‘Open your mind to extreme possibilities’
Scully’s desire to be recognised as ‘a medical doctor’, ooze, mouthfuls of difficult dialogue and the tendency for characters not to make it through the pre-titles sequence were just a few of the tragically underexamined elements of THE X-FILES phenomenon – until the first edition of this book. Now the authors take their study of televisions weirdest show through to the end of series five, and THE X-FILES movie.
X-TREME POSSIBILITIES presents a unique analysis of the programme that transformed US television. While sometimes witty and light-hearted, this volume is also a serious study of the elements that made the show such a success. As well as a detailed episode guide of the first five seasons, the book pieces together the nature of the series’ Conspiracy – and attempts to discover just what the truth is.
Never before has THE X-FILES been put under such focused, affectionate and bizarre scrutiny.
Please note this new release of the second edition has not been updated.
“. . . and they all moved to the true start, the true airport, the place that was written on the tickets, the place they should all have been at, the place that would lead them to what they expected, the place with speeding planes; the place with organization behind it; the place where officials walked around in splendid hats with badges on; the place where the beginning of their journey was, and perhaps if they had known they would have jumped off the bus screaming or would have bitten ff their own tongues in order to bleed to death or they would have looked at one another merely in doubt and horror, but as they knew nothing of the future, and no person on earth knows anything much of the future which accounts for the extremely low suicide rate, they all sat and moved forwards to the point in time and space which could only logically and positively be called the start of their journey which was called Super Tour.”
Monte Stewart was an extremely intelligent, somewhat contentious anthropologist with a sense of humor and a nonconformist approach to life. As an expert in his field, he was chosen to approach the first apparently human-like form of life ever to be encountered on another planet.
Here was the chance he had been waiting for all his life – an opportunity to make contact, to investigate, to ascertain the facts about an altogether new man-like species, with the added knowledge that the peace of the worlds depended upon the establishment of friendly relations.
But Stewart and his team of experts couldn’t get to first base. They tried for weeks – then vicious unreasoned tragedy struck their camp.
What had gone wrong?
Who were these ‘people’?
Why had they attacked the humans?
Stewart had failed in his mission; but for his own peace of mind he had to discover the answers, and he had to do it alone.
Kirk Salazar, devout intellectual, had quite been looking forward to his field research on Sunga. He aimed to discover how the stump-tailed, semiarboreal kusis lived without being injured within the venom tree forest. A fascinating topic!
His thesis would have progressed splendidly, save for one thing. A certain lack of financing necessitated that he travel through Sunga with a tour group. Much against his will, he soon became embroiled with a conglomeration of characters even more peculiar than Sunga’s natural wonders.
First there were the hard-core tourists, always pushing and complaining, desperate to glimpse the rare, birdlike zutas. Worse the Cantemir – a man lewd, rude and dangerous – who had struck a deal with the native Chief to destroy the whole Sunga forest for lumber! But most formidable was Alexis Ritter. She was the high priestess of a Sunga cult dedicated to chastity. But she sure seemed to have a use in mind for Salazar’s body!
Doggedly Salazar pursued his research through ambushes, sex, and even attempted murder. A determined intellectual does not give up easily – even if he has to go to extremes to defend his thesis!
Spacer Chan Dalton is torn between two masters. The pacifist aliens who hold Earth under Quarantine want him to find out why their starships have been disappearing in the Geyser Swirl, the Bermuda Triangle of the galaxy. Earth’s military, which has secretly discovered a way to break the quarantine, assumes that someone out there is making ships vanish, including Earth’s, and wants Dalton to find the culprits and hopefully stop them – with extreme prejudice, if necessary. The trouble is, the aliens hold the taking of intelligent life, even in selfdefense, to be the greatest of sins. It was Earth’s violent ways (in defense of the damned pacifist aliens!) that led to the quarantine in the first place -and if Dalton is forced to fight, it will unveil, and so destroy, Earth’s final chance to reach for the stars again. So when Dalton does indeed discover the hostile invaders responsible for the lost starships, he is faced with an impossible decision: Fight and lose access to space forever; or allow a rapacious enemy to run riot over all that he holds dear…
Abner Harris was sent to Earth on a mission of extreme urgency. The universe was in danger of enslavement by the Medlins, and the fight against them called for Harris to assume the disguise of a flesh-and-blood Earthman.
But he discovered that the real villains of space were not the Medlins or the people of Earth: they were his own kind.
Suddenly he was alone, alienated from his own race, hated by the Medlins, and an imposter on Earth. No matter what side he chose he’d be a traitor.
Yet choose he must – or remain for ever a man without a planet.
(First published 1963)
Travel at light speeds is common, and Earth – the first in the universe to discover it – now reigns over many worlds.
But in order to rule effectively, Captain Robin Weinbaum, head of Security, needs an extremely advanced communications system. He gets it with the Dirac transmitter, the first machine capable of sending instantaneous messages anywhere in the universe. The only problem is that someone called J. Shelby Stevens has a machine that can do the impossible – tap the transmissions before they are even made! It is Weinbaum’s job to find Stevens. And unless he does, time will be abolished and the universe closed to Earth forever . . .
Meet Luff Imbry, an insidiously clever confidence man …He likes good wine, good food, and good stolen goods, and he always maintains the upper hand. When a business rival gets the drop on him, he finds himself abandoned on Fulda–a far-off, isolated world with a history of its own. Unable to blend in and furious for revenge, Imbry has to rely on his infamous criminal wit to survive Fulda’s crusade to extinguish The Other. Hailed as the heir apparent to Jack Vance, Matthew Hughes brings us this speculative, richly imagined exploration of society on the far edges of extreme. A central character in Black Brillion, Luff Imbry is at last front and center in Hughes’s latest rollercoaster adventure through a far-future universe.
Praise for Matthew Hughes:
“Matthew Hughes does Jack Vance better than anyone except Jack himself” – George R.R. Martin
“Heir apparent to Jack Vance” – Booklist
“Hughes’s boldness is admirable”- New York Review of Science Fiction
“Hughes effortlessly renders fantastic worlds and beings believable”- Publishers Weekly
“A towering talent”- Robert J. Sawyer
“A treasure” – David Gerrold
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.
It is extremely bad luck for Sarah Atkins that she is very slightly over the limit when she knocks down and kills a man in a patch of fog. It is even worse luck that the man is Jonathan Cool, a well-known pop star.
There are three witnesses: Cool’s girlfriend, Sarah’s husband and Sarah, whose fate will turn on their testimony. But as the evidence unfolds, it begins to appear that this may not have been a run-of-the-mill accident, and it is down to her solicitor, Rosa Epton, to unravel the truth.
After laboring for thousands of years, the people of Earth, fleeing ecological disaster, have built a new, clean, stable world on a worldwide platform erected over the entire land surface of the Earth. Everything is going well–except for Carl Magner, the man who’s been having bad dreams. He shouldn’t be having dreams at all, because dreams have been banished from the society of the Euchronian Millennium, but somehow he is, and his dreams are showing him the “Underworld.” The real surface of the Earth, the Underworld that the Euchronian Millennium has left behind, still maintains life, human and otherwise, life that’s adapted to a world without sky or sun, still evolving in response to extreme environmental challenges. Dreams are only dreams, but they’re a provocation nevertheless, not merely for Carl Magner, but for the whole of Euchronian society. Can Heaven be truly Heaven, if Hell still festers in its entrails?
‘My favourite American crime-writer’ New York Herald Tribune
Vic Varallo is an ambitious police officer. He and his wife Laura fix up a room for a guest, Ross Duncan, who seems extremely likeable but a little odd. Ross reveals to Vic that he is flat broke, financially crippled by alimony to his ex-wife Helene. That is, until Helene is killed, and Ross charged with her murder.
But against appearances, Vic believes in Ross’s innocence. So he sets to work through a tangled mass of evidence and discovers some very odd things about a certain Mr Reilly, an eccentric old mother – and the dead woman herself . . .
An urgent message from Pellucidar, that world of primitive men and primeval jungles that lies inside the crust of the Earth, called on Tarzan of the Apes for assistance.
Tarzan, used to the dangers of darkest Africa, heeded the call to Pellucidar, where all his skill in the jungle, all his talents with beasts and primitive men, would be put to the extreme test. For in that land at the Earth’s core, under the eternal day of the Central Sun, his terrific talents were needed just to stay alive – let alone to fulfil the mission that had called him there!
When the famous astronauts Chris Godfrey and his team are scheduled for a trip to Saturn, they are at first shocked to learn that they will be put into “deep freeze”, a process called hypothermia, in order to make the long voyage possible.
As on another voyage, the telepathic twins are enlisted for the project. Also frozen, they manage to avert disaster by sending warning signals even during their deep sleep.
Extreme danger develops when Saturn’s rings exert more gravitation than anticipated – pulling the spaceship into what seems certain destruction…
The Strugatsky brothers’ poignant and introspective novel of first contact that inspired the classic film Stalker
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits who are compelled by some unknown force to venture illegally into the Zone and, in spite of the extreme danger, collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the Zone and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his daughter has been determined by the Zone. And it is for her that Red makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile depths.
Readers can’t stop thinking about Roadside Picnic:
‘A story of a horrific yet fascinating place, a story of an ordinary and unlikable man just trying to get by, a philosophical interlude on humanity and its significance or lack thereof, of greed and wonder, and the fever dream of the soul scream. It still speaks to me‘ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘Such an intriguing setting for me, such an unusual take on alien interaction‘ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘It is a thought-provoking, hard-to-put down masterpiece, most probably the best introduction to Soviet science fiction. A must read for any sci-fi fan’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘A fantastic and creative exploration of what first contact might be like’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘The tone of the book is akin to that of some noir works, dark, gritty, getting darker and grittier as the tale wears on . . . Like many great books, the meaning of the ending is left up to the reader’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘A beautifully depressive and wonderfully atmospheric science fiction novel about life on Earth after an alien “Visitation” that leaves humans with more questions than answers . . . Once I started reading it today, I couldn’t stop. The story captured my heart and held my attention’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘This is the sort of book that you read and then immediately feel the need to lend it to someone you know so that they can experience and enjoy it themselves . . . I was truly astonished-by both the poignancy and the deceptive(?) simplicity of this relatively short novel’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐