Widely acclaimed as one of the first successful female science fiction authors, Mildred Clingerman returns with the exciting follow up to her 1961 science fiction collection, A Cupful of Space. Her stories tend to wed a literate tone to subject matters whose ominousness is perhaps more submerged than the horrors under the skin made explicit in the work of Shirley Jackson, but equally as deadly.
Clingerman’s new anthology, The Clingerman Files, includes all of her originally published stories; The Day of the Green Velvet Cloak, Mr. Sakrison’s Halt, Wild Wood, The Little Witch of Elm Street and many other favourites. Also included are previously unpublished works; Top Hand, Tribal Customs, The Birthday Party, Fathers of Daughters and many more soon to be favourites. The key to her stories is that they appear simple and straightforward, but each takes a twist or turn that, even when you’re tempted to guess where they’re heading, they take you there in a way you would never have bargained on.
Other writers of the period tried to make big splashes. Clingerman, it seems, prided herself in concealing her effects within her masterfully constructed sentences. They barely make a ripple on the surface; all their power and drive lurk deep down below. So many of her stories are alive with the underpinning notion that the cosmological vistas we spy at the end ends of telescopes and various other means of measurement belong to the very same universe under our feet. We’re not apart from the universe, we’re a part of it. Nearly every story here is alive with that sensibility, in the truest sense of that word. In every sentence there is a note (a gentle one, but insistent) of silent rebellion, a surreptitious snarl, entreating you to see that not the everyday, but an undiscovered marvel.
May these eloquent rebellions be undiscovered no longer.
Orejas de ellos, the things who listen, whispered the superstitious fishermen when the strange occurrences began off the Philippine coast. How else could you explain the sudden disappearance of a vessel beneath a mysterious curtain of foam? The writhings of thousands of maddened fish trapped in a coffin-like area of ocean? An alien intelligence gorged at the bottom of the Luzon Deep and made its plans. Radar expert Terry Holt and the crew of the Experance had to devise a weapon against the horrifying creatures which threatened mankind with extinction.
Kiarda lives in a magic-laced land where peace is guarded so fiercely that those who train as warriors are outcast . . . until the arrival of a well-trained foreign army bent on conquest and determined to use everything in their power, including mages trained in the deadliest of the six magic arts: the magic of destruction.
Kiarda should have been spirit-linked to a fox, but the cub died at the moment of their birth. Now that spirit lurks deep inside her, and at the time of her greatest need, it could prove her greatest ally . . .
They call it Asgard, the Home of the Gods. Beneath its artificial shell are at least three vast cave-systems, each one the size of an Earth-like world; and beneath those, possibly many more. No one knows how many layers there might be, and no one knows what secrets might be buried down at the “center”–if there is a center. At some time in the distant past, Asgard had suffered a terrible catastrophe. Now its outer layers are cold, its builders presumed dead. Explorers and exploiters from a hundred different worlds and races are scavenging among the ruins–but deep down, there might still be light, warmth, life…and perils unknown. Mike Rousseau was one of the first humans to come to Asgard, decades earlier. Now he’s challenged by both friends and foes–and it’s hard to tell them apart on this icebound planet. He might also be the one man who can solve the biggest puzzle in the galaxy…if only he can stay alive!
Only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of the total annihilation of the universe. They are Arthur Dent, homeless Englishman currently marooned in the deep past; his friend Ford Prefect, temporarily insane to see if he likes it, also marooned; Slartibartfast, once of the planet builders of Magrathea; Zaphod Beeblebrox, ex-confidence trickster and part-time galactic president; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox. In other words: we’re doomed.
A STAR RISES IN THE SOUTH
When the foreigners confronted Sterren in Ethshar of the Spices he was uneasy; when they all but abducted him, taking him to an obscure kingdom in the south, he knew he was in a terrible predicament.
A predicament some might actually find appealing – he was by heredity the Ninth Warlord of Semma, least of the small kingdoms; he was a noble, and his rank afforded him material privileges, even in a place as insignificant and obscure as Semma.
But the office also carried certain terrible responsibilities: he was to win the war the stupid King had stirred up by his arrogance. Two larger and stronger Kingdoms were preparing to invade Semma.
And if the country lost, the first thing likely to be forfeit was the life of the Warlord.
And if it won . . . if it won, the fate and shape of Ethshar would change forever.
For deep in the south there are secrets of magic not even Sterren can imagine.
A LEGEND OF ETHSHAR
Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side. But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men. Theron Campion is heir to an ancient house – and a modern scandal. Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University. There he meets Basil St. Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge – and for the ancient kings.
Around these two are gathering those who believe the land still cries out for a king – and those who would do anything to stop them returning.
Until the coming of the People of Asa, the world of Man went its own, often quarrelsome, way along the road of human advancement. There were many pitfalls on the road, conflict and misery often going hand-in-hand; but there was happiness as well. It was, for us and millions more, a happiness interrupted by the terrible advent of the worst scourge ever visited on Man – an alien invasion of the Earth’s surface by beings of diabolical power.
Rising from the deeps, wielding weapons hitherto beyond mortal conception, the Asans wrought havoc on a fearful scale. Picked out from our fellow men, we witnessed scenes of appalling chaos, experiencing as well a measure of the seeming magic of which these beings were capable. Only when all seemed lost did the fortunes of mankind change, and that in a manner we none of us dared to hope…
John Grimes, owner of the deep space pinnace Little Sister, could not be too fussy about who he carried. Fenalla Pruin, the muckraking reporter, was always going to be trouble. They need the boomerang throwing abilities of two sexy dancers from New Alice to get them out of trouble.
Since the day her father’s fishing boat returned without him, Peri and her mother have mourned his loss. Her mother sinks into a deep depression and spends her days gazing out at the sea. Unable to control her anger and sadness any longer, Peri uses the small magic she knows to hex the sea. And suddenly into her drab life come the King’s sons-changelings with strange ties to the underwater kingdom-a young magician, and, finally, love.
They have lived among us for centuries-distant, separate, just out of sight. They fill our myths, our legends, and the stories we tell our children in the dark of night. They come from the air, from water, from earth, and from fire. What are these creatures that enjoin out imagination? Faeries.
Megan is an artist who draws seascapes. Jonah owns a shop devoted to treasures from the deep. Their lives, so strongly touched by the ocean, become forever intertwined when enchanting people of the sea lure them further into the underwater world-and away from each other.
When unworldly fantasist H.P. Lovecraft was approached by crafty fanatic George Sylvester Viereck to write an American Mein Kampf, the bait was almost irresistible.
If Lovecraft would lend his pen and his Anglo-Saxon stock to the fascist cause, Viereck would arrange the publication in proper book form of a volume of his stories, hitherto scattered in pulp magazines.
Whilst the famous horror writer had some pretty obnoxious political opinions, his friends didn’t really believe he knew what deep waters he was getting himself into. And so began a concerted effort to keep H.P. Lovecraft out of the clutches of the forces of darkness that were to plunge the world into war…
In his long and fabulous career as the Captain Hornblower of space, John Grimes was to experience many strange things, rising through the ranks of the Interstellar Federation – from triumph to disaster – and ultimately becoming the most famous of the Rim Runners, far out along the edge of the Milky Way.
But there was a period when Grimes fell between one cosmic empire and another, on his own, commander of a single deep-space pinnace and looking for work.
And that was when he became a god! He thought he was just doing a mailman’s job, bu the price of the postage turned out to be divinity – with a lovely nude postmistress certified for a goddess!
Is he George Whitley, a twentieth-century writer of science fiction – or Peter Quinn, Second Officer of the interstellar liner Lode Maiden?
An injection of lysergic acid and Whitley finds himself … where … who … and in what age? He is inhabiting the body of Second Officer Quinn but his mind is still that of George Whitley.
Aboard the Lode Maiden he can capture only fragments of Quinn’s memory and consciousness, until a magnetic storm throws the ship off trajectory into the deep reaches of space. Then, somehow, enough knowledge comes to him to enable him to help land the ship on an unnamed planet on the Galactic Rim.
But the forced landing damages the ship and kills the Captain, leaving Quinn – or is it Whitley? – to lead the crew and passengers to safety through the horrors and dangers of the unknown planet.
The tale tells that in times long past there was a dwelling of men beside a great wood. Before it lay a plain, not very great, but which was, as it were, an isle in the sea of woodland, since even when you stood on the flat ground, you could see trees everywhere in the offing, though as for hills, you could scarce say that there were any; only swellings-up of the earth here and there, like the upheavings of the water that one sees at whiles going on amidst the eddies of a swift but deep stream.
The tale of the House of the Wolfings in its struggles against the legionaries of Rome then advancing into Northern Germany.