Friday, August 22, 2008

Ace Double Novel: C.O.D. Mars by E. C. Tubb

C.O.D. Mars, a novel by E. C. Tubb (1968)

At left: Paperback original (New York: Ace Books, 1968), #H-40, 99 p., 60¢. Cover art by Jack Gaughan. An Ace double novel, bound with John Rackham’s Alien Sea. Description from inside the front cover:

“Three explorers returned to Earth after nine long years en route to Proxima Centauri and back. You would have supposed that they would have been greeted as the heroes of the century, feted, honored, rewarded. But Earth was rewarding the trio in a strange and terrible manner -- with permanent exile in orbit, never to touch any planet's surface again.

If Earth wanted that crew isolated so badly, it ought to be worth a lot for someone to learn the reason, because the powers that ruled the world were not talking.

The Scorfu -- the Martian equivalent of a Mafia -- had the idea that the three exiles might prove winning pieces in their endless competition with Earth. And therefore the somewhat unscrupulous but absolutely fearless operative, Slade, could be persuaded that the three from Centauri might mean a million for him -- Cash on Delivery, Mars.”

Best known for his Dumarest saga spanning more than 30 volumes, Tubb also wrote several novels based on Space: 1999, the popular science fiction television series of the 1970s.

Michael Ashley, in his The Time Machines: the Story of the Science-fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950 (2000), notes that E. C. Tubb was “the most prolific British sf writer throughout the fifties ... a hard-edged writer of sf realism, and few of his stories pull any punches.”

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