The Iralians were humanoid and techically free citizens of the Galactic Empire. But as slaves they were prized above all others, for they had the unique capacity to transmit acquired knowledge through heredity. And so when the space mercenary Wanderer was hired by GLASS (Galactic League for the Abolition and Supression of Slavery) to take a cargo of Iralians home it was going to be a simple task!
For one thing, they’d be hunted by interstellar slavers for their priceless passengers.
For another, the Iralians themselves had other ideas which included mutiny and high treason.
And for the third and worst, they were too close to the Horsehead Nebula, whose capacity for warping time, space and the dimensions was a permanent Red Alert for all spacecraft.
From The SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal sample introduction to the incredible career of Jack Williamson, whose career spanned over seventy years.
Jack Williamson published his first SF story, ‘The Metal Man’, in 1928 and continued to write high quality SF until his death in 2006, along the way coining many of the terms the genre now takes for granted, such as ‘terraforming’ and ‘genetic engineering’. He was the second writer (after Heinlein) to be named a SFWA Grand Master and was the oldest recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. This volume contains The Legion of Space, the first volume in the eponymous series; The Humanoids; John W. Campbell Award-winning Terraforming Earth and his Hugo Award-winning autobiography Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction.
The Fluger was five meters long, had four thick legs, a body of impenetrable molecular density and numerous teeth capable of chewing diamonds into powder. It was four hundred massive kilos of violence, savagery and hatred.
When the Fluger arrived as unlisted cargo in the enclosed city of Olympus, it launched itself on a murderous rampage which couldn’t be halted. It presented that terrified utopian community with the problem of how to stop an irresistible force. The only answer seemed to be a hired alien assassin – an outer-space humanoid about whom the citizens of Olympus knew next to nothing except that he was a professional killer who would not quit until his job was done.
But when the irresistible force met the immovable object they turned that fragile city in the sky into a raging battlefield, and their ‘savior’ looked to become as much of a menace as his monster counterpart.
Rudolf Mallory was one of the many pathetic pieces of human flotsam on the tide of the 20th-century neurosis. He was a man who had reached the end of his rope, death seemed pleasant by comparison… He tried to take the easy way out, but something went wrong. Unknown to Mallory other men had problems too. Separated by vast distances of time and space, Rumal, citizen of an advanced humanoid society, with a strangely different technology had also decided to end it all…
Time and Space are almost perfect but rare warps and blemishes do exist in the continuum. They can produce peculiar events.
The Englishman from 1963 suddenly found himself on the other side of the galaxy. Rumal found himself in England. They had been unable to solve their own problems – could they solve each other’s?
Laredo Space Base hadn’t sent a ship to Earth for hundreds of years before the Project Deep Green survey craft was launched. Only one thing was known: the planet humankind had so long ago vacated was a wasteland with nothing on it but poisonous flora and small, murderous denizens.
That’s what they taught astronaut Ferrer Burgoyne and as a result he was totally unprepared for the teeming jungle stretching farther than his eyes could see. He was even moer unprepared for the slightly green humanoids who greeted him. Obviously the scientists of Old Earth had done more in their labs than just mess around mixing human and plant cells. As sure as Ferrer Burgoyne was an astronaut the new men of Earth were the descendants of those hidden, forbidden experiments.
How then could Burgoyne continue his mission: to defoliate Earth with the deadly chemical Deep Green and prepare Earth for the return of his species?
It is the year 2450. Humanity is scattered among the stars, which teem with intelligent life, while the home world has been destroyed by an inadvertent catastrophe two hundred years before. Thus all Earthmen are exiles, and Earth itself is only a memory.
Hydros is a world of great complexity. It has almost no landmass, only a great globe-encompassing ocean with occasional tiny islands. Its seas swarm with apparently intelligent life-forms of a hundred kinds, and one – a bipedal humanoid form – has created a kind of land for itself: floating islands, woven from sea-borne materials, buffered by elaborate barricades against the ceaseless tidal surges that circle the planet.
To Hydros have come an assortment of Earthmen. For them it’s a world of no return: having no form of outbound space transportation. This brilliantly inventive novel tells their story, as they travel across the planet’s endless ocean in search of the mysterious area from which no human has ever returned – the Face of the Waters.
(First published 1991)
It was a great world in the fortieth century. No economic problems. No work. Robots and androids everywhere. Every girl a princess, every man a king. Pleasure, parties, amusements, art, drama and literature were the ultimate goal of every man woman and child.
When people have too much leisure there is a danger. They grow soft and effete. There hadn’t been a standing army on earth for a thousand years. There hadn’t been a single warrior for five hundred. Then the Masked Swordsmen began breaking up the pleasure parties, after the swords came guns, stolen from the museums. Then… worse,… far, far worse.
But that wasn’t all. There were rumours of alien ships in the sky. Ships manned by a savage blue skinned humanoid race. Ships landed. Blues were enslaved. More blues came. Earthmen and women were captured in reprisal.
Who were the blues? Why did they come? What was their history? What were their plans for the future?
Would the human race survive?
Brant was a scientist, a space scientist. He had techniques and technologies at his fingertips that would have looked like magic to the old timers of the twentieth century.
There were new sciences that hadn’t been heard of a century before. Things like Teleportology and Psycholithography. The specialised departmental scientists were narrow field experts in spheres of work that a twentieth century man wouldn’t even have begun to comprehend.
Science had the answer to most things, but there was a new world out through the Hyperdrive Lanes, a world of mystery on the edge of the universe. It was inhabited by ebony skinned humanoids, with proud noble chieftains and weird La-akas or medicine men.
Brant and his crew scoffed at first. “Primitive magic and superstition” laughed the scientists. Then the La-akas did things that science couldn’t’ explain. Things like controlling nature.
Brant and his men began to investigate the age of the culture. It wasn’t primitive, it was old…. thousands of years older than Earth…. And it throbbed with terrible danger.
After a meteor explosion, Rikardon wakes in a new body-and in a strange desert land named Gandalara, where a sacred gem known as the Ra’ira grants its owner the power to rule-or to destroy…
Victory is sweet-but for Rikardon and Tarani, it is all too brief. Although they have retrieved the sword of the Kings from the lost city of Kä, a savage battle with the vineh mars their journey back to Raithskar. These ape-like creatures were once controlled through the power of the Ra’ira. Now they pose a threat both to the cat-like sha’um and humanoid Gandalarans.
To restore order, Rikardon and Tarani must travel to Eddarta, where Tarani can use the Ra’ira against the increasingly vicious vineh. First she must face her treacherous brother, Indomel, and convince the Council to name her High Lord in his place. Indomel will not take such betrayal lightly, but another danger is about to reveal itself-a sinister and ambitious traitor who has been hiding in plain sight all along.
John Carter, veteran of the American Civil War, finds himself transported from Arizona to Mars when hiding from attackers in a secret cave. The inhabitants greet him, referring to the planet as Barsoom, and Carter finds that he has superhuman strength and agility due to the different gravity of this new world.
After joining the nomadic tribe of green, six-limbed Martians called Tharks, he rises through the ranks and earns the respect and friendship of one of the chiefs. Until, that is, the Tharks capture Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium and a member of the red, humanoid Martians. Rescuing Dejah Thoris, Carter attempts to return her to her people, finding himself at the centre of a conflict that reaches across Martian society, all while falling in love. Can he save Barsoom? What of Earth? Does he want to return, or would he rather stay with Dejah Thoris?
A Princess of Mars was first serialised in 1912, and to celebrate its centenary we have collected it and its two sequels – The Gods of Mars and The Warlord of Mars – in this beautiful Golden Age Masterwork.
Krells never set out to be a hero. He was the first to admit he was a trader. “In it for the money; I leave thinking to the experts.” But the experts couldn’t solve the problem of Ralcor IX.
Professional fighters and scientific investigators vanished or were mysteriously destroyed. The robot might of an armoured Bellicose 35 was found shredded like tinsel. Krells still refused to think of himself as hero material – but he wouldn’t quit. Martia, his computer girl, and Galor, the despatch man, stayed with him. For some reason the power that had driven every other terrestrial humanoid off Ralcor IX couldn’t dislodge the traders. Krells groped desperately for a reason. Finding one meant the return of his own people and that meant money. Something he couldn’t understand was shielding him from the Unknown Menace. Suppose he accidentally stopped doing whatever it was that protected him…?
Most people would have become neurotic and quit – not Krells. He didn’t seem to have enough intelligence or imagination to know when to worry.
A quick-witted Irish safecracker juggles alchemy and automatons in the action-packed follow-up to the nineteenth-century United States steampunk adventure, King of the Cracksmen.
Liam McCool, the premier safecracker in 1877 New York, isn’t the type to hang around fairy circles on the Celtic day of the dead. But an invitation from his Gram leaves the “King of the Cracksmen” possessed by the spirit of Finn McCool, the great hunter-warrior of ancient Ireland and a mighty magical force.
Just in time, too. Edwin Stanton, once Lincoln’s Secretary of War but now a self-proclaimed dictator, has restored slavery in the United States, and conscripted every able-bodied white male to fight in the war he’s waging against Little Russia, made up of all the continental North America west of the Mississippi, sold to Russia by Andrew Jackson fifty years earlier.
Stanton needs Little Russia’s calorium, a mineral used to power America’s airships, factories, and humanoid automatons. But Liam and the love of his life, world-famous reporter Becky Fox, mean to stop him. Joined by Crazy Horse, the Sioux war chief and medicine man, and Ambrose Chen, a Taoist sorcerer and alchemist, Liam and company embark on a wild series of adventures from New Petersburg, where revolutionaries are fighting to overthrow the government, to the Bear Flag Republic, a California enclave governed by P. T. Barnum.