One moment Kenniston was strolling down the quiet street, lost in pleasant reverie. The next moment the sky split open! It split wide open, and above them was a burn and a blaze of light – so swift, so violent, that the air itself seemed to have burst into flame. Then there was silence – awful, suffocating silence. Kenniston felt the chill of premonition – a shapeless terror that grew into a thing too evil to be borne alone.
A uniquely powerful novel of a society in decay. On a planet whose very nature is a mystery a massive decrepit city is pulled along a massive railway track, laying the line down before it as it progresses into the wilderness. The society within toils under an oppressive regime, its structures always on the point of collapse, the lives of its individuals lived in misery. No one knows where they are going, why they are going or what they will find when they get there. The ending of the novel provides one of the most profound twists in SF. Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 1974
The twenty-year Earth-Mars war was finally over. What was left of Earth – its crumbled cities, its ruined farmlands – were firmly and completely under the rule of the Martian Archon. And this powerful planetary ruler was taking no chances: he intended to reduce the Terrans to a society of primitive agricultural tribes in less than a generation! But for David Arnfeld, ex-spaceman and Earth Base Commander, there was something in the whole set-up which did not ring true. Why had both sides muffed countless chances to end that awful war in the first year or two? And why had the two planets gone to war in the first place? In the back of Arnfeld’s mind an idea was growing…perhaps there was yet a chance to save the doomed population of Earth. But if his idea was true, and proof was available, he had to work fast. Too many people were involved in this War of the Two Worlds to let one man upset their plans.
A young man arrives in the anarchic city of Bellona, in a near future USA. This world has two moons but could otherwise be our own. The man, known only as ‘the Kid’ begins to write a novel called Dhalgren that begins where it ends. Dhalgren is about the possibilites of fiction and aboout the special demands and pleasures of youth culture.
It was a sultry summer day in 1981, and the 3 billion or so inhabitants of the world went about their daily routine unaware that, possibly, the fate of the human race lay in the shaking hands of one George Mercer, an insignificant and slightly neurotic employee of the New York City Department of Welfare. For George had been informed, by an accredited emissary of the Galactic Overlords, that he had 12 hours in which to prove the people of the Earth worthy of admission into the Galactic Federation. George, and George alone, would represent all of mankind. If he failed the entire planet would be destroyed. Was this all a nightmare of delusions dredged up by his tortured subconscious? Or a very real nightmare that would end in the Day of the Burning . . .
Hal Halliday runs a missing persons business in mid 21st century New York. It is a city that is drowning in refugees after terrorist outrages have left much of America a radioactive wasteland. People colour their grim lives with endless hours spent in VR. It is an addiction which has made VR magnate Sergio Mantoni a multi-millionaire. But now Mantoni faces a threat from a guerrilla group called VIREX, who are dedicating to ending the false promise of VR. And when Hal accepts a job to look for the missing sister of a Holodrama star, he find himself drawn into the complex world of VR and VIREX ..
The planet Kerim must have been Utopia – once. All its inhabitants had to do when they wanted something was to pray out loud for it – and what they wanted would materialise before their eyes. But by the time Jack Waley crashed on it, its best days had long been gone – and its future was strictly limited. Which was typical Jack Waley luck. He had bungled and blundered his way across the space lanes, messing up everything he tried and being castaway on Kerim looked like the end of the line. For Kerim’s people were now bands of confused savages and its cities crumbling ruins. And this time Waley knew that he’d have to change a whole world’s luck if he wanted to save his own neck one more time.
Rhavas is a good, holy, and pious man, as befits a member of the clergy. He is also the cousin of the Avtokrator, ruler of the Empire. Hoping someday to become ecumenical patriarch of Videssos, he was reluctantly willing to bide his time in one of the smaller cities on the outskirts of the Empire. Then civil war broke out, and the Avtokrator had to pull back the troops guarding the borders as he struggled for control of the Empire. Rhavas had to flee for his life as the fierce Khamorth nomads took advantage of the chaos and sacked the city he had come to love. He only survived because he accidentally discovered that he had an unsuspected power: Men often cursed each other – but Rhavas’s curse had the power to kill! Rhavas had always followed Phos, the god of light and goodness, Videssos’ own god, just as he had always despised Phos’ evil rival Skotos. Those who fall off the Bridge of the Separator during judgment in the afterlife are doomed to dwell in Skotos’ ice and darkness forevermore. But Rhavas has reverenced logic as well as goodness, and knows the power to kill with a curse cannot be an attribute of Phos. As evil swallows up the world, Rhavas, ever the logician, decided that Skotos is actually the more powerful god, and becomes determind to change the official religion of Videssos. But in the end, it is he who will be changed, and neither the world nor he will ever be the same again…
It is a nameless city somewhere between past and future, a mythic realm at the “heart of the world,” where wicked Rat Lords have reduced all humankind to slaves, and god-daemons make the decision to end all existence. This energizes a compelling quest for survival, and prompts the powerful White Crow to order an uprising against this chaotic strike that threatens them all. Among those who respond to her are the defiant Prince Lucas of Candover, a student at the University of Crime, and no mans’s slave; and Zari, the young Katayan woman who is destined to become the living Memory of all that follows. And others rally to join them in one final desperate revolt, hoping to create a magic powerful enough to reshape the very nature of how they live.
It is the early summer of 1945, and war reigns in the Pacific Rim with no end in sight. Back in the States, Hollywood B-movie star Syms Thorley lives in a very different world, starring as the Frankenstein-esque Corpuscula, and Kha-Ton-Ra, the living Mummy. But the U.S. Navy has a new role waiting for Thorley, the role of a lifetime. The top secret Knickerbocker Project is putting the finishing touches on the ultimate biological weapon: a breed of gigantic, fire-breathing, proto-Godzillas engineered to stomp and burn cities on the Japanese mainland. The Navy calls upon Thorley to don a rubber suit and become the merciless Gorgantis, starring in a film that simulates the destruction of a miniature Japanese metropolis. If the demonstration succeeds, the Japanese will surrender and many thousands of lives will be spared; if it fails, the horrible mutant lizards must be unleashed. One thing is certain: Syms Thorley must now give the most terrifyingly convincing performance of his life.