Humans first reached out to the stars travelling at a painfully slow sublight crawl – then they found the Bose network, which allowed ships to jump instantaneously from one node in the galactic arm to another. Once in the Network they found the Artifacts: enigmatic structures, millions of years old, left by a vanished race. Incomprehensible to both human ad non-human minds, the Artifacts seemingly defy natural law. Now, after millions of years, a new Artifact has appeared – and previously discovered Artifacts are showing strange changes in their inexplicable activities. When a motley crew of human and alien scientists and adventurers set out to examine still more Artifacts, they should have considered the fat that some changes are more dangerous than others…
Colonists from the entire solar system converge on the mother planet for the 2276 celebrations. Among the influx of humanity is Duncan Makenzie, scientist-administrator from the underground colony of Titan, one of the outer moons of Saturn. Makenzie is not just on Earth for the celebrations, though; he has a delicate mission to perform – for his world, his family and himself . . .
Deep beneath the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, scientists and engineers attempt the most daring and audacious scientific project of all time: the construction of an undersea tunnel between Great Britain and Canada; linking Land’s End with Labrador. Canadian and British teams work simultaneously at either end, to converge in the middle. Using scientific methods to fight the crushing pressure and geological and marine perils involved, the brave workers face a far greater hazard – the danger within – from saboteurs!
A constellation of persons or events will have precedent. It will not appear out of nothing; it’s a converging of previous trails and persons. Before one set of adventures, there was always another set; and before those, still another set, back to the beginning of the world. We pass from one set to another now, from the Green-Flame adventure to the Half-Sky adventure. We are still in the middle of the nineteenth century, that most unreal of centuries, looking for reality under stodgy and ridiculous surface.
Mercury Shell, Venus Shell, Earth, Mars, Asteroid, Jupiter, Saturn. Each shell concentric, studded with artificial planets, each planet embedded in its shell, spinning like a ball-bearing. The whole Zeus-created in the service of Man but now beyond his control. Now mathematics and space physics, converging, suggested another shell, its existence hidden from Man. A shell of utter darkness, cold and silence where only extreme mutants could survive. To find that shell, the three were journeying again: Maq Ancor, Master Assassin, Magician Cherry and Sine Anura, Mistress of the Erotic. Together, daring the all-seeing, all-sensing hostility of Zeus.
White-skinned, black-haired Sovaz is beautiful and wayward, yet seemingly soulless – as if vampirised by some unknown force. Wife of a very wealthy but older husband, she is the prize ornament of his treasure collection, yet she is toying with a naive young American lover. And while the faces of this doomed trio converge, somewhere outside the glowing casements a creature of darkness prepares to feed… Here are a novel and twelve short stories encompassing all the richness and variety of Tanith Lee’s unique talent. This fascinating and disturbing collection casts a new and chilling light on that ancient mythical creature, the mermaid… pinpoints the ultimate peril of mankind’s fascination with the domestic cat… sucks us into the pulsing horror of bricks and mortar with a life of their own… investigates the dark and marvellous legends of tree spirits, and the tantalising allure of other carnal obsessions.