The Humanx Commonwealth: Book Five.
He was smart. He was good. He was backed by the Commonwealth’s best equipment. So what could possibly go wrong?
‘In the midst of life…’ thought Evan Orgel.
A whole lot of life. Alien life-form upon alien life-form, crawling, floating, wriggling, darting and oozing. The entire unexplored surface of the planet Prism was unimaginably alive.
‘…we are in death.’
His death. His Mobile Hostile World suit – the very latest, state-of-the-art, off-world protection gear – had just failed. Attacked in just about the only way its proud makers hadn’t thought of.
So there he lay, a hermit crab trapped in his own armour, while the myriad alien life-forms of prism crawled, floated, wriggled, darted and oozed about him, getting ready to open him up like a tin of upmarket cat food.
Evan Orgell was full of misery.
There’s no place like home…
It was a pretty good life for a spellsinger from L.A. He’d battled demons, fought deadly Plated Folk, even met a socialist dragon and survived. Now Jon-Tom was quite happy to settle into domestic bliss with the fiery Talea, study magic, and practice spellsinging on his duar. But the magic instrument is broken when Jon-Tom protects the wizard Clothahump from thieves and he must set out across the Glittergeist Sea to find the one person who can fix it. With the irrepressible Mudge the Otter as a travelling companion, only the unexpected can happen. But cannibal muskrats, ogres, and a fierce pirate king parrot must seem ordinary indeed when Jon-Tom finds a way back to Earth – and he must choose which world is home.
THE DREAD RETURNS
Jon Meriweather, plucked from his own world to a place where animals walk, talk and cast spells, is pitted once more against a deadly foe. Now he and his strange fellowship must embark on a journey from which none has survived.
His way lies down the treacherous river that winds through the subterranean lair of Massaurath, Mother of Nightmares, across Helldrink through a tunnel of cold flame to the centre of the Earth…
All of his life Flinx had lived in the marketplace on Drallar with his foster mother, an ageing shopkeeper. But Flinx did not belong there and although he knew nothing of his true parents he was determined to find out about himself and the strange mental abilities that he had been endowed with.
His search was to lead him into the clutches of Challis, one of the most depraved and powerful men in the Commonwealth … on to Terra where the records of his birth were kept … and finally to Ulru-Ujurr where the priceless and mysterious Janus jewels came from and where a new civilisation was about to be born.
Pip and Flinx: Book Two.
Repler was a humanx-controlled planet, a minor outpost of the flourishing Commonwealth. It housed two of the most terrible threats ever to have faced the material universe.
First was the Vom. A vast mass of liquid blackness, it had waited half a million years to be discovered. The wait was over.
Second there was Bloodyhype, a killer drug with no known antidote. It caused instant addiction, followed by excruciatingly slow death.
Flinx was a sanitation engineer, strictly on the sidelines. But his role in the affairs of the planet soon took on a more ominous aspect.
For Ethan Frome Fortune and his musclebound sidekick Skua September, the frozen planet of Tran-ky-ky had become too much of a cold thing. Aboard their giant icerigger Slanderscree, they headed for the trading post of Brass Monkey to book a passage home.
Then fate intervened with the news that their Tran friends were being exploited by ruthless off-world profiteers. To help, Ethan and Skua – interplanetary sales team extraordinaire – must make a desperate mission to Moulokin, the fabled fortified city across the frozen seas and ringed with chilling peril…
Just when it looked as if Ethan Fortune might be able to breathe a warm sigh of relief at getting away from the icy world of Tran-ky-ky, he was ordered to stay right where he was.
It seemed the scientists at the outpost of Brass Monkey had spotted something odd – an isolated and ominous atmosphere hot spot far to the south.
Only Ethan, along with the huge, hell-raising Skua September, had the local knowledge and the persuasiveness to get the Tran to mount an expedition. Only the giant icerigger Slanderscree could cope with the conditions.
Knowing you’re wanted may warm the cockles of the human heart but Ethan knew at once that the rest of him was going to be exposed to freezing cold, considerable danger and a whole lot more of the adventures that kept coming his way…
Born was a child of the rain forest that covered Midworld, part of the primitive society that the peaceful jungle planet had sustained for hundreds of years. He was wise in the ways of his world, and he knew well the precarious natural balance that governed all things.Then one day the aliens came. Giants. They knew nothing of the Upper or Lower Hell ? and they cared less. Born had risked his life to save them, to guide them through the myriad tangled boughs, past unseen, unsuspected dangers lurking in the underbrush. But worse than their ignorance of how to survive, the aliens had plans for Midworld, plans that could utterly destroy the globe-spanning forest that his people called home.As the days passed, Born realized his mistake. And as he had once hunted only to live, he knew now that he would be forced to live only to kill…
Not so long ago Marcus Walker was just another young commodities trader in Chicago, working hard and playing harder. But that’s all in the past, part of a life half forgotten – a reality that vanished when he was attacked while camping and tossed aboard a starship bound for deep space.
Desperately, Walker searches for explanations, only to realise he’s trapped in a horrifying nightmare that is all too real. Instead of being a rich hotshot at the top of the food chain, Walker discovers he’s just another amusing novelty, part of a cargo of “cute” aliens from primitive planets – destined to be sold as pets to highly advanced populations in “civilized” regions of the galaxy.
Even if he weren’t constantly watched by his captors, Walker has few options. After all, there is no escape from a speeding starship. Another man might resign himself to the inevitable and hope to be sold to a kindly owner, but not Walker. This former college football star has plenty of American ingenuity and no intention of admitting defeat, now or ever. In fact, he’s only just begun to fight.
Abducted by aliens to be sold as pets in a more civilized part of the galaxy, earthlings Marcus Walker and a scruffy dog named George (speech-enhanced to increase his market value) have managed to escape their captors. Walker loves being humankind’s first galactic traveller – until he remembers he hasn’t a clue where his home is or how to get there. So the erstwhile commodities broker becomes a chef, whipping up delicacies for demanding alien palates. Of course he never imagined that the way back to Chicago would involve swapping his easy-living adopted planet for an all-out, age-old war many parsecs away. But hey, it’s all for a good cause, h has George and their two fellow escapees for company, and what else is there to do, besides avoid nasty aliens? Plenty, it turns out.
Marcus Walker, a former hotshot commodities broker, and a wisecracking dog named George, who has been speech-enhanced to increase his market value, have escaped their alien Vilenjji captors, who saw the two as cuddly extra-terrestrial “pets” to be sold for a hefty sum. But Walker hasn’t a clue which way will lead him back home to Chicago. With the Vilenjji hot on his trail, Walker must pull off the impossible and pinpoint his needle of a solar system in the universal haystack. Will the unrelenting Vilenjji get to him before he reaches Wrigley Field? Yep, it’s a wide-open universe out there, bursting with possibilities – and Walker’s going to get hit with all of them.
Wandering out there in some remote region of the galaxy is a gargantuan, sentient Tar-Aiym weapons system. All Flinx has to do – while his pals look after his injured love, Clarity Held – is find the hefty object and persuade it to knock out the monstrous evil that is hurtling through the space to lay waste to the entire Commonwealth. A no brainier, really… just as soon as Flinx and his mini drag, Pip, visit Visaria – a dangerously depraved planet to make sure that humans are indeed worth saving. But prospects really go south when Flinx runs afoul of a ruthless crime king. What’s more, a new mystery is waiting to be uncovered: a shocking clue about Flinx’s shadowy past.
Pip and Flinx; Book Eleven.
In the outer depths of the universe lies that Great Emptiness, behind which lurks something dreadful – something that is now raging straight for the Commonwealth. To avert catastrophe, Flinx must find a conscious planet size weapons system and, using his heightened mental powers, coax it into joining the battle against the behemoth from beyond.
So Pip and Flinx sail their little spaceship into the unknown, only to be forced down for emergency repairs on planet Arrwad, home to primitive sentiments and therefore off limits to space travellers. But rules never applied to Flinx. Upon his arrival, Flinx is besieged by hordes bent on worshipping him as a god. Escaping this fate will be as impossible as fulfilling his dire mission. What’s a deity to do?
Pip and Flinx: Book Thirteen.
“I know who your father is . . . Gestalt.”
A stunned Flinx hears these dying words from one of the renegade eugenicists whose experiments with humans twenty-odd years ago shocked the galaxy . . . and spawned Flinx. So Flinx and his minidrag, Pip, venture to Gestalt, an out-of-the-way planet that may supply the key to Flinx’s shadowy past and strange powers.
Unfortunately for Flinx, Gestalt also hosts a resident bounty hunter who’s just learned about the stupendous reward offered for a certain dead redhead. Flinx gets a chance to test his adversary’s skills when our hero’s skimmer is blasted out of the sky and into a raging river in the middle of nowhere – a nowhere of impassable terrain and ravenous, carnivorous beasts.
As is evident from his many thrilling novels, Alan Dean Foster is a master at creating other worlds in an array of genres. Now he turns his imagination to the short story in these spectacular tales of outer space, cyberspace, ancient gods, modern demons and mortal horror, including:
The Panhandler – A predatory lawyer encounters a fabled boyhood hero and falls victim to the less innocent intrigues of eternal youth.
Growth – Not even his minidrag Pip can save Flinx from the overly intimate advances of an intruder who goes entirely too far.
Basted – A lowly, hen-pecked Egyptian discovers that the Pharaoh’s tomb holds exactly what he needs for a whole new life.
The Killing of Bad Bull – A man with a knack for getting gambling’s one-armed bandits to give it up finds himself at the top – of several hit lists.
At Sea – A poor Scandinavian captain forced into running drugs is shown a way out of his desperate straits with the help of five beautiful blondes who are simply out-of-this-world.