An extraordinary collection of short stories from the award-winning author of Sarah Canary. Including “Praxis”, the story about a theater where the real and unreal collide; “The Poplar Street Study”, Fowler’s darkly comic account of an alien invasion; and “The Gates of Ghosts”, in which a child journeys to a strange and deadly world, this anthology of 13 tales also features a new foreword by the author.
The lake was full of artificial things – The Poplar Street study – Face value – The dragon’s head – The war of the roses – Contention – Recalling Cinderella – Other planes – The gate of ghosts – The bog people -Wild boys: variations on a theme – The view from Venus – Praxis
Spinrad examines one of his most compelling obsessions – the possible “futures” of America.
Street Meat: In New York City, streeties, zonies and subway cannibals are locked in a nighmarish scrabble for rat meat, sex – and survival.
The Lost Continent: group of African tourists visit the ruins of Space Age America – a surreal landscape of abandoned skyscrapers, empty streets and dead, rusted machinery.
World War Last: The hashish-smoking Sheik of Koram has a plan to trick America and Russia into war.
La Vie Continue: In Paris exiled science-fiction author Norman Spinrad ignores a lucrative – but dangerous – bidding war between the KGB and the CIA for the film rights to his story “Riding the Torch”.
The world that Man has known for close on twenty thousand years had been overthrown in a holocaust of atomic fire and annihilation. The immense and complex system of civilisation had been utterly destroyed almost overnight and only a scant handful of true humans remained.
Stretched out between the rivers of radioactive fire, the cities were growing wildernesses of shattered stone and brick, splintered glass and silent streets. But here and there in quiet places sheltered from the deadly rains, men waited for the fires to subside and hoped to rebuilt something a little like the civilisation which had existed before.
This is the stirring and sometimes terrible story of the supreme struggle for survival, when the continued existence of the human race on Earth is uncertain after such a tremendous catastrophe, and when all life is menaced by the wandering bands of mutants, creatures spawned and tainted by the deadly radiation.
The year is 1998, and the nightmare is close at hand.
The world economy has gone into a mega-crash. Most of the population has been plunged into abject poverty. Anarchy and violence stalk the streets. All power is in the hands of Dryco, headed by paranoid tycoon Thatcher Dryden, and his monstrous wife, Susie.
But on the desperate streets of the Lower East Side miracles are happening. A Messiah seems to have risen from the people and is healing the sick, teaching children, raising the dead.
Dryco’s New Projects Manager, Joanna, is sent to check him out. Thatcher’s got a plan for world domination, and a genuine Messiah could be the key he’s looking for. And even if he’s fake, he may have his uses.
But soon, Joanna finds herself trapped in a crisis of conscience, between the relative security of a Dryco job and the dream of healing a sick world.
Grace is green-eyed, beautiful, a psychic healer – and also a whore. She walks the streets of Black Church to make a living.
After years of horror and poverty as a brothel slave, Saul Anger was adopted into a life of ease, and now he has taken on the mantle of his dead uncle’s house, as well as the leadership of a secret society whose figurehead is Anubis, the jackal god of Egypt. Dedicated to justice and to retribution, this society will destroy those it deems evil. There must always be blood.
One midnight in the great clock-tower of the city, a man hangs himself – and secret desires are let loose. A demon now stalks the streets and alleys, slaying the wicked and the innocent alike. But can Saul locate the source of the destruction and tame it?
Or will beautiful Grace – who has fallen in love with him – be able to stem this tide of madness and primeval terror? For, aided by the goddess Pasht and by all the cats of the city, perhaps she alone can turn back the clock.
Doubleluck…Home…with its streets of flowing gold, waterfalls of diamonds, lakes of perfume – and its deadly curse! Jade is the one human with the will to challenge all odds and find the key to save her species. Fellow creatures fear her ability to dream. The powerful Rulon will exterminate all galactic life unless he can possess both Jade and the riches of Doubleluck. The brutal Dreens seek to mate with her to improve their inferior stock. Escape from each of them brings her one step closer to the perfect monument that is Doubleluck – a monument that covers a lonely grave.
Flinx: born in controversy as the product of illegal genetic experiments.
Flinx: raised an orphan in the streets of Drallar on the planet Moth.
Flinx: the extraordinary young man with a rare flying snake for a companion, always the inadvertent centre of danger and galactic intrigue.
Even on the backwater worlds of the Commonwealth, Flinx finds himself in trouble, as a rich local bully takes an unwelcome interest in the minidrag Pip. Fleeing into space, Flinx arrives on the strange planet of Midworld, where an immense kilometre-deep jungle is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life, all of it unknown and all of it deadly. It soon becomes apparent that his hiding place is rather more perilous than he bargained for…
The year is 2000. America is swept up in the tide of fundamentalism that is overwhelming the world. Suicide cults and paranoid militias are on the rise and mobs of hooded men drive young women from the streets, as the right-wing American Alliance marshals it forces to close an iron grip on the United States.
Yet even as a power-hungry Alliance candidate makes his first move in a game that will land him the presidency, one woman prepares to stand against him. At Carolyn Crespin’s side are five women friends, the oddly present spirit of another friend who had been reported dead, and an even more surprising ally, mysterious and powerful – one who hands Carolyn the key to the future of humanity, for good or ill.
BUG-EYED MONSTERS ON BROADWAY
Pulp SF magazine editor Keith Winton was answering a letter from a teenage fan when the first moon rocket fell back to Earth and blew him away.
But where to? Greenville, New York, looked the same, but Bems (Bug-Eyed Monsters) just like the ones on the cover of Startling Stories walked the streets without attracting undue comment.
And when he brought out a half-dollar coin in a drugstore, the cops wanted to shoot him on sight as an Arcturian spy.
Wait a minute. Seven-foot purple moon-monsters? Earth at war with Arcturus? General Dwight D. Eisenhower in command of Venus Sector?
What mad universe was this?
One thing was for sure: Keith Winton had to find out fast – or he’d be good and dead, in this universe or any other.
You need to be rich to survive at all. But it’s easier to be dead than poor.
Twenty-first-century New York. It’s a nightmare. Reaganomics has gone mad. There’s murder and mutilation on the bombed-out streets and in the corporate conference rooms. Manhattan is a zoo. There’s guerrilla war on Long Island.
Seamus O’Malley is a bodyguard and assassin in the outrageously powerful Dryco organisation, and he’s in deep trouble. Taking the job sounded like a good idea at the time. Falling in love with his employer’s mistress, Avalon, probably wasn’t so bright. Getting caught up in the Dryden family’s crazy rivalries didn’t help. Agreeing to murder the Old Man was plain stupid. And getting involved with the Ambients could only complicate matters further.
Before long, O’Malley’s on the run, and there’s nowhere safe to hide.
The year is 1610. Continental Europe is briefly at peace after years of war, but Henri IV of France is planning to invade the German principalities. In England, only five years earlier, conspirators nearly succeeded in blowing up King James I and his Parliament. The seeds of the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War are visibly being sown, and the possibility for both enlightenment and disaster abounds.
But Valentin Rochefort, duelist and spy for France’s powerful financial minister, could not care less. Until he is drawn into the glittering palaces, bawdy back streets, and stunning theatrics of Renaissance France and Shakespearean London in a deadly plot both to kill King James I and to save him. For this swordsman without a conscience is about to find himself caught between loyalty, love, and blackmail, between kings, queens, politicians, and Rosicrucians, and the woman he has, unknowingly, crossed land and sea to meet.
The son of a Civil War veteran, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a prolific writer for the early pulp magazines. Famous the world over as the creator of Tarzan – and in SF circles for his Martian tales featuring John Carter – Burroughs is a household name. But John Carter wasn’t the only Earthman to champion another world. This omnibus collects PIRATES OF VENUS, LOST ON VENUS and CARSON OF VENUS – the first three of Burroughs’ classic pulp tales of Carson Napier on the waterworld of Amtor – better known to us as Venus.
PIRATES OF VENUS: The shimmering, cloud-covered planet of Venus conceals a wondrous secret: the strikingly beautiful yet deadly world of Amtor. In Amtor, cities of immortal beings flourish in giant trees reaching thousands of feet into the sky; ferocious beasts stalk the wilderness below; rare flashes of sunlight precipitate devastating storms; and the inhabitants believe their world is saucer-shaped with a fiery center and icy rim. Stranded on Amtor after his spaceship crashes, astronaut Carson Napier is swept into a world where revolution is ripe, the love of a princess comes at a dear price, and death can come as easily from the blade of a sword as from the ray of a futuristic gun.
LOST ON VENUS: Napier’s adventures continue in this pulse-pounding sequel to PIRATES OF VENUS. Here the intrepid and wry explorer takes on a savage world in order to rescue the princess from her sworn enemies. Napier’s epic quest for Duare takes him through the streets of the City of the Dead, into the terrifying Room of the Seven Doors, and face to face with fantastic and perilous creatures. LOST ON VENUS brims with the action, suspense and wit unique to the Master of Adventure.
CARSON OF VENUS: Carson Napier, first Earthman to reach Venus, had to keep alert every instant of his stay on that world of mist and mystery. For its lands were unmapped, its inhabitants many, varied and strange, and he had taken an obligation to restore a native princess to her lost homeland. On terrible oceans where dreaded sea-monsters dwelled, in deep forests where terror haunted every branch, and behind the walls of eerie cities where power-mad chieftains plotted uncanny schemes, CARSON OF VENUS is fast-paced science fiction adventure.
Lucius Shepard is a grand master of dark fantasy, famed for his baroque yet utterly contemporary visions of existential subversion and hallucinatory collapse. In Dagger Key, his fifth major story collection, Shepard confronts hard-bitten loners and self-deceiving operators with the shadowy emptiness within themselves and the insinuating darkness without, to ends sardonic and terrifying. The stories in this book, including six novellas, are:
“Stars Seen Through Stone” – in a small Pennsylvania town, mediocrity suddenly blossoms into genius; but at what terrible cost?
“Emerald Street Expansions” – in near-future Seattle, echoes of the life of a medieval French poet hint at either reincarnation or a dire conspiracy.
“Limbo” – a retired criminal on the run from the Mafia encounters ghosts, and much worse, on the shores of a haunted lake.
“Liar’s House” – in the grip of the legendary dragon Griaule, destiny is a treacherous and transformative thing.
“Dead Monty” – a small-time New Orleans criminal ventures outside his proper territory, and poker and voudoun conspire to bring him down.
“Dinner at Baldassaro’s” – a gang of immortals debates the future in an Italian resort, only for events to outrun any of their expectations.
“Abimagique” – a glib college loser falls in love with a witch, becoming an involuntary part of a world-saving – or world-destroying – magical ritual.
“The Lepidopertrist” – a small boy on a Caribbean island witnesses the creation of preternatural beings by a Yankee wizard…
“Dagger Key” – off the coast of Belize, the ghost of a famous pirate seems to control a spiral of murder and intrigue; or is someone else responsible?