Monday, October 25, 2010

1960’s Ace Double novel: King of the Fourth Planet by Robert Moore Williams

King of the Fourth Planet (1962), a science fiction novel by American author Robert Moore Williams (1907-1977).

Paperback original (New York: Ace Books, 1962), 126 p., #F-149, 40¢. Cover art by Ed Emshwiller. There is no promotional piece on the back cover because this is an Ace Double novel, bound with Charles V. De Vet and Katherine MacLean’s Cosmic Checkmate. So, here’s the blurb from the inside of the front cover:

John Rolf fled his own guilt when he abandoned the corruption of Earth for a life of meditation on the many levels of Mars’ mountain, ruled as tradition had it by a king with amazing powers. In this serene climate, Rolf perfected an invention that would explore the human mind -- and thereby unearthed a menace that threatened to annihilate the ancient Martian culture.

The discovery confronted Rolf with the crisis of his loyalty and his past. To defy Earth, to save Mars?

Yet only the King of the Fourth Planet would have the power to do so -- and everyone believed the king to be a myth.

King of the Fourth Planet was reviewed a few years ago by noted SF&F critic Rich Horton. Surprisingly, according to Google Book Search, fellow SF author Lin Carter once called King of the Fourth Planet “a very forgettable novel.”

Robert Moore Williams is also the author of the collection When Two Worlds Meet: Stories of Men on Mars (1970).

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