On the murky outskirts of our solar system, a lonely star has exploded, emitting monstrous doses of radiation . . .
The year is 1983. The exploding star Briareus Delta, 132 light years away, provokes only mild interest from planet Earth. Suddenly, appalling tornadoes and storms ravage the cities and countryside, leaving death and desolation in their wake. Then mankind realises another terrifying side-effect – every adult in the world has been rendered infertile.
Schoolteacher Calvin Johnson discovers he is one of the select few to have acquired strange psychic powers. Termed ‘Zetas’, these people experience mental flashes of the future – a future of freezing isolation, snow-swept landscapes and bleak, ice-bound cities.
A second ice-age is imminent as man faces the ultimate horror . . . extinction.
The star Mira was unpredictably variable. Sometimes it was blazing, brilliant and hot. Other times it was oddly dim, cool, shedding little warmth on its many planets. Gresth Gkae, leader of the Mirans, was seeking a better star, one to which his people could migrate. That star had to be steady, reliable, with a good planetary system. And in his astronomical searching, he found Sol. With hundreds of ships, each larger than whole Terrestrial spaceports, and traveling faster than the speed of light, the Mirans set out to move in to Solar regions and take over.
And on Earth there was nothing which would be capable of beating off this incredible armada – until Buck Kendall stumbled upon . . .
The Ultimate Weapon . . .
“Variety is the soul of pleasure,” And variety is what this comprehensive new collection of Connie Willis is all about. The stories cover the entire spectrum, from sad to sparkling to terrifying, from classics to hard-to-find treasures with everything in between – orangutans, Egypt, earthworms, roast goose, college professors, mothers-in-law, aliens, secret codes, Secret Santas, tube stations, choir practice, the post office, the green light on Daisy’s dock, weddings, divorces, death, and assorted plagues, from scarlet fever to “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And a dog.
Famous for her “sure-hand plotting, unforgettable characters, and top-notch writing,” Willis has been called, “the most relentlessly delightful science fiction writer alive,” and there are numerous examples here. Among them, Willis’s most famous stories – the Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning “Fire Watch” and “Even the Queen” and “The Last of the Winnebagos” – along with undiscovered gems like Willis’s heartfelt homage to Jack Williamson, “Nonstop to Portales.” Her magical Christmas stories are here, too, from “Newsletter” to “Just Like the Ones We Used to Know…” which last year was made into the TV movie, Snow Wonder, starring Mary Tyler Moore.
We’ve collected stories from throughout Willis’s career, from early ones like “Cash Crop” and “Daisy, in the Sun,” right up to her newest stories, including the wonderful “The Winds of Marble Arch.” There’s literally something for everyone here. If you’re a diehard Willis fan, you’ll be delighted with hard-to-find treasures like the until-now uncollected, “The Soul Selects Her Own Society…” If you’ve never read Connie Willis, this is your chance to discover “A Letter from the Clearys” and, well, “Chance.” To say nothing of, “At the Rialto,” the funniest story ever written about quantum physicists. And Willis’s chilling, “All My Darling Daughters.”
And…oh, there are too many great stories here to list and pleasures galore. So enjoy!
Without setting foot on another planet, people like Shep Blaine were reaching out to the stars with their minds, telepathically contacting strange beings on other worlds. But even Blaine was unprepared for what happened when he communed with the soul of an utterly alien being light years from Earth. After recovering from his experience, he becomes a dangerous man: not only has he gained startling new powers – but he now understands that humankind must share the stars.
Hunted through time and space by those who he used to trust, Blaine undergoes a unique odyssey that takes him through a nightmarish version of small-town America as he seeks to find others who share his vision of a humane future. Blaine has mastered death and time. Now he must master the fear and ignorance that threatened to destroy him!
Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon – better known to the world as science fiction writer James Tiptree, Jr – produced just two novels, in a glittering but tragically short career. Gollancz is delighted to present them together in this omnibus edition:
UP THE WALLS OF THE WORLD
A secret US navy research project is founded to investigate the existence of paranormal powers, bringing together a variety of men and women who have shown indications of telepathic ability. As a result of the experiment they make mental contact with the Tyrenni, strange alien beings resembling winged squids who dwell in the upper atmosphere of their tempestuous world.
The aliens’ world, Tyree, is being threatened by a huge being, the Destroyer, which is moving inexorably towards them, obliterating whole solar systems in its path. When the Tyrenni realise that it threatens to exterminate life on Tyree, they are forced into the decision – contrary to all their moral beliefs – to take over the bodies of their human contacts in order to preserve their race.
BRIGHTNESS FALLS FROM THE AIR
Sixteen humans have come together on Damien, a distant world where once, dreams were stolen and atrocities took place. They have gathered to view the last rising of a manmade nova, the testament to a war none can forget.
Soon, time will warp and masks will fall. Soon, violence will erupt anew – along with treachery, horror, murder, release and love.
Soon, some will find justice . . . and others, judgement. Soon.
Now, sixteen humans have gathered – to await the light of the Murdered Star.
Dawn of a new Doomsday
It was in the light of the swift star “God’s-Eye” – said to have been thrown aloft by the Ancients before the Desolation – that Beatra was captured by raiders from under the Earth.
Armed with only a psi-kinetic sand-sword and a Dire Wolf’s eyes, Jeremy Wolfhead followed, and found a strange city ruled by the descendants of an ancient government that had escaped the Desolation – a city that was preparing to emerge and bring to Earth a second, even more horrible, Doomsday!