For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin – barely of age herself – finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history’s darkest hours. Winner of the Hugo Award 1993 Winner of the Nebula Award 1993 “A tour de force” – New York Times Book Review “Ambitious, finely detailed and compulsivly readable” – Locus “It is a book that feels fundamentally true; it is a book to live in” – Washington Post
Ian Watson’s latest collection shows the same range and apparently inexhaustible fund of ideas that have characterized all his previous books. No other contemporary figure in SF is so prolific or inventive a writer of short stories. In the title story we immediately encounter a phantasmagoric vision of a society increasingly dependent on recycling its usable material; other brilliant inventions include a planet inhabited by lemur-like aliens who bafflingly produce marvellously finished stone carvings without apparently having the tools to do so (‘The Moon and Michelangelo’); people fighting their way through the various levels of what appears to be a real-life version of a computer adventure game (‘Jewels in an Angel’s Wing’); and a zoo in which are caged the extensions into our universe of four-dimensional hyberbeings (‘Hyperzoo’). And that is only the beginning: there are fifteen stories in all, each one a state-of-the-art example of short science fiction at its finest.