Destiny’s Orbit-David Grinnell (Donald A.Wollheim)(1961)/Times Without Number-John Brunner (1962)

david grinnell-destiny's orbit

First of two books about adventurer Ajax Calkins. The second is “Destination:Saturn” co-authored with Lin Carter in 1967. It’s an ACE double backed with “Invader On My Back”-Philip High from 1968.

Ajax is a twenty-five year old bored billionaire that lives alone in the Canadian wilderness in his family estate. His only companion is a robot butler programmed to agree with everything he says. He likes to read about the conquerors of the past, Alexander The Great etc. He wants a kingdom of his own so he advertises. He gets a bite from Anton Smallways. He’ll have to meet him on Mars.

Not so fast.

The Earth-Mars Space Administration rules the inner solar system. There’s a group of asteroids near Jupiter that are in dispute. Dropping in on Ajax is Emily Hockenschmidt from EMSA. She warns him not to even think about going to those asteroids. He goes to Mars anyway and ends up becoming friends with Martian The Thirds Least Wuj. The spider like creature is an apprentice bus driver who Ajax saves from getting the blame for an accident.

Ajax meets with Smallways who says one of the Trojan group of asteroids just happens to be named Ajax. It’s the perfect site for a king. Ajax and Wuj head there and he plants his flag and declared himself King. Wuj is his Prime Minister.

Not so fast. Here comes Emily again.

There’s something strange about the miners on the asteroids non reaction to him and Smallways isn’t what he seems. Emily tells him he can’t have his kingdom because of hostilities with the amoeba like creatures of Saturn. It could even lead to a war. Of course he doesn’t listen.

The asteroid isn’t what it seems and that leads to adventures that Ajax and Wuj didn’t count on. Of course by this time Ajax and the spirited Emily are getting closer…a lot closer.

This is light fun and worth the time when you don’t feel like being challenged, just entertained.

Turn the book over for three stories about Don Miguel Navarro from the Society Of Time

john brunner-times without number

Ir’s 1988. Four hundred years ago the Spanish Armada defeated England and the Spanish Empire rules. America is dominated by the Mohawk Indian tribe who are allied with the Spanish. Time travel was discovered in 1892 and the Society was formed to make sure no one altered the past. That means no objects can be brought to the present day.

“Spoil Of Yesterday” – Don Miguel is at a party thrown by the Marquesa. She shows him a golden Aztec mask she was given by a nobleman who says he got it from a merchant named Higgins. Don Miguel reports it to his superiors and suspects it’s the real thing. Turns out thirty people in the Society are suspected of taking bribes to bring objects back. Higgins says he bought it from a stranger and can’t remember what he looked like. Don Miguel is on the case.

“The Word Not Written” – It’s New Year’s Eve 1988. The Quatrocentennial is being celebrated marking the Spanish victory. Don Miguel is bored. Then he and a friend are introduced to a couple of girls. One is the daughter of the Ambassador from Norraway. They leave and wander the city. They see a crowd form around a girl wearing nothing more by feathers. It looks like the men have ideas until she tosses them around like they were nothing. Don Miguel and the girl head back to the party only to discover that it’s been invaded by Amazons. Many are dead and even his friend is floating down the Thames with a couple arrows in him. He’ll make it. Don Miguel is recruited to find out how it all happened.

“The Fullness Of Time” – Don Miguel is vacationing in California. He finds a drill bit at a mine which looks like evidence that the Treaty of Prague has been broken.  The Eastern Conference could have been illegally mining in the area. It could all lead back to the Armada and a plot to alter history.

All three stories are good, especially the third one. Well worth looking up. They were originally printed in the British magazine Science Fiction Adventures.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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