When Cassidy Walker stumbles into the middle of the highway, bloodied and bruised, Bard college in flames behind her, and manages to flag down a ride, she thinks the worst is over. Arriving in the nearby town of Red Hook, Cassidy tries to call her parents but the phone lines are down – no radio or television signals are being received either. The town, it seems, is cut off from the rest of the world. But that’s not the strangest thing. Not by a long shot. Nobody in Red Hook has even heard of Bard College. Furthermore, they claim that Cassidy is not a music student, but a hand at the local stable. And she has lived in a house she can’t remember, with people she barely knows, for over a year. The world is fracturing. Cassidy just knows it – just as she knows that she is responsible. As Cassidy undertakes the ultimate road trip, through bubbles of reality, she will find that everything she thinks she knows about herself is wrong. Is she losing her mind or is the world a far more complex place than she thought?
“I’ll need your help. Come night and the Oracle again, I’m going to try the final couplet.” “Jinian,” Murzy breathed while Dodie looked white-eyed at me. “Dangerous.” “And fatal not to,” I said, still smiling at them all… I wove by forest and meadow, branch and leaf. I wove by stream and pool, by river and fall. I wove by cloud and air, by thunder and sunset glow. I wove by depths of the earth, rock and gem, glittering ores and crystals blooming in the dark, old bone and new. Beside me the others wove as well… “And all within sound of my voice or reach of the wind,” I cried, thrusting my voice like a Sending, like a magic spear, driving it upward. “And all within sound of my voice or lick of the wave, or all within sound of my voice or stretch of the soil, or all within sound of my voice where green grows and leaf springs up. Named or unnamed, silent or speaking. Let this message be brought, By the Eye of the Star, Where Old Gods Are!”
An intense human quietness was upon the laboratory. Annexed though it was to the rambling reaches of the Research Council Building, wherein experimental analyses from atomic power to weed-killer were taking place twenty-four hours a day, no external sounds penetrated the proofed, heavily-insulated walls…
Rodro’s men were pushing past, were blundering with reeking weapons into the room to kill and take the princess away. Lai half stretched up from the princess’s restraining arms. The room was empty of other life apart from Sir Fezius and the two knights now lifting their swords, ready to cut down Lai. A popping noise sounded like a drum bursting. A man appeared in the middle of the room. One moment he was not there; the next he stood there, holding a bulky stick in his arm, peering about with a white face. He said something that sounded like “Skeet.” The next instant the room resounded with an avalanche roar and a hellfire blast of scorching flame.
When the scientists of the wandering planet, journeying through inter-galactic space, heard the sound of hydrogen atoms coming into existence out of nothing, they realized that they had accidentally discovered the birthplace of continuous creation. They had lifted the curtain and caught an instant’s glimpse of the unknowable. But to have looked it full in the face could have been no more fatal. For later, much later, they were to learn that they had also uncovered mankind’s Day of Judgment . . .
In the Country of Tattooed Men the nights feel hollow and are full of sounds of the jungle: danger is everywhere. Tattoos hide all from the prying eyes of the world. On Murderer’s Walk the cards are dealt for the ultimate game. There can be only one loser: pray you do not hold the ace of spades. And from York to London, Northampton to Southend the boys are surfing Spanish style. It’s exciting and exhilarating and potentially fatal. Gary Kilworth has created a powerful and striking anthology of stories from the past, present and future.
On the Eve of the Fourth Millennium a slowly-building civilization, struggling out of the rubble of the Drowning, was crushed beneath the sceptre of a powerful and repressive Church. But on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the sound of a magical pipe was heard, and the air was filled with songs of freedom and enlightenment. And on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the Boy appeared, bringing the gift of sacrilege, a harbinger of the future, heralding the arrival of the White Bird of Dawning. It is the coming of a New Age. A glorious future bearing the presents of the past!
The Unorthodox Engineers are a misfit bunch of engineers, commanded by maverick engineer Fritz van Noon and including, amongst others, a convicted bank robber as quartermaster (on the entirely-sound grounds that he was likely to be the most capable person for the job). They solve problems of alien technology and weird planets in the future. The Unorthodox Engineers contains: The Railways Up on Cannis (1959) The Subways of Tazoo (1964) The Pen and the Dark (1966) Getaway from Getawehi (1969) The Black Hole of Negrav (1975)
The Phantom Crusader: A skeleton figure gleamed beneath the ancient armour. The Room that Never Was: The door had been there the night before … and now there was nothing. The Tunnel: Faint and far beneath them, they could hear the unmistakable sounds… Stranger in the Skill: There was someone at the door, someone strangely, frighteningly familiar. The Stockman: Psychic justice … strange but sure … Footprints in the Sand: There was nothing but wilderness for a thousand square miles. What had made the prints?
Into a future where a depleted fuel supply had the world spiralling down into grinding poverty and constant war came . . . Moondrift. Mysterious white flakes of alien matter that was the perfect fuel – clean powerful, dependable. But the aliens – or whatever they were – who sent Moondrift seemed to demand a heavy ransom in return. After each Moondrift comes an eerie sound, as pure as a children’s choir, heard all over the world. It mesmerises all who hear it with it’s beauty – and when it is ended, certain people have simply disappeared without warning, never to be seen again. This is the story of one who disappeared . . .