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THE WORLD SWAPPERS + SIEGE OF THE UNSEEN
artist unknown; Edward Valigursky
Ace Double (D-391) 1959 paperback; 35 cent cover price. Condition is Fine (-): very tight and very square with flat spine; age tannning is mild and uniform (much less than expected for its age.) Bare trace of overall wear (faint 1/2" fold mark at upper right of Van Vogt side) - the edges still have some crispness. No stamps, marks or writing - a very clean copy that looks unread.
Ace Double D-391 (1959): The World Swappers by John Brunner, bound with Siege of the Unseen by A. E. Van Vogt. This is the first paperback appearance for either book.
The World Swappers: (cover by ???, 153 pages.) Two political titans were making a bid for supremacy of power in the Galaxy (at least the 31 planets Man had settled.) There was Counce, a man of strange powers - an authority in matters of the intellect. Bassett was a man of money-power, a financial and business wizard. For centuries, men of Earth had gone by hundreds of thousands, seeking their fortune on new worlds and expecting Earth to decline. Not yet, and not for decades, so the outer colonies are jealous of Earth's prosperity while they struggle. Counce makes the challenge direct by a surprise meeting with Bassett when the latter expected to be unobserved - both forsee the coming troubles and plan to end on top. The only thing that neither side could see for sure was that there were others hovering among the stars - looking for new worlds to conquer!
This is one of my favorites by Brunner - I recommend it without hesitation. John Brunner (1934-1995) was well-known for writing (a lot of) "literate space opera," many of which appeared in Ace-Doubles. During the Sixties, his writing style matured, and he started getting Hugo nominations, culminating with the Hugo winner in 1969: Stand On Zanzibar. Find out why I considered John Brunner one of my 5 favorite authors (both prolific and good.) Trust him for the first 5 pages, and then you won't be able to put the book down.
At first it was a grotesque discovery, when an accident revealed that young businessman Michael Slade was a bizarre freak - a man with 3 eyes. But the impact of what it meant to see with three eyes was even more macabre. For Slade, that shocking third eye was his entry into a strange new dimension of terror and adventure - a fearful new world that would wrap itself around him forever!