Pinnacle City is many things to many people. To some it is a glittering metropolis, a symbol of prosperity watched over by the all-star superhero team, the Pinnacle City Guardians. Beyond the glitz and glamour, there is another city, one still feeling the physical and economic damage of the superhero-villain battles of generations past. The lower class, immigrants, criminals, aliens, sorcerers, and non-humans alike call this city home, looking to make a living, which is becoming increasingly difficult as the two sides of the city seem prepared to boil over into a violent conflict.
Private investigator Eddie Enriquez, born with the ability to read the histories of objects by touch, still bears the scars of his time as a youthful minion for a low-level supervillain, followed by stints in prison and the military. Though now trying to live a straight-and-narrow life, he supports a drinking problem and painkiller addiction by using his powers to track down insurance cheats. When a mysterious woman enters his office asking him to investigate the death of prominent non-human rights activist Quentin Julian, a crime the police and heroes are ignoring, he takes the case in the hopes of doing something good.
Superhero Kimberly Kline has just hit it big, graduating from her team of young heroes to the Pinnacle City Guardians with the new codename of Solar Flare. With good looks, powers that include flight, energy manipulation, superhuman strength, durability, and speed, as well as a good family name, the sky is the limit for her. Upbeat, optimistic, and perhaps a little naïve from the upper-crust life she was raised in, she hopes to make her family, and the world, proud by being the greatest superhero she can be . . . but things aren’t always as they seem.
Widely acclaimed as one of the first successful female science fiction authors, Mildred Clingerman returns with the exciting follow up to her 1961 science fiction collection, A Cupful of Space. Her stories tend to wed a literate tone to subject matters whose ominousness is perhaps more submerged than the horrors under the skin made explicit in the work of Shirley Jackson, but equally as deadly.
Clingerman’s new anthology, The Clingerman Files, includes all of her originally published stories; The Day of the Green Velvet Cloak, Mr. Sakrison’s Halt, Wild Wood, The Little Witch of Elm Street and many other favourites. Also included are previously unpublished works; Top Hand, Tribal Customs, The Birthday Party, Fathers of Daughters and many more soon to be favourites. The key to her stories is that they appear simple and straightforward, but each takes a twist or turn that, even when you’re tempted to guess where they’re heading, they take you there in a way you would never have bargained on.
Other writers of the period tried to make big splashes. Clingerman, it seems, prided herself in concealing her effects within her masterfully constructed sentences. They barely make a ripple on the surface; all their power and drive lurk deep down below. So many of her stories are alive with the underpinning notion that the cosmological vistas we spy at the end ends of telescopes and various other means of measurement belong to the very same universe under our feet. We’re not apart from the universe, we’re a part of it. Nearly every story here is alive with that sensibility, in the truest sense of that word. In every sentence there is a note (a gentle one, but insistent) of silent rebellion, a surreptitious snarl, entreating you to see that not the everyday, but an undiscovered marvel.
May these eloquent rebellions be undiscovered no longer.
There was nothing on the island big enough to kill a man, yet each new day brought with it another bloody death, another mysterious disappearance.
The first hint of something wrong at the outpost was the plane. It crazily circled the little island, its cargo-bay doors open, its radio dead. It seemed to hang in the air for a moment and then it dived downward, levelled and dipped again. It made a belly landing on the runway with its wheels still retracted.
There was a singular, dead silence and then a shot rang out.
The crew of two and the seven passengers had vanished, the cargo was strewn about and the fuel tanks had been emptied. And the pilot, after landing, had blown his brains out…
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…
Edgewood is many houses, all put inside each other, or across each other. It’s filled with and surrounded by mystery and enchantment: the further in you go, the bigger it gets.
Smoky Barnable, who has fallen in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, comes to Edgewood, her family home, where he finds himself drawn into a world of magical strangeness.
Crowley’s work has a special alchemy – mixing the world we know with an imagined world which seems more true and real. Winner of the WORLD FANTASY AWARD, LITTLE, BIG is eloquent, sensual, funny and unforgettable, a true Fantasy Masterwork.
Winner of the WORLD FANTASY AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL, 1982.
On a Hollywood studio lot, a dancing bear – a Gypsy in a fur suit – does a little sly pickpocketing. In San Francisco, Daniel Kearny Associates are waging a campaign to repossess twenty-seven classic cars from people who are creatively determined to keep them. And in a fortress in the Big Sur wilderness, a rich man vows to steal a collectors’ item. Soon the bear, DKA and the millionaire entangle in a twisted plot of betrayal and murder.
When the dancing bear is killed, the police start searching for his beautiful wife, Yana. But Yana is eluding everyone – DKA included – and working a grift of her own.
Meanwhile a helicopter is headed for Big Sur, carrying the greatest scam of all.
Kerrigan was a legend of his own life-time. He was the kind of electric personality around whom strange stories accumulate like iron filings dancing towards a magnet. When Kerrigan failed to return from a special mission in 2178 the stories grew wilder. Some of his crew refused to believe he was dead, others went to look for him. By 2180 it was as fashionable to go to Lunar Base to look for Kerrigan as it had been fashionable to hunt monsters in Loch Ness two centuries before.
His brother Harry was open minded about the stories, even a little sickened by the transport companies who were cashing in on Kerrigan’s disappearance. Then Harry met Susan Croft and his opinions of the transport companies changed a little. Susan was a telepath and she believed that Kerrigan was trying to contact her. Lunar, however, is a big, empty, dusty place and it was worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. Then one day they saw Kerrigan, or something that looked like Kerrigan…
The brutal and baffling murder of an elderly couple in their quiet suburban home, the kidnapping of two little girls, a bank hold-up, a jewel robbery from a big store – Vic Varallo and the Glendale police force are kept more than usually busy in this complex and exciting drama.
‘My favourite American crime-writer’ New York Herald Tribune
Keith Devery, burdened with a criminal record, arrives in Wicksteed, a prosperous little town on the Pacific coast. He is looking for any job that will provide eating money. It is when he meets Beth Marshall – whose husband, a local drunk, is to inherit $1,000,000 – that he realises there’s a way to get back in the big league.
Together they ruthlessly plot the perfect murder, but Keith soon finds himself at the centre of a double-bluff. Beth has plans of her own once the money is hers …
The planet beckoned them from space – and closed round them like a Venus Fly Trap!
Assailed by strange perils and even stranger temptations, the little group stumbled towards its destiny – Mike Ross, the pilot, Sara Foster, the big game hunter, blind George Smith, and the odious Friar Tuck.
Before them was a legend made flesh, around them were creatures of myth and mystery, close behind them stalked Nemesis. The doll, the little wooden painted doll, was to be their salvation. Or their damnation, for each might choose, and find, his own Nirvana.
Cy Yancey dreamt of being a big game hunter adventuring in Africa. Little did he know that stepping into an alleyway outside his rifle club would lead him to the most important hunt in his life, a hunt that would take Cy much farther than Africa, a hunt through the worlds of the Dimensions, seeking, of all things, Earth!
For Yancey, in trying to grab a cab, ends up hitching a ride with Porteurs Zelda and Jorine – escapees from the power of the mysterious Contessa.
Fleeing with them, Yancey is bounced from one Dimension to another until he arrives on Jundagai, planet of the Hunters.
On Jundagai lies the answer to Yancey’s dreams. The Hunt reigns supreme, though often one is not sure what the quarry is. But Jundagai holds still a greater attraction. Jundagai, Yancey’s prison, holds the key to home. Yancey has only to find the right lock before death finds him.
His only escape was to become another man!
Allen Sibley was a frightened little man – frightened for his life. In the corrupt, swindling world of cutthroat big business in which he was an important and pseudo-respectable figure, Allen Sibley had made the unforgivable error – he had found out. And worse, someone had known this would happen, someone who waited quietly to collect Allen Sibley’s entire fortune in exchange for a gamble – but it was the only gamble which might save Sibley his life!
This collection by Lucius Shepard, one of the most exciting new writers to emerge in the 1980s, includes the eponymous story ¿Barnacle Bill the Spacer¿, about an attempted mutiny on a space station, which won the Hugo Award, as well as ¿Sports in America¿, about a man who finds out just how far he is willing to go when he is hired by a local crime boss to kill a man. In ¿All the Perfumes of Araby¿ a small-time smuggler is granted a vision of the future that compels him to change his life, while ¿Human History¿ is a post-apocalyptic adventure story with a hint of decadence. ¿The Sun Spider¿ is a romance of sorts, with a decidedly gothic twist, while in ¿Beast of the Heartland¿, a boxer at the end of his career is lured back into the ring with the promise of one last big payoff. And anyone who has ever completely lost themselves in a piece of music will recognise the inspiration for ¿A Little Night Music¿. Shepard’s stories are not just wonderfully three-dimensional characters dealing with life-changing events; they are filled with colours, textures, sounds and smells, as he describes his backgrounds with as much care as a master painter.
The operating principle was random selection: positions of public power were decided by a sophisticated lottery. Everyone had a chance, everyone could live in hope that they would be chosen to be the boss, the Quizmaster.
But with the power came the game – the assassination game – which everyone could watch on TV. Would the new man be good enough to avoid his chosen killer? Which made for fascinating and exciting viewing, compelling enough to distract the public’s attention while the Big Five industrial complexes run the world, the solar system and the people, unnoticed and completely unopposed. Then, in 2203, with the choice of a member of a maverick cult as Quizmaster, the system developed a little hitch…