The crew of the XV-ftl was looking forward to shore leave, vacation, and a chance to see their families after a month in space. But once they brought back the news that they had discovered aliens, they were doomed to another, and longer, journey.
Accompanying them on the return were several technical experts, who seemed to be more interested in squabbling with each other than meeting the first alien race in the history of humankind. But face to face with the blue humanoid Norglans, everyone began to realise just how important these first meetings could be – for they could make the difference between peaceful coexistence in space and interstellar war!
(First published 1958)
‘We reap and we thresh; grain for half the world. We are the Grain Kings raised of old.’
They call them the Grain Kings. Gigantic mechanical monarchs of the wheat-bearing plains that were once the frozen Alaskan wastes. Whole eco-systems in themselves, they can supply the food so desperately needed by the teeming millions of our overpopulated planet. But even now, as the whole world waits in hungry suspense, the great powers battle for control of the prairies and two competing combine harvesters find they are heading on a course of collision. A collision with catastrophic consequences – not only for the hundreds of crewmen aboard each massive machine but for the future survival of all mankind.
Imagine a day, not too far from today, when you pick up the newspapers to find them free of the usual accounts of crime, corruption, violence and war. There’s no politics or politicians, no sporting results, speculation or scandal. There is only the asteroid: newly-discovered, enormous and on a collision course with Earth.
Imagine a time, not too far from today, when the world itself stands helpless before the Fires of Satan…
A stunning novel of alien invasion from a master of the genre
The disappearance of one of Jupiter’s moons, the appearance of “little green men” in Australia and the American Southwest, and the sudden presence of unidentifiable objects on a collision course inside the Earth’s core add up to the inescapable conclusion that the Earth has been invaded by an enemy it cannot fight.
Powerfully and gracefully written, the latest novel by the author of EON and BLOOD MUSIC stands far above most examples of “doomsday” science fiction.
Scientists Dick Seaton and Marc DuQuesne were the deadliest enemies in the galaxy. Their feud had blazed among the stars and challenged the history of a thousand planets. But now a threat from outside the galaxy drove them into a desperate alliance as hordes of strange aliens stormed through space on a collision course with Man.
Seaton and DuQuesne fought side by side to fend off the invasion – as Seaton kept constant, perilous watch for DuQuesne’s inevitable double-cross.
A hundred thousand years from now, it was discovered that a star was approaching the world on a collision course. Its discoverer, Creohan, figured there might be time to save the world if he could arouse everyone to the danger.
But the Earth had become a strange and kaleidoscopic place in that distant era. Too many empires had risen and fallen, too many cultures had spread their shattered fragments across a planet whose very maps had long since been forgotten. People were too busy with their own private dreams to pay attention to one more new alarm.
The story Creohan’s effort to Catch a Falling Star is one of John Brunner’s most colourful science-fiction concepts.
This is the gripping story of the collision between two vastly different human civilisations. One is Earth in the early 21st century, rushing toward self-inflicted nuclear doom. The other is the distant world of Mollan, whose inhabitants have achieved great longevity and the power to transport themselves instantly from star to star.
Bob Shaw’s novel unfolds a tale which spans thousands of years and the reaches of interstellar space. On Earth’s side, there is Denny Hargate, whose indomitable courage drives him to alter the course of history. On their side is the Gretana ty Iltha, working on Earth as a secret observer, who dreams of returning to the delights of her world’s high society, but who gets caught up in a cosmic train of events leading to an explosive climax.
Inexplicable electro-magnetic disturbances threw the Avon’s passengers and crew into confusion as their ship was dragged off course. Collision with a huge asteroid seemed inevitable and the Avon was abandoned.
Ferdin escaped in a life capsule and landed – more dead than alive – on the unexpected planetoid. To his surprise, a powerful pseudo-grav generator and a vast atmosphere and humidity plant simulated terrestrial conditions with uncanny accuracy.
The asteroid was inhabited and strangely in-habited at that! There was Rosper – a remote, aloof, scientific genius, whose past held strange secrets. There was his beautiful unbelievably innocent daughter, Darmina, who knew no other home but the strange asteroid; and above all there was a creature called Canbail – apparently some strange life-form indigenous to the asteroid! A particular gestalt involving Ferdin and many others took place under the calculating supervision of the Leira Mark 2, the most frighteningly potent of Rosper’s inventions.
As author and illustrator, Keith Roberts did more than most to define the look of UK science fiction magazines in the 1960s. In addition to his BFSA Award wins, he was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. He is perhaps best known for his seminal alternate history novel, Pavane, but his work covered a broad range of SF’s tropes and settings, as can be seen from the titles collected in this omnibus: The Chalk Giants, Kiteworld and The Grain Kings.
THE CHALK GIANTS: After the apocalypse the hazardous evolution of mankind continues. And in primeval response to the disaster, humanity’s solutions to catastrophe carve the harsh new world in violent patterns of magic and myth, rite and religion. Brave images scar the ancient hills, the clash of swords and the ageless power of sexuality sign-post another, bloodsoaked path to civilisation.
KITEWORLD: Powerful churches have long kept their grip on the people with a theology of fear that makes formidable demons out of the poor, weak mutants of the surrounding badlands. To ward off these specters, an elaborate, tradition-encrusted system of kites with hex signs or armed observers fly over the realm. The men of this Kite Corps, performing hazardous duty to sustain a myth, are driven to find a separate peace, to transform, if they can, disillusionment into enlightenment, to move forward from an assumption of guilt to an assumption of responsibility.
THE GRAIN KINGS: They call them The Grain Kings. Gigantic mechanical monarchs of the wheat-bearing plains that were once the frozen Alaskan wastes. Whole eco-systems in themselves, they can supply the food so desperately needed by the teeming millions of our overpopulated planet. But even now, as the whole world waits in hungry suspense, the great powers battle for control of the prairies and two competing combine harvesters find they are heading on a course of collision.