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HUNTING ON KUNDERER + LIFE WITH LANCELOT
Harry Borgman; Edward Valigursky
Ace Double (#48245, 95 cents) August 1973 paperback. Condition is Fine: very tight and square with flat spine; age tanning is very mild and uniform (less than expected for its age.) No stamps, marks or writing - a very clean copy that looks new/unread.
The last Ace Double in back-to-back format: Hunting on Kunderer by William Barton, bound with Life With Lancelot by John T. Phillifent (1973.)
Hunting on Kunderer by William Barton - (cover by Borgman, 120 pages.) In his 30+ year career in SF, Barton has produced a dozen novels (many in collaboration with Michael Capobianco) and is still capable of getting a cover story in Asimov's. This is his first novel. I haven't read this, so I'm quoting from the first-page blurb/extract:
Suddenly, forward and to their left, there came a rising grumble from the foliage, like the sound of a rockslide on a distant mountain. Gilgamesh dropped to one knee and snapped the safety off on his gun. "All right, Scott," he whispered, "this one is yours." MacLeod stepped forward and lifted his rifle to firing position. "Hai!" he shouted, his voice breaking. The branches of the bush parted above his head and an enormous, red-scaled snout projected through, showing ridge of massive, swordlike white fangs. The thing breathed and an odor of rotting fish washed across the group. The head came through farther and a pair of pale green eyes the size of basketballs became visible; then, as it pushed onward into the trail, a short neck and a pair of narrow shoulders with shriveled arms and hooked claws came into view. The animal snarled and everything went silent. The eyes swiveled about to survey the group, then fixed hungrily on Scott. "Fire!" screamed Gilgamesh, "FIRE!" The man remained motionless and slowly, confidently, the head began ot reach out for him. Gilgamesh leaped to his feet with a muffled curse and, running forward, shoved Scott aside. He leveled his power-gun at the animal and pressed the trigger stud. Nothing happened. There was no frightful lash of raw energy and no flicker of devastating blue fire. There was nothing. The gun was dead. The head leaned downward towards Gilgamesh, who stared upward in awed fascination, and the jaws closed daintily about his head...
[The first story is revised from "A Stainless Steel Knight" - IF July 1961 (as by "John Rackham." The other 2 are original to this book. Here's the prolog from page 7, which was reproduced as the first page blurb:]
When the twisted and radioactive wreckage screamed down out of space onto their dark planet, the Shogleet were instantly intrigued. To that incredibly ancient race, evolved to the point where energy, matter, and form held no more secrets, only curiosity remained. And this wreck was curious. Metals and plastics, physical and chemical combinations, they were familiar enough. By probing and deduction they could reconstruct the original form of it. But probing unearthed something else. Something lived, but only just. Using their combined talents they caught the delicate fragment, studied it, reconstructed it. From the still viable patterns of intelligence they deduced the whole, and they remade a man. Going further, they discovered his history and, from that, something of the history of the whole species. They were incredulous, unwilling to admit that such a monstrosity could have ever existed. And yet their own probings could not be argued. So they remade his ship and sent it back whence it had come - but appointed one of their number to go along with the experiment and observe. And there, as a certain noted young lady once had occasion to remark, things got curiouser and curiouser.