The Earth was in shambles after the final quake had leveled the cities.
For Mal Irish the last hold on reality was the embossed gold coin he had taken from the pocket of the dead man – the man who with his last breath had told him of mastodons buried in ice and men who weren’t human.
Once in possession of the coin, Mal found himself on a mysterious quest which led him to discover even stranger things – the girl who spoke the language of another world, the city under the ocean floor, and the deadly little men who followed him. He was in the power of something beyond his understanding, and he meant to find out its source before it put him to its own unfathomable uses.
John Grimes arrives on the forgotten planet Sparta, where a birth machine produces only men generation after generation. The strangely shaped ‘men’ on his ship have a catastrophic effect.
Colonising a new planet requires much more than just settling on a newly discovered island of Old Earth. New planets were different in thousands of ways, different from Earth and from each other. Any of those differences could mean death and disaster to a human settlement.
When a ship filled with refugees from a cosmic catastrophe crash-landed on such an unmapped world, their outlook was precarious. Their ship was lost, salvage had been minor, and everything came to depend on one bright young man accidentally among them.
He was a trainee planet-builder. It would have been his job to foresee all the problems necessary to set up a safe home for humanity. But the problem was that he was a mere student – and he had been studying the wrong planet.
(First published 1974)
In this powerful, breathless adventure, a benign system of artificial intelligence has taken over the world – and the galaxy beyond. Everyone is biologically immortal; no one is hungry; and there are thousands of colonized planets to choose from.
The AIs nurture and protect human beings, enabling all people to enjoy lives of hedonistic pleasure. But when the systems that run a planet become corrupted, the consequences are catastrophic. A man with a rare mix of personality traits – one part computer engineer, one part special investigator, and one part sociopathic rebel – is the only recourse as a world of decadence becomes a world of death and pain.
It is the year 2450. Humanity is scattered among the stars, which teem with intelligent life, while the home world has been destroyed by an inadvertent catastrophe two hundred years before. Thus all Earthmen are exiles, and Earth itself is only a memory.
Hydros is a world of great complexity. It has almost no landmass, only a great globe-encompassing ocean with occasional tiny islands. Its seas swarm with apparently intelligent life-forms of a hundred kinds, and one – a bipedal humanoid form – has created a kind of land for itself: floating islands, woven from sea-borne materials, buffered by elaborate barricades against the ceaseless tidal surges that circle the planet.
To Hydros have come an assortment of Earthmen. For them it’s a world of no return: having no form of outbound space transportation. This brilliantly inventive novel tells their story, as they travel across the planet’s endless ocean in search of the mysterious area from which no human has ever returned – the Face of the Waters.
(First published 1991)
Pip and Flinx; Book Eleven.
In the outer depths of the universe lies that Great Emptiness, behind which lurks something dreadful – something that is now raging straight for the Commonwealth. To avert catastrophe, Flinx must find a conscious planet size weapons system and, using his heightened mental powers, coax it into joining the battle against the behemoth from beyond.
So Pip and Flinx sail their little spaceship into the unknown, only to be forced down for emergency repairs on planet Arrwad, home to primitive sentiments and therefore off limits to space travellers. But rules never applied to Flinx. Upon his arrival, Flinx is besieged by hordes bent on worshipping him as a god. Escaping this fate will be as impossible as fulfilling his dire mission. What’s a deity to do?
Once every fifty-two years Arcadia’s six erratic moons come together in a constellation that plays havoc with the ecological balance of the planet.
As a marine biologist at Riverside Research Centre, Mark Swindon is chiefly concerned about the effect of catastrophic tides on his precious fish pens.
Then, without warning, a wave of seemingly motiveless violence sweeps through the normally sleepy colony – and Mark too feels himself drawn against his will into a mysterious cycle of death and rebirth.
“Hello Earth! Hello London!”
But no reply was forthcoming to the message sent out by the spaceship in which the four pioneers had been exploring all the planets en route to Pluto, and which was now on its way back to London after two long years. Even the silence failed to dismay the voyagers; it could well be explained by a major fault of the airport’s wireless transmitter. It was only when they touched down that they realised some terrible catastrophe had hit Earth in their absence…
Between the lines of the official histories of the frontier worlds of the 29th Century lie myriad confidential accounts of the boners, near-catastrophes, and interstellar crises that were bound to occur when human meets non-human. The adventures of CDC (Corps Diplomatique Terra) diplomat Jame Retief loom large in six highly classified missions where brain and brawn save land and lives despite red-tape bound superiors amid conspiracy and conflict across alien planets – guaranteed astounding, amazing, startling, galactic, weird, and thrillingly wonderful.
Ape-like and with one arm replaced by a claw, the not-quite-human Angelo and his beautiful female partner Ariadne are genetically bred rescuers programmed to travel vast distances through space in suspended animation to bring back Pioneers – explorers sent out from Earth generations ago to settle other planets. The latest mission is to rescue Pioneer Murray from the planet La Plage and to return to Earth where – as usual – decades have passed while they have been travelling between the stars.
But Earth itself has gone through a catastrophic collapse from which its burnt-out civilization is trying to recover. And amongst the remnants of a sterile and despairing humanity, there is less room than ever before for such strange creatures as Angelo.
Combining rich and weird alien environments with exciting deep-space adventure, Pioneers is a brilliant novel of love and alienation in a strange and poignant future.