About two centuries from now, the human race on Earth is in trouble, perhaps even facing extinction, because of the rapid evolution of diseases.
A crew of young men and women travel to the moons of Saturn, to Titan, to investigate the biochemistry of the pre-life conditions there in the slim hope of discovering something that might save Earth. Nearly half of the crew die on the way. They have to do most of their exploration in virtual-reality machinery. The whole story runs at high speed, as they race to find answers across the surface of an alien landscape with death close behind, and gaining.
For her entire life, Melanie Landon has hidden the fact that her half sister, Ann, is a shape-shifter, determined to protect her from a world that simply wouldn’t understand. When a mans hows up asking about Ann – who has been missing for months – Melanie fears the worst, and with good reason. Freelance writer Brody Westerbrook knows about the existence of shape-shifters and intends to include Ann in the book he’s writing.
While Melanie is immediately drawn to the stranger she knows better than to trust him, and she denies his claim. But when Ann finally reappears, looking thin and sick, Melanie realises that exposure is the least of their worries. Protecting her sister has always been an enormous part of Melanie’s life, but as Ann’s health rapidly deteriorates, Melanie must come to grips with the fact that saving her may mean letting go . . .
In the savage and magical world of the River, the pace of life is dictated by the ebb and flow of great tides – and by the power of a fearsome religion. Yet dangerous currents gather force beneath the placid surface.
Together, Pamra Don and Thrasne the Boatman seek to uncover the terrible truth about the river and its awesome strength. But in the world of the Awakeners, the truth can kill you¿
Northshore is the first half of Sheri S. Tepper’s acclaimed Awakeners sequence.
One was discovered quite by accident. A man in a mental hospital said he wasn’t real. He wasn’t.
There were more. Scientists feared that half the population of Earth might be Syns.
Methodically, the Syns were being rooted out and destroyed. In turn, they were carrying on their own fearful destruction of human life and works.
Everyone’s humanity had been challenged. Every man was aligned against each other…because no one knew what a Syn was.
Orthe – half-civilized, half-barbaric, home to human-like beings who live and die by the code of the sword. Earth envoy Lynne Christie has been sent here to establish contact and to determine whether this is a world worth developing. But first Christie must come to understand that human-like is not and never can be human, and that not even Orthe’s leaders can stop the spread of rumors about her, dark whisperings that could cost Christie her life.And on a goodwill tour to the outlying provinces, these evil rumors turn to deadly accusations. Christie is no offworlder, Church officials charge: she is a treacherous and cunning descendant of Orthe’s legendary Golden Witchbreed – the cruel, ruthless race that once enslaved the whole planet. Suddenly, Christie finds herself a hunted fugitive on an alien world, where friend and foe alike may prove her executioners. And her only chance of survival lies in saving Orthe from a menace older than time…
Humankind has arrived on Moss to discover if any intelligent native life exists there, and to assess the planet, recently discovered by the Derac, a nomadic space-faring race, for development – and profit. Multi-coloured shapes of dancing light have been spotted; strange sounds are heard in the night; the researchers name them the Mossen and send for a linquist to ascertain if it is evidence of intelligent life.
Jewel Delis has accompanied her half-brother Paul to this verdant paradise. Her task is to help Paul decipher the strange language of the Mossen – but she has a secret mission too. A new law on Earth means the imminent massacre of all beasts great and small, so Jewel must discover if Moss holds the promise of sanctuary for the doomed animals – once humankind’s beloved companions.
Time is running out for Jewel’s creatures, but it might be running out for Humanity too: the Planet Moss, itself a living entity, is not sure it cares for any of the species currently living on its surface . . .
Rodro’s men were pushing past, were blundering with reeking weapons into the room to kill and take the princess away.
Lai half stretched up from the princess’s restraining arms. The room was empty of other life apart from Sir Fezius and the two knights now lifting their swords, ready to cut down Lai.
A popping noise sounded like a drum bursting.
A man appeared in the middle of the room.
One moment he was not there; the next he stood there, holding a bulky stick in his arm, peering about with a white face. He said something that sounded like “Skeet.”
The next instant the room resounded with an avalanche roar and a hellfire blast of scorching flame.
Lionel Salkind was glad for a visit from his twin brother Leo; the two rarely saw each other. Tehn their plane went down, and as he lost consciousness Lionel knew that Leo was dead.
Lionel woke up in a hospital, to the eerie news that he owed his life to bits of his dead brother’s brain transplanted into his own skull. It was a very experimental operation, but it seemed to have been successful.
And then the memories began. Terrifying snatches of memory that had no place in Lionel’s own quiet past. Leo’s memories, calling him somewhere to finish a job half-done – a dangerous job whose importance to the world Lionel had not even begun to grasp.
When racial hatred turns to murderous menace . . .
First a rocket ship loses its engines on take-off and is destroyed. On board – an important extra-terrestrial visitor.
Next someone slams into the sealed vehicle used for transporting aliens around in the lethal atmosphere of Earth.
Then the vital controlled environment for the Tau Cetian delegation is sabotaged. Oxygen leaks in, and the aliens are half burnt alive.
Even if it means brutal murder, The Stars Are For Man League is determined to shatter the harmony between Earth and civilizations on other planets – and to keep mankind supreme among the alien life forms. Only one man can stop them – a man who unknowingly nurses a viper in his bosom . . .
First published in 1965.
What happens to a man whose entire personality undergoes a sudden and profound change? Stephen Marsh is a successful management consultant, happily married and with a daughter at university. Then one day he becomes cold to his wife, is unable to relate to his daughter, is uninterested in his job and his friends. The old Stephen Marsh seems to have been replaced by an intrusive newcomer equipped with new memories and new attitudes. The deuteron-Marsh recalls a previous half-century of life as a writer who shied away from human contact, nurturing a secret which separates him from other people. Incapable of giving love or companionship, the new Marsh struggles to continue his predecessor’s lifestyle, torn between a longing for solitude and the bounds of ordinary obligation and affection.
Tarra Khash is a Hrossak, a barbarian from the steppes beyond the River Luhr. A fearless adventurer, Tarra roves Theem-hdra in search of his next fortune, his next drink, and warm, willing females to share his bed. The Hrossak is a most fortunate man, for he has faced more than one god during his travels and – so far – has escaped unscathed.
Seeking to avenge the murder of a beautiful young woman of the half-mystical Suhm-yi race, Tarra joins forces with her husband, now the last of his kind. Each worships a moon-god, and together their faith and Tarra’s weapons wreak a terrible vengeance on those who stole the treasure of the Suhm-yi.
Eager for wealth, Tarra is trapped by a wily old man who has lured him into plumbing the depths of a treasure-filled cavern guarded by golden statues of the Great God Cthulhu. But Cthulhu’s treasure is not easily plundered, and Tarra nearly loses his life to the monstrous forces of the Elder God.
Many men have met the lamia Orbiquita, but none have lived to tell of her extraordinary powers of love-making – until Tarra Khash, who treats her as a woman wants to be treated and thus earns her forgiveness and his life. Alas, others who assume her to be weakened by her love for Tarra Khash are not so lucky!
The ties of home were strong. In a few years man gets attached to bricks and mortar, and scenery. In a hundred years roots are so deep that no one wants to tear them up. In a thousand years it is quite unthinkable. In a million years, only a lunatic would want to leave…
Then came the alien, presenting an impossible choice… Humanity must leave the Earth – or die! Behind them was everything they had known. In front of them, an unknown to-morrow.
Which were the greater – the hazards remaining or the dangers of the infinite void ahead?
Could they trust the alien?
He said there was another world, a safe world, that would be a new home – but was it all a trap?
There were dangers out there. The dangers of a population confined in ships for a half a life-time; the dangers of cosmic radiation; danger of attacks by the ‘Others’!
Only men of the highest courage and the greatest integrity could hope to survive in the raw, searing savagery of the unknown…
Not so long ago Marcus Walker was just another young commodities trader in Chicago, working hard and playing harder. But that’s all in the past, part of a life half forgotten – a reality that vanished when he was attacked while camping and tossed aboard a starship bound for deep space.
Desperately, Walker searches for explanations, only to realise he’s trapped in a horrifying nightmare that is all too real. Instead of being a rich hotshot at the top of the food chain, Walker discovers he’s just another amusing novelty, part of a cargo of “cute” aliens from primitive planets – destined to be sold as pets to highly advanced populations in “civilized” regions of the galaxy.
Even if he weren’t constantly watched by his captors, Walker has few options. After all, there is no escape from a speeding starship. Another man might resign himself to the inevitable and hope to be sold to a kindly owner, but not Walker. This former college football star has plenty of American ingenuity and no intention of admitting defeat, now or ever. In fact, he’s only just begun to fight.
This collection of fact and fiction was inspired by the time science fiction writer Lucius Shepard spent with Missoula Mike, Madcat, and other members of a controversial brotherhood known as the Freight Train Riders of America. Shepard rode the rails throughout the western half of the United States with the disenfranchised, the homeless, the punks, the gangs, and the joy riders for the magazine article ‘The FTRA Story’. ‘Over Yonder’ and ‘Jailbait’. In ‘Over Yonder’, alcoholic Billy Long Gone finds himself on an unusual train. As Billy travels his health improves and his thinking clears, and he arrives in Yonder – an unlikely paradise where a few hundred hobos live in apparent peace and tranquillity. But every paradise has its price, and in Yonder, peace and tranquillity breed complacency and startling deaths. ‘Jailbait’ is a hardcore tale of deception, lust, revenge, and murder in the seedy underbelly of rail yards and train hopping. Madcat, who functions best in a whiskey-induced haze, must decide between solitude and companionship when he meets up with Grace, an underaged runaway. Grace, in turn, seeks the security of an older man and the life about which only young girls can dream.
Millennia ago Starquin visited the Solar System. Because he is huge – some say bigger than the Solar System itself – he could not set foot on Earth personally. yet events here were beginning to interest him, and he wanted to observe more closely.
So he sent down extensions of himself, creatures fashioned after Earth’s dominant life-form. In one of Earth’s languages they became known as Dedos, or Fingers of Starquin. Disguised, they mingled with Mankind.
We know this now, here at the end of Earth’s time. The information is all held in Earth’s great computer, the Rainbow. The Rainbow will endure as long as Earth exists, watching, listening, recording and thinking. I am an extension of the Rainbow, just as the Dedos are extensions of Starquin. My name is Alan-Blue-Cloud.
It is possible you cannot see me but are aware of me only as a voice speaking to you from a desolate hillside, telling you tales from the Song of Earth. I can see you, the motley remains of the human race, however. You sit there with our clubs and you chew your roots, entranced and half-disbelieving as I sing the Song – and in our faces are signs of the work of your great geneticist, Mordecai N. Whirst. Catlike eyes here, broad muzzles there, all the genes of Earth’s life, expertly blended, each having its purpose. Strong people, adapted people, people who survived.
The story I will tell is about people who were not so strong. It is perhaps the most famous in the whole Song of Earth, and it tells of three simple human beings involved in a quest who unwittingly became involved in much greater events concerning the almighty Starquin himself. It is a story of heroism and love, and it ends in triumph – and it will remind the humans among you of the greatness that was once yours.