If you were looking for a fallen star, would you go happily off to the North Pole and dig holes into the seas-bed, grubbing for pieces of rock? You wouldn’t? Neither would Julian Cole. He was dragged there. Would you choose as companions a cashiered astronomer whose capacity was purely alcoholic, a pneumatic woman whose walk alone was enough to set a man to itching, plus a collection of failures and misfits scooped from the gutters of New York? Neither did Julian. They picked him. And when this bungling crew of heterogeneous hoboes stumbled on to a world-shattering discovery, would you believe them? Julian had to. He was there.
The City In The Autumn Stars: Being A Continuation Of The Story Of The Von Bek Family And Its Association With Lucifer, Prince Of Darkness, And The Cure For The World’s Pain. Disillusioned by the excesses of the French Revolution, Manfred von Bek flees to the city of Mirenburg, where a Scottish balloonist, an elusive duchess, and a fallen angel become his companions on a journey to the mystical Mittelmarch – the land between lands- in search of the Holy Grail.
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.
The death-stars had come, and they had kept on coming for hundreds of thousands of years, falling upon the Earth, swept upon it by a vagrant star that had passed through the outer reaches of the solar system. They brought with them a time of unending darkness and cold. It was an event that occured every twenty-six million years, and there was no turning it aside. But all that was done with now. At last the death-stars had ceased to fall, the sky had cleared of dust and cinders, the sun’s warmth again was able to break through the clouds. The glaciers relinquished their hold on the land; the Long Winter ended; the New Springtime began. The world was born anew. Now each year was warmer than the last. The fair seasons of spring and summer, long lost from the world, came again with increasing power. And the People, having survived the dark time in their sealed cocoons, were spreading rapidly across the fertile land. But others were already there. The hjjks, the somber cold-eyed insect-folk, had never retreated, even at the time of greatest chill. The world had fallen to them by default, and they had been its sole masters for seven hundred thousand years. They were not likely to share it gladly now . . .
The vast federation of outworld states that formed the Terran Empire smarted under the unjust, evil influence of the Emperor Jrun. Daily, his tax-gatherers swooped down on the member planets, wringing the people dry of money and goods. But away from the decadent shell that Jrun had built up, out among the lonely suns of the Edge, a new power was growing. It had fallen on Kelda, the young star-king of Zandyr to form the union known as the Cosmic Echelon. A fleet of ships that dared to match the armed might of Imperial Terra. The ultimate weapon belonged to Jrun, a battleship which no power could withstand, and a force that could shatter the bodies of men. Here, you can follow Kelda and his warrior princess, Irrena, through the star-strewn wastes of Space; across the Dark Gap in which the empty wrecks of once proud vessels floated forever, manned by crews long-dead. And realise as Jrun did, that there are two kinds of laws. Those made by Man himself, which can be broken – and the laws of the Universe, which are inviolate.
One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives. The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk – a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world’s artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they’d been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside – more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future. Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who’s forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses. Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth’s probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun – and report back on what they find. Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.