A collection containing two short stories (“Semper Fi” and “Baby, You Were Great”), seven poems, and autobiographical introductions.
Dis was a planet, a wasteland, a world of death where living was dying and dying was much better than living. Dis was a scorching desert, its people crude, barbaric, backward and miserable – and they would become seven million blackened corpses unless Ihjel stopped the H-bombs. But Ihjel had forseen his sudden death, and only one man could take his place – Brian Brandd, Champion of Champions and master of a secret power.
The star Mira was unpredictably variable. Sometimes it was blazing, brilliant and hot. Other times it was oddly dim, cool, shedding little warmth on its many planets. Gresth Gkae, leader of the Mirans, was seeking a better star, one to which his people could migrate. That star had to be steady, reliable, with a good planetary system. And in his astronomical searching, he found Sol. With hundreds of ships, each larger than whole Terrestrial spaceports, and traveling faster than the speed of light, the Mirans set out to move in to Solar regions and take over. And on Earth there was nothing which would be capable of beating off this incredible armada – until Buck Kendall stumbled upon . . . The Ultimate Weapon . . .
Originally published in 1955 Jack Finney’s sinister SF tale has outgrown the initial debate about whether it satirized Communism or the conformity of US society at the time, to become a classic of paranoia; an examination of our fear of ‘the other’. Most people know the story from seeing THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, the classic 1978 remake (one of the few Hollwood remakes said to better than the original, made in 1956) starring Donald Sutherland. Here’s your chance to read the original source; a story that has resonated with readers and viewers for more than 50 years.
Stranded on an alien planet, light years from home, wandering from blistering heat to searing cold, Nils Kruger was not a happy man. So when he met another being – even though it wasn’t human – things seemed to be looking up. The alien might be helpless, or it might be dangerous, but one thing was for sure – they stood a better chance for survival if they worked together. But as the two creatures overcame their mutual suspicion, as they worked together, as the language barrier was broken down, Nils came to a terrifying conclusion – this alien was more intelligent than a human. And to it, Nils was the alien.
In a parallel-world 21st-century San Francisco where the Kaiser’s Germany won World War One and went on to dominate the world, Paul Gomes and his father Lawrence are secret agents for our timeline, posing as traders from a foreign land. They run a storefront shop called Curious Notions, selling what is in our world routine consumer technology – record players, radios, cassette decks – all of which is better than anything in this world, but only by a bit. Their real job is to obtain raw materials for our timeline. Just as importantly, they must guard the secret of Crosstime Traffic – for of the millions of parallel timelines, this is one of the few advanced enough to use that secret against us. Now, however, the German occupation police are harassing them. They want to know where the Gomeses are getting their mysterious goods. Under pressure, Paul and Lawrence hint that their supplies come from San Francisco’s Chinese…setting in motion a chain of intrigues that will put the entire enterprise of Crosstime Traffic at deadly risk.
When his wallet is lifted from a one-night stand with an exotic young woman, who may be either the girl of his dreams or just a common third-world grifter and thief, this world-weary traveller decides to go against his own better judgement and that of the local authorities and pursue this alluring thief up-country into the darkest jungles of Papua New Guinea. Here is a land where headhunters still roam, and where the natural obstacles of poisonous insects and reptiles, savage and deadly beasts, and the mortally demanding jungle itself are the least of his worries. The forces of good and evil and law and anarchy play by entire different rules in this shadowed world. Driven by delusions of romance and the need to restore his honour, Bohannon moves in hot pursuit farther and farther up-country, into a heart of darkness almost untouched by modern civilization. And once he attains his immediate goal, he is drawn into the darkness of his own soul, as a hunt for gold proves that greed, more than love or lust, is the primal instinct. For men or women, black or white, civilized or savage, in the darkness of the jungle all shadows are primal.
Dirty Work? In a manner of speaking, perhaps, but certainly not along the lines of de Sade or Henry Miller. “Dirty” maybe because within this remarkable volume of short stories (a follow-up to her award-winning collection Patterns) author Pat Cadigan unflinchingly explores the implications of technology on modern and near-future societies, humorously challenges our perceptions of reality, and chillingly strips away our civilized facades to confront the bestial nature of our souls. With stories like “Home By the Sea,” “Dispatches from the Revolution,” “No Prisoners,” “50 Ways to Improve Your Orgasm,” and “Naming Names,” Pat Cadigan exhibits an enviable ability to tackle a variety of themes, moods, and perspectives. And makes it all seem easy. Featuring 18 stunning fictions (including the previously unpublished “Lost Girls” written especially for this book)-as well as intriguing author introduction to each story-Dirty Work is a thought provoking, often funny, never compromising collection by one of America’s most gifted authors. It doesn’t get any better than this.