Android Avenger – Ted White (1965)
‘BORN OF MAN AND MACHINE, TO WHOM DID HE OWE HIS LOYALTY?
All of a sudden, I was moving faster than usual. The other passengers standing on the subway platform seemed rooted to their places. It took me only seconds to reach the top of the six flights of stairs, and then I was out of the station and moving down Fulton Street at better than forty miles an hour!
What was happening to me? It was as though I were the helpless passenger in a runaway car. Something else has assumed control and was guiding me.
My body turned into an office building and raced down the corridor to a room where a man was sitting at a console. He’d begun to swing around in his chair when my mouth opened, and a thin blood-red ray shot out, cleaving the man from head to abdomen.
Then it was over. My mouth closed, and I stood there, stunned. Up to today I was Bob Tanner, an average sane Citizen. Now what was I, man or murder machine?’
Blurb from the M-123 Ace Doubles 1965 Edition.
A seemingly ordinary citizen of a near future USA where people pass through regular scans to pick out seditionists finds himself suddenly compelled to track someone down whom he then kills with lasers seemingly issuing from his own body.
Escaping from the scene he is involved in an accident and ends up in hospital where it is discovered that his human flesh is merely a covering for a metal framework. He then embarks upon a quest to find out who or what he is, and why someone or something is controlling him and using him as an assassin.
There is an odd noir-ish feel about this novel, which although set in the future, seems all too rooted culturally in an America of the 1960s.