Earth is in crisis, virtually destroyed by overpopulation, and mankind is teethering on the edge. ISTO – the Interstellar Trade Organization – had demanded man’s extinction, for a living planet is more important than any race upon it, and was about to start ‘reducing’ mankind when Earthgov agreed its demands, to sell 90 per cent of Earth’s inhabitants into bondage to alien races.
When Margaret is six, she imagines herself as a spy, a healer, a queen, a warrior, even a boy, to amuse herself; when she is nine, and 12, and 20, at crisis points in her life, she feels like parts of her have split off – like the Margaret who decided to follow her lover to Tercis and the Margaret who said no.
So now, as well as Margaret, she is Wilvia, learning to be a queen on B’yurngrad, and Ongamar, a spy on Cantardene, and Gretamara, a healer on Chottem, and even Naumi, a boy on Thairy, and she is many other Margarets besides.
And all these Margarets hold the key to mankind’s survival, if only they can survive and come together again as one Margaret, with all their different powers intact …
Someone is thinking about Margaret. “I wondered about Margaret, and what she would do next. I didn’t care unless she went the route of drugs. They make her try and get at me sometimes, and that can be bothersome. She is so terribly afraid of me.”
Who so casually draws Margaret to the brink of hysteria – then, just as casually, tries to walk away?
Her subconsciousness does, when it becomes a living, breathing personality with an ego all its own – setting the stage for a remarkable transformation scarcely envisioned by the science of man.
Margaret St Clair is best known for her shorter science fiction and fantasy, much of the latter written under the pen name of Idris Seabright. She has a remarkably ironic sense of humor, and many of her stories have social or philosophical themes.
Idris’ Pig (1964)
The Gardener (1949)
Child of Void (1949)
Hathor’s Pets (1950)
The Pillows (1950)
The Listening Child (1950)
Brightness Falls from the Air (1951)
The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles (1951)
The Causes (1952)
An Egg a Month from All Over (1952)
New Ritual (1953)
Short in the Chest (1954)
Horrer Howce (1956)
The Wines of Earth (1957)
The Invested Libido (1958)
The Nuse Man (1960)
An Old-Fashioned Bird Christmas (1961)
Wryneck, Draw Me (1980)
It’s August Bank Holiday, and the great Bramsbourne Fete and Flower Show. But this one is going to be particularly memorable.
Everyone takes part in the preparations, and families gather from far and near. Brigadier and Mrs Trent welcome their daughter Susan, her husband and two children, and their daughter-in-law Elizabeth. Only their son Victor is absent, a sorrow they silently agree not to mention.
Into this carefree scene comes a man on the run. His efforts to evade the tightening police net affect, one after another, everyone in the village. But Brigadier Trent and his wife, and the war-disabled vicar, are more concerned than anyone …
Mrs Anderson is starting to forget where she has put things, what she has bought, or even eaten. Living alone in a rambling mansion, she is isolated from the town.
But Mrs Anderson has a visitor. A young man comes every night, through the dining room window. He helps himself to food and money, and has even made himself comfortable in the attic. A young man who enjoys power, he might take over the whole house and make it his. It’s a place where no one will think to look for him, where no one will find him – no matter what he’s done.
Ruth Castle – alone, proud, defiant – is determined to rescue some personal happiness from the wreckage of her life. In Haverbury village, she makes friends with Marjorie and Robert Bretherton, and is soon involved in the affairs of other relatives who come to stay for Christmas.
Family conflicts emerge, and one night, turning to Ruth for support in a sudden crisis, Marjorie realises that things are not as straightforward as she thought – and that her very life is threatened …
Nesta Falconer, an attractive widow, lives with her fifteen-year-old daughter Philippa, managing brother-in-law Charles Falconer’s household after the breakdown of his marriage. Nesta’s comfortable position is threatened when her sister Claire, returning from America, comes to stay at her cottage.
Charles realises that Nesta is a menace to Philippa’s happiness, and that she has been responsible for much distress. His mother, a formidable old lady, plays a part in revealing Nesta not only to her family but to herself as a negative person who contributes little to the happiness of others.
Did she hold the key to ecstasy – or to horror?
The people of Gwethym were highly intelligent, rational beings. They worshiped the goddess Neith, not because they believed in such a golden-haired being, but because they recognised the need for religion as a counterbalance to human passions.
So when trouble struck their planet, when they discovered an energy leak which was slowly destroying their world, the Gwethymians turned to science for their answer. If their world was to be saved, the solution must come from the logicians.
Or so they thought, until one day a woman, in the image of their goddess Neith, walked across the waters of the harbour and into their city! Then their trouble was two-fold. Would there be anything left to save of their world if they waited for the scientists? And if they didn’t, if they put their trust in this goddess whom logic told them could not even exist, would they just be sealing their doom that much quicker?
Before the dawn of man . . .
. . . there was a covenant between the land and the sea people – a covenant long forgotten by those who stayed on shore, but indelibly etched in the minds of others – the dolphins of Altair.
Now the covenant had been broken. Dolphins were being wantonly sacrificed in the name of scientific research, their waters increasingly polluted, their number dangerously diminished. They had to find allies and strike back. Allies willing to sever their own earthly bonds for the sake of their sea brothers – willing, if necessary, to execute the destruction of the whole human race . . .
They had existed from time immemorial, hidden in a space warp far beneath the the surface of the Earth. Until now, their only form of nourishment had been a strange hallucinogenic grain. Now, they hungered for human flesh. The Earth was to be their stockyard and mankind their meat…
Don Haig had been content to lie around and drink in the synthetic beauty of the pleasure planetoid Fyon, until a woman came into his life. A woman more beautiful and more perfect than any other female in the galaxy. A woman who brought about a curious change in Don.
For she was a pocket-sized foll – a very strange and miraculous puppet who shed constant tears and held powers that Don never even dreamed of.
But what Don did know was that dangerous alien forces were swiftly focusing on him and his living puppet – and that he had to discover the doll’s super-scientific secret before his own life was smashed into atoms.
Earth was a weird and dire place after the plagues.
The few humans who survived could not bear the touch of each other; they lived in the enormous, endless caverns hacked out of the bowels of the earth for the bombs that never came.
And on one man rested the hopes of the world, though he did not know it. Sam Sewell only knew he had to journey, despite forbidding perils from the darkness of the past, into the ultimate fastnesses of the unknown to rescue the timeless wisdom of the witch Desponia . . .
Change the Sky is a collection in which you will find:
– A man who has spent his life searching for the world of his dreams and got exactly what he wanted
– A women who found the people around her so boring she changed them
– A righteous minister who preached an old-fashioned Christmas and started an energy crisis – 2000 years in the future
Bonnar had created the Green Queen thoughtlessly – all part of a day’s work. But when his brain-child became a full-grown Frankenstein’s monster, embodied in the girl he loved, Bonnar was terrified. For now she threatened to shatter the whole carefully balanced social structure of Viridis – as well to undermine that radioactive world’s atomic shield!
Only Bonnar could end the holocaust and turn the all-too-grim reality back to the illusion he had originally intended. But to do that he had to destroy the girl he loved – or be destroyed by her.
His name was Tharg, but he was not of any life form we know today. He lived so long ago that the planet Earth had not yet shaped itself. Lava seas roiled and churned, volcanoes spouted and grew, and heavy clouds hung in the hydrogen atmosphere, leaving the planet’s surface dark and dangerous.
On that world Tharg met his death, or something very much like it. He became a disembodied, totally nonphysical intelligence, cut off from all contact with the life he had known. He ‘slept’ for hundreds of millions of years, unconnected with the world, unthinking, hardly existing.
But then he began to awake – for there was new life on Earth, creatures called ‘human’, and Tharg, knowing an ancient promise from the stars, had to tell them of it. But . . . how?