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The Black Sun

The Black Sun

As the final ship of Project Starseed makes its landing on the dead star, the colonists venture out to search the area, only to discover something shocking hidden in the ice.
Black Abyss

Black Abyss

With the discovery of the hyperdrive, mankind at last possessed the means of going out to the stars. Four expeditions had already gone by the fine the fifth starship left Pluto for Vega. Carrying its complement of scientists and military personnel, they arrived at the solar system of Vega to find one planet sufficiently like Earth to allow them to land.

Here, they discovered mystery. The ruins of great cities built on the shattered remains of still earlier fortresses, showing that some great race of conquerors had passed that way sometime in the past thirty thousand years.

No life now remained on this planet and speeding to the next sun, they found a civilisation which possessed powers so utterly strange to them that one native almost succeeded in destroying them and taking over the ship. And still the mystery remained, for the legends of the planet spoke of a race of gods who had come down from the stars twenty thousand years before.

It was not until they reached the planet of a red giant sun that they ran into a race of creatures so fantastically alien that there was no defence against them, and they learned the real identity of the race which had conquered the stars millennia before…
Midnight's Sun

Midnight's Sun

‘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!
The Black Star Passes

The Black Star Passes

THREE AGAINST THE STARS!

A sky pirate armed with superior weapons of his own invention…

First contact with an alien race dangerous enough to threaten the safety of two planets…

The arrival of an unseen dark sun whose attendant marauders aimed at the very end of civilization in this Solar System…

These were the three challenges that tested the skill and minds of the brilliant team of scientist-astronauts Arcot, Wade, and Morey. Their initial adventures are a classic of science fiction which first brought the name of their author, John W. Campbell, Jr., into prominence as a master of the inventive imagination – long before he became the editor of Astounding/Analog and changed the field of science fiction forever!
Songs from the Stars

Songs from the Stars

He was Clear Blue Lou, perfect master of the Clear Blue Way, at one with the law of muscle, sun, wind and water governing Aquaria. She was Sunshine Sue, always in a hurry in a world that was too slow, Queen of Word of Mouth. Their meeting had been arranged – but by whom? and why? Beyond the beginning of where the world ended, beyond the highest peaks of its primeval majesty, lay a radio active hell and the lairs of the black sorcerers, the Spacers. The black scientists had not forgotten man’s old dream of touching the stars: they wanted the Age of Space reborn. But they needed a little help.
Zenith-D

Zenith-D

To the crew of the Exploratory Ship Canopus, outward bound on the first intergalactic voyage to the flaring suns of mighty Andromeda, the evil whisperings that spilled out from the nebula into deep space came as a warning. This was something far beyond their previous experience. Nor were they the only ones to come under the malignant influence of the alien intelligence.

In the empty, murmuring void, virtually half-way between the two galaxies of stars, a solitary sun streaked away from Andromeda, dragging its lonely, ammonia-laden planet with it. And it was here that the explorers first gained their glimpse of the black horror that lay straddled across the intergalactic darkness. Something that had being. Something that existed where it seemed impossible that anything could.

It fell on Klau-Telph, the only non-Terran on board the Canopus, to finally track down and destroy the inhuman monster that threatened to drive the inhabitants of a trillion planets over the red edge of madness. Not until it was done did he find that the hidden reason behind the insidious whisperings was not what it seemed. In fact, it was something that even he, with his strange double mind, had never thought possible…
Spin

Spin

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk – a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world’s artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they’d been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside – more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.

Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who’s forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.

Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth’s probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun – and report back on what they find.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.
Day by Night

Day by Night

The planet did not rotate. On one side eternal day, the sun shining down hotly from the centre of the heavens. On the opposite side eternal night, the stars glowing coldly in the black and airless sky.

Yet the planet had been colonised. In ages past civilisation had dug into the rock of the darkside and had thrived. Aristocrats vied with aristocrats, and the poor, as ever, struggled to keep home and body together against the ever-encroaching cold surface.

To keep the lower classes happy, Vitra, the storyteller, spun romantic sagas on the popular network. She imagined a strange world on the sunside, inhabited by men and women enmeshed in crime and love, schemes and intrigues.

Vitra believed she was making this up. But was she? Was there really another civilisation on the bright side and could it be that what she related was not fiction – but events which would inevitably send both worlds out of synch to mutual disaster?
Sphero Nova

Sphero Nova

They came out of the star-strewn wilderness around Sol, these alien creatures. And their object was the vicious, total destruction of the Federation of Worlds.

Earth was one of the last pf the planets to be attacked and here they were opposed by the Earth Council: six men who held the destinies of a hundred billion people in their hands.

But in the end, there remained only one man out of the six to fight. Velga Dorne, Earth Councillor and Member of the Triumvirate of Worlds. And he himself was a hunted man. Death and terrible destruction followed him across the wastes of space in the search for the crazy, nightmare planet that had spawned these creatures. Fear and terror were his only companions.

Until he reached the nameless planet of a still more insignificant sun and learned that there were others to join him in the struggle against the black, inhuman monsters. These were the Hheroni, scientists whose achievements had progressed along a slightly different path of research to humanity. And Astraea, the girl who went with him on the suicidal mission to where the Aliens originated: on a world that no one in their wildest dreams had thought possible to exist, one which even science said was impossible.
The Potters of Firsk and Other Stories

The Potters of Firsk and Other Stories

The Potters of Firsk includes the majority of Vance’s ‘Magnus Ridolph’ stories, previously collected in The Many Worlds of Magnus Ridolph. In the VIE edition this book is titled Gadget Stories.
Contents: Planet of the Black Dust, Dead Ahead (“Ultimate Quest”), Hard Luck Diggings, Sanatoris Short-cut, The Unspeakable McInch, The Howling Bounders, The King of Thieves, The Sub-standard Sardines, To B or Not to C or to D (“Cosmic Hotfoot”), Spa of the Stars, The Enchanted Princess (“The Dreamer”), The Potters of Firsk, The Visitors (“Winner Lose All”), Plagian Siphon (“The Uninhibited Robot”; “The Planet Machine”), Dover Spargill’s Ghastly Floater, Sabotage on Sulfur Planet, Three Legged Joe, Four Hundred Blackbirds, Sjambak, Parapsyche, Sail 25 (“Gateway to Strangeness”; “Dust of Far Suns”).

All Jack Vance titles in the SFGateway use the author’s preferred texts, as restored for the Vance Integral Edition (VIE), an extensive project masterminded by an international online community of Vance’s admirers. In general, we also use the VIE titles, and have adopted the arrangement of short story collections to eliminate overlaps.
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