By Charles Platt
In this powerful, breathless adventure, a benign system of artificial intelligence has taken over the world - and the galaxy beyond. Everyone is biologically immortal; no one is hungry; and there are thousands of colonized planets to choose from. The AIs nurture and protect human beings, enabling all people to enjoy lives of hedonistic pleasure. But when the systems that run a planet become corrupted, the consequences are catastrophic. A man with a rare mix of personality traits - one part computer engineer, one part special investigator, and one part sociopathic rebel - is the only recourse as a world of decadence becomes a world of death and pain.
Pardon This Intrusion
By John Clute
Pardon This Intrusion gathers together 47 pieces by John Clute, some written as long ago as 1985, though most are recent. The addresses and essays in Part One, "Fantastika in the World Storm", all written in the twenty-first century, reflect upon the dynamic relationship between fantastika - an umbrella term Clute uses to describe science fiction, horror and fantasy - and the world we live in now. Of these pieces, "Next", a contemporary response to 9/11, has not been revised; everything else in Part One has been reworked, sometimes extensively. Parts Two, Three and Four include essays and author studies and introductions to particular works; as they are mostly recent, Clute has felt free to rework them where necessary. The few early pieces - including "Lunch with AJ and the WOMBATS", a response to the Scientology scandal at the Brighton WorldCon in 1987 - are unchanged.
People of Asa
By Marvin Ashton, Denis Hughes
Until the coming of the People of Asa, the world of Man went its own, often quarrelsome, way along the road of human advancement. There were many pitfalls on the road, conflict and misery often going hand-in-hand; but there was happiness as well. It was, for us and millions more, a happiness interrupted by the terrible advent of the worst scourge ever visited on Man - an alien invasion of the Earth's surface by beings of diabolical power.Rising from the deeps, wielding weapons hitherto beyond mortal conception, the Asans wrought havoc on a fearful scale. Picked out from our fellow men, we witnessed scenes of appalling chaos, experiencing as well a measure of the seeming magic of which these beings were capable. Only when all seemed lost did the fortunes of mankind change, and that in a manner we none of us dared to hope...
By Murray Constantine
Originally published in England in 1934, this searing, still timely novel offers and incisive critique of the sexual politics and militarism of England, and the West as a whole.Proud Man is told from the perspective of a "Genuine Person" who has been thrown back in time thousands of years from a peaceful future society. The Genuine Person comes from a people that are androgynous, self-fertilizing, and vegetarian; they live without a national government and artificial social divisions of gender and class. Taking on first female, then male form, the "Genuine Person" confronts the deeply troubled reality of England in the 1930s, still battered after one World War and on the road to another.
Prisoners of Saturn
By Donald Suddaby
Originally published in 1957, Prisoners of Saturn is an inter-planetary adventure.
By Randall Garrett, Laurence M. Janifer
The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece and Rome had returned to Earth - with all their awesome powers intact. Overnight, Earth was transformed. War on any scale was outlawed, along with boom-and-bust economic cycles, and prudery. No change was more startling than the face of New York, where the Empire State Building became the Tower of Zeus. In this totally altered world, William Forrester is an acolyte of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, and a teacher of history. Only Maya Wilson, one of his students and a worshipper of Venus, Goddess of Love, had a different sort of grading in mind. Maya is the first of the many Trials of Forrester, every bit as mighty and perilous as the Labors of Hercules. In love with Gerda Symes (like him, a devotee of Athena and a frequenter of the great Temple of Pallas Athena - formerly known as the 42nd Street Library) and dedicated to the pleasures of the mind - Forrester falls under the soft, compelling pressure of soft, compelling devotees of Venus and Bacchus. He's going to be in need of all the strength that he and his Goddess, the beautiful and intellectual Athena, can muster!Into this sensuous strife stride the Temple Myrmidons - religious cops sworn to obey orders without question or hesitation - with a pickup order for William Forrester. Where he is taken, what happens to him, and the truly fantastic discoveries he makes about himself and the Gods and Goddesses ... here are the ingredients that make up this science fiction novel of suspense, intrigue, mystery and danger!
A Plague of Demons
By Keith Laumer
THE DEMONS HAD TO STOP JOHN BRAVAISHis secret assignment was simply - to save mankind from the savage dog-like 'things' that used their hands like men. Yet an unknown number of apparently 'human' beings were against him too.First transformed by surgery into a superman, John Bravais probes ever more deeply into the secret nightmare world of the 'things'. At last, when only his mind remains - trapped in a vast robot war machine on the moon - only by an immense act of will-power can he give humanity a future.
By R. A. Lafferty
The golden planet of Astrobe, made in the image of Utopia, now faced a crisis which could destroy it forever; and yet, no one could understand it: In a world where wealth & comfort were free to everyone, why did so many desert the golden cities for the slums of Cathead and the Barrio? Why did they turn away from the Astrobe dream and seek lives of bone-crushing work, squalor and disease?The rulers of Astrobe didn't know, so they sought in humankind's past for a leader who could give them the answers. They brought to life the one man out of history who would most want to destroy Astrobe!
The Poison Belt
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Must Professor George Challenger and friends, barricaded in a room, see Earth die? As our globe passes through a belt of poisonous ether, terror sweeps mankind; cities riot; communications cease.
Planet of Exile
By Ursula K. LeGuin
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years - and each of Werel's years is over 60 terrestrial years! After so long an exile, the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter - a season that lasts a decade and a half - the Earthmen have neighbours: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches, and call the farborns. But both peoples have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals, and eerie preying snow ghouls. Can the hilfs and the farborns overcome their mutual suspicions and join forces? Or will they both be annihilated?
By Judith Moffett
Pennterra is a beautiful and fertile planet and humanity's last hope for survival. But Pennterra is already inhabited. After warning other colony ships to stay away, the small advance colony of Quakers has adapted to life on Pennterra. Heeding the empathic warnings of the native hrossa, they have settled in a single valley, sharply limited their population, and continued to use no heavy machinery in their building and farming. But surviving under these conditions has left the Quakers little time to learn more about their native neighbors. Catastrophe or peace-Tanka Wakan, the omnipotent master spirit of Pennterra, will decide.
By John Russell Fearn, Vargo Statten
From the ether came mysterious messages announcing that a hitherto unknown Englishman had conquered space, flown to Venus, and is now on his way back to Earth. The fact that science's most highly developed range and frequency finders are unable to pinpoint the actual source of the voice is looked upon as absolute proof that they are hearing from outer space. The aggressive and autocratic quality about the way in which the eccentric Ardath Steele makes his proclamations not only annoys Betty Travers, ace reporter on the Daily Searchlight, but also deciders her to embark on a one-woman vendetta to prove that Steele is an impostor. Even when the spaceship finally lands she remains the only sceptic in a country full of pride in its first space explorer.
The Petrified Planet
By John Russell Fearn, Vargo Statten
A super computer asked to answer the question "what is time?" freezes Earth and everything on it in a single moment in time.
The Purple Wizard
By John Russell Fearn, Volsted Gridban
To satisfy the belief of Professor Addison that Entropy can be controlled, to produce a backward and forward movement through the condition known as Time, Kitty Addison and her fiance, Arthur Davis, consent to being projected to the year corresponding to Arthur Addison's telephone number - which happens to be 828. Accordingly, the two young people find themselves in the world of the past, back in the darkest medieval times.
The Paradox Men
By Charles L. Harness
Set after the Third Great War, North and South America are united into one country: Imperial America. A slave state run by a small noble elite who flaunt their wealth by using, and abusing, the one commodity that only the rich can have: human labour. But working underground, persecuted by the police, is an organization dedicated to the overthrow of government and the existing way of life and the establishment of freedom.The Society of Thieves was the only organization that flouted authority in America Imperial: they robbed the rich to buy freedom for the slaves. They were well equipped and trained for their job and had friends and informers in high places ready to reveal where the wealth of the nobles was hidden. And Alar was the best Thief of them all - for he had senses not found in ordinary men, senses that accurately warned him when danger was near. But Alar had amnesia and did not know his true identity though sometimes he sensed that there was a purpose in his actions that was not entirely his own volition. When Keiris, wife of the Imperial Chancellor saw him, she sensed that he was something special and helped him to elude pursuit even though it put her own life in danger. And in trips to the Moon and even the Sun itself, Alar begins to see what part he is destined to play in the struggle for men's freedom.
Pattern of Shadows
By Jonathan Burke
He was suspended alone and unprotected in the sea of forgetfulness where Saturn looked brilliant against the sunless black of deep outer space.It was like an elusive dream of a past only half-remembered, forever just out of reach amid the shifting galaxies of deep space. Somewhere out there he had lost his memory - space amnesia they called it. But they had found him and brought him back and given him a memory again.But was it his memory?
By Brian Ball
The Frames were only a realization of the ultimate form of escape. Books, films, sensors, complete total experience - and finally the Frames. The saviors of civilization had shown the way: move the tribes of Americans to Europe, the tribes of the Germans to Spain, the tribes of the English to Switzerland and permutate the combinations endlessly. Use trains, then aircraft, then spaceships.The Frames of the Thirtieth Century were a logical extension of the Mechanical Age's exploitation of the means of mass travel. Now, whole populations moved to new areas of experience. New worlds - new re-created worlds - were manufactured for them. And it had all begun on Talisker. But whatever had left the monstrous scenery on Talisker's desert had not begun anywhere in our universe.
The Probability Man
By Brian Ball
He had forgotten his real name, so they called him "Spingarn" after the last role he had played. He was the man the directors of the Frames regarded as their major headache - for he was guilty of two unforgivable arrogances. He had programmed himself into every one of the vast world-staged dramas he had directed - and he had reactivated the forbidden Frames of the pre-human planet of Talisker.In those days of an overcrowded colonized cosmos, a thousand years from now, the Frames were the major means of diversion. Historical re-creations and fictional dramas played out with planets as stages and while populations as actors - the Frame directors and their robot assistants had become the masters of all life.They could not destroy Spingarn, THE PROBABILITY MAN, but they could sentence him to undo the damage he had done. So he was sent to the mad Frames of Talisker to unravel the secret of their origin a billion years before the universe
Planet of the Warlord
By Douglas Hill
Keill Randor, the Last Legionary of the planet Moros, and his alien companion, Glr, finally end their search for the evil that threatens the galaxy when they come face to face with the true horror of the Galactic Warlord. But even their combined power may not be enough to smash the Deathwing army and save the galaxy from destruction.
By Tanith Lee
Emerging from the burned remains of their old home, the ancient, elegant Scarabae ready themselves for a new life of seduction and feasting, until little Ruth ignites a blaze of chaos through the streets of London that threatens them all.