As I’ve mentioned a few times, one of the great things about collecting vintage SF and fantasy paperback is the constant new discoveries. A recent discovery of mine is Ian Wallace, who published 14 novels between 1952 and 1989, all but two part of a series that began with Croyd in 1967.
“Ian Wallace” was the pen name of John Wallace Pritchard, a local Chicago science fiction writer. He was a practicing clinical psychologist, and spent much of his career working for the Detroit public schools system. His first novel, Every Crazy Wind, was published in 1952 under his real name; his second, Croyd, was published as “Ian Wallace,” and began a lengthy series following the adventures of an organization of time-traveling superhumans. In the opening volume, Croyd is assigned to protect Earth from an alien invasion, but finds his mind transferred into the “inferior body” of a human woman — and his own body in the employ of an alien agent.
[Click on any of the images for bigger versions.]
Here’s the text from the back of the book:
An alien race from another planet is bent on destroying not only the Earth but its entire galaxy. Croyd, a superhuman secret agent of the future, who has the ability to move himself and events uptime or downtime, is assigned to prevent this destruction.
But Croyd’s body becomes inhabited by the mind of a “gnurl” princess, Lurla, an alien agent who has infiltrated Earth, while his own mind is transplanted into the body of a surprised female Earthling!
Trapped in this inferior body, Croyd must work fast to recover his own. At the same time, he must destroy Lurla, before she has time to complete her deadly mission….
The series, which came to be known as Croyd Spacetime Maneuvres, drew a lot of comparisons to James Bond.
Later volumes also followed the exploits of Pan Sagittarius and other agents as they policed the galaxy uptime and downtime. Here’s the text on the back of the third volume, Pan Sagittarius:
Pan Sagittarius conducts a mission to the legendary if-nodes of Antan – the center of time and space where unrealized histories are stored. His assignment: to enter the mind of a key person in a historically crucial moment to affect his host’s motivation (without forcing his choices) to make possible an alternative outcome. And Pan does not enjoy immunity from the consequences. His existence, too, is at stake!
Pan is one of the great heroes of science fiction — a lusty, resourceful adventurer whose wit and seeming recklessness conceal a profoundly brilliant intellect.
Keeping with the Bond-like theme, in the 1960s “Lusty” was a code word for a book with a fair amount of sex.
There were a total of nine books in the series:
Croyd (Berkley Medallion, 184 pages, $0.60, October 1968) — cover by Paul Lehr
Dr. Orpheus (Berkley Medallion, 223 pages, $0.75, November 1969) — cover by Paul Lehr
Pan Sagittarius (Berkley Medallion, 223 pages, $0.95, September 1974) — cover by Vincent Di Fate
A Voyage to Dari (DAW, 239 pages, $1.25, November 1974) — cover by Peter Manesis
The World Asunder (DAW, 252 pages, $1.50, November 1976) — cover by Jack Gaughan
Z-Sting (DAW, 222 pages, $1.95, October 1978) — cover by H. R. Van Dongen
Heller’s Leap (DAW, 317 pages, $2.25, July 1979) — cover by Tony Roberts
The Lucifer Comet (DAW, 302 pages, $2.25, December 1980) — cover by Gino D’Achille
Megalomania (DAW, 179 pages, $3.75, May 1989) — cover by Bryn Barnard
Dates given are for the paperback editions.
Wallace also authored a related trilogy of novels dealing with space-traveling detective St. Cyr:
St. Cyr Interplanetary Detective
Deathstar Voyage (1969)
The Purloined Prince (1971)
The Sign of the Mute Medusa (1977)
His last novel was Megalomania, published by in May 1989.
The Croyd Spacetime Maneuvres series is currently out of print. There are no digital versions, but paperback editions are easy to come by. I came across an unread copy of Croyd in a 14-book collection I bought on eBay for $3.29.
See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.