When the starship Meteor crash-landed on a strange world orbiting a solitary sun in the vast darkness outside the galaxy, her crew of Earthmen had no idea of what to expect. The planet was Earthlike in gravity, air, animal and vegetable life – but what of the native races they glimpsed from a distance? What kind of culture would evolve on a planet whose sky was dominated by the glow of an entire galaxy – and with no other stars save its own dim sun? What kind of gods would they worship? The Earthmen had to find the astounding answers to these questions on a planet split by a world-wide war.
Alien Ghetto. The men of Earth were spread thin across the galaxy – and little welcome where they did appear. They lived on sufferance, disliked by their hosts and intent on spreading hatred to the stars! Unable to live in peace in their own worlds, they would sow their seeds of discontent among the peoples of the galaxy, as all the hatreds of mankind simmered under alien rule. But revolution against Earth’s alien hosts would mean – for all mean – the end of the stars!
The conquest of a galaxy is relatively easy providing the aggressor has the necessary technology and, more important, a safe method of overcoming possible opposition without bleeding to death in the process. The Asdrake employed mutated micro-organisms which directly attacked the brain of the planet’s intelligent life – they liked this method. They could fight if they had to but were inherently lazy. This method had worked successfully on twenty-two occasions – why should it fail on planet 5/6/9. Sector 88. Sun System 46. “Tseudec” (Native name: “Earth”). Casualties from the epidemic were astronomical yet, in complete paradox, failed to kill a single human being – the side effects took care of that. And those side effects were beyond even the Asdrake’s imagination. The survivors on Earth found undreamed complications in rebuilding the world with the use of their new psychic powers – and perhaps more important, were they new powers at all, and if not who had removed them thousands of years ago?
Though Morgon the Riddle-Master was reunited with his beloved Raederle, his purpose in life and the reason for the stars on his forehead remained a mystery. All around him, the realm shook with war as mysterious shape-changers battled against mankind. Without the missing High One, Morgon must assume responsibility for all his world.
On a far future Earth, mankind’s achievements are immense: artificially intelligent robots, genetically uplifted animals, interplanetary travel, genetic modification of the human form itself. But nothing comes without a cost. Humanity is tired, its vigour all but gone. Society is breaking down into smaller communities, dispersing into the countryside and abandoning the great cities of the world. As the human race dwindles and declines, which of its great creations will inherit the Earth? And which will claim the stars?
Without setting foot on another planet, people like Shep Blaine were reaching out to the stars with their minds, telepathically contacting strange beings on other worlds. But even Blaine was unprepared for what happened when he communed with the soul of an utterly alien being light years from Earth. After recovering from his experience, he becomes a dangerous man: not only has he gained startling new powers – but he now understands that humankind must share the stars. Hunted through time and space by those who he used to trust, Blaine undergoes a unique odyssey that takes him through a nightmarish version of small-town America as he seeks to find others who share his vision of a humane future. Blaine has mastered death and time. Now he must master the fear and ignorance that threatened to destroy him!
These were the last weeks and days before the end of the world, before total destruction overwhelmed Earth and every living thing on the surface of the planet. No one knew exactly how long they had before the sun turned nova and destroyed not only Earth but all of the other planets in the Solar System. For mankind, the only excape lay in flight to the stars, to Alpha Centauri, more than four light years distant. The hyperdrive, capable of carrying them there at close to the speed of light had been developed, but as yet had not been perfected. In a world without a future, the starships were the only salvation of mankind and they could save only a minute fraction of the population of Earth. Panic is there, but temporarily forgotten by most, as the plans for a mass exodus are speeded up, as the long hours of mounting tension draw to a close and Judgement Day, when the world shall be destroyed by fire, is mo longer a hazy time in the far future, but something very close and very terrible. For those who remained behind, there could be no escape; death would come suddenly, eight minutes after the nova explosion. For those who fled the Solar System in the starships, untried and working on principles only partially understood, there was only the long, terrible journey through the endless night, not knowing what lay at the end of it.
Thursday began as an ordinary day as far as Estelle was concerned. Breakfast… Tube… Office… Lunch… And then the sane, sane, simple everyday world began to fade. One moment she was walking along the pleasant tree-lined familiarity of her home town… the next she was involved in a strange translucent sphere and life had turned into a nightmare. Without warning and without explanation she found herself alone in a strange new environment. There were strange stars in the unknown sky above her and the flora and fauna of her new surroundings were disturbingly unfamiliar. Most minds would have yielded to the easy escape of insanity. But Estelle Wilde was made of sterner stuff. She fought back at the strangeness of her new setting and tried desperately to establish a new set of survival data before it was too late. Piece by piece she collected her information and sat down to the mammoth task of answering the great questions. Where was she? How had she been brought there? And why? Above all… was it possible to get home?
The modern mind usually associates witchcraft with the middle ages. We think of witches as Shakespeare depicted them in Macbeth. We see them as secret, black and midnight hags, doing a deed without a name. We close our eyes and immediately the vision of a cauldron filled with foul ingredients appears before us; here are the fenny snake, adder’s fork, wool of bat, scale of dragon and tooth of wolf. But this does not go far enough back. There was witchcraft in the world long before medieval times. The Witch of Endor who practiced her strange arts in the reign of King Saul is familiar to all students of the Old Testament. The writings of Homer abound with references to witchcraft and sorcery. The very earliest human societies had witch doctors, medicine men, shamans and priests of the black art. Perhaps so ancient and widespread a cult has some basis in fact. There are powers beyond science. Ancient occult laws will still hold good. It is not wise to cross the path of a being whose age is measured in centuries and whose dark powers can alter the stars in their courses.
Jay Vickers was an ordinary man, or so he thought. All he wanted was to be left in peace to finish his next book. However, strange things started happenin – from his discovery of a mouse that was not a mouse, to the visit of an old neighbor that was not a man. Or at least he was not an ordinary man. For as it turned out, neither was Jay Vickers. This is the story of human mutation – the next step in the evolution of the species. What if mutants walked among us already? What if they were organized? What if they had unbelievable powers, such as the ability to cross between alternate worlds or dimensions at will, or to intuitively reach the absolutely correct answer by intuition or “hunch”, or to telepathically reach out to the stars? Such supermen would automatically try to conquer lesser men, would they not? Or would they do everything in their power to free the rest of humanity from slavery and suffering? Just what would the political and corporate powers-that-be do to keep their power and their slaves? How would mutants undermine the power of these bosses to set mankind free? This is a story of unlimited freedom, of worlds without end, ready for the taking. It is also the story of powerful, benevolent beings that exist only to help those who need that help. This is a future of a lop-sided mechanical culture of technology that could provide creature comfort for a few, but not human justice or security for the many. It is a future of hate, and war, and worry. Nothing like the way the world really turned out – after all, there couldn’t really be an underground of mutants working to free humanity . . . could there?