Anu, red giant companion-star to Bel and Ea, was relentlessly approaching Ishtar – scorching the land, forcing the barbarians of the North ever southward away from the Inferno. Fire Time was fast confronting the planet; civil war broke out as the Tassui led their forces against the army of the Gathering in a desperate struggle for survival.
The Gathering anxiously awaited help from the human colony in Primavera. Jill Conway and other colonists like her hoped to save the civilisation of Ishtar and they relied on the Navy of the Federation of Earth to do so. But now the Federation was engaged in its own was, an interstellar war that seemingly had no end. And no end meant no help of Ishtar…
This new collection of stories from the multi-award-winning author of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog contains:
A Letter from the Clearys
At the Rialto
Death on the Nile
The Soul Selects Her own Society
Even the Queen
The Winds of Marble Arch
All Seated on the Ground
Last of the Winnebagos
Ten stories – which have all won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award or both – are compulsory reading for the serious science fiction fan.
Winner of seven Nebula and eleven Hugo awards, Connie Willis is one of the most acclaimed and imaginative authors of our time. Her startling and powerful works have redefined the boundaries of contemporary science fiction.
Here in one volume are twelve of her greatest stories, including double award-winner “Fire Watch”, set in the universe of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, in which a time-travelling student learns one of history’s hardest lessons. In “A Letter from the Clearys”, a routine message from distant friends shatters the fragile world of a beleaguered family. In “The Sidon in the Mirror”, a mutant with the unconscious urge to become other people finds himself becoming both killer and victim.
Disturbing, revealing and provocative, this remarkable collection of short fiction brings together some of the best work of an incomparable writer whose ability to amaze, confound and enlighten never fails.
Imagine a day, not too far from today, when you pick up the newspapers to find them free of the usual accounts of crime, corruption, violence and war. There’s no politics or politicians, no sporting results, speculation or scandal. There is only the asteroid: newly-discovered, enormous and on a collision course with Earth.
Imagine a time, not too far from today, when the world itself stands helpless before the Fires of Satan…
One October night in the middle of the twentieth century Detective Inspector John Cheviot got into a taxi, bound for New Scotland Yard. When he stepped out it was from a horse-drawn cab, the year was 1829, and a beautiful woman was beckoning him in front of Old Scotland Yard.
There were things Cheviot remembered but couldn’t use – like how to analyse fingerprints; and things he didn’t know that he could have used – like how advanced his romance with Lady Flora really was. And there wasn’t even time to learn, because in the midst of helping Robert Peel establish the respectability and competence of his new police force, Cheviot suddenly finds himself and his lady accused of cruel murder.
In 1987, the New York Times published their first front-page review of a science fiction anthology for a collection called In the Field of Fire, themed around the war in Vietnam. “Vietnam was science fiction,” the reviewer wrote, and writing about it through that lens found meaning in a war few understood.
This idea, that speculative fiction is a vital tool to understanding the inexplicable, is just as relevant nearly thirty years later. Deserts of Fire is a war-inspired anthology for the new millennium, because for many, the recent wars in the deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East are just as slippery to grasp and difficult to understand as Vietnam was two generations earlier.
Inside Deserts of Fire are stories from a variety of bestselling and award-winning authors that start with the simple and modest ambition of making the reader feel strange about the recent past. Because when there are too many explanations, the truth won’t be found by merely choosing one side or the other. But rather, the truth is in the existence of the confusion itself.
The first coming was the Man:
The second was Fire to burn Him;
The third was water to drown the Fire;
The fourth is the Bird of Dawning.
Twenty years have passed since the martyrdom of the Boy-piper at York, twenty years in which his legacy, the movement of Kinship, has challenged the tyranny of the Church Militant in Britain’s seven island kingdoms.
Now his namesake, Tom, bearing the Boy’s own pipes and perhaps himself imbued with the spirit of the White Bird, is wandering Europe in company with the girl, Witchet. But disaster overtakes them and Tom, in a fury of vengeance, breaks his vow of Kinship.
A terrible path lies before him, one that transcends his own world. As he travels it, Tom must come to understand the true nature of the wild White Bird, of The Bride of Time and her Child, and of the Song the Star Born sang.
With their homeworld in ruins, ten thousand brave colonists set out for the stars. Among them is Marianne O’Hara – who survived a baptism of cataclysmic fire to emerge as the last hope of her doomed race. But madness, mysterious deaths and irreversible sabotage threaten their mission – propelling the crippled starship Newhome blindly toward an unimaginable future, and hurtling Marianne toward an astonishing confrontation that could mean the end or the transcendent rebirth of humankind.
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…
Somewhere there was a radioactive fire that could perform miracles of super-science. Somewhere there was a place where cat-people prowled, where time was altered, and incredible mysteries held their secrets of power and fortune for the daring discoverer. Deep in an unexplored jungle, Brian Raft sought the secret of the legendary Valley of the Flame . . .
Out of body, out of time…
Though basically a skeptic, William Reynolds had known out-of-body experiences in the past. But never before had he floated past the boundaries of Baltimore . . . and across the borders of time. And now, with the fires of Civil War looming on the horizon, the astonished graduate student was hobnobbing with none other than the dark poet Edgar Allan Poe. But their meeting of minds was to have chilling consequences. For a desperate Confederacy planned to use them both to remold the world – and to change history…for the worse.
They dragged the screaming stranger into the asylum. His talk of Fire Gods and universal conquest seemed the ultimate in illusions. Next morning, the padded cell was burnt out…and there was no trace of the prisoner. The door was still locked, still barred.
Perhaps the arson that followed was just a coincidence?
The Brigade Chiefs called in a special investigator. No result. Finally the IPF took a hand and subsequently the investigations pointed to extra galactic interference.
When the psychiatrist, who had originally examined the mysterious ‘fire god’, was questioned the second time things began to add up. Those wild, strange words ha not been the ravings of a maniac but the diabolical threat of an alien entity. A thing with unbelievable power…that threatened the universe itself!
Contains the story ‘The Hedge Night’
Dreamsongs Book Two is the second part of a massive collection, featuring the very best of George R.R. Martin’s short fiction, a dazzling array of award-winning stories from the last thirtysome years. Included in this edition is ‘The Hedge Knight’, a tale of the Seven Kingdoms, an indispensable part of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire:
Telling the tale of a young squire as he strives to become a knight in the cruel and unforgiving lands of the Seven Kingdoms, ‘The Hedge Knight’ introduces readers to Dunk and Egg and their quest to prove victorious against the nobility at a local tournament.
George R.R. Martin is one of the most exciting storytellers of our time, a stylish, elegant writer who combines riveting plots with superb characterisation. He writes with equal verve and fervour about werewolves as he does spaceships, wizards and vampires, and he has won virtually every award in the fields of fantasy literature. His epic ongoing saga A Song of Ice and Fire has redefined fantasy for a whole new generation, and won him a vast, devoted audience.
Dreamsongs is an unmissable collection not just for all George R.R. Martin fans, but essential reading for any reader of fantastic literature.
‘Of those who work in the grand epic fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best’ Time Magazine
‘I always expect the best from George R.R. Martin, and he always delivers’ Robert Jordan
‘Long live George Martin . . . A literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers’ New York Times
‘Martin’s style is so vivid that you will be hooked within a few pages’ The Times
Two rival sorcerers cast their spells as flames rise above Dreaming Ferranoz, capital of the bright empire of Akkar. Half-human wolflings devour citizens. The conflicting spells meet – and paralyze the city. No one moves, even to breathe. Time stands still. The pall of smoke hangs motionless over unflickering fires.
Outside the city walls, Kandar, prince of Ferranoz, learns that he might save his people – if he can uncover the infamous Trilogy of the Damned, the books of sorcery in whose pages is locked the secret incantation that can free Ferranoz.
A prolific author of hundreds of stories in the fields of SF, fantasy and westerns, E. C. Tubb, was best-known for his epic 33-volume Dumarest saga, a galaxy-spanning adventure series. Also active for many years in Fandom, he was both a founder member of the British Science Fiction Association and the first editor of its critical journal VECTOR. This omnibus collects two of his out of print classics, THE EXTRA MAN and THE SPACE-BORN, and posthumous novel, FIRES OF SATAN, completed before his death and published now for the first time.