Kane. The Mystic Swordsman becomes the living link with the awesome power of a vanished superrace.
In the dark swamp where toadmen croak and cower, slumbers a secret relic of the days when creatures from the stars ruled the Earth. In the booty captured in a savage raid, Kane discovers a ring, a bloodstone, which is key to the power that lies buried, inactive but not dead, within the forest.
Now Kane, whose bloody sword has slashed and killed for the glory of other rulers, can scheme to rule the Earth – himself!
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.
The continuing adventures of Tarra Khash, Hrossak, in the Primal Land at the dawn of time.
Long before Atlantis and Mu, in olden Theem’hdra the Primal Continent, there existed a world of swords and sorcery, of magic and mayhem, and of wizards, demons, and alien gods from far, dark stars. One of the principal players in this land of myth and legend was Tarra Khash, Hrossak, an inveterate wanderer and adventurer.
Join Tarra now in the ultimate challenge, the ultimate quest: to save a world from the menace of pit-spawned demons, called up from hell by Sorcery in Shad!
On the surface, they seem like three very different people: Danny Bronson, a cunning ex-con struggling to go straight; his brother, Lee, a former Gridiron star turned college professor; and Johnny Keefler, a crooked parole officer who lives for revenge. But they all grew up in the same corner of town, a grim little slum known as ‘The Sink’, where life is cheap and might makes right.
And a story that’s just as dark unfolds when their paths cross as men – at the intersection of brutal violence, illicit liaisons, a ‘foolproof’ scam and the intoxicating allure of cold, hard cash.
Avram Davidson was widely regarded as one of the most outstanding authors of short fantasy fiction in our time. This collection comprises his distinctive historical fantasies – tales of strange Mitteleurpoas, of magic in Victorian England and on the American frontier. Here are “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire”, “Traveller from an Antique Land”, and “What Strange Stars and Skies”; here are dragons, cameras, and “The Singular Incident of the Dog on the Beach”. Witty, whimsical, dark, and strange, these tales of times and places that almost were will leave even the most jaded readers amazed. No one has ever written like Avram Davidson, before or since.
‘The great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller’ – Stephen King
A dark, psychological thriller, first published in 1957 as The Executioners and filmed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro.
Max Cady, a brutal rapist, has been in prison for years, nursing his hatred for the man who put him away, attorney Sam Bowden.
When Cady gets parole, he begins stalking Bowden’s family.
As Cady’s campaign of terror mounts, the police are powerless to protect the family who must use their wits to survive a psychopath bent on revenge.
The vast federation of outworld states that formed the Terran Empire smarted under the unjust, evil influence of the Emperor Jrun. Daily, his tax-gatherers swooped down on the member planets, wringing the people dry of money and goods.
But away from the decadent shell that Jrun had built up, out among the lonely suns of the Edge, a new power was growing. It had fallen on Kelda, the young star-king of Zandyr to form the union known as the Cosmic Echelon. A fleet of ships that dared to match the armed might of Imperial Terra.
The ultimate weapon belonged to Jrun, a battleship which no power could withstand, and a force that could shatter the bodies of men.
Here, you can follow Kelda and his warrior princess, Irrena, through the star-strewn wastes of Space; across the Dark Gap in which the empty wrecks of once proud vessels floated forever, manned by crews long-dead.
And realise as Jrun did, that there are two kinds of laws. Those made by Man himself, which can be broken – and the laws of the Universe, which are inviolate.
From the Garlowe Clusters in the north to the Veils of Darkness in the south, the Star Kingdom sprawled over roughly a fifth of the galaxy. So huge was this realm that those who tussled for power over it seemed unable to appreciate that it faced annihilation by the Patch, a roving region of peculiar pseudo-energy a light-year across which drained the life-force from any living thing it encountered.
The Patch had moved into the Kingdom and was systematically feeding on system after system. Cynically unperturbed by the appalling loss of life, the royal houses merely tried to involve the Patch in their machinations, to the extent that civil war broke out all over again. But in the event, the Patch was to provide the crucial factor in the struggle for absolute power. The Annihilation Factor!
His name was Tharg, but he was not of any life form we know today. He lived so long ago that the planet Earth had not yet shaped itself. Lava seas roiled and churned, volcanoes spouted and grew, and heavy clouds hung in the hydrogen atmosphere, leaving the planet’s surface dark and dangerous.
On that world Tharg met his death, or something very much like it. He became a disembodied, totally nonphysical intelligence, cut off from all contact with the life he had known. He ‘slept’ for hundreds of millions of years, unconnected with the world, unthinking, hardly existing.
But then he began to awake – for there was new life on Earth, creatures called ‘human’, and Tharg, knowing an ancient promise from the stars, had to tell them of it. But . . . how?
In the culture of the galaxy, the Star-Pilots of the starships that link the cosmos together have become the great heroes of the day. Grainger, who has become a legend in his own lifetime, is drafted to fly the prototype (the Hooded Swan) of a new ship that could revolutionize space travel. The members of the ultra-ascetic Church of the Exclusive Reward have colonized a number of marginal worlds to exclude themselves from galactic society. On Rhapsody, church members lead a completely subterranean existence. Even closed societies have their rebels, however, so when a major scientific discovery emerges from the caves of the dark planet, everything there falls apart. If Grainger can secure a share in the coming bonanza, he could buy back his freedom from Titus Charlot. Before he can do that, however, he has to find some way of just staying alive . . .
James Bolivar ‘Slippery Jim’ diGriz, Special Corps agent, master conman and interstellar criminal (retired), is living high on the hog with his lovely, vivacious wife Angelina on the luxury planet Moolaplenty when long-lost Cousin Elmo arrives. And Cousin Elmo’s not alone: he’s got a ship full of porcuswine and their keepers, and they’re all looking for a new home. And before he’s even finished his first cocktail, his bank account’s been drained and he and Angelina are off wandering the stars on a sabotaged ship.
In this darkly satiric work Harry Harrison brings his most famous character out of retirement for a grand tour of the galaxy, cocktail in hand, his luscious wife by his side, a smile on his lips and larceny in his heart. He’s in search of adventure, gravitons, and a way to get the porcuswine out of his life … for ever!
Lucius Shepard is a grand master of dark fantasy, famed for his baroque yet utterly contemporary visions of existential subversion and hallucinatory collapse. In Dagger Key, his fifth major story collection, Shepard confronts hard-bitten loners and self-deceiving operators with the shadowy emptiness within themselves and the insinuating darkness without, to ends sardonic and terrifying. The stories in this book, including six novellas, are:
“Stars Seen Through Stone” – in a small Pennsylvania town, mediocrity suddenly blossoms into genius; but at what terrible cost?
“Emerald Street Expansions” – in near-future Seattle, echoes of the life of a medieval French poet hint at either reincarnation or a dire conspiracy.
“Limbo” – a retired criminal on the run from the Mafia encounters ghosts, and much worse, on the shores of a haunted lake.
“Liar’s House” – in the grip of the legendary dragon Griaule, destiny is a treacherous and transformative thing.
“Dead Monty” – a small-time New Orleans criminal ventures outside his proper territory, and poker and voudoun conspire to bring him down.
“Dinner at Baldassaro’s” – a gang of immortals debates the future in an Italian resort, only for events to outrun any of their expectations.
“Abimagique” – a glib college loser falls in love with a witch, becoming an involuntary part of a world-saving – or world-destroying – magical ritual.
“The Lepidopertrist” – a small boy on a Caribbean island witnesses the creation of preternatural beings by a Yankee wizard…
“Dagger Key” – off the coast of Belize, the ghost of a famous pirate seems to control a spiral of murder and intrigue; or is someone else responsible?
To the crew of the Exploratory Ship Canopus, outward bound on the first intergalactic voyage to the flaring suns of mighty Andromeda, the evil whisperings that spilled out from the nebula into deep space came as a warning. This was something far beyond their previous experience. Nor were they the only ones to come under the malignant influence of the alien intelligence.
In the empty, murmuring void, virtually half-way between the two galaxies of stars, a solitary sun streaked away from Andromeda, dragging its lonely, ammonia-laden planet with it. And it was here that the explorers first gained their glimpse of the black horror that lay straddled across the intergalactic darkness. Something that had being. Something that existed where it seemed impossible that anything could.
It fell on Klau-Telph, the only non-Terran on board the Canopus, to finally track down and destroy the inhuman monster that threatened to drive the inhabitants of a trillion planets over the red edge of madness. Not until it was done did he find that the hidden reason behind the insidious whisperings was not what it seemed. In fact, it was something that even he, with his strange double mind, had never thought possible…
The modern mind usually associates witchcraft with the middle ages. We think of witches as Shakespeare depicted them in Macbeth. We see them as secret, black and midnight hags, doing a deed without a name. We close our eyes and immediately the vision of a cauldron filled with foul ingredients appears before us; here are the fenny snake, adder’s fork, wool of bat, scale of dragon and tooth of wolf.
But this does not go far enough back. There was witchcraft in the world long before medieval times. The Witch of Endor who practiced her strange arts in the reign of King Saul is familiar to all students of the Old Testament. The writings of Homer abound with references to witchcraft and sorcery. The very earliest human societies had witch doctors, medicine men, shamans and priests of the black art.
Perhaps so ancient and widespread a cult has some basis in fact. There are powers beyond science. Ancient occult laws will still hold good. It is not wise to cross the path of a being whose age is measured in centuries and whose dark powers can alter the stars in their courses.
“If it pleased Ruethen of the Long Hand to give a feast and ball at the Crystal Moon for his enemies. He knew they must come. Pride of race had slipped from Terra, while the need to appear well-bred and sophisticated had waxed correspondingly. The fact that spaceships prowled and fought, fifty light-years beyond Antares, made it all the more impossible a gaucherie to refuse an invitation from the Mersian representative. Besides, one could feel delightfully wicked and ever so delicately in danger.”
It is the common fate of empires to grow old and jaded: Rome, Byzantium, Britain, America, and so on to the Empire of Terra itself, each has near the end succumbed to the same weary “sophistication” that allows a warlord of Merseia to make a mock of a race whose star-conquering ancestors found the Merseians a race of pre-technic barbarians huddled in stone piles – and saved them from extinction. Flandry himself has come to understand that there is no more point to all his victories than that a few trillion of his fellow creatures may live out their lives before the coming of the Long Night of galactic barbarism. That he will not have shortened that coming Dark Age one bit – only postponed it. That the barbarians always win in the end, and are always followed by a new round of civilisation.