Twenty years ago Scott Crane abandoned his career as a professional poker player and went into hiding, after a weird high-stakes game played with Tarot cards. But now the cards – and the supernatural powers behind them – have found him again.
Crane’s father killed gangster Bugsy Siegel in 1948 to become the Fisher King, and to keep that power he is determined to kill his son. Now Scott Crane must cross the Mojave Desert to his father’s Perilous Chapel in Las Vegas, and take up the cards again for one last poker duel. And the stakes are the highest he’s ever played for … his soul.
Winner of the World Fantasy Award for best novel, 1993
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…
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.
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 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.