The romantic legend of the Holy Grail is almost without parallel in the stories of chivalry. It has about it a quality of inspiration and a standard of purity that transcends everyday life. It shines like a star through the darkness of the Dark Ages. But what if Satan has his own counterpart? What if – just as the Black Mass of the witches and wizards, is an abominable reversal of the Holy Communion Service of the Christian – what if, then, there is an Unholy grail? A sinister thing of death and terror. A glittering, golden chalice forged in the nethermost chasms of Hell, wrought by the hands of unholy craftsmen. Gilded by demons, decked with gems by jewellers who life with the Prince of Darkness.
A thing that originated below the dark hills where trolls dwell…
That, too, would be the object of many a quest. There would be dedicated heroes searching to destroy it. There would be unscrupulous men who wanted to employ its dark power for their own ends. There would be weak men unable to resist its call. There would be strong men whose wills clashed with the almost irresistible power of the Golden Goblet.
Morgan Outworlder was born of Centaurus-stock, but two short years on Bargelix had made him almost a native of his adopted world. Trained to be a societic engineer in the Imperium, Morgan found little need for his science on the outworlds . . . but much need for a strong arm and a sharp sword. For Bargelix was a world in struggle, battling the dark forces of magic.
Morgan was marked as an exile because he had been caught up in the Tarsnian struggle for self-government – and when the Freedom Riots failed, he found himself barred forever from the worlds of the Imperium. But the way back to the inner stars lay through the struggle for his adopted world . . . and the man from the stars was hero enough to battle the darkest of magicians!
With hair the colour of the moon, Corleu was different from the other Wayfolk. He alone tried to free his wandering tribe from the unearthly swamp that ensnared them – and he alone dared to cross the forbidden threshold. There he found a strange dark house, a place of legends and gods, foreseen in the stars. And there, to save his people, began Corleu’s search for the heart of the Cygnet – and impossible treasure…
But if legends are real, nothing is impossible.
Man has often wondered about the birth of his world. Our remote ancestors told strange tales of parental deities who gave birth to planets, and people.
Primitive religious thought regarded inanimate Nature as teeming with terrifying psychic life. It is a trend which persists in the dark recesses of the modern mind. There is reason for this persistence . . .
Were the ancients entirely wrong?
Science has unlocked many mysteries that terrified our forebears, but there are others which remain just as enigmatically sealed as before.
What strange astrological influences do the dark stars exert as they speed through the heavens on their evil courses? Like a cosmic combination lock their tuning unleashes timeless forces of evil.
The Pantheon of Old Gods rides again to bring hideous terror to the 20th century.
‘The explosion was painfully bright against the dark backdrop of the moonless New Mexico sky. To those who looked up at that precise moment – and there were many who happened to look up – it was as though a new star had momentarily blossomed in blue-white incandescence.’
Only three human beings would ever know that the blinding flash in the sky on that night in 1982 was an exploding flying saucer. Only they would learn the truth about THOSE WHO WATCH – about the alien observers who came into this world in a crash landing from the stars. THOSE WHO WATCH is the strange, seductive story of three accidental colonists from outer space whose chance encounter with Earth brought revelation to three earthly counterparts – and triggered interplanetary conflict. It is a remarkable story by one of science fiction’s most remarkable writers.
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.
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!
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 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.
‘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.
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 . . .