It is a mysterious city whose sun is switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. This is life in the Experiment.
Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. As increasingly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect.
Tarzan cared little for the fate of adventurer Brian Gregory, drawn to the legendary city of Ashair by the rumor of the Father of Diamonds, the world’s hugest gem. But to the ape-man the tie of friendship was unbreakable, and Paul d’Arnot’s pleas moved him to agree to guide the expedition Gregory’s father and sister organized for his rescue. The enigmatic Atan Thome was also obsessed with the Father of Diamonds, and planted agents in the Gregory safari to spy out its route and sabotage its efforts. Both parties reached their goal, remote Ashair . . . as prisoners of its priests, doomed to die in loathsome rites.
GENOCIDE – IN THE NAME OF LOVE
Across the planet, only a handful of giant, overcrowded, doomed cities exist – cities like Norcal, where multiple marriages are recommended and drug-taking is encouraged.
Across the planet, everyone waits for the reclamation of a lost technology that can save them. Everyone, that is, except for the members of the Order of St Jerome in Norcal. The Order of St Jerome believes in peace, in morality, in two-person marriages and old-fashioned values.
The trouble is, in the name of love the Order of St Jerome has decided to sacrifice the Earth…
The ruins of the Well-Built City and the village of Wenau are not all the world has to offer-there is also the Beyond, a dark land between life and death, populated by flying demons, restless ghosts, invisible terrors, and ravenous trees. Cast out by the people of Wenau after finding a cure for their sickness, former physiognomist Cley sets out to brave the dark mountains and seas of the Beyond in order to find the woman he doomed on his quest to destroy the Well-Built City. As Cley journeys deeper into the unknown, he is accompanied by an invisible companion-the demon Misrix, who is searching for his own humanity.
A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escaped the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.
Amon VanRoark heard the prophet speaking in the market place of the decaying city. He called men to the wars, to the fabled Meadows where the armies of Good would meet the forces of Evil in one final Armageddon that would decide the fate of a world already doomed and dying.
VanRoark followed the prophet to the Meadows and there he witnessed the last cataclysmic battle between humanity and the dark powers of Salasar.
The finest tale ever written of fabled Atlantis, The Lost Continent is a sweeping, fiery saga of the last days of the doomed land. Atlantis, at the height of its power and glory, is without equal. It has established far-flung colonies in Egypt and Central America, and its mighty navies patrol the seas. The priests of Atlantis channel the elemental powers of the universe, and a powerful monarch rules from a staggeringly beautiful city of pyramids and shining temples clustered around a sacred mountain.
Mighty Atlantis is also decaying and corrupt. Its people are growing soft and decadent, and many live in squalor. Rebellion is in the air, and prophecies of doom ring forth. Into this epic drama of the end of time stride two memorable characters: the warrior-priest Deucalion, stern, just, and loyal, and the Empress Phorenice, brilliant, ambitious, and passionate. The old and new Atlantis collide in a titanic showdown between Deucalion and Phorenice, a struggle that soon affects the destiny of an entire civilization.
The Prince of Ombria is dying, and already his sinister great-aunt is plotting to seize power. The Black Pearl is feared throughout the land, and the city folk know her reign will be a terrible one. Only the prince’s son can stop her from seizing the throne but he’s just a boy – barely worth the trouble of doing away with.
Ombria, it seems, is doomed. And yet, beneath the streets, in a buried world of shadows and ghosts, a mysterious sorceress is weaving new spells, watched over by a girl sculpted entirely from wax …
A collection of cutting-edge SF stories from one of the grand masters of science fiction, including:
To protect the galaxy, Aza-Kra came from a world where violence and cruelty ceased to exist. To him, Earth was a jungle.
The Dying Man
In a century that holds the secret of immortality, Claire and Dio find love impossible – until Dio discovers he is mortal.
AD 2064. Were the cities doomed? Were the plants and animals and people who lived outside more efficient than any machine that could be built? Alvah Gustad, actor and patriot, leaves New York for an unusual mission.
It was many, many years ago that humans came and settled the world of Newholme – cruelly bending the planet to their will; setting down roots and raising up cities and farms and a grand temple to their goddess.
But now the ground itself is shaking with ever-increasing violence. And the Greatest Questioner, official arbiter of the Council of Worlds, has come to this isolated orb to investigate rumours of a terrible secret that lies buried deep within Newholme’s past – a past that is not dead, not completely. And it will fall to Mouche, a beautiful youth of uncommon cleverness and spirit, to save his imperilled home by discovering and embracing that which makes him unique among humans.
For every living thing on Newholme is doomed, unless Mouche can appease something dark and terrible that is coiled within, and surrender to the mysterious ecstatic revelry that results when the six moons join.
Did she hold the key to ecstasy – or to horror?
The people of Gwethym were highly intelligent, rational beings. They worshiped the goddess Neith, not because they believed in such a golden-haired being, but because they recognised the need for religion as a counterbalance to human passions.
So when trouble struck their planet, when they discovered an energy leak which was slowly destroying their world, the Gwethymians turned to science for their answer. If their world was to be saved, the solution must come from the logicians.
Or so they thought, until one day a woman, in the image of their goddess Neith, walked across the waters of the harbour and into their city! Then their trouble was two-fold. Would there be anything left to save of their world if they waited for the scientists? And if they didn’t, if they put their trust in this goddess whom logic told them could not even exist, would they just be sealing their doom that much quicker?
The twenty-year Earth-Mars war was finally over. What was left of Earth – its crumbled cities, its ruined farmlands – were firmly and completely under the rule of the Martian Archon. And this powerful planetary ruler was taking no chances: he intended to reduce the Terrans to a society of primitive agricultural tribes in less than a generation!
But for David Arnfeld, ex-spaceman and Earth Base Commander, there was something in the whole set-up which did not ring true. Why had both sides muffed countless chances to end that awful war in the first year or two? And why had the two planets gone to war in the first place?
In the back of Arnfeld’s mind an idea was growing…perhaps there was yet a chance to save the doomed population of Earth. But if his idea was true, and proof was available, he had to work fast. Too many people were involved in this War of the Two Worlds to let one man upset their plans.
Rhavas is a good, holy, and pious man, as befits a member of the clergy. He is also the cousin of the Avtokrator, ruler of the Empire. Hoping someday to become ecumenical patriarch of Videssos, he was reluctantly willing to bide his time in one of the smaller cities on the outskirts of the Empire.
Then civil war broke out, and the Avtokrator had to pull back the troops guarding the borders as he struggled for control of the Empire. Rhavas had to flee for his life as the fierce Khamorth nomads took advantage of the chaos and sacked the city he had come to love. He only survived because he accidentally discovered that he had an unsuspected power: Men often cursed each other – but Rhavas’s curse had the power to kill!
Rhavas had always followed Phos, the god of light and goodness, Videssos’ own god, just as he had always despised Phos’ evil rival Skotos. Those who fall off the Bridge of the Separator during judgment in the afterlife are doomed to dwell in Skotos’ ice and darkness forevermore. But Rhavas has reverenced logic as well as goodness, and knows the power to kill with a curse cannot be an attribute of Phos. As evil swallows up the world, Rhavas, ever the logician, decided that Skotos is actually the more powerful god, and becomes determind to change the official religion of Videssos. But in the end, it is he who will be changed, and neither the world nor he will ever be the same again…
Robert Charles Wilson, says The New York Times, “writes superior science fiction thrillers.” His Darwinia won Canada’s Aurora Award; his most recent novel, The Chronoliths, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Now he tells a gripping tale of alien contact and human love in a mysterious but hopeful universe.
At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can’t contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch.
Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why.
The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed; that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma.
Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic–and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project’s observers.
But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon….
Blind Lake is a 2004 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.