This is a book of science fiction – without galactic fleets or plucky scientists’ daughters; a book of fantasies – without elves, barbarians or wizards; a book of horror – without clichéd mad slashers in hockey masks.
If one must categorize this collection by Pat Cadigan, then the inevitable conclusion would be that Patterns is a book about people, good and bad, noble and monstrous, common and oh so extraordinary. Cadigan’s characters live and breathe in these fourteen astonishing stories, making even the most outlandish ideas seem more than possible.
When Ray Jerome, a crotchety journalist on the Whiteford Examiner, is asked to investigate a case of spontaneous human combustion, his first reation is to ridicule the idea – but he is not able to back out of doing the story.
To his own surprise, he becomes fascinated by the phenomenon of people who burn up for no obvious reason. It is a fascination which will make 1996 the most unbelievable year of his life.
Bron is a chaos catalyst. He wreaks havoc and destruction as surely as a hurricane wherever he goes. Commando Central has planted an electrode transmitter-receiver deep inside his brain and infiltrated him into the Destroyer Spacefleet to prevent it from gaining absolute mastery of the galaxy. But Bron’s own brand of chaos is lethally unpredictable. And when whole planets are annihilated by monster hellburner bombs set on course seven hundred million years ago from distant Andromeda, aimed directly at Bron himself, both sides realise something more colossal, more threatening and infinitely more powerful is taking a hand in Bron’s weird destiny . . .
He was suspended alone and unprotected in the sea of forgetfulness where Saturn looked brilliant against the sunless black of deep outer space.
It was like an elusive dream of a past only half-remembered, forever just out of reach amid the shifting galaxies of deep space. Somewhere out there he had lost his memory – space amnesia they called it. But they had found him and brought him back and given him a memory again.
But was it his memory?
AFTER THE APOCALYPSE the hazardous evolution of mankind continues. And in primeval response to the disaster, humanity’s solutions to catastrophe carve the harsh new world in violent patterns of magic and myth, rite and religion. Brave images scar the ancient hills, the clash of swords and the ageless power of sexuality sign-post another, bloodsoaked path to civilisation.
For years the Delevan family image reflected only the best of everything – wealth, position, influence, and the kind of expensive good looks that take generations to cultivate. No one dared suspect that their glittering façade, their cherished privacy masked hidden lusts, furtive pleasures and twisted dreams that would soon erupt into a pattern of strange violence that threatened to destroy them all.
Humanity played with fire once too often. It was atomic fire and its ravages produced an almost complete annihilation, but there were survivors. The radiations had not been entirely malevolent in their influence. Genes and chromosomes danced like dervishes in the gamma bombardments, and settled back into fantastic new patterns. God-like beings strode proudly athwart the devastation. Half-human demons lurked in the shadowy ruins. The twilight of humanity faded into a new heroic epoch, behind which the forbidden secrets of the ancient atom gods bided their time…
Far from Earth two sister planets, Sainte Anne and Sainte Croix, circle each other. It is said that a race of shapeshifting aliens once lived here, only to become extinct when human colonists arrived. But one man believes they still exist, somewhere out in the wilderness.
In THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS, Gene Wolfe brilliantly interweaves three tales: a scientist’s son gradual discovery of the bizarre secret of his heritage; a young man’s mythic dreamquest for his darker half; the mystifying chronicle of an anthropologist’s seemingly-arbitrary imprisonment. Gradually, a mesmerising pattern emerges.
You didn’t make an Adapted Man with just a wave of the wand. It involved an elaborate constellation of techniques, known collectively as pantropy, that changed the human pattern in a man’s shape and chemistry before he was born.
But the pantropists didn’t stop with biology. Education, thoughts, ancestors and the world itself were changed, because the Adapted Men were produced to live and thrive in the alien environments found only in space. They were crucial to a daring plan to colonize the universe.
And millennia later, it is only fitting that they should return to a long forgotten planetary system to colonise a hostile world called . . . Earth.
Imagine a distant world where gods walk as men, but wield vast and hidden powers. Here they have made the stage on which they build a subtle pattern of alliance, love, and deadly enmity. Are they truly immortal? Who are these gods who rule the destiny of a teeming world?
Their names include Brahma, Kali, Krishna and also he who was called Buddha, the Lord of Light, but who now prefers to be known simply as Sam. The gradual unfolding of the story – how the colonization of another planet became a re-enactment of Eastern mythology – is one of the great imaginative feats of modern science fiction.
Ciudad de Vados was the pride of Latin America – a gleaming city of the future where only ten years before there had been barren rock and wasteland.
But Vados had problems. When Boyd Hakluyt was called in, his brief seemed simple: reroute the traffic to drive out the shanty towns that disfigured the city. It was an easy job – until Hakluyt found himself unwillingly involved in a web of deadly political rivalries. Then came the first murder . . .
Hakluyt started getting answers to questions he hadn’t asked. Too many people got too interested in him. And the pattern that started emerging was sinister, terrifying – and almost unbelievable . . .
First published in 1965.
When the past comes back to haunt you, there is no escape.
A dead dog, a green alligator wallet, a burned book and a series of cryptic notes send Ellery Queen on the trail of a murderer.
Laurel Hill, daughter of Hollywood jeweller Leander Hill, believes that her father was frightened to death, and asks Ellery Queen to investigate. Someone is still out to get Hill’s business partner, Roger Priam, but he’s not talking. And it appears that a mysterious and violent incident in the men’s past may be at the heart of the matter.
When Priam begins to receive a series of less than pleasant ‘gifts’, master detective Ellery Queen must discern the pattern that connects the clues and the notes, and entrap the criminal.
‘My favourite American crime-writer’ New York Herald Tribune
In the quiet suburb of Santa Monica, eighty-eight-year-old Mabel Foster loses her husband to a stroke. Rather than move Mabel into a retirement home, the neighbours hire Josephine Slaney to take care of her. The immense nurse is a godsend, the cost of her help is a bargain.
Soon it becomes clear, however, that all is not right with Josephine. Mrs Foster, once bright and alert, falls quickly into a torpor and retreats into seclusion at Josephine’s command. It is up to detective Dan Valentine to uncover a strange, lethal pattern among Josephine’s former patients, and the race is on to stop her before she can strike again.
Heredity is dependent on the complex patterns of genes and chromosomes, which are particularly vulnerable to radiation. An error in a biological research unit led to the birth of a thing so bestial and so powerful that it became a target so Security.
As it grew, its strategic potential developed until whispers of its monstrous power filtered out to the rest of the world. Other nations were interested and one intrepid agent reached the secret bunker where the powerful thing was kept. His interference shattered a safety device and the thing escaped.
It strode across the world with the fury of a tornado. Nothing seemed able to stand in its path. Mighty cities were shattered like ant-hills as the mutant monster continued its rampage. Dazed, disorganised humanity strove desperately to strike back before it was too late…
The day the Time Storm came, Marc Despard was one of the handful to survive – or keep a remnant of sanity. Mist walls moving endlessly across the surface of the Earth, created a devastated, shifting patchwork of temporal anarchy, wrenching both inanimate and living things between the past and the future, beyond all hope of return.
But Despard saw strange, dazzling patterns in his head that he knew were instruments that might enable him to beat the Time Storm.
Travelling through the violent, terrifying landscape of an ever-changing world, slowly gathering others around him, he began to realise his awe-inspiring mission.
He, Marc Despard, must become nothing less than master of the universe – what men call God.