In the early years of the 1940s, as the nation’s young men ship off to combat, a city springs up, seemingly overnight in the fields of Oklahoma: the Van Damme airplane factory, a gargantuan complex dedicated to the construction of the necessary machinery of warfare. Labourers – mostly women – flock to this place, enticed by the opportunity to be something more than wife and homemaker. For Vi, fleeing a dying ranch; for Connie, following an unfaithful husband; for Diane, leaving behind the hot music and soldier boys to pursue something different, adult, and real; their journeys will be liberating in ways they couldn’t previously imagine, and will lead each of them to Prosper Olander – disabled artist, forger, friend, lover, and the true heart and soul of the temporary city – who will change their lives in profound and unexpected ways.
In this stunning collection of four intimately interconnected novellas, Ursula K. Le Guin returns to the great themes that have made her one of America’s most honored and respected authors. At the far end of our universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into ‘assets’ and ‘owners’, tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the callow ‘space brat’ Solly, the haughty soldier Teyeo, and the Ekumen historian and Hainish exile Havzhiva, freedom and duty both begin in the heart, and success as well as failure has its costs.
It’s just a fantasy role-playing game. Until the game becomes reality . . . Friday night is games night. But one special Friday, Paul and his four friends are transported into the heart of their own game, to the strange, bleak land of Xhandarre . . . Where reality vanishes, and the five players assume new and exciting identities – with new and exciting power. Where hostile tree dwellers, predatory birds, and flesh-eating werewolves lash out from darkened shadows. And where the evil sorcerer Avron Kromar holds the key to freedom. Can Paul and his friends survive their strange, new world? Can they escape its treacherous dangers? And if they can escape, do they really want to return to reality? (First published in 1985 as by Christopher Carpenter)
They were Thieves for Freedom. The golden ring – a sacred object to the inhabitants of Janipur – was one of five. Together they were the key to control of the Master System and the only hope of humanity taking charge once more of its own destiny. Hunted through the galaxy, the rebels’ chances of survival, let alone success, were desperately slim. The three had been transmuted into Janipurians – four-legged, hairy creatures – and had infiltrated the complex, ritualised society of this long-ago terraformed planet. And with them was Vulture, the artificially created shapechanger who could become, in body and mind, any organic creature. Vulture it was who now watched the solemn ceremony as the ring was brought out and displayed to the crowd, who understood that not just the Master System but the whole population would be hunting down the stealers of the ring.
From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to one of the unique voices of British science fiction, John Middleton Murry, Jr, who wrote his best work under the pen name Richard Cowper. The son of the famous critic John Middleton Murry, Cowper announced himself to the science fiction world in 1967 with BREAKTHROUGH, which found favour for a subtlety and richness of characterisation not seen in most contemporary SF. The idea of a transformed future England became his signature leitmotif and it is this theme that informs the Corlay tales contained in this omnibus. This is the complete Corlay sequence, featuring introductory novella ‘PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN’ and novels THE ROAD TO CORLAY, A DREAM OF KINSHIP and A TAPESTRY OF TIME. THE ROAD TO CORLAY: On the Eve of the Fourth Millennium a slowly-building civilization, struggling out of the rubble of the Drowning, was crushed beneath the sceptre of a powerful and repressive Church. But on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the sound of a magical pipe was heard, and the air was filled with songs of freedom and enlightenment. And on the Eve of the Fourth Millennium the Boy appeared, bringing the gift of sacrilege, a harbinger of the future, heralding the arrival of the White Bird of Dawning. It is the coming of a New Age. A glorious future bearing the presents of the past! A DREAM OF KINSHIP: They came to destroy! The treacherous Falcons, uniformed in the black leather tunics of the fanatic Secular Arm, descended on Corlay to burn and kill. Commanded by Lord Constant, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, they were determined to crush the religious heresy of Kinship. But a new dream rose from the ashes… When four Kinsmen escaped the carnage of their beloved land, each helped to fulfill the miracle that had been foretold: the coming of the Child of the Bride of Time. A TAPESTRY OF TIME: Twenty years have passed since the martyrdom of the Boy-piper at York, twenty years in which his legacy, the movement of Kinship, has challenged the tyranny of the Church Militant in Britain’s seven island kingdoms. Now his namesake, Tom, bearing the Boy’s own pipes and perhaps himself imbued with the spirit of the White Bird, is wandering Europe in company with the girl, Witchet. But disaster overtakes them and Tom, in a furry of vengeance, breaks his vow of Kinship. A terrible path lies before him, one that transcends his own world. As he travels it, Tom must come to understand the true nature of the wild White Bird, of The Bride of Time and her Child, and of the Song the Star Born sang.