Earth’s last hope?
The Arc, a being of immense power, trapped within a continuum too small, fights for its freedom. Its monumental struggle will touch a few select individuals on Earth – and in doing so, change their lives forever. The Arc may also be the last hope for humanity’s survival.
Author’s Note: The volumes of this series can each be read independently of the others. The feature that unifies them is their individual observations of science fiction’s sub-genre: “space opera,” which the editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer define as “colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes.”
This stunning collection showcases 11 of Haldeman’s best stories. They range through time and space from planets beyond our wildest dreams to a nightmare future Earth all too close to home.
Lindsay and the Red City Blues: A story of revenge – with a heart-stopping twist in the tail.
Blood Brothers: A ‘Thieves World’ story.
You Can Never Go Back: A self-contained story from the original version of ‘The Forever War’, never before published in book form.
And ten more sharp and startling visions of tomorrow.
One minute, down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe was – as usual – in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.
Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake – failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe’s own life was on the line – for if he wasn’t assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!
The 21st century.
Europe is divided between the First World bourgeoisie, made rich by nanotechnology and the cheap versatile slave labour of genetically engineered Dolls and the Fourth World of refugees and homeless displaced by war and economic upheaval. In London, Alex Sharkey is trying to make his mark as a designer of psychoactive viruses, whilst staying one step ahead of the police and the Triad gangs. At the cost of three hours of his life, he finds an unlikely ally in a scary, super-smart little girl called Milena, but his troubles really start when he helps Milena quicken intelligence in a Doll, turning it into the first of the fairies.
Milena isn’t sure if she’s mad or if she’s the only sane person left in the world; she only knows that she wants to escape to her own private Fairyland and live forever. Although Milena has created the fairies for her own ends, some of the Folk, as fey and dangerous as any in legend, have other ideas about her destiny …
William Mandela is a genetic throwback, one of the small group of humans who fought and survived the Forever War. They returned to find humanity has evolved into a group mind called Man.
Surrounded by a society that is too autocratic and intrusive, living a dull existence which cannot compare to the certainties of combat and feeling increasingly alienated, the veterans plan an escape to the future by means of space travel and relativity. But when their ship starts to fail, their journey becomes a search for the Unknown, the elusive entity responsible.
In the year 2043, the Ngumi War rages. Limited nuclear strikes have been used on Atlanta and two enemy cities, but the war goes on, fought by ‘soldierboys’ – indestructible war machines operated by remote control by soldiers hundreds of miles away.
Julian Class is one of these soldiers, and for him war is truly hell. The psychological strain of being jacked-in to his soldierboy – and the genocidal results – are becoming too much to bear. Now he and his companion, Dr Amelia Harding, have made a terrifying scientific discovery, which could literally take the universe back to square one. Except that for Julian, the discovery isn’t so much terrifying as tempting…
Winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, 1998
Winner of the Nebula Award for best novel, 1998
Winner of the John W. Campbell Award for best novel, 1998
At the heart of the wildwood lies a place of mystery and legend, from which few return and none emerged unchanged: Lavondyss . . . the ultimate realm, the source of all myth.
When Harry Keeton disappeared into Ryhope Wood, his sister Tallis was just an infant. Now, thirteen years old, she hears him whispering to her from the Otherworld. He is in danger. He needs her help. Using masks, magic and clues left by her grandfather, she finds a way to enter the primitive forest and begin her search. Eventually she comes to Lavondyss itself, a realm both beautiful and deadly, a place in which she is changed forever . . .
Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood won the World Fantasy Award and is among the most praised post-war novels of the fantastical. In this haunting sequel, Lavondyss, we are returned to the Wildwood and the mythos that Holdstock has made his own.
Winner of the BSFA Award for best novel, 1989.
As the Derlavaian War rages into its last and greatest battles, allied nations manoeuvre for positions against each other in a postwar world. But before that time can come, the forces of Algarve, Unkerlant and their allies must clash a final time, countering army with army and battle magic with ever-more-powerful battle magic. In the midst of it all, the people the war has battered and reshaped must struggle to face their greatest individual challenges, as loves are shattered and found, terrible crimes avenged…and some journeys end forever.
And the end of the war may not bring peace…
Sometimes the greatest sin is survival.
The generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has barely survived cataclysms from without and within. Now, riding the shock wave of a nova blast toward an uncertain destiny, the damaged ship – the only world its inhabitants have ever known – remains a war zone. Even as Perceval, the new captain, struggled to come to terms with the traumas of her past, the remnants of rebellion aboard the ship still threaten the crew’s survival.
Yet as Perceval’s relatives Tristen and Benedick play a deadly game of cat and mouse in pursuit of a traitor through a cast ship that is renewing itself in strange and dangerous ways, an even more insidious threat is building in a place no one ever thought to look. And this implacable enemy could change the face of the ship forever if a ragtag band of heroes cannot stop it.
Originally published in 2010 as Chill.
In 1861 the American Civil War was in its first lethal year. Britain favoured the Confederacy – and the United Kingdom’s hostility to the North increased to a flashpoint when a Union warship stopped a British vessel at sea. At that moment, there was a very real risk of war between Britain and the Union.
Would Britain have invaded the United States? And if she had – what would have happened? This brilliantly envisaged alternative history shows on a truly epic scale the terrible consequences of such an action. For by the middle of the last century, warfare was already industrialised. Steam-powered ironclad ships at sea and trench warfare, powerful cannon and rapid firing guns on land had revolutionised the business of mass slaughter. Men died in battle on a scale never before seen.
Private William Mandella is a reluctant hero in an interstellar war against an unknowable and unconquerable alien enemy. But his greatest test will be when he returns home. Relativity means that for every few months’ tour of duty centuries have passed on Earth, isolating the combatants ever more from the world for whose future they are fighting.
Winner of the HUGO AWARD for best novel, 1976
Winner of the NEBULA AWARD for best novel, 1975
It is a time of great darkness, when the sun is in danger of being forever extinguished, and mankind has been divided into two warring factions: the worshipers of the God of Light and the servants of Eternal Night. Now three unsuspecting travelers are called by prophecy to face a legion of the undead and the powers of the Dark Lord in the faint hope of reclaiming the world for the light.
Earth was programmed for destruction in the mad war of the computer worlds – unless the Solarians could stop the machines!
Three hundred years ago the Solarians retreated to the safety of their Fortress as Earth became embroiled in the first of the computer wars with the dread Duglaari Empire.
The Solarians’ final word to all humanity was a promise to reappear one day and bring it to victory. Suddenly, with Earth on the verge of becoming a helpless victim of the merciless Duglaars, the Solarians made contact with Fleet Commander Jay Palmer. It was an offer of aid.
But the Solarians’ plan was so cunning, so fraught with danger, that Jay faced the greatest decision of his life – and that of Earth’s:
Accept their ingenious strategy as a stroke of genius or reject it as a trick designed to destroy human life forever.
A STAR RISES IN THE SOUTH
When the foreigners confronted Sterren in Ethshar of the Spices he was uneasy; when they all but abducted him, taking him to an obscure kingdom in the south, he knew he was in a terrible predicament.
A predicament some might actually find appealing – he was by heredity the Ninth Warlord of Semma, least of the small kingdoms; he was a noble, and his rank afforded him material privileges, even in a place as insignificant and obscure as Semma.
But the office also carried certain terrible responsibilities: he was to win the war the stupid King had stirred up by his arrogance. Two larger and stronger Kingdoms were preparing to invade Semma.
And if the country lost, the first thing likely to be forfeit was the life of the Warlord.
And if it won . . . if it won, the fate and shape of Ethshar would change forever.
For deep in the south there are secrets of magic not even Sterren can imagine.
A LEGEND OF ETHSHAR
Paul Heisenberg is mysteriously endowed with the ability to jump through time. Together with thousands of eventual followers, he begins a journey that eventually takes him a billion years into the future. The Earth has been devastated by war with an alien race, and the changes that have resulted from the degradation of the world’s biosphere force him–and others–to rethink their own humanity. His pilgrim’s progress through the coming time is beset by doubts, distractions, and temptations as various voices attempt to distract him from his determination to follow the process through to its end. He eventually witnesses the complete transformation of the Earth, and the evolution of a single omnipotent but mindless Gaean organism. Is intelligence itself just a brief candle, forever doomed to burn out? Or can Paul find some other alternative for his race.