They called the robomaid "Clockwork Kitty" until she informed them of her right name. She was a triumph of Japan's far-future robotics industry and she was a present to John Grimes as he set out aboard Sister Sue for a voyage to the planet called New Salem. New Salem was a colony of blue-nosed religious fanatics and Grimes knew it meant trouble. For in addition to his sexy-looking robot he had Shirl and Darleen aboard, two wild ones of kangaroo ancestry, sure to be problems. And trouble came, not merely from the fire-wielding bigots but from Grimes' old enemy, Drongo Kane. It's the last interplanetary romp of the legendary spaceman known as science fiction's own "Captain Hornblower." PUBLISHER'S NOTE It is ironic that "Jack" Chandler dedicated this novel to his "favorite wrist watch" for he could not have known that his own time was fast running out. He died in June, 1984, shortly after mailing the manuscript of The Wild Ones to his literary agents in America, though he had apparently been in good spirits during its writing. It is therefore his very last novel, and, although some small parts of the long career of John Grimes, from ensign to commodore of the Rim Worlds, have not been filled in, it must conclude the multifold saga of that amazing career. A. Bertram Chandler, born in 1912, paralleled that career in a terrestrial way. Starting as a merchant seaman, he rose to be captain of his own vessel plying the world's rim between Australia and New Zealand. An Australian by choice, he was considered the top SF writer of that land and was a winner of its leading SF Award, the Ditmar.