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Author Topic: Feeble memory needs help
rcmann
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When I was young and the world was green, there was a company that put out paperbacks with two stories in each book - one on each side. The two stories were printed upside down to each other, so that you flipped them over like a coin to change stories. Hopefully someone else, equally decrepit, will remember what I'm talking about. Some of the classics were published that way. It wasn't a fly by night company.

One of those stories was about a civilization that traveled across the multiverse, making contact openly with other civilizations. In this case, the travelers had found a version of ancient Rome. Not being burdened with any kind of Prime Directive or such twaddle, they promptly set up shop. Although they did limit the tech that they provided.

I can't remember the name of that story, or the author, to save my withered old backside. Can anyone help me?

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Robert Nowall
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Ace Doubles! Other publishers have done this, but it was most associated with Ace Books.

Here's Wikipedia's list of Ace Doubles, not sorted by genre:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ace_double_novels

As for your book...it sounds something like L. Sprage de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall, involving an accidental time traveler who winds up in Rome just as the Byzantine Empire is about to conquer it. But I don't know if it was ever an Ace Double...

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MattLeo
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Ace doubles were published between 1952 and 1973; Tor also published a similar series for several years (1988-1991). It's a great idea because it makes it feasible to package stories that are not quite long enough to publish as novels but unattractively large for many compilations.

The story definitely sounds like de Camp, although I've never read that particular one.

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rcmann
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It does sound like de Camp, now that you mention it. But it wasn't "Lest Darkness Fall". I recall that one well.

This story involved a civilization that explored alternate time lines. The protagonist, at least one of them, was a woman agent.

It was probably an ACE double. Thanks for the listing. I'll go over it:)

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extrinsic
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Maybe Philip José Farmer? He explored alternate timeline science fiction and emulated other writers in the same subgenre.
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rcmann
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"Three faces of TIme". Sam Merwin. Can't believe I remembered that after decades. Plot wasn't quite as I recalled it, but close. No doubt I remembered it because it was the flip side of an Andre Norton story. As a youngster, I was addicted to her work.
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Robert Nowall
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Not in my collection, alas, though I have an "Ace Single" reissue of the Andre Norton flipside.

I always liked the Ace Doubles...they seemed the ideal length for an SF story...plenty of room for exploring the story and the idea, but not so much as to produce wordy asides and padding.

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