Kirk Salazar, devout intellectual, had quite been looking forward to his field research on Sunga. He aimed to discover how the stump-tailed, semiarboreal kusis lived without being injured within the venom tree forest. A fascinating topic!
His thesis would have progressed splendidly, save for one thing. A certain lack of financing necessitated that he travel through Sunga with a tour group. Much against his will, he soon became embroiled with a conglomeration of characters even more peculiar than Sunga’s natural wonders.
First there were the hard-core tourists, always pushing and complaining, desperate to glimpse the rare, birdlike zutas. Worse the Cantemir – a man lewd, rude and dangerous – who had struck a deal with the native Chief to destroy the whole Sunga forest for lumber! But most formidable was Alexis Ritter. She was the high priestess of a Sunga cult dedicated to chastity. But she sure seemed to have a use in mind for Salazar’s body!
Doggedly Salazar pursued his research through ambushes, sex, and even attempted murder. A determined intellectual does not give up easily – even if he has to go to extremes to defend his thesis!
Meet Luff Imbry, an insidiously clever confidence man …He likes good wine, good food, and good stolen goods, and he always maintains the upper hand. When a business rival gets the drop on him, he finds himself abandoned on Fulda–a far-off, isolated world with a history of its own. Unable to blend in and furious for revenge, Imbry has to rely on his infamous criminal wit to survive Fulda’s crusade to extinguish The Other. Hailed as the heir apparent to Jack Vance, Matthew Hughes brings us this speculative, richly imagined exploration of society on the far edges of extreme. A central character in Black Brillion, Luff Imbry is at last front and center in Hughes’s latest rollercoaster adventure through a far-future universe.
Praise for Matthew Hughes:
“Matthew Hughes does Jack Vance better than anyone except Jack himself” – George R.R. Martin
“Heir apparent to Jack Vance” – Booklist
“Hughes’s boldness is admirable”- New York Review of Science Fiction
“Hughes effortlessly renders fantastic worlds and beings believable”- Publishers Weekly
“A towering talent”- Robert J. Sawyer
“A treasure” – David Gerrold
In the second book of the Blue Gemini trilogy, Air Force Majors Scott Ourecky and Drew Carson continue to fly highly classified missions to intercept and destroy suspect Soviet satellites.
But after experiencing numerous close calls in orbit, the astronauts soon discover that not all perils reside in the sky. With his marriage already at risk because he cannot explain his frequent absences and strange activities to his wife, Ourecky learns that his unborn child may be in grave danger as a radiation consequence of his flights into space.
Even as the Ourecky and Carson accumulate successful mission after successful mission in space, other crucial events occur much closer to home. Interservice rivalries reach new heights as a caustic but highly influential Navy admiral schemes to steal control of the Project from the Air Force. Realizing that a Soviet GRU agent is operating in their midst, a shadowy team of counter-intelligence operatives scramble to shield the Project’s secrets from discovery, leading to a confrontation that bears fatal consequences.
As they train to accomplish more difficult missions against complicated targets, Ourecky and Carson are asked to volunteer to risk their lives one more time in an extremely hazardous rescue mission. The stakes are high; even as they leave the launch pad, there is no certainty that either man will return.
Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast-no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.
When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body-any body-so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless-until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.
With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.
The Strugatsky brothers’ poignant and introspective novel of first contact that inspired the classic film Stalker
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits who are compelled by some unknown force to venture illegally into the Zone and, in spite of the extreme danger, collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the Zone and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his daughter has been determined by the Zone. And it is for her that Red makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile depths.
Readers can’t stop thinking about Roadside Picnic:
‘A story of a horrific yet fascinating place, a story of an ordinary and unlikable man just trying to get by, a philosophical interlude on humanity and its significance or lack thereof, of greed and wonder, and the fever dream of the soul scream. It still speaks to me‘ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘Such an intriguing setting for me, such an unusual take on alien interaction‘ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘It is a thought-provoking, hard-to-put down masterpiece, most probably the best introduction to Soviet science fiction. A must read for any sci-fi fan’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘A fantastic and creative exploration of what first contact might be like’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘The tone of the book is akin to that of some noir works, dark, gritty, getting darker and grittier as the tale wears on . . . Like many great books, the meaning of the ending is left up to the reader’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘A beautifully depressive and wonderfully atmospheric science fiction novel about life on Earth after an alien “Visitation” that leaves humans with more questions than answers . . . Once I started reading it today, I couldn’t stop. The story captured my heart and held my attention’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
‘This is the sort of book that you read and then immediately feel the need to lend it to someone you know so that they can experience and enjoy it themselves . . . I was truly astonished-by both the poignancy and the deceptive(?) simplicity of this relatively short novel’ Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐