Ace Science Fiction Specials

Ace Science Fiction Specials are three series of science fiction and fantasy books published by Ace Books between 1968 and 1990. Terry Carr edited the first and third series, taking the "TV special" concept and adapting it to paperback marketing. The first series was one of the most influential in the history of science fiction publishing; four of the six novels nominated for 1970 Nebula Awards were from the series.

The date given is the year of publication by Ace; some are first editions and some are reprints. Also given is the Ace serial number. The serial number given is that of the first printing in the Ace Special series (except for the reissue of Rite of Passage). Books with a previous first edition are noted as "reissue" below. The order listed for series one is the original order of publication; the price is given. Ace reissued many of these books outside of the Ace Special line with different covers and prices, and sometimes different paginations. Award winners are noted; many were nominated for awards.

Series 1

Carr had purchased eight more books for the line, which Ace later published after the series was terminated. The Aldiss volume had been delayed due to issues over Canadian publishing rights, and eventually appeared with the Carr-commissioned Dillon cover.[1]

Series 2

This series was not edited by Terry Carr.

Series 3

Terry Carr returned on a freelance basis to edit this series, all of them first novels.


  1. ^ Walker, Paul, Speaking of Science Fiction, Luna Publications, 1978, p.186

External links

  • Third series [1]
Ace Books

Ace Books is an American specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books. The company was founded in New York City in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn and began as a genre publisher of mysteries and westerns. It soon branched out into other genres, publishing its first science fiction (sf) title in 1953. This was successful, and science fiction titles outnumbered both mysteries and westerns within a few years. Other genres also made an appearance, including nonfiction, gothic novels, media tie-in novelizations, and romances. Ace became known for the tête-bêche binding format used for many of its early books, although it did not originate the format. Most of the early titles were published in this "Ace Double" format, and Ace continued to issue books in varied genres, bound tête-bêche, until 1973.

Ace, along with Ballantine Books, was one of the leading science fiction publishers for its first ten years of operation. With the death of owner A. A. Wyn in 1967, however, the company's fortunes began to decline. Two prominent editors, Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr, left in 1971, and in 1972 Ace was sold to Grosset & Dunlap. Despite financial troubles, there were further successes, particularly with the third Ace Science Fiction Specials series, for which Carr was the editor. Further mergers and acquisitions resulted in the company becoming a part of Berkley Books. Ace then became an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Avram Davidson

Avram Davidson (April 23, 1923 – May 8, 1993) was an American writer of fantasy fiction, science fiction, and crime fiction, as well as the author of many stories that do not fit into a genre niche. He won a Hugo Award and three World Fantasy Awards in the science fiction and fantasy genre, a World Fantasy Life Achievement award, and an Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine short story award and an Edgar Award in the mystery genre. Davidson edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1962 to 1964. His last novel The Boss in the Wall: A Treatise on the House Devil was completed by Grania Davis and was a Nebula Award finalist in 1998. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says "he is perhaps sf's most explicitly literary author".

Leo and Diane Dillon

Leo Dillon (March 2, 1933 – May 26, 2012) and Diane Dillon (née Sorber; born March 13, 1933) were American illustrators of children's books and adult paperback book and magazine covers. One obituary of Leo called the work of the husband-and-wife team "a seamless amalgam of both their hands". In more than 50 years they created more than 100 speculative fiction book and magazine covers together as well as much interior artwork. Essentially all of their work in that field was joint.The Dillons won the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and 1977, the only consecutive awards of the honor. In 1978 they were runners-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's illustrators; they were the U.S. nominee again in 1996.

List of science fiction editors

This is a list of science fiction editors, editors working for book and magazine publishing companies who have edited science fiction. Many have also edited works of fantasy and other related genres, all of which have been sometimes grouped under the name speculative fiction.

Editors on this list should fulfill the conditions for Notability for creative professionals in science fiction or related genres. Evidence for notability includes an existing wiki-biography, or evidence that one could be written. Borderline cases should be discussed on the article's talk page.


Neuromancer is a 1984 science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson. It is one of the best-known works in the cyberpunk genre and the first novel to win the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award. It was Gibson's debut novel and the beginning of the Sprawl trilogy. Set in the future, the novel follows Henry Case, a washed-up computer hacker, who is hired by the mysterious master criminal Armitage and the equally mysterious mercenary cyborg Molly Millions for one last job: to help a powerful artificial intelligence merge with its twin into a super consciousness and take control of a virtual reality global network known as "The Matrix".

Norman L. Knight

Norman Louis Knight (September 21, 1895 – April 19, 1972) was an American chemist and author of fantasy and science fiction. His most prominent work is probably A Torrent of Faces, a novel cowritten with James Blish and reprinted in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line/

Terry Carr

Terry Gene Carr (February 19, 1937 – April 7, 1987) was an American science fiction fan, author, editor, and writing instructor.

The Black Corridor

The Black Corridor is a science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock. It was published in 1969, first by Ace Books in the US, as part of their Ace Science Fiction Specials series, and later by Mayflower Books in the UK.

It is essentially a novel about the decay of society and the deep personal and social isolation this has caused, and tells of a man fleeing through interstellar space from Earth, where civilisation is collapsing into anarchy and wars. The author uses techniques ranging from straight narrative to entries in the spaceship's log, dream sequences and sixties-style computer printouts.

The Demon Breed

The Demon Breed is a 1968 science fiction novel by James H. Schmitz, originally serialized in Analog in a shorter form as "The Tuvela". It was first published in paperback in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line, with a Science Fiction Book Club edition following in 1969. MacDonald & Co. issued a British hardcover the same year, reprinting it as a Futura paperback in 1974. A Dutch translation, Des Duivels, appeared in 1971, and a French translation, Race démoniaque, in 1973. Ace reissued its edition in 1979 and 1981. In 2001, Baen Books compiled the novel in its paperback omnibus The Hub: Dangerous Territory.Part of Schmitz's "Hub" sequence, The Demon Breed centers on the conflict between the Parahuans—a "physically powerful, resourceful, technically advanced and fearfully cruel" nonhuman species—and a human-colonized water world. It shares characters and setting with Schmitz's 1965 novella "Trouble Tide".

James Blish praised the novel, writing that its protagonist is "very well realized" and that "Schmitz's style is a joy -- precise, flexible, colorful, and frequently witty". He noted that the novel's title was double-edged, because Schmitz was exploring a theme "dear to the hearts of both Heinlein and Campbell . . . that human beings are the toughest, most vicious race anyone is ever likely to encounter".

The Falling Astronauts

The Falling Astronauts is a science fiction novel by American writer Barry N. Malzberg, first published in 1971 in a paperback edition by Ace Books.

The Jagged Orbit

The Jagged Orbit is a science fiction novel by British writer John Brunner. It is similar to his earlier novel Stand on Zanzibar in its narrative style and dystopic outlook. It has exactly 100 titled chapters, which vary from several pages to part of one word. It was first published in 1969 with cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon, in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line issued by Ace Books.

The Jagged Orbit was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1969, and won the BSFA Award for the best SF novel in 1970.

The Preserving Machine

The Preserving Machine is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Ace Books in 1969 with cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon as part of their Ace Science Fiction Specials series. The stories had originally appeared in the magazines Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, If, Amazing Stories, Planet Stories, Worlds of Tomorrow, Imagination and Satellite.

A hardcover issue of this book was released through the Book-of-the-Month Club (USA) in late 1969 and remained available through 1970. It is an octavo-sized book, bound in gray textured paper boards, stamped in green on the spine, in a dust-cover with "Book Club Edition" printed in lieu of the price on the bottom front flap. Other hardcover editions were published in 1971 and 1972 respectively by Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, and the Science Fiction Book Club, Newton Abbot, Devon.

The Traveller in Black

The Traveller in Black is a collection of short stories, written in a fantasy vein, by John Brunner. The first edition, titled The Traveler in Black, had four stories ("Imprint of Chaos", "Break the Door of Hell", "The Wager Lost by Winning", and "The Dread Empire") and was issued in 1971 in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line. Some stories were rewritten for this book. Later editions of the collection, with the additional story "The Things That Are Gods", are included in The Compleat Traveller in Black.

The series deals with an unnamed protagonist, who "has many names but only one nature" and who bears a staff of curdled light, held together by interesting forces, travelling through a landscape in which Order and Chaos are in conflict. With this, and with the powers invested in him by "the One for whom all things are neither possible or impossible", he is enabled to counter Chaos,

although he must do so in answer to the spoken wishes of the people around him, always with consequences they had not intended and often to their detriment. As an example, the Traveller hears the wish of a skilled assassin that he could get the fame to which his expertise should entitle him. Are not all great artists admired and respected? Is he not the cunningest hand with dagger, garotte, and subtle poison? The Traveller replies, as usual: "As you wish, so be it." The following morning, the Traveller finds the assassin's body on a dunghill: his crimes have been discovered and properly attributed to him, and he has received the execution the law prescribes.

Among the Traveller's powers are the ability to bind and free Elementals, which in these tales are varied and more than five in number.

The Traveller's ultimate purpose is to reduce the power of Chaos, and thus the utility of magic, until everything should have a single nature. As he works, person after person, city after city move from the realm of Chaos into the realm of Order, and thus from Eternity into Time.

Them Bones (novel)

Them Bones (1984) is the first solo novel by science fiction writer Howard Waldrop. It was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1984, but lost out to William Gibson's Neuromancer; both novels were part of the third Ace Science Fiction Specials series edited by Terry Carr.

Warlord of the Air

The Warlord of the Air is a 1971 British alternate history novel written by Michael Moorcock. It concerns the adventures of Oswald Bastable, an Edwardian era soldier stationed in India, and his adventures in an alternate universe, in his own future, wherein the First World War never happened. It is the first part of Moorcock's 'A Nomad of the Time Streams' trilogy and, in its use of speculative technology (such as airships) juxtaposed against an Edwardian setting, it is widely considered to be one of the first steampunk novels. The novel was first published by Ace Books as part of their Ace Science Fiction Specials series.

Why Call Them Back from Heaven?

Why Call them Back From Heaven? is a 1967 novel by Clifford D. Simak, which became the initial volume in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line.

William Gibson

William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian speculative fiction writer and essayist widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. Beginning his writing career in the late 1970s, his early works were noir, near-future stories that explored the effects of technology, cybernetics, and computer networks on humans—a "combination of lowlife and high tech"—and helped to create an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. Gibson notably coined the term "cyberspace" in his short story "Burning Chrome" (1982) and later popularized the concept in his acclaimed debut novel Neuromancer (1984). These early works have been credited with "renovating" science fiction literature.

After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson collaborated with Bruce Sterling on the alternate history novel The Difference Engine (1990), which became an important work of the science fiction subgenre steampunk. In the 1990s, Gibson composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which explored the sociological developments of near-future urban environments, postindustrial society, and late capitalism. Following the turn of the century and the events of 9/11, Gibson emerged with a string of increasingly realist novels—Pattern Recognition (2003), Spook Country (2007), and Zero History (2010)—set in a roughly contemporary world. These works saw his name reach mainstream bestseller lists for the first time. His more recent novel, The Peripheral (2014), returned to a more overt engagement with technology and recognizable science fiction concerns.

In 1999, The Guardian described Gibson as "probably the most important novelist of the past two decades," while the Sydney Morning Herald called him the "noir prophet" of cyberpunk. Throughout his career, Gibson has written more than 20 short stories and 10 critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration), contributed articles to several major publications, and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers, and musicians. His work has been cited as an influence across a variety of disciplines spanning academia, design, film, literature, music, cyberculture, and technology.

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