Inkosi – the magnificent Ridgeback Bruno and Hermetic Tradition – a pop-rock-mod group consisting in part of Bruno Twentyman, Cressida Beggarstaff, Gideon Hard, Liz, Nancy, Glenn and others. Dr. Tom Reedwall, who works for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Miss Felicia Beeding, a pathetically daffy old drunk, a living in a burned out house above a chalk cliff. Joseph Leigh-Warden, a rundown journalist, mostly sour, sometimes vicious. Sergeant Branksome and Rodge Sellers of the local constabulary. Radio Jolly Roger – a piratical broadcasting station whose personnel sometimes fished. And many more. What peculiar invisibility tied these disparate types together – threatening to make them all the same? They themselves didn’t know – and perhaps never would.
The Dragon, an enormous comet, is on a trajectory that will bring it perilously close to an Earth that is still suffering from the scars of a nuclear incident, and from the problems of the Greenhouse Effect. For the optimists – those that remain – it is a sign of change for the better; for others, the comet foreshadows humanity’s final doom. But to Francis Reese and the hard-pressed astronauts of the depleted space programme, the Dragon presents a third outrageous, yet irresistible possibility – the transformation of a barren world into a new home for the beleaguered peoples of Earth.
The fate of the Earth Empire hung in the balance – and Security Commissioner Spangler knew it was up to him to find the monster, the Rithian Terror, as some called it. Seven Rithians had landed on Earth. Six had been disposed of. One was loose. Surely, Spangler reasoned, the stereoptic fluoroscope would flush it out. ‘That’s one test the Rithian can’t meet, no matter how good his human disguise may be.’ Spangler explained to Pembun, the strange, little Colonial who had been sent to help find the monster. But Pembun didn’t agree. ‘The trouble,’ he said, ‘is that the Rithi have no bones. Which would be indication enough under a fluoroscope, if it weren’t for the fact that it can easily swallow a skeleton.’ Spangler shuddered.
One minute, down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe was – as usual – in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars. Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake – failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe’s own life was on the line – for if he wasn’t assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!
When shy, psychic bookworm ‘Cookie’ Orbach watches television, she sees things. But not the things that you or I would see. Cookie sees The Grid – a strange, shifting landscape where human forces battle against an enemy they dare not kill. Her employer, the mysterious Dataplex Corporation, pays her well to watch this war, and asks only that she report her observations but take no direct action, which suits her passive demeanour just fine. But Cookie’s quiet life is about to be shattered. Her two very different worlds are threatening to merge in a way that shouldn’t really be possible. Everything is about to change. And we do mean everything…
Five startling and provocative voyages into the future, by one of the most respected authors in science fiction – Rule Golden, Natural State, The Dying Man, Double Meaning and The Earth Quarter.
Defying time, Jack Breton crosses into a parallel world to regain Kate – the wife who, nine years earlier, was found raped and strangled in a lonely park. But, in the alternate time-stream Kate is married to his double, John. And for one husband to remain either Jack or John must die.
Scientists Dick Seaton and Marc DuQuesne were the deadliest enemies in the galaxy. Their feud had blazed among the stars and challenged the history of a thousand planets. But now a threat from outside the galaxy drove them into a desperate alliance as hordes of strange aliens stormed through space on a collision course with Man. Seaton and DuQuesne fought side by side to fend off the invasion – as Seaton kept constant, perilous watch for DuQuesne’s inevitable double-cross.
When the Order of Planetary Engineers sent Hall Davenant to Ganymede for a terraforming survey, they knew that the job on the airless, frigid Jovian moon would be tough. Changing it to resemble Earth – with fertile land, water and good air – was the biggest and most important planet conversion job ever attempted by the Engineers. But they hadn’t counted on the already too Earthlike behaviour of the Ganymede colonists, who had never altered the ancient Earth-born habits of intrigue, bigotry and double-dyed treachery!
These are the heroes of the Starry Rift, a dark river of night that flows between the arms of our galaxy: a headstrong teenaged runaway who makes first contact with a strange alien race; a young officer on a deep-space salvage mission who discovers an exact double of a woman he thought he’d lost; and the crew of an exploration ship who must plead for the human race to avert an interstellar war.