First there was Della, the woman who wanted . . . love? She did not – could not – know, for where love should have been was emptiness. Then came the Poet, who wanted only to please, but did not know how. His every effort was rejected – but he could not stop trying. Rogers was the completion, the part above all other parts that made the whole. And then there was Archer – and the thing in his brain . . .
“How can you drink tea from an empty cup?” That ancient Zen riddle holds the key to a baffling mystery; a young man found with his throat slashed while locked alone in a virtual reality parlor. The secret of this enigmatic death lies in an apocalyptic cyberspace shadow-world where nothing is certain, and even one’s own identity can change in an instant.
Secretly and in stealth four puny humans set out to invade the heartland of Evil – the so-called Empty Lands, filled with every evil creature from the darkest of mankind’s myths. Harcourt went reluctantly to rescue his long-lost and almost forgotten fiancée. The Knurley Man, who was somewhat other than quite human, went to find the death that would be kinder than the future he foresaw. The abbot sought to recapture a fabulous prism in which the soul of a saint had been trapped. And the girl Yolanda was seeking the answer to a mystery and a question she did not know. But already their coming and their purpose was known. The denizens of the Empty Lands were girding for war. And behind all the Evil lay the most ancient of dark Powers, waiting patiently for the humans whose souls should set it free.
In the royal palace of conquered Luscany, Princess Nette chafes at the bonds that confine her to a life of empty ceremony. Meanwhile, in a less salubrious quarter, Serin Guille’s father scents success in his search for the secret of immortality. Then a gypsy blade flashes at the ice fair. An imperial emissary lies bleeding by the frozen river, and the uneasy peace is shattered. The Eschalan overlords will not rest until they have revenge. Serin saw it happen, saw the blow fall. Now she can never go home . . .
The free humans lived underground, secretive, like rats. Above, the world was a fearsome place for them – the open sky a terror, the night so black, and the striding machines from space so laser-flame deadly. Esther dared the open; she saw the sky; she saw the Enemy. And she was taken – captive – to the vast alien empty city. Surrounded by marvels of a science not born on earth, Esther did not know what they wanted of her. There was mystery in the city, dread in the heavens, and magic in the handsome alien man who came to her.
In The Dragon on the Border, Sir James, the Dragon Knight, faces his most terrifying challenge – the Hollow Men, spirits of the dead in empty suits of armour. Their weapons are all too real, and a slain Hollow Man can be resurrected within two days. As long as one of their unholy number endures, no Hollow Man can ever truly die. It’s a battle that could test any dragon. Not to mention a knight. Or an American. Or all three in one!
Nineteen light years from Earth, on Sigma Draconis, an international space team stumbles upon the first evidence of another highly advanced civilization in the universe. Tragically, however, the Draconians are extinct and have been for a hundred thousand years. What mysterious disaster destroyed man’s nearest neighbour in the colossal emptiness of space? And will the same fate befall Earth? The answers, as Earth degenerates into squabbles, paranoia and self-destruction, are vital. But how to begin the almost insuperable task of cracking the enigma of a long-buried and utterly alien culture?
Spinrad examines one of his most compelling obsessions – the possible “futures” of America. Street Meat: In New York City, streeties, zonies and subway cannibals are locked in a nighmarish scrabble for rat meat, sex – and survival. The Lost Continent: group of African tourists visit the ruins of Space Age America – a surreal landscape of abandoned skyscrapers, empty streets and dead, rusted machinery. World War Last: The hashish-smoking Sheik of Koram has a plan to trick America and Russia into war. La Vie Continue: In Paris exiled science-fiction author Norman Spinrad ignores a lucrative – but dangerous – bidding war between the KGB and the CIA for the film rights to his story “Riding the Torch”.
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 Robert Wolff found a strange horn in an empty house he held the key to a different universe. To blow that horn would open up a door through space-time and permit entry to a cosmos whose dimensions and laws were not those known by our starry galaxy. For that other universe was a place of tiers, world upon world piled upon each other like the landings of a sky-piercing mountain. The one to blow that horn would ascend those steps, from creation to creation, until he would come face to face with the being whose brain-child it was. But what if that maker of universes was a madman? Or an imposter? Or a super-criminal hiding from the wrath of his own superiors…?