‘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.
Heredity is dependent on the complex patterns of genes and chromosomes, which are particularly vulnerable to radiation. An error in a biological research unit led to the birth of a thing so bestial and so powerful that it became a target so Security.
As it grew, its strategic potential developed until whispers of its monstrous power filtered out to the rest of the world. Other nations were interested and one intrepid agent reached the secret bunker where the powerful thing was kept. His interference shattered a safety device and the thing escaped.
It strode across the world with the fury of a tornado. Nothing seemed able to stand in its path. Mighty cities were shattered like ant-hills as the mutant monster continued its rampage. Dazed, disorganised humanity strove desperately to strike back before it was too late…
The Corps Galactica, the Galaxy’s police force, had pledged itself to a policy of non-interference with the backward Zarathustra Refugee Planets.
Langenschmidt, the Corps chief on the planet Cyclops, was content with this ruling. After all, if the refugee planets could form their own civilizations from scratch, logically they would come up with cultures suited to their own needs.
However, when the case of Justin Kolb came to his attention, Langenschmidt was forced to rethink the problem. Kolb’s accident with the wolfshark revealed to the Corps’ medicos the leg-graft that had been performed on him. It was a perfect match – only its gene-pattern wasn’t Cyclopean, and limb-grafting wasn’t practised on Cyclops.
Where had the leg come from, who had been the unknown repairmen, and wasn’t this something that might be violating galactic law?
(First published 1965)
Nick Lewis certainly has no liking for his TV historian brother, Laurence. Aside from anything else Nick blames him for the death of their mother, the beautiful actress Claudia Martin. And so, is it possible the off-handedly childish trick played by Nick on Laurence really does cast some kind of curse? Bizarre and unpleasant things begin to happen, without a doubt. And Nick himself is hardly immune. As the pattern of his secure yet eccentric life starts to come undone, he finds himself without remedies. Where has Laurence vanished to? What is the creepy Mr Pond’s part in it all? And who is the apparently sinister Kitty Price? Can repressed hatred cause such disruption, danger, even death? Or has the object caused it, as Nick pretended it could: that little ivory counter from a stolen drawer… This is probably not a supernatural story. It might be less unsettling if it was.
Dirty Work? In a manner of speaking, perhaps, but certainly not along the lines of de Sade or Henry Miller.
“Dirty” maybe because within this remarkable volume of short stories (a follow-up to her award-winning collection Patterns) author Pat Cadigan unflinchingly explores the implications of technology on modern and near-future societies, humorously challenges our perceptions of reality, and chillingly strips away our civilized facades to confront the bestial nature of our souls.
With stories like “Home By the Sea,” “Dispatches from the Revolution,” “No Prisoners,” “50 Ways to Improve Your Orgasm,” and “Naming Names,” Pat Cadigan exhibits an enviable ability to tackle a variety of themes, moods, and perspectives. And makes it all seem easy.
Featuring 18 stunning fictions (including the previously unpublished “Lost Girls” written especially for this book)-as well as intriguing author introduction to each story-Dirty Work is a thought provoking, often funny, never compromising collection by one of America’s most gifted authors.
It doesn’t get any better than this.
Dolores Foster was walking home from work when she noticed an oddly shaped glittering something at the edge of the pavement. She stooped, fascinated, and picked up a metallic brooch or badge of unusual lightness. The metal was engraved with peculiar semi-geometrical patterns and she thought it was vibrating as she held it…
Captivated by the unusual qualities of her find she wore it at a cocktail party that evening. Either the stranger who approached her and began asking incredible questions was drunk or reality as she knew it could never be the same again…
The finding of the brooch led her to the fringe of a terrifying organisation: a group known simply as “The Engineers”: men who played with the fabric of the three-dimensional world as if it were made of putty.
Dolores had to learn an entirely new set of survival data as she followed one of the Engineers into a new dimension and saw how human society was masterminded.
She had to decide whether to oppose the terrible truth she had discovered or join the strange beings who looked like men…yet ran the solar system as though it were a fairground!
Best known for his Hugo Award-winning classic A Case of Conscience, Blish was one of the first serious SF writers to involve themselves with tie-in novels, writing eleven Star Trek adaptations as well as the first original adult Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die. This omnibus contains three of his long out-of-print works: Black Easter, The Day After Judgement and The Seedling Stars.
BLACK EASTER: A gripping story about primal evil: a sinister intermingling of power, politics, modern theology, the dark forces of necromancy, and what proves, all too terribly, not to be superstition.
THE DAY AFTER JUDGEMENT: Develops and extends the characters from BLACK EASTER. It suggests that God may not be dead, or that demons may not be inherently self-destructive, as something appears to be restraining the actions of the demons upon Earth.
THE SEEDLING STARS: You didn’t make an Adapted Man with just a wave of the wand. It involved an elaborate constellation of techniques, known collectively as pantropy, that changed the human pattern in a man’s shape and chemistry before he was born. And the pantropists didn’t stop there. Education, thoughts, ancestors and the world itself were changed, because the Adapted Men were produced to live and thrive in the alien environments found only in space. They were crucial to a daring plan to colonize the universe.
As author and illustrator, Keith Roberts did more than most to define the look of UK science fiction magazines in the 1960s. In addition to his BFSA Award wins, he was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. He is perhaps best known for his seminal alternate history novel, Pavane, but his work covered a broad range of SF’s tropes and settings, as can be seen from the titles collected in this omnibus: The Chalk Giants, Kiteworld and The Grain Kings.
THE CHALK GIANTS: After the apocalypse the hazardous evolution of mankind continues. And in primeval response to the disaster, humanity’s solutions to catastrophe carve the harsh new world in violent patterns of magic and myth, rite and religion. Brave images scar the ancient hills, the clash of swords and the ageless power of sexuality sign-post another, bloodsoaked path to civilisation.
KITEWORLD: Powerful churches have long kept their grip on the people with a theology of fear that makes formidable demons out of the poor, weak mutants of the surrounding badlands. To ward off these specters, an elaborate, tradition-encrusted system of kites with hex signs or armed observers fly over the realm. The men of this Kite Corps, performing hazardous duty to sustain a myth, are driven to find a separate peace, to transform, if they can, disillusionment into enlightenment, to move forward from an assumption of guilt to an assumption of responsibility.
THE GRAIN KINGS: They call them The Grain Kings. Gigantic mechanical monarchs of the wheat-bearing plains that were once the frozen Alaskan wastes. Whole eco-systems in themselves, they can supply the food so desperately needed by the teeming millions of our overpopulated planet. But even now, as the whole world waits in hungry suspense, the great powers battle for control of the prairies and two competing combine harvesters find they are heading on a course of collision.