Visit Earth, the birthplace of man! From the holiday planet of Paradiso one could go on many exciting tours and excursions – Mars, Venus, the Moon, even the most distant and alien worlds were accessible to the inquisitive holidaymaker, courtesy of Starways Inc. – the giant combine which owned Paradiso and over half of the galaxy. But of all Starways illustrious trips, there was really only one which interested Ram Burrell – the one which Starways seemed to actually discourage people from taking… the trip to planet Earth. And once Burrell had got himself a ticket for the journey, he began to discover why Earth had become the least visited planet in the galaxy, and why Starways worked so hard to keep it that way…
In this stunning collection of four intimately interconnected novellas, Ursula K. Le Guin returns to the great themes that have made her one of America’s most honored and respected authors. At the far end of our universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into ‘assets’ and ‘owners’, tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the callow ‘space brat’ Solly, the haughty soldier Teyeo, and the Ekumen historian and Hainish exile Havzhiva, freedom and duty both begin in the heart, and success as well as failure has its costs.
It was a changed world. No longer did the black monks of the Christian Church own half of England and extend their deadly domain over their flock. No longer did the murderous Ragnarssons and their Viking hordes ravage the shires unopposed. Now, in the year 867 AD, those who wished to be Christian were free to worship without the heavy yoke of the ever-hungry Church. Those who did not could follow the Asgarth Way, the Norse religion that paid homage to the gods of Asgard: Othin, Thor, Frey…and Rig. Rig, the patron – perhaps the father? – of Shef Sigvarthsson. Whose new weapons and battle strategy had defeated both the battle-hardened Vikings and the Frankish knights of Pope Nicholas’ failed Crusade. While enemies plotted, Shef left England by ship, to avoid the wedding of his ally, Alfred of Wessex, to his childhood love, Godive. Shipwrecked on the Frisian Coast he begins a journey that will keep him away from England for months and years, and add more legends to his already myth-shrouded life. In One King’s Way Harry Harrison Continues the story of Shef Sigvarthsson, god-chosen warrior and mystic. From the Vikings of the North Sea to the scheming priests of Germany, from the frozen northern lands to the snow-covered Finnish tundra, he fights his way towards overwhelming kingship. While his supernatural allies and enemies engage in a shadowy battle for his future. This is historical fantasy of the highest order, from a giant of the genre.
Mike Jerome, a likeable young TV writer, visits Professor Smitt, a physicist, who gives him an idea for a TV script: using some source of light, perhaps a laser beam, one could reduce the human structure to a form that could be transmitted into the future as electrical pulses – and thus create time travel. On the way home Mike is hit by a taxi, and when he recovers he finds the date is 1979 – ten years in the future. This is but the beginning of a series of bewildering, fascinating ten year jumps. Mike is himself living the time change himself! At the end of each stop he tries to find his best friend, Pete Jones, a Negro jazz musician. Jumps to 1989, 1999 and so on, take Mike into such far-reaching places as London, the Northern Territory of Australia, California and the Italian Alps, for a rousing series of adventures in all sorts of bizarre circumstances. At the very end of this outstanding science fiction adventure by a noted father-son team, there is a slyly ambiguous twist which leaves the reader wondering…
When the Inter-Planetary Corporation’s crack spaceliner Arturus took off on a routine flight to Mars, it turned out to be the beginning of a most unexpected trip to the unexplored moons of distant Jupiter. For once wreaked on Ganymede, the survivors had first to master that world’s primeval terrors, then reconstruct a new spacecraft, and finally find a way out of the problems presented by the warring intelligence of the Jovian system. SPACEHOUNDS OF ICP is justly considered to be on of Edward E. Smith’s finest novels – a standalone classic of exciting space adventure.
He was Clear Blue Lou, perfect master of the Clear Blue Way, at one with the law of muscle, sun, wind and water governing Aquaria. She was Sunshine Sue, always in a hurry in a world that was too slow, Queen of Word of Mouth. Their meeting had been arranged – but by whom? and why? Beyond the beginning of where the world ended, beyond the highest peaks of its primeval majesty, lay a radio active hell and the lairs of the black sorcerers, the Spacers. The black scientists had not forgotten man’s old dream of touching the stars: they wanted the Age of Space reborn. But they needed a little help.
Immortal, unchanging, the external survivor, Nathan Brazil had tired of his long duty as the guardian of the Well World and had enlisted Mavra Chang, space pilot and adventurer, as his companion and equal, sharing with her some of the godlike power to control the universe’s destiny. But over the millennia, Brazil and Chang had become estranged. When they were once again summoned to the Well World, they came as bitter rivals, each racing to be the first to reach the Well of Souls. What they found, however, was a Well World changed in ways it should not have been. Evolution on the Well World seemed to have diverged from its preset course- and that was impossible. Brail sensed that some force beyond local animosity was at work, and he was determined to find out just what that force was and how it could have changed the elaborate programming of the Well of Souls. But the changes that had so affected the Well World were beginning to change the unchangeable Nathan Brazil – and if the watchman himself could altered, the universe might be left without any guardian at all . . .
Among the six hundred thousand stars in the vast Arm of Stars, over six hundred planets had been seeded with human stock by the greatest feat of technology ever achieved, the Ship. And on each of these worlds, the memory of the Ship had faded into legend over the years. The Ship, however, still endured, watching over the colonies on a cyclical and seemingly endless journey through time and space. But in its long odyssey, the Ship had somehow been damaged – it had become as conscious, and lonely, as any human being. And as it visited, again and again, each of the worlds it had seeded, it found tragedy in its wake. For the humans of the Arm of Stars were becoming more and more alien. Even worse, the Ship was beginning to change in ways its designers had never intended . . .
It was the End of Summer of the year 2035. The Global Village that was the World was ruled by a Kangaroo Court of Compassionate Aldermen who ordered assassinations when it was deemed to be for the common good. As a sign of their openness, they were always experimenting to find new ways of looking at the World. Most of these experiments would would fail; some of them would succeed to an extent; and others would succeed only too well, and so would have to be crushed in the shell for the good of the World. The Lynn-Randal Experiment raised three children together almost from infancy. Of these three, Lord Randal was human (though somewhat enhanced and tampered with). Axel belonged to the gargoyle-faced ‘Golden People’ (‘God believes they are the most beautiful creatures he ever made,’ a theologian said, ‘and there will be hell to pay when he founds out that we don’t agree.’). And the third child was Inneal who often elicited the comment ‘she’s really something different, isn’t she!’ Yes, she was. All of these were super-mega-persons, which meant that they might be able to change the world itself. But why did they begin to change the Ocean first? When these three were just short of ten years old, they were merged with children of three other experiments, and formed with them a Magic Dozen. Immediately they began to have an astonishing effect on the World. And the fave of the children themselves hung in the balance. Was the experiment too successful? Was their effect on the World too dangerous? Would their group be, as other groups had been, adjudged to be a ‘Serpent’s Egg‘ that had to be crushed in the shell for the good of the world? The Three Days of Summerset, the End of Summer, would give the answer.
18th Century Europe: Superstition is giving way to the force of reason, and no man so fully embodies the spirit of the times as Dr Erasmus Darwin. Thinker, healer, and explorer of he seemingly supernatural, no mystery can stand for long against Darwin’s enlightened analysis. And there are more mysteries than history records… For Erasmus Darwin’s world is filled with oddities that most cannot believe: from unknown beings lurking just outside the boundaries of civilization, to mysterious deaths that give rise to fears of malevolent sorcery. And when the renowned Dr Darwin is called upon to heal a man dying of an ailment that seems impossible, he has no idea that it is the beginning of a quest that will lead him to the darkest corners of Europe, and an encounter with the most famous inhabitant of a certain Scottish loch…