301E: He looks in a mirror and discovers he’s no longer human

This is a science fiction book I read in high school, circa 1986 or 1987, it had already been around since maybe the 50’s or 60’s? It’s about an astronaut or maybe an explorer who I think is stranded or left on an alien planet that he is meant to explore or get ready for humans? He stumbles in to a residence and is grateful because he’s close to death, but quickly discovers everything there is not fit for humans so he really isn’t saved like he hoped. He persists. Time goes by. He uses his knowledge and training to adapt the environment to his human needs. He starts to thrive. He’s accomplishing his mission. He gets ready to contact his group. He discovers a mirror. He looks in to it. He’s no longer human. His environment and its systems didn’t adapt to his needs, he adapted to it. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS BOOK?

300L: Crystal Dawn (Solved)

In the late 1970s or early 80s I bought what seemed to be a straight-to-paperback science fiction novel in a Safeway grocery store in Honolulu Hawaii. The events of the novel take place in a futuristic society, technologically advanced to the point where people can be reanimated from death but it is very expensive. The novel was about the seedy underbelly of the society, particularly the industry of prostitution wherein the john could murder the prostitute as long as he paid for her reanimation. The bad guy was one of these johns who was terribly sadistic and his evil nature was graphically shown.

It was ultimately a noirish exploitative nasty piece of torture porn complicated by the technologies of reanimation.

But it was also a mainstream Mass Market paperback about three quarters of an inch thick sold in a major grocery chain.

It may be a false memory but I feel like it was called Crystal Dawn or something like that and showed a recumbent nearly nude female with a giant circular crystal blooming behind her. I see the book is predominantly blue.

At the time I got the feeling the Crystal Dawn name and the picture were both somehow exploiting the popularity of the movie of Logan’s Run, which involved crystals in people’s hands.

It was a very good novel and I felt it was written pseudonominally by an accomplished perhaps even famous science-fiction writer who did not want to be associated with the highly transgressive plot and scenes. I have always wondered who the audience possibly could have been for this book and it was probably aimed at the Gor crowd but it was far too transgressive.

I am unsure of the exact time that I purchased the novel but I can say that The Empire Strikes Back was still in the theaters and it was summer.

I am a big collector of books that I read when I was young and this is the one book I can find no evidence that it even existed. Hopefully it was not a dream because if it was I am in need of therapy.

Good luck and thank you.

300E: Sleep by day and live by night

The book I am looking for is a series. I grew up in Australia and while I cannot be sure, I think the author was Australian (possibly even female). The story is about three children or young teenagers. They live in the future where the world is too hot by day for anyone to be active, so they now sleep by day and live by night. The children have to go beyond their village or camp for some reason and they end up crossing vast land in search of something. I believe there were three books in the series, although it may have been more. I remember thinking it was interesting that everyone lived by night, with the light of the fire. The elders were respected. It was almost as though humans had to resort to the way of life before modern civilization. I think they have found a lost city on their adventure.

I have been trying for a really long time to find this book series. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

298Q: A solitary confinement no one seemed to mind

In 1981, in a Utopian literature class at the Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo, I read a book that haunts me because of its prescient look ahead. People live in sealed homes, connected digitally by video and audio to interact with friends and clean versions of the world outside. The interior walls of homes fill up with these images. A kind of solitary confinement no one seemed to mind. Food and goods were delivered to homes through portals by a working class of people exposed to a toxic world outside. I don’t remember details beyond that except that it was written by a man. My online searches for it have failed me!

296W: Sci-Fi Retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey

I read this in the late 1970s. A 12ish year old boy living in a rural area of the US notices small lakes are disappearing in his area. He deduces that aliens are stealing the water to use for fuel and starts watching for their ship, which he boards when he sees it. The ship takes off while he is aboard and the rest of the book is his adventures in trying to return home. There are other abductees from other planets already on board who become his crew. It is a loose re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey in that the boy travels from planet to planet aboard the ship and encounters people who are recognizably the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, Circe, etc. Because it’s a children’s book, many of the details are toned down. For example, the Cyclops had poor vision and thus needed to wear a thick lens to see, which the adventurers broke to “blind” him. I remember very well there was a full-page painting of the boy in the Cyclops cave, which might have been the cover of the book.

 

296M: A machine called a “Spindizzy”

1960’s/70s cheap science fiction. It involved a colony that had female creatures who had evolved pink skin, and tails. Several of these creatures were featured in what appeared to be a painting on the cover of the mass market paperback I had. The main male character was sent by his company to check up on/audit the colony in some way. The female creatures were a second class of citizens who had small tattoos who indicated the type of work they did at the colony. The main male character falls in love with one of the female creatures and they attempt to escape the colony. Their attempt to escape involved a machine called a “spindizzy”.

 

296J: A bad guy decides to kill a good guy

A short story published in one of the well known Sci-Fi magazines- I believe in the 1950’s. The bad guy is able to control people’s minds. He decides to kill a good guy and announces to the victim that he will, at a later time, force the victim to shoot himself. The victim rigs up a gun that shoots backwards at the holder. As the bad guy forces the good guy, through mind control, to point the gun at himself, the good guy struggles to keep his mind clear and not give away his plan. He points the gun at himself, pulls the trigger, and the bad guy is killed as the gun fires backwards. Super cool story!