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…
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 Several previously unpublished stories are included, as well as his final one, “Grizzly,” a poignant take on the lung disease that killed him two years later.
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.
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, humankind and the other intelligent races had studied the bizarre and unfathomable constructs of the legendary beings known as Builders. But for all that study, they were still no closer to figuring out who – or what – the Builders had been, or where they had gone. Then, on the world called Quake, in the midst of the violent planetary upheaval that was Summertide, a small group of humans and aliens witnessed the culmination of all those years of watching and waiting: the planet Quake opened up, and something came out – and it looked as if, at long last, the discovery of the Builders themselves was at hand.
All her life, Darya Lang had dreamed of finding the Builders, whose artifacts she had single-handedly catalogued for the rest of the universe. Troubleshooter and adventurer Hans Rebka had his own dreams of unraveling the mystery of those artifacts. To Louis Nenda and the Cecropian Atvar H’sial, the Builder artifacts represented a once-in-a-lifetime shot at untold wealth. And close behind them came the others: Councilor Julius Graces, who did not trust anyone to make first contact unassisted; the slavesJ’merlia and Kallik, who craved only a reunion with their masters; and the embodied computer E.C. Tally, charged with finding out just what the rest were up to.
The trail that began at Quake led to unexpected Builder artifacts full of traps for the unwary and answers for those who knew how to ask the questions. But the biggest question of all would remain an enigma, while their search unleashed the greatest threat to civilization ever imagined…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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”
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.
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?
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…