One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives. The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk – a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world’s artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they’d been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside – more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future. Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who’s forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses. Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth’s probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun – and report back on what they find. Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.
Bright the sun burning, Night will come turning, Mothwings go spinning, End and beginning, Eye of the star, Where Old Gods are. Players, take your places! The Land itself calls Game!
Written under the working title of “The Spore Menace” in 1954, Pandora’s Box was not actually published until 1996. Many of the ideas in this novel are seminal, even prophetic. Tubb was one of the very first sf writers to realize the potential danger to Earth from alien organisms. He appreciated that whilst technology may change, Man’s nature remains the same and Pandora’s Box spins a fascinating tale based on that most basic human emotion – greed!
“Mytilene,” he told them, “is a pleasure world. Or, rather, I should say worlds. You can fly from any planet to any other in the atmosphere. “The whole ball, which is much larger than Jupiter, is held together by electromagnetic forces created and maintained by the machines and the robot brains on the centre planet – which spins of itself, but does not move within the gaseous envelope.
Somewhere, spinning through another universe is an Earth where a twist of fate, a revolution and a few early inventions have made a world quite unlike our own. It is a world where Cavaliers and Puritans battle with the aid of observation balloons and steam trains; where Oberon and Titania join forces with King Arthur to resist the Industrial Revolution; and where the future meshes with the past in the shape of Valeria, time traveller from New York.
A fantasist without equal, Patricia A. McKillip has created worlds of intricate beauty and unforgettably nuanced characters. For many years, she’s drawn readers into her spell, spinning modern-day fables with a grace rarely seen. Now she presents a book of short stories, full of beautiful dragons, rueful princesses, and handsome bards, and written in the gorgeous – and often surprisingly funny – prose she’s known for. This is her world, wrapped up in the finery of fairy tales
To the residents of Abalone, Arizona, a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concern is surviving the Great Depression, the arrival of a circus in town is a chance to forget their woes for a while. But this is the circus of Dr. Lao and instead of relief, the townsfolk are confronted with an array creature seemingly straight out of mythology: a chimera, a Medusa, a sphinx, a sea serpent and, of course, the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao. As the circus unfolds, it spins events towards a climactic final act that will change the lives of Abalone’s residents for ever.
Spin ended with the alien Hypotheticals setting a vast Arch over the Indian Ocean. Those who sailed under it found themselves on Equatoria, another planet entirely. In Axis, a secretive Equatorian community of Fourths – humans who’ve had their lives extended by illegal Martian technology – raised a boy, Isaac Dvali, to communicate with the Hypotheticals. Interstellar clouds of tiny fragmented Hypothetical nanomachines rained down on Equatoria, an some began to grow. Isaac and Turk Findley, a tough bush pilot an former drifter, were absorbed by a vast concatenation of those growths. Now, Turk Findley has awakened ten thousand years later, to be collected by the people of Vox – an Equatorian group that’s obsessed with the Hypotheticals. The Vox have been waiting for Turn and Isaac for a very long time. Meanwhile, the story of Turk and Isaac among the people of Vox is being scrawled in notebooks by a disturbed man in a hospital on twenty-first-century Earth, in the years following the Spin . . .
Young Peter, a student of Byzantine art forms at Moscow University, through a cryptic sentence in a lecture receives a message to buy two books of his choice at exactly 1.30 pm in the university bookstore. When he opens the package, a third book, ‘The Life of Pushkin’, a very special copy indeed, has been included. It is this third book that leads Peter to Armenia on a series of adventures of the sort that Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle know how to spin so skilfully and so spell bindingly. Peter’s mission includes finding his father again after many years of separation. And from his father he receives the remarkable ‘battery’ – plus a very difficult task to perform.
The multi-award-winning SF masterpiece from one of the greatest SF writers of all time Rama is a vast alien spacecraft that enters the Solar System. A perfect cylinder some fifty kilometres long, spinning rapidly, racing through space, Rama is a technological marvel, a mysterious and deeply enigmatic alien artefact. It is Mankind’s first visitor from the stars and must be investigated … Winner of the HUGO AWARD for best novel, 1974 Winner of the NEBULA AWARD for best novel, 1973 Winner of the JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD for best novel, 1974 Winner of the BSFA AWARD for best novel, 1973