For almost two centuries the huge spaceship had speared its way through the stars, bound for another two hundred years of travel before it would put down on a new planet, a new home for the Earth people.
On board the metal-enclosed worldlet were four hundred people: the last survivors of Earth. It was up to them to start life anew, to correct the mistakes their ancestors made.
But as the tenth generation neared maturity, the idle passengers found themselves face to face with these same problems – and this time there was no place to run and hide or to postpone their answers. For their miniature society was changing faster and faster. An the spaceship suddenly seemed destined to end as a star-bound coffin.
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 . . .
Three thousand years after Earth’s colonisation of the planet Borthan, stories of self-serving hypocrisy that occured among the first arrivals have bred a culture that forbids emotional sharing and denies the naturally human concept of ‘self’. The result is a lasting peace, but at a terrible price. For it is a peace without love, without self, where even the mention of the word ‘I’ is taboo.
Spurred on by the arrival of an Earthman with a self-baring drug, Kinnall Darival breaks the strict code of the Covenant to record the sordid details of his rebelious life from the days of his royal youth to self-appointed prophet of love. He begins his account with the greatest of heresies:
‘I am Kinnall Darival and I mean to tell you all about myself.’
Winner of the Nebula Award for best novel.
The women who craved the attention of of angels were known as angel-seekers, a term used with awe by some – and scorn by others…
Elizabeth was born to wealth, but circumstances forced her to live as a servant in her cousin’s household. Determined to change her life, she travels to the town of Cedar Hills, hoping that an angel will take notice of her and take her as his own.
Rebekah is a daughter of the Jansai tripe, raised to hate angels. But when she finds an injured angel near her village, she defies her upbringing to care for him.
In time, these two women, whose paths will cross, will both find what they long for, in surprising – and dangerous – ways…
This collection by Lucius Shepard, one of the most exciting new writers to emerge in the 1980s, includes the eponymous story ¿Barnacle Bill the Spacer¿, about an attempted mutiny on a space station, which won the Hugo Award, as well as ¿Sports in America¿, about a man who finds out just how far he is willing to go when he is hired by a local crime boss to kill a man. In ¿All the Perfumes of Araby¿ a small-time smuggler is granted a vision of the future that compels him to change his life, while ¿Human History¿ is a post-apocalyptic adventure story with a hint of decadence. ¿The Sun Spider¿ is a romance of sorts, with a decidedly gothic twist, while in ¿Beast of the Heartland¿, a boxer at the end of his career is lured back into the ring with the promise of one last big payoff. And anyone who has ever completely lost themselves in a piece of music will recognise the inspiration for ¿A Little Night Music¿. Shepard’s stories are not just wonderfully three-dimensional characters dealing with life-changing events; they are filled with colours, textures, sounds and smells, as he describes his backgrounds with as much care as a master painter.
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.
Three times had the scientific genius, Kaifeng, slipped through the hands of the men of FATE – and three times those equally fanatic guardians of the fragile structure of interworld peace had tracked him down again.
But now Kaifeng had something that the Free Acting Terran Envoys had never met before. He had a ship beyond all previous capacities, he had a crew of dedicated devils, and he had FATE’s finest operative as his hostage.
And when FATE pursued him beyond the very Milky Way itself, beyond the Galactic Lens, things changed very rapidly – for out there Kaifeng had the means to enforce a stop to human progress – and he would not hesitate to use it!
It’s a super-space-thriller in the Star Trek tradition!
BLACKOUT is the opening movement of a vast, absorbing two-volume novel that may well prove to be Connie Willis’ masterpiece. Like her multi-award winning THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, this stunning new work marries the intricate mechanics of time travel to the gritty – and dangerous – realities of human history.
The narrative opens in Oxford, England in 2060, where a trio of time traveling scholars prepares to depart for various corners of the Second World War. Their mission: to observe, from a safe vantage point, the day-to-day nature of life during this critical historical moment. As the action ranges from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the manor houses of rural England to the quotidian horrors of London during the Blitz, the objective nature of their roles gradually changes. Cut off from the safety net of the future and caught up in the chaotic events that make up history, they are forced to participate, in unexpected ways, in the defining events of the era.
BLACKOUT is an ingeniously constructed time travel novel and a grand entertainment. More than that, it is a moving, exquisitely detailed portrait of a world under siege, a world dominated by chaos, uncertainty, and the threat of imminent extinction. It is the rare sort of book that transcends the limits of genre, offering pleasure, insight, and illumination on virtually every page.
Rhavas is a good, holy, and pious man, as befits a member of the clergy. He is also the cousin of the Avtokrator, ruler of the Empire. Hoping someday to become ecumenical patriarch of Videssos, he was reluctantly willing to bide his time in one of the smaller cities on the outskirts of the Empire.
Then civil war broke out, and the Avtokrator had to pull back the troops guarding the borders as he struggled for control of the Empire. Rhavas had to flee for his life as the fierce Khamorth nomads took advantage of the chaos and sacked the city he had come to love. He only survived because he accidentally discovered that he had an unsuspected power: Men often cursed each other – but Rhavas’s curse had the power to kill!
Rhavas had always followed Phos, the god of light and goodness, Videssos’ own god, just as he had always despised Phos’ evil rival Skotos. Those who fall off the Bridge of the Separator during judgment in the afterlife are doomed to dwell in Skotos’ ice and darkness forevermore. But Rhavas has reverenced logic as well as goodness, and knows the power to kill with a curse cannot be an attribute of Phos. As evil swallows up the world, Rhavas, ever the logician, decided that Skotos is actually the more powerful god, and becomes determind to change the official religion of Videssos. But in the end, it is he who will be changed, and neither the world nor he will ever be the same again…
It’s 1953, and Pierce Duncan leaves college an innocent. Seeking the freedom of the road, Dunc sets off to see America. His road trip brings strange, fateful encounters: with a savage Georgia chain gang; with a killer on a lonely Texas road; and with the darker side of the Las Vegas fight game. Finally, Dunc reaches San Francisco, a city seething with the unexpected.
In the backstreets and along the freight lines, Dunc meets beautiful women, dangerous men . . . and murder. In California, home of the lost and the outcast, he joins up with the hard-nosed head of a private investigation agency, and his life changes for ever.
A violence-marked love letter to a time in America now lost, Cases is as vivid as a lightning storm over a deserted highway, as unforgettable as a first kiss, as haunting as a dead woman’s eyes.
Sail away to a world of magic!
Steve is a hollow man, both in his job and his personal life, until one night, near the docks of his home city. A night that changes his life.
As a dockyard fight turns into something much more fantastic and deadly, Steve finds himself drawn into a world he neither understands nor believes – at first. His meeting with the mercurial Jyp leads to a raid on his office by beings not-quite-human, and the kidnapping of Clare, his secretary. Aware of strong feelings for the first time in years, Steve enlists the aid of Jyp and his roisterin friends to sail after Clare ad her captors…to Chase the Morning.
What if you could change your gender with barely a thought?
Cory Lanus is a teen out of place. He doesn’t fit in. He doesn’t act right. There’s something off about him. Or so his friend Jaz Andrews believes.
Jaz is a typical teenage girl with too much schoolwork, grief at home, and a huge crush on the new guy. She spends as much time with him as she can, to the chagrin of her friends, yet she can’t get close enough to him. Surely he likes her as much as she likes him.
Cory is out of place. Far out of place. On the run from his family’s enemy, Corilanus has literally landed on earth, his home world’s only hope for survival. He finds comfort on this seemingly backward planet that puts so much emphasis on what everyone expects you to be. Cory finds being a boy comfortable enough, but sometimes being a girl works too.
But when someone from his home comes looking for him, Cory’s new found peace is set for destruction because those he left behind have come to finish what they started and nothing, especially not his new friends, are going to stand in their way.
After long and patient research I am still unable to give to the reader of these Chronicles the exact date of the times that they tell of. Were it merely a matter of history there could be no doubts about the period; but where magic is concerned, to however slight an extent, there must always be some element of mystery, arising partly out of ignorance and partly from the compulsion of those oaths by which magic protects its precincts from the tiptoe of curiosity. Moreover, magic, even in small quantities, appears to affect time, much as acids affect some metals, curiously changing its substance, until dates seem to melt into a mercurial form that renders them elusive even to the eye of the most watchful historian. It is the magic appearing in Chronicles III and IV that has gravely affected the date, so that all I can tell the reader with certainty of the period is that it fell in the later years of the Golden Age in Spain.
It’s jang to be wild and sexy and reckless and teen-age.
It’s jang to do daredevil tricks and even get killed a few times…you could always come alive again.
It’s jang to change your body, to switch your sex, to do anything you want to keep up with the crowd.
But there comes a time when you begin to think about serious things, to want to do something valid. And that’s when you find out there are rules beyond the rules and that the world is something else than all they’d taught you.
Former Air Force officer and NSA agent Ron Moosic thought he had been assigned to be the Security Director for a nuclear power plant – but the power plant was only a cover for a top secret project sending observers back in time.
And terrorists had taken control of the project and sent two of their own back to change the past. Moosic was sent downtime in pursuit, with two considerable handicaps: like all time travelers, he would change upon arrival into a person who was alive at the time – he could find himself changed into a young boy or a woman – and if he stayed too long, his memories would vanish and he would be trapped in the past.
But Moosic quickly discovered that both he and the terrorists were only pawns in the time game, maneuvered by warring humans and… ex-humans in a future struggle that would either conquer the Earth or destroy all life on it…