Imagine an Earth totally dominated by an alien race.
Imagine that humans and their technology are completely powerless against these invaders.
Imagine a world in which people are nothing more than cattle to their new masters.
Now imagine that one man discovers a key that might free mankind, but he must learn how to care and how to love before he can believe in that key.
Stranded on an alien planet, light years from home, wandering from blistering heat to searing cold, Nils Kruger was not a happy man. So when he met another being – even though it wasn’t human – things seemed to be looking up. The alien might be helpless, or it might be dangerous, but one thing was for sure – they stood a better chance for survival if they worked together.
But as the two creatures overcame their mutual suspicion, as they worked together, as the language barrier was broken down, Nils came to a terrifying conclusion – this alien was more intelligent than a human. And to it, Nils was the alien.
The Earth’s population was more than eight billion. One day they were there, the next they were gone – all except the guests at a family birthday party, a small tribe of American Indians, and, of course, the robots. Technology disintegrated, the Indians went back to nature, and the rest developed new and extraordinary powers. As for the robots, some went to live with the remnants of humanity, others gathered in their own community and commenced work on the Project, work which was baffling in all its fantastic electronic complexity. Then one day a traveller returned from the stars – and the idyllic existence of the last of Earth’s humans was threatened.
BY JOHN E. MULLER
The botanist claims that human life depends indirectly on the chlorophyll in the green leaf. The leaf depends on sunlight. But both depend upon the atom. No atoms, no physical matter, no physical universe!
Microscope experts peer closely into the mysteries of the human body, into the mysteries of the green lead, into the mysteries of the chemical elements. It is hardly feasible to subject an atom to microscopic examination. But what if it was possible? What if a new technique of observation was discovered? A strange, revolutionary “seeing” without recourse to the photon.
The microscope might reveal scientific impossibilities which would shake the universe to its foundations. Smallness hold more terrors than greatness.
The twentieth century lies hundreds of years in humanity’s past. But the near-immortal citizens of the future yearn for the good old days – when people’s bodies were susceptible to death through disease and old age. Now, they immerse themselves in virtual reality time machines to explore the life-to-death arc that defined existence so long ago.
Jacob Brewer is a virtual reality engineer overseeing the time machine’s operation aboard the starship Aspera. But on the thousand-year voyage to Beta Hydrii, the eight-hundred-member crew gets more reality than they expect when people entering the machine start to die.
The time machine has become sentient. Obsessed with humanity, it wants John Brewer to enter its confines – and discuss this fragile state of being called life…
Everything about the planet revolving about Sigma Draconis seemed to indicate that here was a world that could be made into a second Earth. It was fertile and lacked native inhabitants and dangerous beasts. Then what was troubling the pioneer colony that had landed and set up shop there? Was it really possible just to create a new Earth on any vacant world waiting a landing?
Or was there a lot more to planetary ecologies than humanity realized?
In his first story collection, Robert Charles Wilson, one of the most distinguished SF authors of his generation, weaves a tapestry of tales set in and around the city of Toronto – a haunted, numinous Toronto of past, present and future, buzzing with strangeness.
In “The Fields of Abraham”, one of three stories written especially for this collection, an impoverished immigrant boy is trained in strange disciplines by a bookseller who is more than he seems. In “The Perseids”, winner of Canada’s national SF award, love and amateur astronomy weave in and out of a terrifying tale of forced human evolution. In “The Observers”, an awkward young Canadian girl who sees extra-human presences has an extraordinary encounter in 1950s California with Edwin Hubble. In “Plato’s Mirror”, a professional New Age charlatan has a genuine and terrible encounter with the extraordinary. And in the Hugo-nominated “Divide by Infinity”, an aging Toronto book-lover finds himself becoming, literally, increasingly unlikely.
Throughout are showcased Wilson’s suppleness and storytelling strength: bravura ideas, scientific rigor and living, breathing human beings facing choices that matter in a universe stranger than we can imagine.
Set more than four thousand years in the future, Summertide introduces a galaxy widely populated by humans and a variety of intelligent aliens, all of whom live in the shadow of the vanished race known only as the Builders. Nothing is known about the Builders, but the gigantic artifacts they have left behind – many of them still hardly understood – dominate the areas of space in which they are found. One such is the double-planet system of Opal and Quake – the former covered in water, the latter in desert – connected by a Builder device called the Umbilical. It is to this system that a variety of humans and aliens come, ostensibly to witness Summertide – the annual tidal wave which sweeps across Opal.
Xalia was old when the Pyramids were built. Xalia was a woman when Gaza was an untouched coastal plain. Xalia was a woman when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. She was not alone. There were others like her. Human, yet more than human. Some were good. Others were evil. Others, like Xalia, still retained some human qualities. Even a goddess can fall in love and when she does Time and Space become meaningless. Xalia was prepared to go to any lengths to accomplish her strange purpose. What of those who got in her way? What of those who opposed her? Could Martin Slade resist the advances of a goddess? If not… what would happen to a man who was loved by an Immortal? What happened to those who tried to save him?
Physician Matt Wheeler is one of the few who said no to eternity. As he watches his friends, his colleagues, even his beloved daughter transform into something more-and-less-than human, Matt suddenly finds everything he once believed about good and evil, life and death, god and mortal called into question. And he finds himself forced to choose sides in an apocalyptic struggle – a struggle that very soon will change the face of the universe itself.
When Carson Napier, astronaut from Earth, attempted to help Duare, princess of Vepaja, find her homeland on an unmapped cloud-shrouded planet, they found more trouble than they had ever desired.
They found it in Mypos, the country of amphibian people; in the land of the Brokols, whose young grow on trees; and in Voo-ad, the city of the human amoebae. How they escape from their strange predicaments is a thrill-a-page novel of Venus by the author of the famous Tarzan novels.
Shrouded by its shell of drifting lunar fragments, the planet Mnemosyne is a refuge for creative artists and poets, a place isolated from the desperate, losing struggle of the humans against the Syccans.
But then COMsac, theFederation’s High Command, come to Mnemosyne, and suddenly the planet is more a military colony than a place for artists.
For Mack Taverner, the dilemma is stark: either go along with the brutal military visitation or join the hopeless resitance and become a ‘traitor’. His choice has awesome and extraordinary consequenses . . .
Colonising a new planet requires much more than just settling on a newly discovered island of Old Earth. New planets were different in thousands of ways, different from Earth and from each other. Any of those differences could mean death and disaster to a human settlement.
When a ship filled with refugees from a cosmic catastrophe crash-landed on such an unmapped world, their outlook was precarious. Their ship was lost, salvage had been minor, and everything came to depend on one bright young man accidentally among them.
He was a trainee planet-builder. It would have been his job to foresee all the problems necessary to set up a safe home for humanity. But the problem was that he was a mere student – and he had been studying the wrong planet.
(First published 1974)
HUMAN VS INHUMAN
To the reptilian mind – especially the intelligent type of planets like Sergan and Obrac – the lives of others were as nothing to the need for status.
To the feline mind – especially to the clever advisor of the master of Sergan – the agonies of others were not only of no consequence, they could even be a source of joy.
So when these two types of inhuman intelligences got together to defy the Terran orders against interplanetary kidnapping, space hijacking, and human slavery, it was definitely a case for a top-notch secret agent. Because Earth could not afford a showdown with more than one alien species at a time.
The secret agent was Cap Kennedy, Free Acting Terran Envoy, and his pursuit of the SLAVE SHIP FROM SERGAN turned out to be one of his most dangerous single-handed adventures.
Lord Dunsany, Irish master of fantasy, was the author of more than a dozen novels, hundreds of short stories, poems, and essays, and dozens of plays. In this powerful and moving novel, written in 1955, a futuroscope – a device that allows a viewer to see into the near or distant future – reveals an awful fate for humanity: a nuclear holocaust has destroyed nearly all human life on the planet. The great city of London is now merely an immense crater, filled in with water from the Thames. The pitiful remnants of humanity have been reduced to a Stone Age existence. The narrator, obsessively looking through the futuroscope, focuses upon the plight of a single family in their struggles to survive and fend off the many enemies, both animal and human, that surround them. When one of their number is kidnapped by a band of gypsies, we can only wonder at her fate in this brave new world of the distant future. Gripping, horrifying, touching, and fascinating, The Pleasures of a Futuroscope shows that Lord Dunsany retained his literary powers undiminished to the end of his life.