Category Archives: Science Fiction

367Q: Old SF story I am seeking

I probably read it sometime before 1970, but I might be lying.
I don’t remember if it’s a short story or an episode in a novel.
It involves a small crew of some sort of exploration or trading vessel.
They land on a planet that lacks space travel but does have powerful artillery and clever control stuff.
At a key point in the plot one member of the crew, a small creature who can jump far and fast, is hiding outside the ship.
The locals have the ship surrounded and have pointed an artillery piece at the main port.
The shells are not powerful enough to damage the exterior of the ship, but if they open the door even for a fraction of a second, they will get hit with a shell.
Finally they decide to chance having the outside guy jump through the air toward the door.  The control computer opens the portal just long enough for the guy to fly through.
Sadly, the artillery shell that is automatically fired when the port is seen to open gets through the door.
It destroys the (sentient) computer that controls the ship.
In the milliseconds before it is destroyed, however, the main computer downloads a route “home” into the “idiot” nav computer so that they can get away and get home.
They mourn the dead computer.
The lesson I took from it is how human-centric my intuition about response time is and how really fast computers are.
My vague recollection is that the author was Poul Anderson and it involved a small (fiveish?) crew of humans and non-humans that adventure around.  It may be one of the Technic Civilization stories, but it might not.

366Z: Unknown name of a Science Fiction title of a family that uses mirrors

I read part of this book 25? years ago. It was a stand alone book or maybe the first in a series. The book was “normal” sized, not hugely big.

I only read a half to 2/3rd of this Sci-Fi book, do not remember even how it ends.

The female protagonist ( late 20’s, early 30’s ) is coming back home after years away. Maybe hilly, maybe country like area. But the family lives in a large large home that has mirrors on many surfaces. Somehow they help Earth by using the mirrors. Going thru the mirrors?

Her family helps Earth along with some other families that have mirrors.
There’s an attractive Sheriff new to town who sparks her interest. He has friends from his military days who send him beers. He was special forces and likes the different beers his old buddies send him.

He tells her that he knows there is something going on with the family / maybe the small town? / but he trusts the folks and hopes they would tell him what was going on.

366S: “No time, only duration” (Solved!)

 Forgotten author name, likely American or British – collection of short stories with sci-fi/horror-type themes. I read the book `eons ago’ – so probably 60s or 70s.

The story of interest describes where 3 characters wind up inside a room where there is “no time, only duration,” so they’ll supposedly live forever if they never leave the room. An epilogue then tells us “a building was torn down and 3 skeletons were found in it…..”

The cover had some odd-looking creature on it, reminiscent of the YELLOW SUBMARINE animation style.

364D: Children’s or YA Science Fiction—Girl goes to Mars, is orphaned during trip (Solved!)

Read this hardcover from the library in the late 70s. Teenage girl with dead mother, lives with her aunt or grandmother but spends summers with her dad. When girl is near the end of high school her dad announces he has a wonderful opportunity–he has to make a trip to Mars, and he can bring along one person, which will be her. She doesn’t want to go because she had her next few years all planned out and it will be a year or more before they get back. She sulks and yells, but is told she IS going. On board, her poor attitude does not win her any friends or allies among the people she meets. There is a small group of other children and young people on the ship, but she alienates them with her constant complaining and her attitude that people who live on Mars are backward and ignorant. One young man who is returning home to Mars takes on trying to improve her attitude as a personal challenge. When her father dies during the trip, leaving her with no return ticket, the young man’s family unofficially adopts her and helps her adapt to Mars. She enrolls in college there, and generally drops her snobbish, “Everything Earth is superior” viewpoint. I think at the end of the book she is faced with the one-time chance to return to Earth, or to stay with the people she has come to think of as her new family. There was probably a romance between the girl and the boy who “adopts” her. 

I think it was shelved near the Beverly Cleary books, so author’s last name probably began with either C or  a letter close to it.

362V: Robot Follows Guy Forever

A large, slow-walking robot is after a guy who has something the robot wants (or he’s after the guy). The robot doesn’t walk around homes or buildings to get to him, but leaves a path of destruction by walking through them, killing people along the way. No matter where the guy goes, the robot will follow.
JUMP TO THE END: 
The solution to keep everyone safe is the authorities used a large warehouse and lured the robot to it. A camper, loaded with everything you need to live, had the guy (or the item) in the camper. Because the robot walked so slowly, they were able to drive in a circle and the robot followed forever.

362R: Wild Manipulation / Duplication Box Adventures

Science Fiction / Fantasy

Originally read in ebook format on a nook or kindle around 2010 or 2011. The book was free. No history on services.

Man Travels the Universe using software

The book starts off on a ship with a team of people headed to Mars (it is possible the book started with them there). The team is given or find a box which they find has symbols and words inside it. The entire team studies the item. They find they can replicate items by putting it in the box. The main character discovers how to manipulate the symbols and words, which he relates to programming BASIC, to do different things. Together with a female teammate they decide to terraform Mars by opening a path to earths atmosphere. They then head back to earth using the device (instant transport).

They are a couple for a while on earth where they figure out how to duplicate money and do some other fun things. At some point they are discovered by someone. A “creator” who invites them to their place somewhere in time / space. The creator has traveled time and space and acquired all sorts of historical documents and brought interesting people to his home.  He talks about an experiment with sports players and taking Babe Ruth out of his era and putting him in the current era and Babe Ruth still excels in the current era. He also talks about viewings of history through a pinhole in time which allows him to see but the people he is viewing in history to not know.

Up to this point the main character has been traveling with the female companion. The “creator” breaks them up by introducing the man to an actress that had died in the 1930’s to 1950’s but he pulled her out of one of the realities and brought her to his home.  He ends up sleeping with the actress. The woman companion knows what happened. They then break up. The “creator” says it was for the best as it would never have lasted.  Tells him he can go wherever, whenever he wants and if the actress wants to go, she can.  While here the creator also transfers his brain to a younger body of his using the “syntax”.  The ‘creator” gives the man a pda (older style tablet) device that has pre-loaded code written to accomplish specific tasks, like duplication, portals. The man and the actress travel back to his current time and create a movie with the actress as the lead role (even through in this reality she has been dead for years). Can’t remember much after this.

There was a sequel to the book where a different man finds a pda in a bar bathroom and figures out how to use it and goes on some epic quests. The original owner of the pda was placed in a coma and was hospitalized.  in the second book was trying to have the universe re-written with his DNA encoded but a programmer said it was not possible.

360I: Magic Ball (Children’s Sci-Fi)

I read this book as part of a children’s summer reading program at a small branch library next to my Dad’s hardware store in Clarksville, Indiana. The timing was some time between 1965-1968. Every book you read would earn a balloon stamp on a clown bookmark. You only received the stamp after giving a verbal recap of each book to the librarian.

I do not recall the title but I believe there were limited graphics inside the pages. A young boy finds a red ball in a field near his home. He quickly realizes that the ball can respond to his wishes. It can change color and size. Become heavy or light. It can even fly around the room and come to home when he calls.

Late in the book the ball starts to exhibit strange behavior as if it wants to escape. The boy follow the ball into the field where he meets the ball’s true owner: an alien child from a nearby space ship that has landed. The boy gives the ball back to the alien child and is thanked by the alien parent.

This book started my love of science fiction writing and led me to the likes of Wells, Verne, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke and many others.

359K: Fantasy/Sci-Fiction 1970s/80s

I read the book in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. It would have been a fiction/science fiction paperback book from the local library (Manchester, Georgia). I remember a female protagonist child (and her brother) who were lost members of technologically advanced race studying the planet but were members of private tribe? She was being called back (dreams). She had to run away from her tribe. While in route her brother stepped on something in the sea (perhaps a sea urchin) (Spoiler alert! ………. and died.)

358S: Boy Switches Places with His Parallel Universe Version

I need help finding a series I read about 10 years ago. I’ve been trying to find it for the last 6 months and have now made it a mission to find the series.
This is what I think I remember:
The books were in a public library in the young adult fiction section. It was about a boy that was transported to a parallel universe. I think it was a trilogy and one of the books had a purple-ish cover.I honestly don’t know if I’m remembering this right or mixing with another series.
The parallel universe version of him was then transferred to his world, so they basically switched places. They ended up meeting each other/themselves at the very end. The other universe he was transported to had knights I think? It was a fantasy world and different from his.