After millennia of relentless war, the union of alien races called the Weave was on the verge of winning a decisive victory – thanks to their new allies from Earth, who in a mere handful of centuries had proved masters of combat. But then the birdlike Wais scholar Lalelelang found disturbing evidence that Humans might not adapt so easily to peace – that natural Human aggression would next be turned against the Weave, unless they were once again confined to fight amongst themselves.
When her field research revealed the existence of a secret group of powerfully telepathic Humans called the Core, it looked as if Lalelelang would be the first victim in a new war between Humans and their allies. But just as her fate was sealed, a lone Core commander took a chance on her intelligence and compassion, gambling the fate of Humanity on the possibility that together they could both find an alternative to a galaxy-wide bloodbath…
For eons, the Amplitur had searched space for intelligent species, each of which was joyously welcomed to take part in the fulfillment of the Amplitur Purpose. Whether it wanted to or not. When the Amplitur and their allies stumbled upon the races called the Weave, the Purpose seemed poised for a great leap forward. But the Weave’s surprising unity also gave it the ability to fight the Amplitur and their cause. And fight it did, for thousands of years.
Will Dulac was a New Orleans composer who thought the tiny reef off Belize would be the perfect spot to drop anchor and finish his latest symphony in solitude. What he found instead was a group of alien visitors – a scouting party for the Weave – looking for allies among what they believed to be a uniquely warlike race: Humans.
Will tried to convince the aliens that Man was fundamentally peaceful, for he understood that Human involvement would destroy the race. But all too soon, it didn’t matter. The Amplitur had discovered Earth…
Avram Davidson was one of the great original American writers of this century. He was literate, erudite, cranky, Jewish, wildly creative, and sold most of his short stories to genre pulp magazines.Here are thirty-eight of the best: all the award-winners and nominees and best-of honored stories, with introductions by such notable authors as Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Peter S. Beagle, Thomas M. Disch, Gene Wolfe, Poul Anderson, Guy Davenport, Gregory Benford, Alan Dean Foster, and dozens of others, plus introductions and afterwords by Grania Davis, Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Bradbury.
Flinx is the only one with any chance of stopping the evil colossus barrelling in to destroy the Humanx Commonwealth (and everything else in the Milky Way.) His efforts take him to the land of his mortal enemies, the bloodthirsty AAnn, where chances are excellent that Flinx may be executed. And he must also seek out an ancient sentient weapons platform wandering around the galaxy and then communicate with it, a powwow that could very well fry his brain. Then there are the oblivion craving assassins determined to stop Flinx before he can prevent total annihilation. With a future that rosy, it’s no surprise that Flinx is flirting with disaster. Still, he’s no quitter. Now he’s going to need every once of his know-how, because he’s venturing to places where no one’s every been, to do what no one’s ever done, and where his deadliest enemy is so close it’s invisible.
Aejole Ehomba has led his companions through jungle, veldt, and desert. Now to reach the fabled port of Hamacassar, the simple herdsman must trek through deadly “civilized” lands where flowers wage war, dogs herd lightning, demons govern the darkness, and Time itself can be held captive.
In this new world, the tribesman must rely upon his friends, wondrous weapons, and the magic of memories so potent they can raise the dead or bring the sea to dry land. But no matter where he goes, every seer and sage Ehomba mets offes the same prophecy: his quest will end in failure …and death.
Etjole Ehomba and his companions brave the Kraken haunted waters of the impassable Semordria. Then they must cross yet another continent in their search for the kidnapped Visioness – past berserk giants, skeleton armies, a desert prospected by Hell’s demon and at the end of the world waits Hymneth the Possessed: the sadistic necromancer of unspeakable horror.
But Ehomba already knows the prophecy: His quest is doomed to failure, and Hymneth will kill him. Unless somehow, the simple herdsman can ask the questions that even Death must answer…
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.
Jonathan Meriweather, trapped in the strange world where animals walk and talk, and where he, as the Spellsinger, possesses unearthly powers, has faced any number of perils since Clothahump the wizard called him from his own world to help in the war against the evil of the Greendowns.
Now Jonathan, with Clothahump and Mudge the Otter, faces the greatest challenge of all, for the mysterious Perambulator is threatening the very fabric of the universe – unless Jonathan and his company can stop him.
It advanced not in the manner of a living creature but in the manner of sand. It had no arms and then a hundred, no feet but one as wide as the base of the advancing dune itself.
Everywhere and all of it was dark red, like all the rust that had ever afflicted the metals of the world squeezed into a swiftly shifting pyramid rage.
The dune howled and moaned and bellowed like some sky-scraping banshee unwillingly fastened to the Earth.
And in the midst of all that geologic fury, two thirds up the face of the oncoming mountain were two eyes…
Dreams of love, hate, fear and revenge come true in…
WOLFSTROKER – Willie Whitehorse could have been just another boozed-up guitarist, if it hadn’t been for his songs. Somehow they were different – they reached out and grabbed people’s souls. Now agent Sam Parker wanted a piece of the action. But when he had it, Sam knew he’d made a terrible mistake…a mistake it was much too late to correct…
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE… – The aliens had returned to Earth after centuries because they needed allies. But after hundreds of years, they had no idea what they would be getting the universe into…and they soon found out!
DREAM GONE GREEN – Pericles was a poet and a genius, who also happened to be a horse!
WHY JOHNNY CAN’T SPEED – A father could teach his son a lot of important things, but combat on the freeways wasn’t one of them…not when the kit was eighteen and too full of himself to survive. But revenge did have it’s compensations!
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.
His name was Robert Coffin, but the Maori natives called him Iron Hair. A civilized man in the raw wilderness of New Zealand, he had come to forge a nation at the end of the world – and discovered a magical world beyond his strangest dreams.
A world of astonishing beauty and breathtaking adventure, the natives called it the Land of the Long White Cloud. And Robert Coffin was about to enter its greatest mystery, cast in the wondrous spell of a shaman whose magic would change his life forever…
When his wallet is lifted from a one-night stand with an exotic young woman, who may be either the girl of his dreams or just a common third-world grifter and thief, this world-weary traveller decides to go against his own better judgement and that of the local authorities and pursue this alluring thief up-country into the darkest jungles of Papua New Guinea.
Here is a land where headhunters still roam, and where the natural obstacles of poisonous insects and reptiles, savage and deadly beasts, and the mortally demanding jungle itself are the least of his worries. The forces of good and evil and law and anarchy play by entire different rules in this shadowed world.
Driven by delusions of romance and the need to restore his honour, Bohannon moves in hot pursuit farther and farther up-country, into a heart of darkness almost untouched by modern civilization. And once he attains his immediate goal, he is drawn into the darkness of his own soul, as a hunt for gold proves that greed, more than love or lust, is the primal instinct. For men or women, black or white, civilized or savage, in the darkness of the jungle all shadows are primal.
The Humanx Commonwealth: Book Seven.
They call it the Drowning World. It is Fluva, a planet on the fringes of the Commonwealth where it rains torrentially, ceaselessly, and maddeningly for all but one month of the Fluvan year. Chief Administrator Lauren Matthias is fairly new to the position. Her primary goal: keeping Fluva’s indigenous species, the warlike Sakuntala, and its immigrant species, the timid but hardworking Deyzara, from annihilating one another.
The wettest place on Fluva is Viisiiviisii, an immense, mostly unexplored jungle. Thanks to the endless rains and humid conditions, exotic animals and plants have thrived there, many of them deadly predators. Yet the same evolutionary process responsible for creating toxic creatures has made the jungle a treasure trove of undiscovered botanicals potentially useful in engineering everything from pharmaceuticals to perfumes. A man can get rich there. Or die trying.
Bio-prospector Sadrach Hasselemoga has come to the jungle to get rich – if he survives the terrain once his sabotaged ship goes down. When a Sakuntala and a Deyzara are dispatched by Matthias to rescue the unfortunate soul, their ship crashes, too. Now, in order to survive, the three unlikely allies must do something that no one has ever done before: walk out of the Viisiiviisii.
Meanwhile, in what passes for civilization, long-simmering tensions between Sakuntala and Deyzara erupt into violence, threatening Matthias’s official position of neutrality – and her life. Behind the violence, Matthias detects a mysterious presence, one related to Shadrach’s disappearance. But how are the two related? The answer, when it comes, will send shock waves through the entire Commonwealth…and beyond.
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.