I somehow forgot to post these four…..
Because I thoroughly enjoyed James White’s The Watch Below (1966) I procured his first novel, The Secret Visitors (1957). My expectations are low….
Despite the egregious cover of Silverberg’s The Masks of Time (1968) (“white firmament congregating, emanating?, from floating man’s manhood,” or, “Ball Lightening” as a particularly witty individual posted on Good Show Sir after I submitted the cover), I’ve found that virtually everything that Silverberg wrote in the late 60s and early 70s is on the whole top-notch so I couldn’t help but pick up a copy.
I’m no Asimov fan but I found an old copy of The Currents of Space (1952) at my parents’ house and purloined it — I read it when I was 12 so it has intense nostalgic value, one of my first science fiction books!
1. The Currents of Space, Isaac Asimov (1952)
(Uncredited cover for the 1953 edition)
From the back cover a different edition, “What he knew about the future could destroy a solar system… …so they seared the memory from Rik’s brain, and left him for dead, a whimpering, thumb-sucking half-child. Then Valona, a young, lonely peasant girl, adopted him. And gently turned him into a man again. Hunted by kings and spies, caught in a web of interplanetery intrigue, Rik struggles with his own numbed mind and his unknown enemy in a desperate and one-sided race with time.”
2. The Secret Visitors, James White (1957)
(Bob Schinella’s cover for the 1967 edition)
From the back cover, “When the World Security Organization asked Doctor Lockhart to treat their mysterious prisoner, they hadn’t known that the dying old man would reply to their questions in a totally unknown language. They had expected the stranger to reveal something about the world war which seemed imminent. But they had been thinking in terms of foreign spies — not alien beings! Not suddenly they found themselves confronted with a gargantuan task. They had to find another world, a means of communicating with creatures they could barely imagine. They had to stop a war which was originating in the farthest stars — or else surrender the Earth unconditionally to THE SECRET VISITORS.”
3. The Masks of Time (variant title: Vornan-19), Robert Silverberg (1968)
(Robert R. Foster’s cover for the 1968 edition)
From the back cover, “the year is 1999. The century is about to turn. The civilized world is prosperous but tense with fear about the still existing possibility of a major war. While in the large area that used to be called “underdeveloped” there is a hysterical conviction that the world will come to an end with the arrival of the new century. Into this explosive situation floats a creature calling himself Vornan-119 — and claiming to be a visitor from 1000 years in the future… The world is ready, indeed rive, for a sign, an omen, a new cult. But no one realizes exactly what Vornsn-19 is in his own right!”
4. Five-Odd (variant title: Possible Tomorrows), ed. Groff Conklin (1964)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1971 edition)
Five short novels — Isaac Asimov’s ‘The Dead Past’, Kingsley Amis’ ‘Something Strange’, James H. Schmitz’s ‘Unit’, J. T. McIntosh’s ‘Gone Fishing’, F. L. Wallace’s ‘Big Ancestor’.
From the back cover, “A five-headed “superman”. A spaceflight from nowhere. A “nowhere” that was everywhere. A time bomb for time travelers. A date with destiny on a distant planet.”