‘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.
Tedric the hero had become Tedric the pirate…
He looked at his strange companions: Philip Nolan, an aristocrat turned mutineer; Keller, a subman with canine ancestry; Ky-shan, a huge blue-furred alien; KT294578 Wilson, an extraordinary anarchist robot. A weird band of thieves.
But Tedric intended to use his crew for something more worthwhile than piracy. He had a plan to overthrow the tyrannical Carey family, the oppressors who controlled the Universe.
All the rights and wrongs of the situation were clear to Tedric…until Alyc Carey, beautiful, blind daughter of the megalomaniac Melor Carey, was taken prisoner. She seemed sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, and yet, Tedric was unsure of her…
Should he see her as a hostage…or a recruit?
Edward Cadence was a brilliant man, and a dedicated scientist. He had invented Sensitape, a means of recording the thoughts and emotions of great musicians, religious figures, etc. so that others could experience at first-hand just what it was like to play a magnificent concerto, or to slip peacefully toward an untroubled death with the sure expectation that Heaven lies waiting. And he had added Sexitape, whereby people whose sex lives weren’t completely satisfying could experience everything that the most compatible couple in the world felt together.
For all this he was given the Nobel Prize, became enormously wealthy and famous.
But finally he set to work on the ultimate application of his experiments: Synthajoy. And when the enormity of this dehumanising process became clear, he was murdered.
Returning to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge after a spell at the nuclear research labs of CERN in Geneva, Professor Isaac Newton is plunged into the centre of a baffling mystery. One of his research students, Mike Howarth, has picked up strange signals on his satellite telemetry equipment, signals that appear to emanate from a passing comet. Not long after he has passed the vital data into Isaac Newton’s hands, Howarth is found dead. Soon after that, it becomes clear that some people in very high places – including the Kremlin and the White House – are more than a little interested in the remarkable events taking place at the Cavendish. But with the arrival of that most majestic of all celestial bodies, Comet Halley, a third and infinitely more powerful superpower enters the scene. And the Comet’s extraordinary intentions – not to mention its devastating methods of communicating them to Earth – promise a new dawn for humanity.
In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge – big enough to contain a city and a sea – and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes.
Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma.
Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it – and who could tell how many years away that might be? – may lie the truth about Rama…
The Zardalu were the greatest menace ever known to the worlds of the spiral arm, enslaving entire races and exterminating others, guided by an unswerving belief in their own supremacy. Then their slaves rose up against them, and for eleven thousand years the Zardalu had been extinct and the spiral arm had known a kind of peace.
But now the Zardalu are back . . .
The search for the Builders, the legendary alien race whose unfathomable constructs continued to perplex scholars and explorers alike, had led Builder expert Darya Lang, adventurer Hans Rebka, and treasure hunters Louis Nenda and Atvar H’sial to an unknown Builder artifact far outside the spiral arm. There they found the Zardalu – just a few who had been trapped in stasis all those millennia, held there for purposes known only to the Builders. And in the struggle that ensued the Zardalu had been set loose, transported by Builder technology to to galactic parts unknown – free to ravage any world and any race within their grasp.
The only chance to eliminate the Zardalu threat was to find them and wipe them out before they had time to breed back up to strength and once again threaten civilized beings everywhere. The problem was that no one believed the story. Only Darya Land and her companions had actually seen the aliens – and no evidence existed to support their claims. And so the course seemed clear: get a ship themselves and search out the Zardalu.
But the way would not be easy. Even once they managed to locate the Zardalu, they still had the Builders to deal with. For the closer they got to their quarry, the more clear it became that the Zardalu and their world were closely entwined with the fate – and the plans – of the Builders themselves.
Tabaea was an ordinary thief, sneaking and prowling and stealing for a living. Then one night while burgling a house, she witnessed a wizard teaching his apprentice a spell – the creation of a magic dagger.
Tabaea decided to try the magic for herself. But even though she could feel the power rising around her as she went through the steps of the ritual, something had clearly gone wrong. The apprentice’s dagger had glowed; it had resisted attempts to pick it up; and there had been a blinding flash at the end of the ceremony.
But Tabaea’s dagger didn’t do any of those things. And it wouldn’t free her from bonds, or heal her wounds – it didn’t seem to be magical at all. It just turned black.
Then, by chance, Tabaea discovered that her dagger indeed had its own kind of unusal magic – a dark, powerful magic that promised invincibility to its bearer.
But magic can be dangerous even in the hands of an expert – and for Tabaea, magic and power could spell disaster . . .
The beautiful young daughter of a wealthy family is robbed of her money and jewels, and she herself disappears soon after… A young man fleeing a band of murderous hobos becomes the target of a lynch mob…
Frozen to silent rigidity, they sat straining every faculty to catch the minutest sound from the black void where the dead man lay. As they listened there came up to them, mingled with inexplicable footsteps, a hollow reverberation from the dank cellar – a hideous dragging of chains behind the nameless horror which had haunted them through the interminable eons of the ghastly night. Up, up it came toward the room at the head of the stairs where they huddled fearfully. They could now hear quite clearly what might have been the slow and ponderous footsteps of a heavy man dragging painfully across the rough floor. It stopped in front of their hideout and all was silent. Suddenly their rang out against the silence of the awful night a piercing shriek, and a great The Oakdale Affair force began to bend the flimsy door…
Once there was only the land of Phesaotois, with a cold and baleful Stone at its magical heart. Much later came the land of Pheyarcet, younger and hotter, with its Well of Fire inextricably bound up with its ruler, the great Panurgus.
Then Panurgus died, touching off a bitter struggle between his sons that ended with Avril on the throne and Prospero, mightiest of the sorcerers, in permanent exile.
All that was an age ago. Now Prospero, grown ancient and subtle, has found a new, third land: bright Argylle, with its primal Spring of clear water. Argylle is a fair realm in its own right; but the children of Panurgus never forgive and never forget.
And so Prospero decides it is an auspicious time to seize the throne of Phesaotois from Avril – thereby setting in motion a vast tale of romance and espionage, of talking animals and mythic beasts, of metaphysics and primal creation, of mannerly drama and gritty military detail: an epic that can only end in a conflagration of blood and honor.
When Commander Herries of the Space Line began to sell the water of Mars as a ‘potion’ for lengthening life he had no idea that he was going to create the world’s greatest thirst and produce havoc among the two social grades of Earth – the Inelligentsia and the Normals. But produce it he did.
Among the confusion thus produced one man thinks clearly for his own ends – Vance Unthra, the leading scientist of the world – and he sees in the crisis which has hit Earth a way to be rid of all those who do not measure up to what he thinks as an intellectual standard. By his orders two synthetic worlds are created – Alpha and Omega – and to these are ruthlessly evacuated all the victims of the Martian water, there to rebuild there shattered fortunes and never cross the ‘Dark Boundaries’ which exist between those worlds and Earth.
Despite his careful planning, however, Unthra makes one mistake. In destroying the power of the Martian water over the evacuated thousands he miscalculates the strength of cosmic radiation on Omega with the result that the leader – the Controllix – of this world, Sylvia Grantham, becomes a far greater power in the grand scheme of things than her former lover, Dexter Carfax. Through the machinations of the wily Unthra open hostility breaks out between Dexter Carfax and the girl, and eventually their worlds are destroyed through the influence of a deadly chain reaction ‘disease’ from the Great Red Spot of Jupoter.
Both of them, however, through the various experiences they undergo, hold to one objective – to be avenged on Vance Unthra for his viciousness.
Four people’s lives intertwine and collide in this early novel from one of the SF greats
San Francisco in the 1950s, a turning point in American culture: the rise of rock and roll and the teenage lifestyle. Jim Briskin is a disc jockey on radio KOIF. He’s still in love with his ex-wife, Pat – even though she’s about to marry someone else at the station – and she’s vacillating between them. But when he takes her to visit the desperate household of two of his teenage fans, she seduces the boy into abandoning his pregnant wife – who then claims Jim as her protector and support.
And all around them the cultural upheaval of postwar American society is manifest, by teenage outcasts who have a remote-controlled Nazi automobile they use to bump into the rich kids’ cars; by Thisbe Holt, the dancer who performs for conventioneers by stuffing herself inside a clear plastic bubble; by blaring used-car ads and the conflict between generations.
Dick gives us a vision of redemption tempered with layered ironies and a lot of real humour.
Science fiction writer Sanford Kvass has a problem. Three problems, actually. He suffering from terrible writer’s block and owes his agent a large sum of money. The last thing he needs is the approaching distraction of the World Science Fiction Convention, with it’s obsessive fans, sex-mad SF groupies and professional writers and editors getting drunk and behaving badly.
But we said ‘three problems’, didn’t we? The best that can be said about Sanford Kvass’ third problem is that it renders his first two irrelevant. Kvass is approached by an alien ( a genuine alien, not a cosplay one) who informs him that the human race is to be tested: an alien will appear at the World Science Fiction Convention, disguised as a human being, and unless Kvass can unmask it, the Earth will be destroyed.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t present much of a challenge. All he’s have to do, is to observe as many people as he could and identify the one who clearly had no experience of normal social interaction. Voila! One unmasked alien.
There’s just one problem: this is Worldcon . . .
The death-stars had come, and they had kept on coming for hundreds of thousands of years, falling upon the Earth, swept upon it by a vagrant star that had passed through the outer reaches of the solar system. They brought with them a time of unending darkness and cold. It was an event that occured every twenty-six million years, and there was no turning it aside.
But all that was done with now. At last the death-stars had ceased to fall, the sky had cleared of dust and cinders, the sun’s warmth again was able to break through the clouds. The glaciers relinquished their hold on the land; the Long Winter ended; the New Springtime began. The world was born anew.
Now each year was warmer than the last. The fair seasons of spring and summer, long lost from the world, came again with increasing power. And the People, having survived the dark time in their sealed cocoons, were spreading rapidly across the fertile land. But others were already there. The hjjks, the somber cold-eyed insect-folk, had never retreated, even at the time of greatest chill. The world had fallen to them by default, and they had been its sole masters for seven hundred thousand years. They were not likely to share it gladly now . . .
‘The wolf Meshiska gave birth to five cubs on the night before full moon. Outside the den a storm was lashing the spruce trees. The sky and the land had become part of each other: a scatterwind night swirling with fragments of black and white. Snow became darkness and darkness snow, and any creature lost between the two found a rock or a tree and lay down beside it, to wait until the world had formed again.’
Into this bleak landscape, Athaba is born, a young wolf destined for great adventure. Exiled from his pack for breaking its rigid codes of behaviour and showing too much imagination, Athaba becomes a ‘raven wolf’, a lonely scavenger living on scraps and his wits.
Survival in the icy wastes is hard and dangerous without the comfort and protection of the pack. Injured, and stranded far from home, Athaba is forced to strike up an uneasy alliance with his natural enemy: a man. Together, but ever wary of each other, the wolf and the solitary hunter start their long walk home across the wilderness.
It soon becomes clear that the man must learn to be a wolf if he is to survive in the wolf’s world. And Athaba has to use all his imagination to learn new skills and strategies to fend for himself and his new pack member: for he discovers that men are frail, and often very ignorant!