PROGRAMMED FOR DESTRUCTION In a way, they were the same, the man and the machine. Both had been ordered to do one thing – kill. The robot had been created to wreak revenge on the humans who had brutally conquered its planet. The man was the product of years of training by an Earth that had set out to take over the Universe. Now the two faced each other in the icy reaches of the galaxy. The robot, with its calculating machine of a brain, its impenetrable force shield, its deadly laser beam. The man, with the kind of nerve that refused to admit the odds against survival…
It was in wide-eyed horror that Roy Gardner heard the news from the Chief of Security. In just sixty-seven years the Earth would be totally destroyed by the planet Lurion. That data had been compiled by the invincible computer. With unwavering faith in the machine, humans had only one thing to do – destroy Lurion first. And the man to do the job was Gardner. If he did it successfully the blood of billions would be on his hands; if he fouled up he would be the worst traitor in Terrestrial history. And not even he knew which course he would pursue when he finally learned that even the all-wise machine had not known all the right answers. First published in 1959.
Alec Duncan, King of Swing, it says on the billboard outside Tony’s. a black man playing a white piano; just what you need to tart up a dodgy Liverpool nightspot. Forty quid a session, plus tips – about all a black Scots ex-copper with nimble fingers and a record of violence on the job can hope for. But now, with Trevor Bladon, his girlfriend’s killer, safely banged up for the rest of his natural, it’s time for Alex to put it all behind him. Get on with his life. But first he needs to go and sort out a couple of things with Trevor in his cell. He’s not sure exactly why, but he goes anyway. And it’s not a good idea – he ends up prime suspect in another murder . . .
Before 12:01 and After is a collection of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and horror stories by Richard A. Lupoff, collecting the best of his short fiction from his long writing career. It contains the following stories: “Mr. Greene and the Monster” “BOOM!” “Incident in the 14th St. BMT” “After the Dreamtime” “12:01 P.M.” “Venus-Ah, Venus!” “With the Evening News” “Saltzman’s Madness” “God of the Naked Unicorn” “Nebogipfel at the End of Time” “Mort in Bed” “Stroka Prospekt” “Two Sort-Of Adventures” “Blinky Henderson Again” “The Digital Wristwatch of Philip K. Dick” “Snow Ghosts” “Triptych” “The House on Rue Chartres” “The Doom That Came to Dunwich” “The Woodstock West Killer” “Easy Living” “Dogwalker” “A Funny Thing Happened…”
It all began simply enough. A client had vanished, and Jay Corcoran went to investigate the man’s empty hotel suite. But Corcoran’s trick vision spotted the room-sized box stuck to the outside wall of the suite. There was no way to get into the box, so Corcoran cabled his long-time pal Tom Boone. Boone had a talent. When threatened he could “step around a corner” into some otherwhere. Boone stepped into the box, taking Corcoran with him. The box turned out to be a time traveler machine that transported them back to 1745 England, where they found a family of refugees from a million years in the future. In that far future, alien Infinites were converting humanity to incorporeal form. When the family had refused conversion, they had to flee. For more than a century, the family had lain hidden in their time bubble. Suddenly, the Infinites’ killer monster broke through–and things grew complicated as the family fled to the distant past and the farther future.