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COUNTDOWN TO ARMAGEDDON/A STRANGER IN PARADISE is Wildside Press“s second foray into the double book concept, modeled after the old Ace Books doubles. You know, read a book, flip it over, and read a second. Covers for both titles. I remember them well from my youth and still have most of those purchased back then. Wildside offers it HERE and a fine pair of books they are.

Edward M. Lerner first came to my attention in his, now growing, collaborations with Larry Niven, specifically the Fleet of Worlds Ringworld prequels. He worked for thirty years in the Aerospace Industry while writing science fiction part time. Now a full time writer.


Lebanese physicist Abdul Faisel worked for the Rothschild Institute in France. He harbors a deep hate of Christianity because of a peculiar sect that slaughtered his whole village, including his parents and baby sister. For years, he’d researched and gathered parts for two projects. When the Hezbollah terrorists hire him to build them an atomic bomb, delivering a stash of plutonium, he finally sees his chance.

Why waste his atomic bomb on terrorists whose only aim is to foster more hate, war, and killing? He has plans that go much farther.

Sounds like a rather pedestrian plot, doesn’t it?

I haven’t mentioned his second project. He’s built a working time machine! And he’s disappeared into the past with his atomic bomb.

It’s left to our heroes, Harry Bowen, physicist, and Terrence Ambling, government agent, to follow him into the past.


A collection of five stories that combine new tropes with old. You have nanotechnology, people with the “Gift,” recycling, colonized worlds fallen into “savagery,” lost technologies being rediscovered, demons, greedy lawyers, industrial espionage, a new American Revolution. All wrapped up in five stories. I particularly like ther title story as researchers from Earth encounter a puzzle on a planet colonized by the “Firsters.”

A fine set.

Enjoyed both of these and the double concept set off youthful memories of a number of the old Ace favorites.