Once there was only the land of Phesaotois, with a cold and baleful Stone at its magical heart. Much later came the land of Pheyarcet, younger and hotter, with its Well of Fire inextricably bound up with its ruler, the great Panurgus.
Then Panurgus died, touching off a bitter struggle between his sons that ended with Avril on the throne and Prospero, mightiest of the sorcerers, in permanent exile.
All that was an age ago. Now Prospero, grown ancient and subtle, has found a new, third land: bright Argylle, with its primal Spring of clear water. Argylle is a fair realm in its own right; but the children of Panurgus never forgive and never forget.
And so Prospero decides it is an auspicious time to seize the throne of Phesaotois from Avril – thereby setting in motion a vast tale of romance and espionage, of talking animals and mythic beasts, of metaphysics and primal creation, of mannerly drama and gritty military detail: an epic that can only end in a conflagration of blood and honor.
Award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds – great and small – of ordinary people who shape history.
Asmodeus Mogart was not a bad fellow, as demons go. Having gotten in trouble back in the home office, he had been assigned to duty on Earth. There he toiled, doing the kinds of things demons do and turning into something of a drunk.
Then a rogue asteroid threatened to crash into Earth and destroy all life on the planet – demons included! There had to be a better way.
Mac Walters and Jill McCullough, holding a private wake for their world in a Reno bar, were more than startled when a strange-looking little drunk told them they could save the world. All they had to do was enter five alternate universes and steal a demon-guarded jewel in each. Clearly, the man was crazy.
But they had nothing better to do than go along with the gag. Then they each found themselves, naked and alone, on a hostile alien world!
Two incidents involving a Peeping Tom are reported from the Swim and Tan Motel to the detective agency belonging to Donald Lam and Bertha Cool. Bertha, meanwhile, has warned Donald to steer clear of the dangerous jobs and stick to aiding solid, sane citizens like Montrose L. Carson. And all Carson wants is the name of the informer in his office who is passing on confidential material to a business rival, Herbert Dowling.
But when Dowling is murdered at the Swim and Tan Motel, it looks as though Bertha has picked the wrong client, and Donald the right girl when he chooses a lively bait to catch the Peeping Tom … and the murderer.
Returning to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge after a spell at the nuclear research labs of CERN in Geneva, Professor Isaac Newton is plunged into the centre of a baffling mystery. One of his research students, Mike Howarth, has picked up strange signals on his satellite telemetry equipment, signals that appear to emanate from a passing comet. Not long after he has passed the vital data into Isaac Newton’s hands, Howarth is found dead. Soon after that, it becomes clear that some people in very high places – including the Kremlin and the White House – are more than a little interested in the remarkable events taking place at the Cavendish. But with the arrival of that most majestic of all celestial bodies, Comet Halley, a third and infinitely more powerful superpower enters the scene. And the Comet’s extraordinary intentions – not to mention its devastating methods of communicating them to Earth – promise a new dawn for humanity.
When Pickford’s body was found hanging from a beam in his garage, Inspector Loxton was sure that it was a case of suicide following a series of financial and domestic worries.
Then came the criminologist with his slogan, ‘Common sense is all you need’, and in ten minutes he upset the inspector’s hypothesis. Further evidence pointed so clearly in one direction that the arrest and the conviction of the criminal seemed almost a matter of form.
But both the Inspector and the expert are way off course, and it is left to the Chief Constable to clear up the mystery …
‘Mr Connington has the art of writing delightful detective novels’ Baltimore Evening Sun
Connie Willis is one of science fiction’s most decorated authors, with a staggering eleven HUGOs and seven NEBULA AWARDs to her name. She is best known for her sequence of time-travel stories including SF Masterworks DOOMSDAY BOOK and TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG and the HUGO AWARD-winning diptych BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR. This omnibus collects her solo debut, LINCOLN’S DREAMS, which won the JOHN W. CAMPBELL MEMORIAL AWARD and PASSAGE, shortlisted for the HUGO, NEBULA JOHN W. CAMPBELL and ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARDs.
When Commander Herries of the Space Line began to sell the water of Mars as a ‘potion’ for lengthening life he had no idea that he was going to create the world’s greatest thirst and produce havoc among the two social grades of Earth – the Inelligentsia and the Normals. But produce it he did.
Among the confusion thus produced one man thinks clearly for his own ends – Vance Unthra, the leading scientist of the world – and he sees in the crisis which has hit Earth a way to be rid of all those who do not measure up to what he thinks as an intellectual standard. By his orders two synthetic worlds are created – Alpha and Omega – and to these are ruthlessly evacuated all the victims of the Martian water, there to rebuild there shattered fortunes and never cross the ‘Dark Boundaries’ which exist between those worlds and Earth.
Despite his careful planning, however, Unthra makes one mistake. In destroying the power of the Martian water over the evacuated thousands he miscalculates the strength of cosmic radiation on Omega with the result that the leader – the Controllix – of this world, Sylvia Grantham, becomes a far greater power in the grand scheme of things than her former lover, Dexter Carfax. Through the machinations of the wily Unthra open hostility breaks out between Dexter Carfax and the girl, and eventually their worlds are destroyed through the influence of a deadly chain reaction ‘disease’ from the Great Red Spot of Jupoter.
Both of them, however, through the various experiences they undergo, hold to one objective – to be avenged on Vance Unthra for his viciousness.
‘A Luis Mendoza story means superlative suspense’ Los Angeles Times
Lieutenant Mendoza seems to be beset on all sides: at home, his wife Alison is convinced she is having twins; at the office his worry is a man called Francis Ingram, prime suspect for a murder Mendoza does not think he has committed.
Yet the fact remains that someone has murdered Mendoza’s wife, Arabella, and the evidence points straight at him. But as the case progresses it becomes clear that everyone has a grudge against her and a consuming interest in her will . . .
Science fiction writer Sanford Kvass has a problem. Three problems, actually. He suffering from terrible writer’s block and owes his agent a large sum of money. The last thing he needs is the approaching distraction of the World Science Fiction Convention, with it’s obsessive fans, sex-mad SF groupies and professional writers and editors getting drunk and behaving badly.
But we said ‘three problems’, didn’t we? The best that can be said about Sanford Kvass’ third problem is that it renders his first two irrelevant. Kvass is approached by an alien ( a genuine alien, not a cosplay one) who informs him that the human race is to be tested: an alien will appear at the World Science Fiction Convention, disguised as a human being, and unless Kvass can unmask it, the Earth will be destroyed.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t present much of a challenge. All he’s have to do, is to observe as many people as he could and identify the one who clearly had no experience of normal social interaction. Voila! One unmasked alien.
There’s just one problem: this is Worldcon . . .
Classic police procedural by a ‘born storyteller’ (Sunday Times), who combined natural flair with his experience in the police to truly authentic effect.
When a respected and successful businessman claims that he is being blackmailed by Inspector Martineau, and provides evidence to support his allegations, the policeman’s superiors have no choice but to suspend him from duty.
Martineau must go to work to clear his name, but the trail is a complex and dangerous one. The inspector has many enemies, not least Dixie Costello, whom he helped to put in jail and who is now once more at large. But is the trail a false one? And are all of Martineau’s colleagues to be trusted?
‘The wolf Meshiska gave birth to five cubs on the night before full moon. Outside the den a storm was lashing the spruce trees. The sky and the land had become part of each other: a scatterwind night swirling with fragments of black and white. Snow became darkness and darkness snow, and any creature lost between the two found a rock or a tree and lay down beside it, to wait until the world had formed again.’
Into this bleak landscape, Athaba is born, a young wolf destined for great adventure. Exiled from his pack for breaking its rigid codes of behaviour and showing too much imagination, Athaba becomes a ‘raven wolf’, a lonely scavenger living on scraps and his wits.
Survival in the icy wastes is hard and dangerous without the comfort and protection of the pack. Injured, and stranded far from home, Athaba is forced to strike up an uneasy alliance with his natural enemy: a man. Together, but ever wary of each other, the wolf and the solitary hunter start their long walk home across the wilderness.
It soon becomes clear that the man must learn to be a wolf if he is to survive in the wolf’s world. And Athaba has to use all his imagination to learn new skills and strategies to fend for himself and his new pack member: for he discovers that men are frail, and often very ignorant!
In the 22nd century biofeedback techniques to control by will the processes of one’s own body have reached their ultimate expression: the ability to transform the body into virtually any viable form whatsoever. What began as an innocent technique to reduce anxiety without recourse to drugs has raised fundamental questions about what it is to be human, since form is no longer sufficient nor even relevant.
Enter the Humanity Test: in a future when other techniques can change the forms of animals, so far it has been a guaranteed one hundred percent successful means of determining whether a life form started out as human. But now strange life forms, vicious and bestial, are proliferating throughout the Solar System. They are clearly not human, and clearly their nervous systems are too underdeveloped for them to have been human. But though the beasts threaten havoc and death to all the far flung isolated stations, the simple solution of shooting the varmints is impossible: for life forms that according to the Humanity Test started out human the law is very clear: Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Shortlisted for the 1961 Hugo Award, Rogue Moon is the disquieting and story of what happens when monstrous scientific ambition is matched by human obsession.
The moon had finally been reached, and on it was found the most terrifying structure, that killed men over and over again, in torturous, unfathomable ways. Clearly, only a mad man or a suicidal maniac could explore its horrible secrets.
All his life, Al Barker has toyed with death. So when the US lunar programme needs a volunteer to penetrate a murderous labyrinth, alien to all human comprehension, Barker’s the man to do it. But what is required of Barker is that he withstand the trauma of dying, not just once, but time and time and time again …
‘My favourite American crime-writer’ New York Herald Tribune
In the quiet suburb of Santa Monica, eighty-eight-year-old Mabel Foster loses her husband to a stroke. Rather than move Mabel into a retirement home, the neighbours hire Josephine Slaney to take care of her. The immense nurse is a godsend, the cost of her help is a bargain.
Soon it becomes clear, however, that all is not right with Josephine. Mrs Foster, once bright and alert, falls quickly into a torpor and retreats into seclusion at Josephine’s command. It is up to detective Dan Valentine to uncover a strange, lethal pattern among Josephine’s former patients, and the race is on to stop her before she can strike again.