By Matthew Hughes
THE TALES OF HENGHIS HAPTHORNHenghis Hapthorn is the foremost penetrator of mysteries and uncoverer of secrets in a decadent, far-future Old Earth, one age before Jack Vance's Dying Earth. A superb rationalist, he has long disdained the notion that the universe has an alternative organizing principle: magic. But now a new age is dawning, overturning the very foundations of Hapthorn's existence, and he must struggle to survive in a world where all the rules are changing.In MAJESTRUM, Hapthorn is on the trail of an unknown killer who collects body parts from his victims. The search leads him off-planet, into the Ten Thousand Worlds of The Spray, then turns in an unexpected direction as the freelance discriminator learns that an ancient and evil power is plotting to reassert its dominion over Old Earth.
The Meaning of Luff and Other Stories
By Matthew Hughes
In Old Earth's penultimate age, the corpulent master criminal Luff Imbry moves through the halfworld like a full-fleshed shark. Thief, forger, confidence man, and sometimes go-between, he maps out his illicit operations with exquisite care then carries them out with courage and panache. But, often, things don't go as Luff planned, and he must call upon a talent for improvisation and a ruthless will to survive.This collection brings together seven short stories and novelettes previously published in Postscripts, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the anthology Forbidden Planets, plus two novellas formerly only available in limited editions. It offers Luff Imbry in all his moods and guises.Finalist for the 2014 Endeavour Award.
Madness of Flowers
By Jay Lake
The battle has been fought and won, and all have been transformed by the struggle. Imago of Lockwood has become Lord Mayor of the City Imperishable, though at a price beyond his wildest imagination. Bijaz the Dwarf has been imbued with a godlike power and a responsibility he scarcely understands. And Jason the Factor, resurrected from death at the hands of his sister, the Tokhari sandwalker Kalliope, has become the sula ma-jieni na-dia, the fabled Dead Man of Winter. When a beautiful mountebank arrives in the City Imperishable, offering to lead an expedition to uncover the lost tomb of the Imperator Terminus, she stirs up the mob with promises of treasure and imperial power... but what will her quest unleash? Political intrigue, adventure, and all-out war await the principles and inhabitants of the City Imperishable. Through it all, the City may endure, but none will remain untouched by the Madness of Flowers...
The Man Who Loved Mars
By Lin Carter
A rose-red city, half as old as time. Once it had been king city of a mighty empire and the center of the ancient faith - Gateway to the Gods, the old epics name it. Now it was dead, empty, deserted, only a dim ghost of its vanished splendor. Such was Ilionis. Lost city of Mars. A somber ruin, cold and lonely. But Ilionis was not forgotten. The old city held a valuable treasure. A treasure that brought Earthmen Ivo Tengren and scientist Keresny on a strange and difficult journey to the city's gates. A journey that was now ended. Ilionis had been found. The treasure was close by. And now an even stranger journey was about to begin.
By Brian Stableford
First published in 1976, "The Mind-Riders" features a remarkable anticipation of virtual reality gaming, in which the revised sport of boxing pits physically identical virtual fighters against one another, operated by electronically-connected "handlers" -- with viewers receiving transmissions of the combatants' emotions as their simulations slug it out. Ryan Hart, banished from the sport in its early days because of his lack of marketable emotion, is brought back by an obsessed media executive who wants to see the reigning champion beaten at any cost. Hart is not certain that he can win, after such a lapse of time, nor is he certain he can resist pressure to give the vast virtual crowds the dose of sadistic exultation they crave. But that doesn't stop him from heading into the virtual "ring" and fighting the bout of his life!
The Merlin Codex
By Robert Holdstock
The Merlin Codex brings together Robert Holdstock's Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings in one superb omnibus.Recounting a young Merlin's epic story, The Merlin Codex moves through the classical world of Jason (of the Argonauts fame) and his wife Medea. Jealously guarding his gift as every act of magic shortens his life, Merlin weaves his plots across the centuries, showing us echoes of the man and the stories we know from Arthurian legend.Robert Holdstock was unanimously hailed by critics as the best contemporary author of SF and Fantasy. By mixing Greek and Celtic mythologies happily around an immortal character, Holdstock once again touches on the great universal myths as he did so brilliantly in his Mythago Wood saga, going beyond the limits of Fantasy.
By Ursula K. Le Guin
Among the less-travelled mountains and plains of Central Europe, a little east of Austria perhaps and north of Slovenia, lies the old kingdom of Orsinia. A land of forests and quiet farmlands and towns, with its capital city Krasnoy on the broad Molsen River, Orsinia has always found itself, like all the countries of Europe, subject to forces beyond its borders. Val Malafrena is an estate in the rural western provinces of Orsinia, far removed from the engines of European politics and content for it to remain so. When Itale Sorde, the idealistic young heir to Val Malafrena, leaves his family home to venture to the bustling capital city of Krasnoy, it is therefore very much against his father's wishes. Sorde's intention is to work as a journalist, but he will soon find himself moving from reporter on the great events of the day to active participant in the rising tide of revolution that seems destined to sweep the continent.
Mr Blettsworthy on Rampole Island
By H.G. Wells
Mr. Blettsworthy on Rampole Island, written in 1928, tells the story of Arnold Blettsworthy who, after being betrayed by a business partner, is advised to go travelling in an attempt to recover from his severe disillusionment. However, instead of being full of relaxation and recuperation his trip is filled with nautical mutinies, cannibals, and much that is not what it seems.
Men Like Gods
By H.G. Wells
In the summer of 1921, a disenchanted journalist escapes the rat race for a drive in the country. But Mr. Barnstaple's trip exceeds his expectations when he and other motorists are swept 3,000 years into the future. The inadvertent time travelers arrive in a world that corresponds exactly to Barnstaple's ideals: a utopian state, free of crime, poverty, war, disease, and bigotry. Unfettered by the constraints of government and organized religion, the citizens lead rich, meaningful lives, passed in pursuit of their creative fancies. Barnstaple's traveling companions, however, quickly contrive a scheme to remake the utopia in the image of their twentieth-century world.
Message from the Eocene
By Margaret St Clair
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?
By Lawrence Watt-Evans
Over the years, in a variety of venues, Lawrence Watt-Evans has turned his sharp, analytical, and slightly crazed mind to everything from weaponized poetry to why the Enterprise doesn't have seatbelts, and everyone from Jane Austen to Buffy Summers. Collected for the first time are twenty-three of these essays, discussing icons of comic books, television, novels, movies, and much more!
The Misenchanted Sword
By Lawrence Watt-Evans
Ethshar and the Northern Empire have been at war for hundreds of years. No one remembers why anymore or over what. No one dreams it could ever end until a wizard creates a sword that makes its user unbeatable.
Mystic and Rider
By Sharon Shinn
Gillengaria seethes with unrest. In the south, hostility toward magic and its users has risen to dangerous levels, though King Baryn has ordered that such mystics are to be tolerated. It is whispered that he issued the decree because his new wife used her magic powers to ensnare him . . .The King knows there are those in the noble Twelve Houses who could use the growing dissent to overthrow him. SO he dispatches the mystic Senneth to assess the threat throughout the realm. Accompanying her is a motley band of magic users and warriors including Tayse, first among the King's Riders - who holds a hard view of mystics in general, and Senneth in particular. But as the unlikely allies venture farther into the south, they will face death in a land under the sway of a fanatical cult that would purge Gillengaria of all magic users. And they will come to realise that their only hope of survival lies in standing together . . .
By John Lane, Denis Hughes
For space operators to find a derelict ship on one of the many dead worlds at the fringe of the Galaxy was not unusual, but in this instance it led to one of the weirdest adventures ever experienced by mortal beings. From a salvage point of view it was a worthless find, but its log book-and the small but priceless cargo it carried-opened up a wide field of speculation, prompting the people who found it to penetrate deeper into space in search of the nameless world from which the wreck had come...
Maid of Thuro
By John Lane, Denis Hughes
The arrival of a party of aliens from a distant world would arouse mixed feelings in the mind of any human witness involved. But if the strangers prove to be the advance party of a gigantic global migration scheme most human beings would almost certainly be afraid. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Mike and Jay, caught up in the mesh of just such a situation, were two very frightened people. But they were also on the brink of the most fantastic adventure ever woven around the lives of ordinary mortal beings...
The Midwich Cuckoos
By John Wyndham
In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed - except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant.The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers, just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside . . . The Midwich Cuckoos is the classic tale of aliens in our midst, exploring how we respond when confronted by those who are innately superior to us in every conceivable way.
Monday Starts on Saturday
By Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
When young programmer Alexander Ivanovich Privalov picks up two hitchhikers while driving in Karelia, he is drawn into the mysterious world of the National Institute for the Technology of Witchcraft and Thaumaturgy, where research into magic is serious business. And where science, sorcery and socialism meet, can chaos be far behind?
Mistress of Mistresses
By E. R. Eddison
Edward Lessingham of England is dead, the last chapter of his extraordinary life written.Edward Lessingham of Zimiamvia is alive: now Lord Lessingham, cousin to the villainous Vicar of Rerek, scourge of King Mezentius in that fabled land. But the king is dead and his passing has left a dangerous power vacuum and the fate of the three kingdoms in the balance. Lord Lessingham makes valiant attempts to bring peace to the land but is stalled by the vicar's treachery and the strange ties that bind him to his cousin. Ties that may yet lead to bloody conflict in the three kingdoms . . .
The Man Who Fell to Earth
By Walter Tevis
Thomas Jerome Newton is an extraterrestrial from the planet Anthea, which has been devastated by a series of nuclear wars, and whose inhabitants are twice as intelligent as human beings. When he lands on Earth - in Kentucky, disguised as a human - it's with the intention of saving his own people from extinction. Newton patents some very advanced Anthean technology, which he uses to amass a fortune. He begins to build a spaceship to help the last 300 Antheans migrate to Earth. Meanwhile, Nathan Bryce, a chemistry professor in Iowa, is intrigued by some of the new products Newton's company brings to the market, and already suspects Newton of being an alien. As Bryce and the FBI close in, Newton finds his own clarity and sense of purpose diminishing.
Merry Christmas Ms Minerva
By Edmund Cooper
This powerful and horrific novel is set in England in the early part of the 21st century. It tells of the tragic and terrifying events that occur on one day - Christmas Eve - in the life of Maggie Minerva, the attractive widow of a Trade Union boss. These events have startling repercussions not only for the people involved but also for the social structure of Britain.