“Go to thy master and say that Mardanax hath come. I have lived to see the barbarian Thongor in his tomb.”
As the stranger throws back his cloak the hellish gleam of his emerald eyes confirms his statement – Mardanax, the Black Magician of Zaar – has survived Thongor’s destruction of the dread City of Magicians.
Mardanax strikes swiftly. His evil sorcery explodes with inconceivable power, and Thongor lies dead. Thongor’s beautiful queen is drugged into mindless obedience to the Black Magician. Her son, the prince, is kidnapped. Thongor’s empire seems to have fallen to the forces of Chaos.
Then, wandering in the land of the dead, Thongor finds a powerful sword of light…
‘Dick’s best work, and the most memorable alternative world tale…ever written’ SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS
It is 1962 and the Second World War has been over for seventeen years: people have now had a chance to adjust to the new order. But it’s not been easy. The Mediterranean has been drained to make farmland, the population of Africa has virtually been wiped out and America has been divided between the Nazis and the Japanese. In the neutral buffer zone that divides the two superpowers lives the man in the high castle, the author of an underground bestseller, a work of fiction that offers an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers didn’t win the war. The novel is a rallying cry for all those who dream of overthrowing the occupiers. But could it be more than that?
Subtle, complex and beautifully characterized, The Man in the High Castle remains the finest alternative world novel ever written, and a work of profundity and significance.
Trillions were hard, bright, tiny things which suddenly arrived – millions and millions and millions of them – one windy day in a village called Harbourtown.
No one could explain them, much less why they had suddenly arrived. Were they a blessing, as their beauty suggested, or a deadly, inexplicable threat? A boy with a microscope was just as likely to come up with the answer as all the acknowledged experts in any known kind of science, so somehow it seemed natural for two ‘ordinary’ boys, Scott and Bem, to join forces with an ex-spaceman against the frightening efforts of the ruthless General Harman to destroy the Trillions, no matter what the cost.
Charlatans or Prophets? At best, the tiny Kandarian Air Fleet would fight until its last ship was blown into infinity. At worst, it would be annihilated without a chance. To young Captain Bors, either course was unthinkable.
The ruthless Dictator of Mekin had already subjugated twenty-two helpless planets. Now he wanted Kandar’s unconditional surrender, or his vastly superior forces would blast it out of existence.
It took a lot of guts, and the hope that is frequently born of despair, for a military man like Bors to throw in his lot with Talents, Incorporated, an untried, unscientific organization. Through peculiar gifts of extra-sensory perception, its personnel could, their leader insisted, out-think and out-guess even the most deadly dictator in the history of mankind. Could it? It just might.
And it just might not. . . . But there was absolutely nothing to lose, and a free world (and a beautiful girl) to win. Captain Bors made his decision, and the loaded die was cast!
In the Well-Built City, Master Drachton Below’s power is absolute, and he will not hesitate to use it. His primary method of control is through his physiognomists, who are trained to read a person’s face and body, perceiving that person’s past and secrets-and even events yet to come. These seers are the judges and jury. Now Drachton has found something that could extend his reign for eternity: a fruit that bestows immortality. To investigate its whereabouts, Below sends cold, collected physiognomist Cley to the remote mining town of Anamasobia. One at a time Cley interrogates the townspeople, performing his usual fact finding without issue. That is, until he meets the beautiful and bright Arla, who harbors a secret that could potentially turn Cley’s world upside down-and topple the Well-Built City itself.
A Kafkaesque journey into the unknown, The Physiognomy is an award-winning trip through a land where the line between reality and imagination is constantly blurred.
A dark love story, and a disturbing tale of a divided soul.
In the days leading to the fall of the Soviet empire, a young woman with a deadly secret slips unnoticed into the West. And when Alina Petrovna first appears in Three Oaks Bay it’s clear that her frail, luminous beauty is likely to cause some ripples in the surface calm of the peaceful resort town.
For Pete McCarthy, the boatyard worker who gives her shelter, she’s an enigma. A complex, well-meaning young woman with a difficult past. Someone whose mystery deepens as the season gets under way, and the deaths by drowning begin…
An old woman who spends her days scrubbing the floors might be an unlikely damsel in distress, but Lord Dunsany proves once again his mastery of the fantastical. The Charwoman’s Shadow is a beautiful tale of a sorcerer’s apprentice who discovers his master’s nefarious usage of stolen shadows, and vows to save the charwoman from her slavery.
The battle has been fought and won, and all have been transformed by the struggle. Imago of Lockwood has become Lord Mayor of the City Imperishable, though at a price beyond his wildest imagination. Bijaz the Dwarf has been imbued with a godlike power and a responsibility he scarcely understands. And Jason the Factor, resurrected from death at the hands of his sister, the Tokhari sandwalker Kalliope, has become the sula ma-jieni na-dia, the fabled Dead Man of Winter. When a beautiful mountebank arrives in the City Imperishable, offering to lead an expedition to uncover the lost tomb of the Imperator Terminus, she stirs up the mob with promises of treasure and imperial power… but what will her quest unleash? Political intrigue, adventure, and all-out war await the principles and inhabitants of the City Imperishable. Through it all, the City may endure, but none will remain untouched by the Madness of Flowers…
In another sparkling and slightly askew adventure in the mode of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Jack Vance, Fools Errant’s Filidor Vesh sashays once more through the penultimate age, finding that love is a many splintered thing.
The dandified Archon’s apprentice is literally bowled over by beautiful Emmlyn Podarke — she knocks him flat and steals his credentials, daring him to pursue her to a remote and mostly forgotten corner of Old Earth. Now Filidor must cope with philosophical pirates, prophet-seeking aliens, light-fingered mummers, and a tiny, bothersome voice in his left ear. Meanwhile, the Archon may or may not have been kidnaped, and somebody’s digging up a mysterious ancient artefact buried on the Podarke family farm.
The third book of The Eternal Champion trilogy.
John Daker is the Eternal Champion, trapped in a dimensionless plane outside of time, defender and destroyer of justice, a hero whose quest for justice leads only further into darkness.
Haunted by the memories of too many battles waged during countless lifetimes, he searches for the beautiful Ermizhad – and for the key that will allow him to step off the wheel of infinite incarnations. His is a voyage on a dark ship piloted by a blind helmsman, through the slave stalls of the Cannibal Ghost Women and the tunnels of doom to a monstrous confrontation with the Evil that could plunge the world into the final night of oblivion.
Destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy, the warrior Sargon strode through the gates of Chalsadon – the last refuge of a once-proud empire. Only Sargon, a Barbarian and an Outsider, could stem the slaughter. Only he could wield the deadly golden maul, covered with the dust of centuries. Only he was fated to test the necromancy of Shadrazar, the beautiful Black Lord of Chaos. But Sargon was mortal . . .
That first visit to Mars had been a mistake. A miraculous journey out through the myriad miles of space and back, back through the millennia to a time before Man existed, it had been the chance result of a small-scale malfunction in an experimental matter transfer machine.
But Michael Kane’s first great adventure in a world where great mythic armies battled, where hugely bizarre creatures roamed and deeds of high heroism and dark treachery resounded, was but the start. For as he learned to control and use the machinery, he was to return to Mars again and again.
The second volume of the Martian adventures of Michael Kane, of the proud Princess Shizala, her warrior brother and the darkly beautiful but evil Horguhl, in ebook for the first time!
In the sulphurous The High Place, the amoral hero Florian enters the sleeping-beauty story and (unlike Jurgen with Helen) does not draw back at the sight of excessive beauty. Complications ensue: Beauty is realistically diminished during pregnancy, the first-born child is forfeit to Satan under the pact that guaranteed Florain’s success, and an irascible saint is eager to call down holy fire on transgressors. Florian treads close to damnation and is saved only when Satan and the angel Michael conspire to let recent events become, again, a dream: he has a rare second chance and learns better.
Zarouk, aging warrior and grandfather to young Kadji, implored the boy to dethrone Prince Yakthodah, vile impostor-heir to the throne of the Dragon Emperor. On Haral, his faithful, black Feridoon pony, and with beautiful, redhaired Thyra at his side, Kadji rode East to vanquish his foe – knowing full well that if he failed to decapitate Yakthodah, he would be branded coward . . . and worse!
When Charles Platt set out to answer the question, “Who writes science fiction?” he interviewed almost all the writers who molded the field during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The profiles that Platt wrote have become a definitive source of information about the lives and careers of Isaac Asimov, Jerry Pournelle, Frank Herbert, Frederik Pohl, and dozens more.
Originally published in two volumes, the profiles collected here have been specially updated with afterwords written in 2017.
“There has never been a better book about science fiction; it is doubtful that there has ever veen a better book about writing of any kind.” -The Cleveland Press.
“A book of sharp, insightful, beautifully written essays . . . . This is quite probably the finest book of its type yet to appear.” -Publishers Weekly.
“A magnificent achievement, exemplary in its insights, its structure, its editorial restraint and perspective . . . a monumental book.” -Robert Silverberg.
“Platt held me spellbound for hours. . . . These are some of the best [interviews] I’ve ever seen.” –Analog magazine.
“A superb piece of work . . . full of color and warm empathy, it makes for charming reading.” -Alfred Bester.