and before anyone could stop him he drew the curtain back.

At first he did not understand what he saw: a round gleaming, color-running orb stared unwinkingly back into his face. It was... an eye. An immense sad eye staring at him through the chink of the curtains, an eye surrounded by a living whorl of flame that he had last seen engulfing poor Barney in the parking lot.

At least three others had disappeared into the strange world from which those aliens had come, and a girl had been driven insane by them. And before Crane's quest to unravel the secret of the Map Country was complete, the fate of two worlds would hang in the balance.

Off Center / The Rithian Terror

Ace Double M-Series: Book 113

Damon Knight

Off Center

  • What Rough Beast (1958)
  • The Second-Class Citizen (1963)
  • Be my Guest (1958)
  • God's Nose (1964)
  • Catch that Martian (1952)

The Rithian Terror

How do you find a space spy who substitutes perfectly for anyone in the universe?

Enigma from Tantalus / The Repairmen of Cyclops

Ace Double M-Series: Book 115

John Brunner

Enigma from Tantalus

'We won't be landing anywhere just yet', Waters said to the other passengers on the spaceship Fulmar. 'I was pretty mystified by this story of mechanical breakdown, so I've been checking up.' He hefted his little box. 'I've spent the past half hour successfully tapping your subspace circuits, Captain, so I know the truth and I propose to share it with everyone. We're not to land. We're to orbit in space, indefinitely.'

Beloved Sister Dorcas's screams pierced the quiet.

'You see,' Waters continued, holding up his hand for silence, 'this is being done on the direct orders of Master Brand . . . you don't know the name?' He glanced inquiringly around. 'No? Well, he happens to be one of the powers of Earth, and there is nobody in the galaxy to overrule him.'

The Repairmen of Cyclops

The Corps Galactica, the Galaxy's police force, had pledged itself to a policy of non-interference with the backward Zarathustra Refugee Planets.

Langenschmidt, the Corps chief on the planet Cyclops, was content with this ruling. After all, if the refugee planets could form their own civilizations from scratch, logically they would come up with cultures suited to their own needs.

However, when the case of Justin Kolb came to his attention, Langenschmidt was forced to rethink the problem. Kolb's accident with the wolfshark revealed to the Corps' medicos the leg-graft that had been performed on him. It was a perfect match - only its gene-pattern wasn't Cyclopean, and limb-grafting wasn't practised on Cyclops.

Where had the leg come from, who had been the unknown repairmen, and wasn't this something that might be violating galactic law?

Our Man in Space / Ultimatum in 2050 A.D.

Ace Double M-Series: Book 117

Bruce W. Ronald
Jack Sharkey

Our Man in Space

The bomb in his hand could explode the stars.

Ultimatum in 2050 A.D.

Nobody ever left Earth's perfect city - alive.

Alpha Yes, Terra No! / The Ballad of Beta-2

Ace Double M-Series: Book 121

Emil Petaja
Samuel R. Delany

Alpha Yes, Terra No!

The Alphans had been watching Earth for centuries, seeing its technological advances and its moral stagnation. They had erected a barrier against Earth's attempts to enter their system. Finally, they decided that Earth was a canker on the face of the universe, and decreed it's total destruction... The Earth was on trial, would no one defend her.

The Ballad of Beta-2

Centuries ago, the Star Folk had left Earth on twelve spaceships on a generations-long mission to colonize the distant stars. Ten of the ships had reached thier destination. Two had failed--and nobody, in the hundreds of years since the disaster, had the slightest inkling of what had happened.

Joneny, a student of galactic anthropology, was assigned the problem. It had seemed routine to him. Just some faster-than-light travel to the two wrecked ships, a bit of poking around and then writing up his findings.

But he was ill-prepared for what he found in space at the site of the two ancient worlds. One, the Sigma-9, was not subject to the laws of time-stasis (the only exception he knew of), and it was covered entirely with a mysterious green fire that shimmered so much that it seemed alive. And the other ship, the Beta-2, was nowhere to be seen.

The Altar on Asconel / Android Avenger

Ace Double M-Series: Book 123

John Brunner
Ted White

The Altar on Asconel

Whether or not he had wanted to turn back at the last minute, he couldn't have - the wave of dirty, hungry people carried him helplessly along in their fervour reach the temple. Like dope addicts, he told himself, they don't even care about themselves, only about the thing that is inside the temple!

He remembered the day ten years ago when his older brother had been made a Warden of Asconel, a prosperous and happy planet, and he and his other brothers had left in the interests of their people. Now they returned to a world where a fanatical cult had usurped the Warden's chair, and men and women were offering themselves up as human sacrifices to Belizuek - whoever or whatever that being from beyond the galaxy was...

I'll find out, he told himself grimly, when I enter these doors...

Android Avenger

All of a sudden I was moving faster than usual. The other passengers standing on the subway platform seemed rooted to their places. It took me only seconds to reach the top of the six flights of stairs, and then I was out of the station and moving down Fulton Street at better than forty miles an hour!

What was happening to me? It was as though I were the helpless passenger in a runaway car. Something else had assumed control and was guiding me.

My body turned into an office building and raced down the corridor to a room where a man was sitting at a console. He'd begun to swing around in his chair when my mouth opened, and a thin, blood-red ray shot out, cleaving the man from head to abdomen.

Then it was over. My mouth closed, and I stood there, stunned. Up to today I was Bob Tanner, an average, sane Citizen. Now what was I, man or murder machine?

Monsters in Orbit / The World Between and Other Stories

Ace Double M-Series: Book 125

Jack Vance

Table of Contents:

  • Monsters in Orbit - novel
  • The World Between - (1953) - novelette
  • The Moon Moth - (1961) - novelette
  • Brain of the Galaxy - (1951) - novelette (variant of The New Prime)
  • The Devil on Salvation Bluff - (1955) - shortstory
  • The Men Return - (1957) - shortstory

We, the Venusians / The Water of Thought

Ace Double M-Series: Book 127

John Rackham
Fred Saberhagen

We, the Venusians

Venus and its natives are exploited by humans.

The Water of Thought

One explorer had already disappeared on the primitive planet, Kappa. So the day that a second Terrestrial, Jones, ran away after drinking the sacred Kappan water that he had coerced the natives into giving him, the remaining planetologists meant to find out just what was going on.

Questioning the aliens only deepened the mystery. For they said that what Jones had drunk would enable him to communicate with his animal ancestors. It was their most precious and sacred possession.

But how could it affect a person never born on Kappa, a person without such "animal" ancestors? What had really happened to Jones and the other man - and what would happen if either of them managed to bring this incredible liquid back to Earth?

The Alternate Martians / Empress of Outer Space

Ace Double M-Series: Book 129

A. Bertram Chandler

The Alternate Martians

A space expedition to Mars find themselves in the worlds of H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Otis Adelbert Kline.

Empress of Outer Space

Her Imperial Highness Empress Irene is in trouble. She needs to prevent the take over of the universe by the power hungry Mortimer Jones.

Planetary Agent X / Behold the Stars

Ace Double M-Series: Book 131

Kenneth Bulmer
Mack Reynolds

Planetary Agent X

Newly accepted as a Special Agent of the star-spanning United Planets organization, Ronny Bronston found that his first assignment was one which had taken the lives of dozens of agents before him: he was to track down a man named Tommy Paine.

Behold the Stars

White Flag for Earthmen

Man had discovered a means of colonising the galaxy. Through a system of instantaneous matter transmission, men, machines, anything, could be sent light years away in seconds!

Only, men were not the only beings in the galaxy who were expanding, and at 200 light years from Earth the alien Gershmi people made their claims clear, with guns!

It would have been a fair fight between equally matched races, had not the very matter transmitter boxes which had made mankind's expansion possible, suddenly began to put men back together, 200 light years from Earth, with their will to fight removes, so that Earthmen were marching with white flags of truce straight into Gershmi fire!

The Caves of Mars / Space Mercenaries

Ace Double M-Series: Book 133

A. Bertram Chandler
Emil Petaja

Space Mercenaries

Her ex-Imperial Highness of Outer Space had developed a conscience. With a well-armed space cruiser on her hands, she didn't want to sell it to just anyone - that is anyone under Empire control. So the former Empress and her ex-space captain husband, became mercenaries for Class - the Galactic League for the Abolition of Suppression and Slavery.

Their first assignment was blockade-running, to bring antibiotics to the plague-ridden humans on Antrim, besieged by the Halicheki bird-people and ignored by the Empire. Only, this would be a ticklish business for they could not fire one shot at the Halicheki without being legally termed pirates. And although the ex-Empress and her husband were open-minded enough to try all sorts of devious tricks, the prospect of being hanged for piracy by the Empress's successor did not appeal to either of their natures....

The Caves of Mars

Ric Coltor had lost an arm in an interplanetary exploration. For a spaceman at any other time that would have meant the end of his career. But not with the marelous Martian Panacea in existence. Extracted from a fungus found only on the Red Planet, it promised mankind perfect health and longer life, for it grew back internal organs, conquered disease, and could even grow back arms.

So Rick went to one of the M-P colonies to become whole again and discovered a defect in that new Utopia - M-P not only gave its users glowing good health but it also gave them a fanatical devotion to the man who administered it, Dr. Morton Krill. A devotion that was so all-encompassing that any man who received it could easily become dictator of two planets if he were twisted enough to desire that. Dr. Krill was.

Space Captain / The Mad Metropolis

Ace Double M-Series: Book 135

Philip E. High
Murray Leinster

Space Captain

Interstellar chase of a space buccaneer.

The Mad Metropolis

Given: Earth 400 years from now--a rotten society in which mankind is doomed to die out.

A solution to the problem--an ultra-intelligent computer to govern humanity.

One man of seemingly average intelligence, but with an incredible I.Q. potential.

And you have: A corrupt society turned into a world where there is not corruption, because Mother Machine knows what's best for her human children and does it. Where that same all-powerful computer is rapidly turning men into zombies.

And where the world's only hope turns out to be one outlawed not-average man.

Result: An unusual science-fiction thriller.

The Tree Lord of Imeten / Empire Star

Ace Double M-Series: Book 139

Samuel R. Delany
Tom Purdom

Table of Contents:

  • The Tree Lord of Imeten - novel by Tom Purdom
  • Empire Star - novella by Samuel R. Delany

The Brains of Earth / The Many Worlds of Magnus Ridolph

Ace Double M-Series: Book 141

Jack Vance

Table of Contents:

  • The Brains of Earth - novella
  • The Kokod Warriors - (1952) - novelette
  • The Unspeakable McInch - (1948) - shortstory
  • The Howling Bounders - (1949) - shortstory
  • The King of Thieves - (1949) - shortstory
  • The Spa of the Stars - (1950) - shortstory
  • Coup de Grace - (1958) - shortstory