WIKIPEDIA says: ‘H.P. Lovecraft’s reputation has grown tremendously over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most important horror writers of the 20th century, exerting an influence that is widespread, though often indirect.’
H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of the tentacled Elder God Cthulhu and his pantheon of alien deities were initially written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and ’30s. These astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when they were first published.
This electronic tome collects together Lovecraft’s tales of terror, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, just the way they were originally published. It will introduce a whole new generation of readers to Lovecraft’s fiction, as well as being a must-buy for those fans who want all his work in a single, definitive volume.
Scientific progress has taken human beings to remote planes in far galaxies and enabled them to build comfortable homes there. But when that science proved a deadly enemy and had to be abandoned, the pioneers were isolated in alien surroundings. There was no way home. Earth, which had once been home, had ceased to exist. And when the men of the planet Demeter died out in space, the destiny of the human race was left to a group of women.
Clare Monkton worked to establish a feminist world. She used the resources of science to assure the continuance of the race … but the resulting children were to be brought up according to her ideas.
There was bound to be a challenge. When there were once more young men growing up on the planet, it was inevitable that they should oppose the authority of the women. And when one of those young men proved to come from such a dangerous ancestry, Clare knew she had a battle on her hands…
In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge – big enough to contain a city and a sea – and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes.
Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma.
Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it – and who could tell how many years away that might be? – may lie the truth about Rama…
Ian Watson’s latest collection shows the same range and apparently inexhaustible fund of ideas that have characterized all his previous books. No other contemporary figure in SF is so prolific or inventive a writer of short stories. In the title story we immediately encounter a phantasmagoric vision of a society increasingly dependent on recycling its usable material; other brilliant inventions include a planet inhabited by lemur-like aliens who bafflingly produce marvellously finished stone carvings without apparently having the tools to do so (‘The Moon and Michelangelo’); people fighting their way through the various levels of what appears to be a real-life version of a computer adventure game (‘Jewels in an Angel’s Wing’); and a zoo in which are caged the extensions into our universe of four-dimensional hyberbeings (‘Hyperzoo’). And that is only the beginning: there are fifteen stories in all, each one a state-of-the-art example of short science fiction at its finest.
Seven billion years from now, long after the Sun has died and human life itself has become extinct, alien beings reincarnate humanity from our fossilized DNA drifting as debris in the void of deep space. We are reborn to serve as bait in a battle to the death between the Rimstalker, humankind’s reanimator, and the zotl, horrific creatures who feed vampire-like on the suffering of intelligent lifeforms.
The reborn children of Earth are told: “You owe no debt to the being that roused you to this second life. Neither must you expect it to guide you or benefit you in any way.” Yet humans choose sides, as humans will, participating in the titanic struggle between Rimstalker and zotl in ways strange and momentous.
Author’s Note: The volumes of this series can each be read independently of the others. The feature that unifies them is their individual observations of science fiction’s sub-genre: “space opera,” which the editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer define as “colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in space or on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes.”
Slippery Jim diGriz is in the process of robbing the new Mint on Paskonjak when the heist goes terribly wrong. Threatened with a horrific death, Slippery Jim is allowed to cut a deal with the Galactic League: voyage to the planet Liokukae and bring back a missing artifact – the only known evidence of alien life-forms found in 32,000 years of galactic exploration.
For diGriz there are a few catches. One is Liokukae itself – a dumping ground for the League’s misfits, murderers, maniacs, and the incurably obnoxious. Another is a little matter of life and death. To ensure the utterly untrustworthy diGriz’s cooperation, the League has given him a slow-acting poison, allowing him thirty days in which to succeed . . . or die.
Now the Stainless Steel Rat is on his way to a world that is hurtling backward down the evolutionary scale – a land of fanatic, goat-herding Fundamentaloids, murderous Machmen, and a rusty guru named Iron John. DiGriz has developed an almost perfect cover: a four-member rock band that has a way of giving its audiences what they want to hear.
But while the days tick away and diGriz’s life expectancy lowers, the mission evolves from finding an artifact to liberating a planet . . . which is a tune the Stainless Steel Rat most certainly knows how to sing.
Shot at by aliens, eaten up by monsters, frozen up, burned up and shipped all over the galaxy¿ war was one game Private Peace didn’t want to play. So why had he joined the Space Legion?
Warren Peace had joined the Space Legion to forget – exactly what, he hadn’t the faintest idea. But he was sure about one thing – however horrific the crime he’d once committed, the memory of it could hardly be more unbearable than life in the lunatic Space Legion. Private Peace knew he’d got to get out¿
The trouble was, the only way to escape his 30-year contract was to discover exactly why he’d signed it in the first place. And that meant a hair raising journey into his forgotten past to meet the one person Peace definitely didn’t want to know – Warren Peace Mark I – in other words, himself!
It all began simply enough. A client had vanished, and Jay Corcoran went to investigate the man’s empty hotel suite. But Corcoran’s trick vision spotted the room-sized box stuck to the outside wall of the suite. There was no way to get into the box, so Corcoran cabled his long-time pal Tom Boone.
Boone had a talent. When threatened he could “step around a corner” into some otherwhere. Boone stepped into the box, taking Corcoran with him. The box turned out to be a time traveler machine that transported them back to 1745 England, where they found a family of refugees from a million years in the future. In that far future, alien Infinites were converting humanity to incorporeal form. When the family had refused conversion, they had to flee. For more than a century, the family had lain hidden in their time bubble.
Suddenly, the Infinites’ killer monster broke through–and things grew complicated as the family fled to the distant past and the farther future.
An adventure of the near future – brought on by a catastrophe in the far future. On a summer’s day like any other, holes appeared in the air and people from nowhere walked through them into our world.
They came, and they kept coming, until they numbered in the millions. They said they came from the future – they were our children’s children. They said there was trouble “up there”. They knew they were a terrible burden on our economy, and all, but – well, we couldn’t just let them starve, could we?
Then more facts became apparent.The “holes in the air” were time tunnels, one-way tunnels from the future. The trouble up there was in the form of alien creatures – ravening beasts with teeth, claws, and tentacles, that reproduced like bacteria and were intelligent.They were utterly uncontrollable and so our children’s children fled through the time tunnels, which, they claimed, were securely guarded. The beasts, whatever or whoever they were, couldn’t get through. So they claimed.
But then somebody up there slipped and the beasts were abroad.
Occupation of Earth is now in its 27th year, and relations between humanity and the dictatorial Hefn have never seemed shakier. The aliens mission is to save the planet from its human abusers; and the Baby Ban imposed by mass hypnosis has made Earth a cleaner, wilder, less crowded place. But the Ban has now lasted so long, and provoked such hatred, that when a spark is struck the situation explodes into worldwide riots on one side and retaliatory mindwipings on the other. Years of effort by the eco-spiritual Gaians, who mediate between humans and Hefn, have been destroyed.
While the Gaians regroup and brainstorm frantically in an atmosphere of doubt and danger, one obsessed Hefn and one young woman begin a radical experiment. Pam Pruitt has discovered a growing ability to acquire information by non-rational means. Childhood suffering has empowered her, in a way once understood by hunting and gathering peoples – an understanding lost with that lost lifeway – to communicate with mysterious forces through strong dreaming: to function as a shaman on behalf of her community, the human race.
Both “Drink Me, Francesca” and “Out There Where the Big Ships Go” examine – in differing but related ways – humanity’s first encounter with other intelligent life, and its inevitable profound consequences. In the former, one member of an interstellar expeditionary force is drawn into communion with an intangible, superior being; in the latter an astronaut, believed long dead, returns to Earth bringing with him an alien game whose subtleties the human race must master in order to show itself worthy of membership in the galactic community.
“The Attleborough Poltergeist” is an eerie account of an apparently paranormal phenomenon which proves to have an even stranger scientific explanation, while the long title story is a surprising – and successful – departure: a full-blooded, adventurous fantasy reminiscent of Rider Haggard. A Victorian Army officer, doing surveying work in Asia Minor, stumbles upon a hidden valley in a remote mountain range. There he discovers a cult whose members literally tend and spin the loom of human destiny, and who await his long-predicted arrival to fulfil a strange and unexpected role in their society.
With the discovery of the hyperdrive, mankind at last possessed the means of going out to the stars. Four expeditions had already gone by the fine the fifth starship left Pluto for Vega. Carrying its complement of scientists and military personnel, they arrived at the solar system of Vega to find one planet sufficiently like Earth to allow them to land.
Here, they discovered mystery. The ruins of great cities built on the shattered remains of still earlier fortresses, showing that some great race of conquerors had passed that way sometime in the past thirty thousand years.
No life now remained on this planet and speeding to the next sun, they found a civilisation which possessed powers so utterly strange to them that one native almost succeeded in destroying them and taking over the ship. And still the mystery remained, for the legends of the planet spoke of a race of gods who had come down from the stars twenty thousand years before.
It was not until they reached the planet of a red giant sun that they ran into a race of creatures so fantastically alien that there was no defence against them, and they learned the real identity of the race which had conquered the stars millennia before…
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…
Alex was a pioneer. Like all pioneers he had problems. He had more problems than most; when things start to go wrong in space they go wrong in a big way. One by one the perils of the void took their toll of his companions. Alex was alone, alone with a vision, the vision of a town, home.
Only thoughts of home kept him alive. He remembered trees, houses, shops, churches, peoples…above all people. At last he reached earth…or perhaps it wasn’t earth? Things had changed unbelievably. Perhaps he had changed. How long had he been away? How far had he drifted? There was a sinister possibility that this wasn’t home at all. If the things that looked like people weren’t people but aliens, what was he to do?
Alex was a realist. He knew what space could do to a man’s mind. He was disinclined to trust the evidence of his own senses. A mine that has had far more than it can take can produce from very peculiar perceptions…
These seventeen classic stories create their own unique galaxy of vain, protective, and murderous robots; devilish angels; and warm and angry aliens. In “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”-the inspiration for New Line Cinema’s major motion picture The Last Mimzy-a boy finds a discarded box containing a treasure trove of curious objects. When he and his sister begin to play with these trinkets-including a crystal cube that magnifies the unimaginable and a strange doll with removable organs that don’t quite correspond to those of the human body-their parents grow concerned. And they should be. For the items are changing the way the children think and perceive the world around them-for better or worse.
Ray Bradbury called Henry Kuttner “a man who shaped science fiction and fantasy in its most important years.” Marion Zimmer Bradley and Roger Zelazny said he was a major inspiration. Kuttner was a writer’s writer whose visionary works anticipated our own computer-controlled, machine-made world. At the time of his death at forty-two in 1958, he had created as many as 170 stories under more than a dozen pseudonyms-sometimes writing entire issues of science fiction magazines-in close collaboration with his wife, C. L. Moore.
This definitive collection will be a revelation to those who wish to discover or rediscover Henry Kuttner, a true master of the universe.
Gifted novelist Fowler (Sarah Canary and The Sweetheart Season) delights in the arcane, and, as a result, these 15 clever tales are occasionally puzzling but never dull.
In the long title story, temperance activist Carry Nation is resurrected in the 1990s (“We’re talking about a very troubled, very big woman,” says one shaken barman to reporters) and becomes such a nuisance that the DEA is forced to dispatch her with voodoo. Other plots are only slightly less outrageous in conceit. In “Lieserl,” a lovesick madwoman dupes Albert Einstein into believing he has a daughter; in “The Faithful Companion at Forty,” Tonto admits to second thoughts about his biggest life choice (“But for every day, for your ordinary life, a mask is only going to make you more obvious. There’s an element of exhibitionism in it”). “The Travails” offers a peek at the one-sided correspondence of Mary Gulliver, who wants Lemuel to come home already and help out around the house. The homage to Swift makes sense, for, when Fowler doesn’t settle for amusing her readers, she makes a lively satirist. The extraterrestrials who appear in her stories (whether the inscrutably sadistic monsters in “Duplicity” or the members of a seminar studying late-1960s college behavior in “The View from Venus: A Case Study”) seem stand-ins for the author herself, who, in elegant and witty prose, cultivates the eye of a curious alien and, along the way, unfolds eccentric plots that keep the pages turning.
Black Glass (1991), Contention (1986), Shimabara (1995), The Elizabeth Complex (1996), Go Back (1998), The Travails (1998), Lieserl (1990), Letters from Home (1987), Duplicity (1989), The Faithful Companion at Forty (1987), The Brew (1995), Lily Red (1988), The Black Fairy’s Curse (1997), The View from Venus (1986), Game Night at the Fox and Goose (1989)