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.
In a distant future, on an Earth populated by a scant few hundred thousand humans, the Atkins’s Thomas performs without question the duties for which he was genetically bred. Called “Soldier” by one and all, he is a man of honor and ability, responsible for keeping the peace, for maintaining the status quo . . . and, most important, for guarding the great Book House on the hill – a vast repository of Last Culture knowledge presided over by Libary, Soldier’s mentor, the most senior of the mystic Celibate scholars.
Such is Thomas’s life in the serene, semi-primitive world without nations and cities and governments – until the night the starship comes home. Having fled a dangerously overcrowded Earth years before the Collapse and the Twilight that followed, for seven centuries the men and women of the space-going vessel Search have been combing the galaxy for inhabitable planets – their aging processes dramatically slowed by the relative magic of light speed travel and cryogenic sleep. And now, lonely and frustrated, the weary voyagers have returned to a homeworld unrecognizably altered by the relentless tides of time – a world that does not want them back.
A bitter welcome awaits the Searchers, as old Libary gathers Earth’s Ordinands and Elders together to tap the terrifying power of the collective unconscious – in preparation of the Carnival night when they will sweep the helpless intruders back to their lonely sky in the name of Holy Science. And it is Soldier who stands in the middle, silent and alone – bound by duty to evict the homesick star-travelers . . . yet cursed by a preordained genetic destiny that has decreed their eviction will mean Soldier’s death.
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…
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!
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?
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.
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
Ed Carter, a New York reporter on his way to his home town in Omaha for a short vacation, saw the missile in the last moments in its journey back to earth. A sweller on the brink, like all of us, he had no doubt about what it was; Oh God, he thought, this is it. The blast of the impact flung him some distance, and when he regained consciousness, his first reaction was one of surprised to find himself still alive, and not, it seemed, even badly hurt. Presumably the missile had been directed at the big Air Force base nearby, and should have destroyed everything and everyone within a radius of miles. Could it have failed to explode?
Carter sees the remains of part of the missile in an adjacent field and hobbles over to it. A minute or two later several Air Force officers arrive. They examine the remains, and find the burned-up body of a pilot. In other worlds, the missile was not Russia’s first shot in the Third World War, but a failure to launch a man into space. But Carter knows that the Distant Early Warning line will have reported the missile; that the senior Air Force officers, in accordance with plan, will have taken to the air – in the country’s interest, their lives must, of course, be preserved if possible; that by now the retaliatory American bombers will have passed the point of no recall; and that the Third World War has begun. Not so, Colonel Ben Goldwater tells him: “I called the bombers back.”
Goldwater, the man who had been left in command, has saved the world – for at least a little longer. So he becomes a world hero? Not a bit of it. On the contrary: a nightmare looms ahead both for him and for Ed Carter, and the reader watches it all with growing fury…
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.
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.
These seventeen classic stories create their own unique galaxy of vain, protective, and murderous robots; devilish angels; and warm and angry aliens. In “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”-the inspiration for New Line Cinema’s major motion picture The Last Mimzy-a boy finds a discarded box containing a treasure trove of curious objects. When he and his sister begin to play with these trinkets-including a crystal cube that magnifies the unimaginable and a strange doll with removable organs that don’t quite correspond to those of the human body-their parents grow concerned. And they should be. For the items are changing the way the children think and perceive the world around them-for better or worse.
Ray Bradbury called Henry Kuttner “a man who shaped science fiction and fantasy in its most important years.” Marion Zimmer Bradley and Roger Zelazny said he was a major inspiration. Kuttner was a writer’s writer whose visionary works anticipated our own computer-controlled, machine-made world. At the time of his death at forty-two in 1958, he had created as many as 170 stories under more than a dozen pseudonyms-sometimes writing entire issues of science fiction magazines-in close collaboration with his wife, C. L. Moore.
This definitive collection will be a revelation to those who wish to discover or rediscover Henry Kuttner, a true master of the universe.
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”
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 . . .
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.
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…