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.
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!
Quayle, the master of a British spy ring in World War II, is faced with the task of dealing with a man who has come from Morocco with what he says is important information about German troops there. But is the man what he seems?
Quayle puts his agents into action, not hesitating to risk their lives to discover the answer, but it is Quayle who ends up doing most of the work – and who is prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause of war.
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!
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?
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!
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 general theme of this collection is an ironic and sometimes bitter comment on man’s stupidity to man. But Tenn’s humor is irrepressible and bursts forth in a joyous political satire on the wars of the sexes titled “The Masculinist Revolt” – which may yet bring codpieces back into fashion. The Wooden Star contains the following:
Generation of Noah
The Dark Star
“Will You Walk a Little Faster”
It Ends with a Flicker
The Masculinist Revolt
Past worlds almost too strange to describe, three men hurtle into the dark uncharted mystery of space. Their task: to make contact with the Hegemony of Malis, the unknown force that has been watching the Solar System since before the beginning of recorded history. On their success or failure depends the future of the entire Earth.
Join them as they accelerate on Haertel drive towards the stunning core of the Hegemony itself in James Blish’s masterpiece of the time to come, Mission to the Heart Stars.
“I’ll need your help. Come night and the Oracle again, I’m going to try the final couplet.”
“Jinian,” Murzy breathed while Dodie looked white-eyed at me. “Dangerous.”
“And fatal not to,” I said, still smiling at them all…
I wove by forest and meadow, branch and leaf. I wove by stream and pool, by river and fall. I wove by cloud and air, by thunder and sunset glow. I wove by depths of the earth, rock and gem, glittering ores and crystals blooming in the dark, old bone and new. Beside me the others wove as well…
“And all within sound of my voice or reach of the wind,” I cried, thrusting my voice like a Sending, like a magic spear, driving it upward. “And all within sound of my voice or lick of the wave, or all within sound of my voice or stretch of the soil, or all within sound of my voice where green grows and leaf springs up. Named or unnamed, silent or speaking. Let this message be brought,
By the Eye of the Star,
Where Old Gods Are!”
For three decades science fiction legend Alan Dean Foster has captivated readers around the world, from his debut classic The Tar-Aiym Krang and his inspired scenario for the first Star Trek movie to a host of New York Times bestsellers, including Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and Flinx in Flux.
In this collection of twenty brilliant odysseys of the imagination, Foster once again soars beyond the limits of reality – where the real thrills begin…
NASA Sending Addicts to Mars!: It was the most insane idea in the annals of space travel – and the only one that would work.
Diesel Dream: Sometimes on dark, lonely highways dreams do come true, and this trucker’s hope was the best one of all.
Sideshow: Flinx hadn’t a clue about the alien dancer, but Pip knew trouble when she saw it.
Empowered: A magnificent male discovers the not-so-super part about being a superhero.
The Question: A bold adventurer determines to solve one of life’s profound mysteries.
…and fourteen other amazing stories!
The death-stars had come, and they had kept on coming for hundreds of thousands of years, falling upon the Earth, swept upon it by a vagrant star that had passed through the outer reaches of the solar system. They brought with them a time of unending darkness and cold. It was an event that occured every twenty-six million years, and there was no turning it aside.
But all that was done with now. At last the death-stars had ceased to fall, the sky had cleared of dust and cinders, the sun’s warmth again was able to break through the clouds. The glaciers relinquished their hold on the land; the Long Winter ended; the New Springtime began. The world was born anew.
Now each year was warmer than the last. The fair seasons of spring and summer, long lost from the world, came again with increasing power. And the People, having survived the dark time in their sealed cocoons, were spreading rapidly across the fertile land. But others were already there. The hjjks, the somber cold-eyed insect-folk, had never retreated, even at the time of greatest chill. The world had fallen to them by default, and they had been its sole masters for seven hundred thousand years. They were not likely to share it gladly now . . .
Fifteen billion years from now, Earth is a dying planet, its skies darkened by the ashes of burned-out galaxies, its molten core long cooled. The sunless planet is nearing the day of final gravitational collapse in the surrounding galaxy. Mutations and evolution have led to a great disparity of life-forms, while civilization has resorted to the primitive.
Young Deyv of the Turtle Tribe knew nothing of his world’s history or its fate. He lived only to track down the wretched Yawtl who had stolen his precious Soul Egg. Joined by other victims of the same thief – the feisty Vana and the plant-man Sloosh – the group sets off across a nightmare landscape of monster-haunted jungle and wetland. Their search leads them ultimately to the jeweled wasteland of the Shemibob, an ageless being from another star who knows Earth’s end is near and holds the only key to escape.
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!