At the age of 63, Philip Drury was 25 years away from his days as a ‘boatrider’ – a conman afloat. At that time his criminal partner had been a man called Mark Russell. In the years in between Drury had built up a hugely successful stud, and become involved in property speculation – and in doing so had lost virtually everything.
Drury was not a man to accept defeat. He needed to locate Mark Russell and give ‘boatriding’ one last go. A cruise liner is selected, but in the Caribbean where the ship will cruise, two young American conmen have exactly the same idea . . .
Originally, Sparta was an all-male planet – an all-male population with everything that implies: babies – male babies only – produced by the so-called Birth Machine from an almost unending supply of fertilized ova brought by Sparta’s founding father, a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist. But unnatural situations rarely stand the test of time, and it wasn’t too long before Sparta bowed to Mother Nature.
But there was still something rather strange about Sparta when John Grimes landed there to await the arrival of his beloved ship Sister Sue. It seemed to him that among the recently transplanted women of Sparta, there was a strange movement afoot. And when the Archon was kidnapped by a group of militant women the press claimed were men, he knew he couldn’t just stand by and watch!
Utopia had been completely separated from the rest of the galaxy for 300 years. It had taken six decades to finalise the agreement and conditions that would permit a visitor from the Other Worlds to come there. Hardy Cronyn from Washington IV was the first arrival.
The sensuous, young beauty who was to be his guide greeted him with a kiss. But it only took moments for Cronyn to learn the rules: no marriage. It was illegal. The two million inhabitants of Utopia were immortal. If there were marriage, there would be the desire for children, and that was seldom allowed.
The only deaths were accidental; petty crime was non-existent. Cronyn believed Utopia was paradise – until he discovered one paralyzing fear that consumed them all – PAIN! For if life was eternal pain would last a long, long, time…
It began with the murder of a beautiful woman, the adulterous wife of a mild-mannered professor. Then a corrupt cop was gunned down in a phone booth.
After that, the killer who called himself Raptor moved through a list of players, playboys and mobsters from Palm Springs to Minnesota. With each hit came a phone call to San Francisco organised crime investigator Dante Stagnoro, and a disguised, taunting voice daring Stagnoro to stop him. Raptor is a killer like no other Stagnoro has ever pursued.
And the final truth of his death trip – a truth about man, nature and God – will not be revealed until the last victim is claimed.
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years – and each of Werel’s years is over 60 terrestrial years! After so long an exile, the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain.
Every winter – a season that lasts a decade and a half – the Earthmen have neighbours: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches, and call the farborns. But both peoples have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals, and eerie preying snow ghouls.
Can the hilfs and the farborns overcome their mutual suspicions and join forces? Or will they both be annihilated?
She called herself Reee and she was the last human being on Earth. This was the one thing she was sure of. Because Earth was not a dead planet, not by a long way. There were all manner of strange plants and bizarre animals, and there were the blue boys who insisted they were human – but she always set fire to them.
There was however Indigo, the all-devouring protoplasmic ocean that was literally gobbling up everything in the world. And there was the enigmatic Emeroo to whom she owed her continued existence. There were also the so-called Martians – humans who had fled to Mars and only came back to Earth to scout for survivors and vent their futile furies on the inhospitable homeworld.
Amon VanRoark heard the prophet speaking in the market place of the decaying city. He called men to the wars, to the fabled Meadows where the armies of Good would meet the forces of Evil in one final Armageddon that would decide the fate of a world already doomed and dying.
VanRoark followed the prophet to the Meadows and there he witnessed the last cataclysmic battle between humanity and the dark powers of Salasar.
A collection of John Sladek’s hilarious SF satires, including:
The Last of the Whaleburgers
Great Mysteries Explained!Red Noise
The Brass Monkey
The Island of Dr Circe
Breakfast with the Murgatroyds
The Next Dwarf
An Explanation for the Disappearance of the Moon
How to Make Major Scientific Discoveries at Home in Your Spare Time
The Kindly Ones
Calling All Gumdrops!
Life on Earth was intolerable – and yet Man had stayed there, his dreams and potential suffocating under the dead weight of bureaucracy.
The stars were attainable – thanks to the Infall Drive – but only a few heard the call of deep space. Some had already gone to colonise a new world. The second ship was ready at last. Ready to escape the Earth’s prison; ready to seek refuge in deepest space. But it wasn’t only freedom that awaited it…
A whodunnit in the best blood-tingling tradition, which keeps the reader gasping and guessing till the last page.
Although Julian Prentice is a small-time crook, his theft of a car hardly seems to warrant someone’s very deliberate attempt to kill him on the day he is released from prison.
The final roll-call of suspects comes to six, with six apparently foolproof alibis. Yet someone is lying. It falls to Detective-Superintendent Simon Manton to work out who …
For millennia, the alien union called the Weave had been at war with the Amplitur. But only in the handful of centuries since Earth had joined the Weave had the tide of the battle been slowly turning in the Weave’s favour. Then an elite unit, raised from childhood in dedication to the Amplitur Purpose and designed to match perfectly the Humans they were to fight, came of age – and it looked as if at last the Amplitur might prevail against the Weave.
But when one of the elite unit, a warrior called Ranji, was captured by the Weave, a horrible truth was revealed: Ranji was in fact Human, a subject of the Amplitur’s vile genetic manipulations.
The Weave promised to reverse the effects and help Ranji rescue other altered Humans from the clutches of the Amplitur. But neither Ranji nor his new allies could have know that the proposed cure would result in an abomination that could tear the Weave alliance apart – and brand Ranji and his kind as the most despicable creatures in the galaxy…
A scandalous murder trial reaches the heart of high society
‘An enthralling story’ NEW YORK TIMES
The trial of Stephen Bellamy and Susan Ives, accused of murdering Bellamy’s wife, lasts eight days. That’s eight days of witnesses (some reliable, some not), eight days of cross-examination, and eight days of sensational courtroom theatrics lively enough to rouse the judge into frenzied calls for order. As each witness is brought to the stand, the mystery of the case only increases in all its sordid detail.
By the time the closing arguments are made, the verdict shocks the entire courtroom.
In the waning years of the Middle Ages, before Christendom had completely scoured the world of magic, both Faery and Man lived on Europe’s shores. This is the story of those last days: of the halfling children of the Liri king, who were of both realms but chose the one we call the other; of how they schemed and fought for survival, hounded from the Baltic to the ice caves of Greenland to the Mediterranean coast; of how they loved and how they died. It is the epic master piece, the adventure at once erotic, violent and magnificently sad, that Poul Anderson has always wanted to write.
At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune – especially people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an extent that it is a matter of debate whether they are even human anymore. To make matters worse, a shocking murder aboard the Jacob’s Ladder has alerted Captain Perceval and the Angel Nova that formidable enemies remain hidden somewhere among the new crew.
On Grail – or Fortune, rather – Premier Danilaw views the approach of the Jacob’s Ladder with dread. Behind the diplomatic niceties of first-contact protocol, he knows that the deadly game being played is likely to erupt into full-blown war – even civil war. For as he strives to chard a peaceful and prosperous path forward for his people, internal threats emerge to take control by any means necessary.
Originally published in 2011 as Grail.
The final chapter of humanity’s future has begun and one man, Nigel Walmsley, has been alive through it all. An ancient scientist from the distant past, Walmsley had been marooned inside an anomaly of time and space. From here he recalls Earth’s desperate struggle against the mechs, a violent artificial intelligence dedicated to total annihilation.
In a strange space-time continuum called the Esty, the last few survivors from humanity’s ravaged planets have taken refuge, readying themselves for a final stand against their ruthless executioners.
Three generations of men stand between the mechs and total oblivion for the human race: Toby Bishop, a young warrior-in-training; Killeen Bishop, Toby’s father and leader of the last remnants of humanity; and Killeen’s own father, long believed dead, but now mysteriously returned to his family.
As the mechs continue to carve their swathe of destruction through the galaxy, these three men hold the sole hope for the survival of the human race.
Twenty years ago, the powerful mage Atrix Wolfe unleashed an uncontrollable force that killed his beloved king. Now, the Queen of the Wood has offered him one last chance for redemption. She asks him to find her daughter, who vanished into the human world during the massacre he caused. No one has seen the princess-but deep in the kitchens of the Castle of Pelucir, there is a scullery maid who appeared out of nowhere one night long ago. She cannot speak and her eyes are full of sadness. But there are those who call her beautiful.
THE CALL OF THE WELL
For uncounted eons, the Well World had regulated and given order to the universe, and throughout the eternity, Nathan Brazil had been the guardian of the Well of Souls, where the universe’s master control lay. Forever wandering and alone, returning to the Well in times of Danger, Brazil had destroyed and re-created the cosmos several times over. But even he wearied of his endless watch, and had enlisted the aid of space pilot and high-tech thief Mavra Chang the last time the universal order required resetting.
But now the universe faced a threat more grave than mere destruction. An unnamed and utterly alien entity had somehow been released from its ancient prison and was bent on the corruption of the Well World itself. If successful, it would cause chaos beyond mortal understanding.
The Well World needed Brazil and Chang. But when it found them, would they once again answer the call? And though Brazil was immortal, could he even fight the force threatening the Well? For the force was not of this universe – and it had plans for Nathan Brazil…
The beautiful Dedo Nyneve’s innocent tales of a land called Camelot have spawned a real-life cast determined to choose their own fates, yet each move draws them closer to catastrophe. And as the many happentracks of the universe narrow to a dangerous few, the actions of every sorcerer, man, and living creature will determine whether the great god Starquin lives or dies.
For the first time in remembered history, humans and gnomes find themselves sharing the same Earth happentrack. But King Arthur has larger concerns as he watches the society he rules spiralling toward ultimate destruction. Little does he know that the evil Mogan Le Fay has been working her treacherous magic to split the happentracks wide open – a deadly betrayal that could spell the end of Camelot.
With the ma possible futures swiftly shrinking to one last destiny too awful to contemplate, courageous Fang the gnome joins forces with Arthur and Nyneve to manipulate history in a final confrontation of wills and worlds. The last move is Fang’s, as he unravels the strands of time to keep his clan from the brutal vision of Starquin’s end.
Where once the mighty Kane has passed, no one who lives forgets. Now, down the trail of past battles, Kane travels again. To the ruins of a devastated city peopled only with half-men and the waif they call their queen. To the half-burnt tavern where a woman Kane wronged long ago holds his child in keeping for the Devil. To the cave kingdom of the giants where glory and its aftermath await discovery. To the house of death itself where Kane retrieves a woman in love.
The past, the future, the present – all these are one for Kane as he travels through the centuries.
“Two Suns Setting”
“The Dark Muse”
“Sing a Last Song of Valdese”
Young Ishta found it in the forest, buried beneath dead leaves: a rounded, flattened stone as black as onyx. One side held a golden oval that glowed with a unnatural light. Of course, it had to be magic.
But what did farmers know of magic? It could be dangerous, or it could be some harmless toy. They had to find out.
Since Ishta was too young to bring her discovery to the Baron of Varag’s stronghold, her older brother, Garander, went instead. Once there, Azlia, a beautiful wizard, recognized the stone immediately as Northern sorcery. She had to call Sammel, the local sorcerer, to find out its nature . . . a relic of the last great war.
When the Baron takes the stone for himself, that should have ended things. But it was just the beginning for Garander. Because that magical stone wasn’t the only relic left in the woods…
He had forgotten his real name, so they called him “Spingarn” after the last role he had played. He was the man the directors of the Frames regarded as their major headache – for he was guilty of two unforgivable arrogances. He had programmed himself into every one of the vast world-staged dramas he had directed – and he had reactivated the forbidden Frames of the pre-human planet of Talisker.
In those days of an overcrowded colonized cosmos, a thousand years from now, the Frames were the major means of diversion. Historical re-creations and fictional dramas played out with planets as stages and while populations as actors – the Frame directors and their robot assistants had become the masters of all life.
They could not destroy Spingarn, THE PROBABILITY MAN, but they could sentence him to undo the damage he had done. So he was sent to the mad Frames of Talisker to unravel the secret of their origin a billion years before the universe
‘My name is Oonagh, granddaughter of the Countess Oona von Bek.’
While Elric, the last Sorcerer Emperor of Melniboné, hangs crucified above the deck of an enemy ship, his mind quests across worlds for the return of his sorcerous black sword Stormbringer.
In another universe, his daughter, Oona, follows her granddaughter through the multiverse, seeking to keep her from their enemy, Gaynor the Damned, and his allies
‘Oonagh, meanwhile, will require the help of Elric, his counterpart Ulric von Bek, and as many manifestations of the Eternal Champion as she can call upon, for Gaynor’s plan goes far beyond a simple kidnapping. If Oonagh can be forced to lead them to Elric’s albino son, Gaynor will be able to use him to summon the Runestaff. And that mystical artefact, in the hands of Gaynor and the Dark Empire of Granbretan, could threaten the entire multiverse, and the existence of the Cosmic Balance, itself …
James Blish called him the “finest conscious artist science fiction ever produced.” Kurt Vonnegut based the famous character Kilgore Trout on him. And such luminaries as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Octavia Butler have hailed him as a mentor. Theodore Sturgeon was both a popular favorite and a writer’s writer, carving out a singular place in the literary landscape based on his masterful wordplay, conceptual daring, and narrative drive. Sturgeon’s sardonic sensibility and his skill at interweaving important social issues such as sex-including gay themes-and war into his stories are evident in all of his work, regardless of genre.
Case and the Dreamer displays Sturgeon’s gifts at their peak. The book brings together his last stories, written between 1972 and 1983. They include “The Country of Afterward,” a sexually explicit story Sturgeon had been unable to write earlier in his career, and the title story, about an encounter with a transpatial being that is also a meditation on love. Several previously unpublished stories are included, as well as his final one, “Grizzly,” a poignant take on the lung disease that killed him two years later.
Set sixteen years after the events of The Exiled Earthborn, this explosive conclusion of the Earthborn trilogy tells the story of two brothers, the sons of Lucas and Asha, tasked with surviving the Xalan war to ensure the continued existence of the human race.
Noah, an orphan from Earth’s last days who, as a child, was smuggled to safety across the stars, is now nearly a man and a leader to the young enclave of Earthborn who reside on Sora. When the tranquility of their settlement is shattered by a shocking assassination attempt, Noah turns to his combative younger brother Erik, Lucas and Asha’s only child by blood, for aid. Their journey takes them to the remnants of a dead planet, an outlaw-infested space station, and back to Sora, whose inhabitants are bracing for a final showdown with the bloodthirsty Xalans.
They find themselves facing a new evil: the omnipotent Archon, who is somehow controlling the whole of the Xalan horde, and his bloodthirsty lieutenant, the Black Corsair, who has an unmatched taste for brutality. The Archon, so-called God of the Shadows, has unearthed knowledge that could wipe both Sorans and humans alike from the face of existence. The descendants of the Earthborn must uncover the true nature of the Archon and the Xalans before he burns everything they know and love to ashes.