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This book was possibly a tête-bêche book. A tête-bêche book is where two books are bound back to back, with one being upside down. The name is used for all books that follow this format, regardless of language. This book is in English.

The first was about a future Earth where every human wore an artificial symbiote on their back. Most people were vegetarians because of the symbiote, which shared the host's bloodstream. and as a result were small in stature. The exceptions were the giants, who ate meat and as a result were tall. The giants also controlled a creature, called a chicken?, that transmuted elements into golden eggs and gave off radiation. The eggs were sliced and turned into coins.

The main character is a rebel. He wants to end the rule of the symbiotes. He sneaks into a giants home and steals three of the chickens. He goes? to the main vat where the symbiotes are grown, and dumps them into the vat, where their radiation will prevent the symbiotes from growing.

I can't remember more about this one.

In the next, I can only remember the part about the spaceship. It is a tall bullet shape, with an airtight hatch opened by an impression of a 6 fingered hand. The main character gets inside and finds the pilot and a gun with "bullets". He uses the bullets to good effect later in a battle, including destroying a wooden ship.

It's possible I've conflated them, and these are two separate works.

I've found the second one entirely by chance. It's Cache from Outer Space / The Celestial Blueprint by PJF. The Cache is the story I was looking for. Still no luck finding the first.

  • 2
    Maybe you could mention what a dos-a-dos book is? Not everyone will know. – Adamant Aug 12 '16 at 1:12
  • Was it in French? Or is that just the name for the type of book in English? – Paul Aug 12 '16 at 2:11
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    I don't know the story, but it might help you to know that the best known range of books in that style were called "Ace Doubles". They ran from the 1950s to the late 1970s. There is a list of Ace Doubles on Wikipedia here. Interestingly following a link from that page, I learned that the correct term for the style of binding you describe is another French term, "tête-bêche", and that dos-à-dos is something different. (It's hard to describe - look at the picture here. ) – Lostinfrance Aug 12 '16 at 11:34
  • Btw the first one is a version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I assume you know that. But it probably is reflected in the title. – Adamant May 16 '18 at 22:20
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You were very close. The first story you were looking for is "Rastignac the Devil", from the very book you cited, The Celestial Blueprint.

French colonists on a planet ruled by reptiles and amphibians are forced to wear living “skins” that subdue aggression and enforce vegetarianism. As children, Rastignac and his reptile friend Mapfarity force themselves to become carnivores and begin a protein fueled journey that causes Rastignac to develop a Philosophy of Violence. When a spaceship from Earth crashes in the ocean, Rastignac and company must put their philosophy to the test. - Rastignac The Devil was first published in the May 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe Magazine.

From a Gutenberg copy:

"I have come to rescue you," said Mapfarity. "I caught Archambaud here,"—he indicated the other man—"stealing eggs from my golden goose. And...."

Raoul Archambaud—pronounced Wawl Shebvo—interrupted excitedly, "I showed him my license to steal eggs from Giants who were raising counterfeit geese, but he was going to lock me up anyway. He was going to take my Skin off and feed me on meat...."

"Meat!" said Rastignac, astonished and revolted despite himself. "Mapfarity, what have you been doing in that castle of yours?"

Mapfarity lowered his voice to match the distant roar of a cataract. "I haven't been very active these last few years," he said, "because I am so big that it hurts my feet if I walk very much. So I've had much time to think. And I, being logical, decided that the next step after eating fish was eating meat. It couldn't make me any larger. So, I ate meat. And while doing so, I came to the same conclusion that you, apparently, have done independently. That is, the Philosophy of...."

The giants and eggs are also mentioned in this Goodreads review of the Ace Double copy:

The four stories in the other half are all from 1954, and I liked all of them better than Cache. Rastignac the Devil has cars with legs, genetically engineered, non-sentient geese that lay golden eggs, a female lead who is an insult to womanhood, friendly giants with feathers who emit sparks instead of laughing and crying, and a society that gets more confusing with every page.

FWIW, I found this out by searching for "cache from outer space" "golden eggs" and noticing that the Goodreads page came up. That part of the review was hidden, so I dumped the page source and then did a text search on that to find which review had tripped the search.

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