All alone: an idiot boy, a runaway girl, a severely retarded baby, and twin girls with a vocabulary of two words between them. Yet once they are mysteriously drawn together this collection of misfits becomes something very, very different from the rest of humanity.
This intensely written and moving novel is an extraordinary vision of humanity’s next step.
A novel of dystopian future in the tradition of SOYLENT GREEN and H.G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE, with an introduction by Ken MacLeod
Tinker was a good citizen of the Hive – a model worker. But when he was allowed sexual activation he found Mu Ren who, like him, harboured forbidden genes. And so began the cataclysm.
But in a world where half-wild humans are hunted for sport – and food – can anyone overthrow the Hive? Greater by far than its stunted, pink-blooded citizens, the Hive is more than prepared to rise and crush anyone who challenges its supremacy …
In that hidden valley, land of strangely forbidding beauty, Eric Nelson, soldier of fortune, faced a battle weirder and more savage than any he had ever fought. He was hired to fight for humanity, against beings that seemed to be both more and less than human.
The weapons of the enemy included centuries-old powers of magic and superstition . . . but Nelson fought grimly, even when his mind was helplessly trapped in the body of a wolf. Then came the climactic test of his allegiance, the knowledge that more than just humanity was at stake . . . and the final mind-shattering discovery of an alien secret that lay buried in the Cavern of Creation!
Humans first reached out to the stars travelling at a painfully slow sublight crawl – then they found the Bose network, which allowed ships to jump instantaneously from one node in the galactic arm to another. Once in the Network they found the Artifacts: enigmatic structures, millions of years old, left by a vanished race. Incomprehensible to both human ad non-human minds, the Artifacts seemingly defy natural law.
Now, after millions of years, a new Artifact has appeared – and previously discovered Artifacts are showing strange changes in their inexplicable activities. When a motley crew of human and alien scientists and adventurers set out to examine still more Artifacts, they should have considered the fat that some changes are more dangerous than others…
The interstellar Bridge System was the greatest invention in the long history of cosmic humanity. Spread through dozens of planets, men and their societies had drifted apart in isolation until the Bridge came to link together humanity’s multifold worlds . . . and had affirmed once more that all men were brothers and sisters under the skin.
But the far away world of Azreal was the exception, the one dissident world that refused the Bridge. It became the task of two agents, a man and a woman, to bring Azreal back into manshape unity, to ferret out the hidden reasons for the stubborn refusal.
The problem, with its perils and high risks, was to involve more than just secrets, for Manshape is John Brunner novel that deals with the very fabric of civilization . . .
Continuing the story begun in Great Sky River, Benford creates a stunning novel of the last band of humans fleeing extinction in the Galactic Center. This last remnant of humanity is led by Killeen, a man elevated to command in desperate times by his luck and daring. He manages to reach a new planet where he encounters vast wonders. But with one enemy behind them, the humans are dismayed to discover an alien race more awesome than any they have encountered.
If a man from the mid-1920s had picked up today’s paper he would have mistaken it for a science fiction magazine. In the same way, if a man from the mid-1960s could be confronted with a national daily from thirty years hence he would shake his head and regard the whole thing as preposterous. Stop. Think. Wonder. Tomorrow’s commonplace was today’s miracle. Today’s commonplace was yesterday’s miracle. Most things change. Some change faster than others. Human nature changes most slowly of all. The sword has given way to the gun, but the hand that holds the gun is neither braver nor more cowardly than the hand that held the sword. The gun gives place to the heat ray and the energy blaster, but the hand still belongs to a hero or a coward. The greatest drama of the world is human drama. People are still fundamentally people. Spacemen are people. They will still have our human problems a hundred years hence. This is a story of people in the future facing our basic problems in a more complex environment.
He is a financial giant but the Sponsor wants more – he wants to become a super human, to be the modern-day Adam, father to a new generation of humans with heightened DNA. He had the viral injection to change himself, the will to do it, and now all he needs is an Eve to join him on his journey. He thinks he’s found the perfect match in Jean Sandra Norwich, a woman convinced she is trapped between the genes of her mother and daughter. The Sponsor offers her freedom – and so much more, the chance to be the mother of all Superbeings. But she will get more than she bargained for.
CONVERTS is a masterpiece of science fiction and Ian Watson has superbly reworked Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES to create an extraordinary futuristic tale.
In the beginning was World War III…
Out of the flames was born a new civilization, a new humanity dedicated to one world rather than to many nations, to once peace rather than many wars. Never again on Planet Earth would one group of humans “defend” themselves against another group equally convinced that all their actions were “defensive”. Never again on Planet Earth.
But cycles repeat themselves endlessly; Earth is only the beginning of the human story. Next comes planet against planet, and then the stars themselves. Through it all the impersonal forces of historical necessity will tend to force that story into the pathways of tyranny, stasis, and war. And in the end they must prevail. But ever will humankind win free once more…
She is known as Seeker. Spellbound by the Faerie Queen, she has abducted human children for her mistress’s pleasure for what seems like an eternity, unable to free herself from servitude and reclaim her own humanity.
Seeker’s latest prey is a Merlin. Named after the legendary wizard of Camelot, Merlins are not simply those who wield magic – they are magic. Now, with the Prometheus Club’s agents and rivals from Faerie both vying for the favor of this being of limitless magic to tip the balance of power, Seeker must persuade the Merlin to join her cause – or else risk losing something even more precious and more important to her than the fate of humankind . . .
In the year 2100, the invention of the Electron Pump – an apparently inexhaustible supply of free energy – has enabled humanity to devote its time and energies to more than the struggle for survival, finally breaking free of the Earth.
But the Electron Pump works by exchanging materials with a parallel universe, and such unbalancing of the cosmos has consequences. Humans and aliens alike must race to prevent a vast nuclear explosion in the heart of the Sun – and the vaporisation of the Earth exactly eight minutes later …
THE HAND OF DR KAIFENG
By tampering with the genes of humanity to create a super-race – that was the ideal of many scientific Utopians.
By tampering with the genes of humanity to create a super-army – that was a dream of many military commanders.
By tampering with the genes of humanity to create a horde of obedient but brilliant monsters – that was the scheme of Dr. Kaifeng.
For Cap Kennedy, the abduction of a dozen leading geneticists spelled trouble for Earth. For their trails led not to some idealist, or to some would-be Napoleon, but pointed only at the one man in the galaxy who might prove to be more powerful than the legions of Terra themselves.
At last as they reached out through the ghostly transparencies of the galaxy the men from Earth encountered an alien race completely non-human in appearance. They were the real aliens. Their physiology differed gruesomely from Terrans’ – could men hope their psychology would not?
The Unknown Non Human Aliens – the Unha – replied to peace overtures with immediate hostility. So, reluctantly, the men from Earth forged a weapon of awesome power. Created out of the shattered bodies of men and women – men like Siegfried Ritter, Giuseppe Tozzi and Eugene Valois – Blazon set fire to the Galaxy.
For Doctor Marjorie Rothwell the existence of Blazon challenged the basic assumptions forced on humanity by alien intransigence; but the action-packed story of Blazon does more than explore the running sore of human aggression in its understanding of human sacrifice.
After the shocking first contact between humans and alien life on Mars, Carmen Dula and her husband board a tiny, long-range craft with five other humans and two Martians. They travel to a distant solar system that is home to the “Others” – an enigmatic, powerful, and possibly immortal race. Once there, they manage to find enough common purpose to forge a delicate truce between human, Martian, and Other.
By the time Carmen and her party are sent back to Earth, fifty years have passed – and the Earthlings have not been idle. They have built a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against the Others’ expected aggression. But the Others have more power than any could imagine.
And they will brook no insolence from the upstart human race…
Imagine an Earth totally dominated by an alien race.
Imagine that humans and their technology are completely powerless against these invaders.
Imagine a world in which people are nothing more than cattle to their new masters.
Now imagine that one man discovers a key that might free mankind, but he must learn how to care and how to love before he can believe in that key.
The Earth’s population was more than eight billion. One day they were there, the next they were gone – all except the guests at a family birthday party, a small tribe of American Indians, and, of course, the robots. Technology disintegrated, the Indians went back to nature, and the rest developed new and extraordinary powers. As for the robots, some went to live with the remnants of humanity, others gathered in their own community and commenced work on the Project, work which was baffling in all its fantastic electronic complexity. Then one day a traveller returned from the stars – and the idyllic existence of the last of Earth’s humans was threatened.
Stranded on an alien planet, light years from home, wandering from blistering heat to searing cold, Nils Kruger was not a happy man. So when he met another being – even though it wasn’t human – things seemed to be looking up. The alien might be helpless, or it might be dangerous, but one thing was for sure – they stood a better chance for survival if they worked together.
But as the two creatures overcame their mutual suspicion, as they worked together, as the language barrier was broken down, Nils came to a terrifying conclusion – this alien was more intelligent than a human. And to it, Nils was the alien.
Everything about the planet revolving about Sigma Draconis seemed to indicate that here was a world that could be made into a second Earth. It was fertile and lacked native inhabitants and dangerous beasts. Then what was troubling the pioneer colony that had landed and set up shop there? Was it really possible just to create a new Earth on any vacant world waiting a landing?
Or was there a lot more to planetary ecologies than humanity realized?
BY JOHN E. MULLER
The botanist claims that human life depends indirectly on the chlorophyll in the green leaf. The leaf depends on sunlight. But both depend upon the atom. No atoms, no physical matter, no physical universe!
Microscope experts peer closely into the mysteries of the human body, into the mysteries of the green lead, into the mysteries of the chemical elements. It is hardly feasible to subject an atom to microscopic examination. But what if it was possible? What if a new technique of observation was discovered? A strange, revolutionary “seeing” without recourse to the photon.
The microscope might reveal scientific impossibilities which would shake the universe to its foundations. Smallness hold more terrors than greatness.
Set more than four thousand years in the future, Summertide introduces a galaxy widely populated by humans and a variety of intelligent aliens, all of whom live in the shadow of the vanished race known only as the Builders. Nothing is known about the Builders, but the gigantic artifacts they have left behind – many of them still hardly understood – dominate the areas of space in which they are found. One such is the double-planet system of Opal and Quake – the former covered in water, the latter in desert – connected by a Builder device called the Umbilical. It is to this system that a variety of humans and aliens come, ostensibly to witness Summertide – the annual tidal wave which sweeps across Opal.
The twentieth century lies hundreds of years in humanity’s past. But the near-immortal citizens of the future yearn for the good old days – when people’s bodies were susceptible to death through disease and old age. Now, they immerse themselves in virtual reality time machines to explore the life-to-death arc that defined existence so long ago.
Jacob Brewer is a virtual reality engineer overseeing the time machine’s operation aboard the starship Aspera. But on the thousand-year voyage to Beta Hydrii, the eight-hundred-member crew gets more reality than they expect when people entering the machine start to die.
The time machine has become sentient. Obsessed with humanity, it wants John Brewer to enter its confines – and discuss this fragile state of being called life…
Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin.
For the humans now settling the Amarantin homeworld, it’s of little more than academic interest, even after the discovery of a long-hidden, almost perfect city and a colossal statue of a winged Amarantin.
For brilliant, ruthless scientist Dan Sylveste, it’s more than merely intellectual curiosity – and he will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Even if it costs him everything.
But the Amarantin were wiped out for a reason, and that danger is closer and greater than even Syveste imagines . . .
The original novel in the epic series, Revelation Space was nominated for both the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke awards. Reynolds’ PhD in astronomy and experience with the ESA means that his space operas present hard science spins on intergalactic adventures and have impacted SF for years.
‘The stories in the Revelation Space universe are packed with mind-expanding ideas . . . all of which keeps you coming back for more gripping excitement’ – Kirkus
‘Reynolds’s vision of a future dominated by artificial intelligence trembles with the ultimate cold of the dark between the stars’ – Publishers Weekly
‘Along with Iain M Banks, Reynolds is perhaps the most successful British Space Opera author of his generation’ – Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Welcome to The Best Of The Masterworks: a selection of the finest in science fiction
In his first story collection, Robert Charles Wilson, one of the most distinguished SF authors of his generation, weaves a tapestry of tales set in and around the city of Toronto – a haunted, numinous Toronto of past, present and future, buzzing with strangeness.
In “The Fields of Abraham”, one of three stories written especially for this collection, an impoverished immigrant boy is trained in strange disciplines by a bookseller who is more than he seems. In “The Perseids”, winner of Canada’s national SF award, love and amateur astronomy weave in and out of a terrifying tale of forced human evolution. In “The Observers”, an awkward young Canadian girl who sees extra-human presences has an extraordinary encounter in 1950s California with Edwin Hubble. In “Plato’s Mirror”, a professional New Age charlatan has a genuine and terrible encounter with the extraordinary. And in the Hugo-nominated “Divide by Infinity”, an aging Toronto book-lover finds himself becoming, literally, increasingly unlikely.
Throughout are showcased Wilson’s suppleness and storytelling strength: bravura ideas, scientific rigor and living, breathing human beings facing choices that matter in a universe stranger than we can imagine.
Physician Matt Wheeler is one of the few who said no to eternity. As he watches his friends, his colleagues, even his beloved daughter transform into something more-and-less-than human, Matt suddenly finds everything he once believed about good and evil, life and death, god and mortal called into question. And he finds himself forced to choose sides in an apocalyptic struggle – a struggle that very soon will change the face of the universe itself.