‘No city, no town, no community of more than one thousand people or two hundred buildings to the square mile, shall be built or permitted to exist anywhere in the United States of America.’
Thirtieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Two generations after the nuclear holocaust, rumours persisted about a secret desert hideaway where scientists worked with dangerous machines and where men plotted to revive the cities.
Almost a continent away, Len Coulter heard whisperings that fired his imagination. Then one day he found a strange wooden box …
Is the story of 21st Century Earth – a world where work is forgotten, where the masses fight boredom with trank pills and telly, and where it is almost impossible to leave the social class you were born in. You could break the class barrier only by hiring yourself out as a mercenary to fight in the prime-time wars that are fought to keep the telly-viewing public satisfied. That is the only way to move up the ladder – if you could stay alive long enough.
This collection brings together the ten earliest stories in Brian Stableford’s series of “Tales of the Biotech Revolution,” all written in the 1980s, except for one anomalous example from the 1960s. The dates in some of the stories, located a comfortable distance in the future when the stories were written, have now long past, revealing certain anomalies of early expectation; but they have been left unaltered, as nostalgic samples of yesterday’s long-dead and perhaps much-lamented tomorrows. The collection begins and ends, as is surely only appropriate, with flamboyant utopian fantasies boldly asserting the perfectibility of humankind and the world of which the species has custody.
First published in 1965, this brilliant, prescient book is divided into three sections:
The first concerns space travel and other aspects of the new space age: how our concept of time must be modified when we travel long distances, the space seas of tomorrow, uses of the moon, how lower gravity will affect the sports of space colonists and other fascinating ideas.
The second part is about communications satellites, a field in which the author has already played the role of true prophet.
The third section ranges widely over the side implications of the space age – scientific meddling, the lunatic fringe and the moral obligations of scientists.
Anthropologists argue over the significance of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon remains and vast periods of pre-history remain to be filled satisfactorily. These hidden eras of the long-dead past are as open to speculation and mysterious adventure as the unguessed vistas of tomorrow. How many strange, undiscovered species of man have lived and died leaving no apparent record of their existence?
An avalanche on the Swiss-Italian border isolated Marian Sanderson and a frightening assortment of other guests in a peculiar old alpine chateau. Although no human rescue party was able to make the climb, something moved on the precipitous slopes around them.
As Marian gradually discovered the truth about her fellow guests she realised the avalanche had been no accident. Something of terrible potential lurked outside the isolated chateau…
Dark, supernatural forces were poised on the brink of Ultimate Fear…
Copy from the 1975 Owlswick Press print edition:
L. Sprague de Camp’s original Science-Fiction Handbook, published in 1953 and long out of print, has been favourably remembered by a whole generation of science fiction readers and aspiring writers. Over the years, at convention after convention, fans have urged its reissue. Teachers of courses on imaginative fiction have begged for the book; one planned to reproduce the manual for his creative writing course until he learned that the material was under copyright Because of this enduring interest, the present book came into being.
Completely rewritten by de Camp and his wife Catherine, Science Fiction Handbook, Revised serves two purposes. It introduces the general reader to the fascinating field of imaginative fiction. The first two chapters describe the growth of science fiction from Aristophanes to Asimov and give the history of its parent literature, fantasy, which is as old as cavemen and as young as tomorrow.
The rest of the book affords the apprentice writer an overview of the pleasures and problems of writing imaginative fiction an teachers him the many and varied skills such writing requires. There are chapters on setting the scene, plotting the story and writing dialogue. Other chapters are devoted to showing the creative writer how to sore his literary works, keep records for tax purposes, market a story, deal with editors and agents, read the fine print in contracts and bargain with publishers. Finally, there are helpful hints for the successful writer about relating to his community, handling publicity and melding the needs of the creative artists with those of a successful human being and family member.
In short, here is a wealth of information on the techniques of writing fiction. Here, too, is the wisdom distilled by the de Camps in the course of their long writing careers. And, for those who have no desire to write, here is a chance to see what the writer’s world is really like and to learn something about the remarkable literature that we call science fiction and fantasy.