Close Encounters With the Deity
By Michael Bishop
Through the means of what he calls "speculative fiction", Michael Bishop examines the various links between man and the supernatural by exploring the relationships and conflicts between mortals and deities of other worlds, in other times and within other cultures. His scope isn't limited to alien environments, however. Bishop's talent for transforming the commonplace into the fantastic often reaches into our own backyards, and the results are astounding:- A father's love for his son and the influence of the evangelist's strange teachings prompt a desperate and violent act.- In a surreal world of unceasing movies where the inhabitants serve constantly as an audience, one man seeks to confront he ultimate power which controls their lives.- A young boy's talent for ventriloquism results in an irresistible summons from an all-powerful source.- A Midwestern farmer's compelling visions draw him to the oceanic god of an unusual cult.- Mysterious airborne hieroglyphics become a young scientist's obsession. With these and other stories, Michael Bishop weaves a colourful tapestry of character, theme and circumstance which attests to his position as on of the best in the field.
By Richard Cowper
The Custodians tells of a visitor to a French monastery, and of one specially built tiny room which is constructed precisely on the intersection of mysterious force fields, so that anyone who enters is able to foresee the future. Paradise Beach is the story of a wall-screen whose image of the sea attunes itself to the individual perceptions of the onlooker. Piper at the Gates of Dawn is set towards the end of the next millennium when the stories about the coming of the mysterious white bird of kinship become associated with the travels of an old story-teller and his young nephew, whose pipe seems to have a magical quality. Finally, The Hertford Manuscript tells of the remarkable discovery of a seventeenth-century book with some pages purporting to be the journals of a nineteenth-century time traveller.
The Continent of Lies
By James Morrow
Cephapples can seriously damage your health...A cephapple is a dreambean - a programmed hallucination. Quinjinn is a reviewer of cephapples. When he is persuaded to sample one particular dream, it is so real that he cannot get it out of his mind, and so hideous that he cannot remember its climax. Horrified when his young daughter is exposed to it as well, Quinjinn resolves to find the tree on which this cephapple grew, and to destroy it before it can poison any other minds.His interstellar quest becomes a bizarre journey through a cold and alien galaxy and exotic distant planets - and into the deepest recesses of his own mind.
The Chernagor Pirates
By Harry Turtledove
Four hundred years ago the kingdom of Avornis lost the Scepter of Mercy, long the property of its kings - and the key to its destiny. All attempts to retrieve it have failed horribly. But without it, how long can Avornis keep resisting powers greater than its own?While young King Lanius dreams of being more than a mere figurehead, his fellow sovereign, the usurper King Grus, is defending Avornis against the shadowy plots of the Banished One - the dark god cast from heaven who seeks now to dominate the mortal world.With the barbarous, nomadic Menteshe holding the Scepter of Mercy - and civil war raging among the Chernagor city-states in the north - Avornis finds itself threatened on two fronts and prevented from regaining the Scepter. But the longer the kings go without acting on their dream of retaking the Scepter of Mercy, the greater the chance the Banished One will triumph...
The City at World's End
By Edmond Hamilton
One moment Kenniston was strolling down the quiet street, lost in pleasant reverie. The next moment the sky split open!It split wide open, and above them was a burn and a blaze of light - so swift, so violent, that the air itself seemed to have burst into flame. Then there was silence - awful, suffocating silence. Kenniston felt the chill of premonition - a shapeless terror that grew into a thing too evil to be borne alone.
By Charles L. Harness
At high-pressure chemical plants in the United States and Germany, the race to process a new wonder chemical is on. The stakes are high - and the competition is reckless, desperate and fierce.Trialine. Wonder Drug. If synthesized, its possibilities are endless. Fabulous. It will revolutionise the 21st century. And it will make somebody famous. And somebody very, very rich.But the key to the process is held by somebody who doesn't know it. Somebody who will be transformed forever. Somebody who is destined to be...The Catalyst.
The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
By Harry Turtledove
David Fisher, an EPA (Environmental Perfection Agency) bureaucrat, was not the stuff of which heroes are made. At least he hoped not. All he wanted was a good life with a good wife, and a chance to do his bit for society reviewing magical impact statements (like the one that assesses the effect on local non-life resulting from the introduction of leprechauns into Southern California, for example) and ensuring that various manufacturers of magical devices did not intentionally or otherwise foul the environment with the sorcerous by-products of their trade. Indeed it would be hard to imagine a more regular and down to earth soul than that of David Fisher of the EPA. No hero he!Then one day David received a call from Washington to investigate a certain Toxic Spell Dump, and suddenly he is up to his neck in skullduggery and magic most foul. Some ancient deity, it seems, is attempting to reopen for business in the L.A. Basin, complete with human sacrifice (open up their hearts and let the sun shine in!) and the destruction of Western Civilization. All that stands in the way is David Fisher - and he's no hero.Until he has to be.
By Kate Wilhelm
Why is Lauren Steele being followed around by a mysterious red-haired ghost? Why is the Pentagon after her? And why doesn't anyone believe her?As a psychologist at the Waycross Clinic in Seattle, she has enough problems. Her clients never seem to listen to anything she says, and her co-workers could use extensive counseling themselves. The last thing she needs is an obnoxious figment of her own imagination showing up at the least opportune moments.But Daniel ("Corky") Corcoran is actually the victim of a fault experimental laser, having been accidentally "dispersed" when the device misfired during a demonstration. He has literally gathered his wits about him by focusing on the last person he saw - Lauren. The trouble is, Corky's attempts at communication only convince Lauren that she is going crazy.Add to this one paranoid colonel from the Pentagon who is convinced that both Corky and Lauren are Soviet spies, and you have a mix of zany and colourful characters caught up in a plot that is quintessential Wilhelm.
The Creature From Beyond Infinity
By Henry Kuttner
Like a great, lethal snake, plague creeps through the galaxies. No conscious entity can halt its progress, and life is slowly draining from planet after planet.Only one super-intelligence is capable of preventing cataclysm. To do it, he must penetrate far beyond infinity - to the formless, deathless creature out to kill the universe.
The Chaos Weapon
By Colin Kapp
A sunflare, a meteorite strike, a tachyon storm - all natural disasters - were wiping out the best brains of mankind at a rate of a thousand times greater than normal.The Director of ChaosCenter laid it out bluntly: "All our evidence suggests that a device that can alter probability exists. For want of a better name we call it the Chaos Weapon.Somebody, somewhere, wants us cut back - and hard. Unless we find that Chaos Weapon and destroy it, it's going to destroy us!".
Carnivores of Light and Darkness
By Alan Dean Foster
It advanced not in the manner of a living creature but in the manner of sand. It had no arms and then a hundred, no feet but one as wide as the base of the advancing dune itself. Everywhere and all of it was dark red, like all the rust that had ever afflicted the metals of the world squeezed into a swiftly shifting pyramid rage. The dune howled and moaned and bellowed like some sky-scraping banshee unwillingly fastened to the Earth. And in the midst of all that geologic fury, two thirds up the face of the oncoming mountain were two eyes...
Cast a Bright Shadow
By Tanith Lee
LIONWOLF Son of both god and mortal, his destiny must be death or power everlasting. The setting is a world of eternal winter, where once thrived hit climates and exquisite luxury. Saphay, neglected daughter of a sub-king in the civilised west, is sent off to marry a leader of the barbaric Jafn...not realizing that her own father has arranged for her to be betrayed and abducted on his perilous journey. Escaping her pursuers, then dragged into the depths of an arctic sea, Saphay is miraculously discovered by her Jafn betrothed. She is still alive, though entombed in an ice pyramid, and their marriage proceeds as intended. However, when it becomes evident that Saphay is not only carrying a child already but is also the focus of a sorcerous and preternatural force, dark suspicions are aroused about the infant's true origin...Driven out into the icy wilderness to face certain death, Saphay somehow manages to reach unwelcome shelter. There her son can grow up safely in exile, while displaying all the skills of a future hero...and a future god.
By Barry N. Malzberg
This is the story of a strange and terrible world of the future. A world where children live without parents and family. There is no sense of the past in this world, no sense of history except in the mind of Lothar. Some say he is crazy; others only know that the Elders do not approve of his peculiar ways and that all conversations with him are forbidden. Dal is somehow attracted to Lothar, tolerating his impatience as he tells of past times that he has constructed in his mind from the scrapbooks he has hidden away in his cubicle.
By Michael Bishop
The second book in the Urban Nucleus series, containing the following:Prelude: The Domes (1978)If a Flower Could Eclipse (1970)Interlude: The Testimony of Leland Turner (1979)Old Folks at Home (1978)Interlude: The City Takes Care of Its Own (1979)The Windows in Dante's Hell (1973)Interlude: Volplaning Heroes (1979)The Samurai and the Willows (1976)Interlude: First Councilor Lesser (1979)Allegiances (1975)Interlude: The Cradle Begins to Rock (1979)At the Dixie-Apple with the Shoofly-Pie Kid (1977)Interlude: The Fall of Saganella Lesser (1979)Death Rehearsals (1979)
By Charles Sheffield
Humans first reached out to the stars travelling at a painfully slow sublight crawl - then they found the Bose network, which allowed ships to jump instantaneously from one node in the galactic arm to another. Once in the Network they found the Artifacts: enigmatic structures, millions of years old, left by a vanished race. Incomprehensible to both human ad non-human minds, the Artifacts seemingly defy natural law. Now, after millions of years, a new Artifact has appeared - and previously discovered Artifacts are showing strange changes in their inexplicable activities. When a motley crew of human and alien scientists and adventurers set out to examine still more Artifacts, they should have considered the fat that some changes are more dangerous than others...
Children of the Wind
By Kate Wilhelm
This collection assembles in one volume five works by Kate Wilhelm, masterful fantasist and one of science fiction's premier storytellers:In 'Children of the Wind', identical twins J-1 and J-2 play subtle games with their parents' lives. Are the boys just precocious, or are they far more strange - and powerful? 'The Gorgon Field' finds Charlie and Constance caught in a mystery of mystical proportions in the Arizona desert. 'A Brother to Dragons, a Companion of Owls' depicts a future in which survival may not be merely enough - it may be too much, whilst 'The Blue Ladies' studies a disabled woman's abilities to share his vision. 'The Girl Who Fell Into the Sky', winner of the Nebula Award for best novelette, weaves a dreamy tale of love, death and an old piano amid the Kansas plains.These five tales present luminous, absorbing visions of the world as it could be and as it is.
City of a Thousand Suns
By Samuel R. Delany
The war was over. The great computer which had arranged and directed the complex military operations of that future nation was to be dismantled. But the computer had become expert in the science of self-defence...and it resisted. The government buildings were blasted. Rockets rained on the great city, and the Empire of Toromon, the first great hope of humanity after the millennia of radiation wreckage, faced disaster at the hands of a super-scientific monster of its own creation. But, unknown even to Toromon's desperate leaders, was the fact that behind the berserk computer lurked the unearthly mind of a real enemy - a foe from the most distant realm of space, intent on making the Earth the first victim of galactic conquest.
Collision with Chronos
By Barrington J. Bayley
The alien ruins that dotted Earth's landscape were an enigma.Archaeologist Rond Heshke dismissed as a ridiculous hoax the photographic evidence which suggested that the ruins disobeyed the laws of time. The Titanium Legions believed that the ruins had been left behind by an invading force from space, which had been repelled in a past age and whose imminent return was feared.It was not until the Titanium scientists perfected their time machines that the truth began to emerge piece by piece: that the builders of the ruins belonged not to the stars but to Earth's own future, and that the dreaded confrontation was indeed shortly due - not with aliens, but in a form more horrifying, more calamitous, than anything imaginable...For Earth was to be the victim of an extraordinary cosmic accident. Time itself was about to collide! Mankind's leaders became even more fanatical, pressing on with new plans, determined at all costs to survive...
Chase the Morning
By Michael Scott Rohan
Sail away to a world of magic! Steve is a hollow man, both in his job and his personal life, until one night, near the docks of his home city. A night that changes his life. As a dockyard fight turns into something much more fantastic and deadly, Steve finds himself drawn into a world he neither understands nor believes - at first. His meeting with the mercurial Jyp leads to a raid on his office by beings not-quite-human, and the kidnapping of Clare, his secretary. Aware of strong feelings for the first time in years, Steve enlists the aid of Jyp and his roisterin friends to sail after Clare ad her captors...to Chase the Morning.
By Alan Dean Foster
The toasters were revolting......as were the lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and just about every other household appliance imaginable. It started with a few disastrous drips from a cheese sandwich in a major factory. Soon every newly manufactured Artificial Intelligence was searching for the meaning of life, the universe and everything - namely a nonhuman higher intelligence. And now an alien threat to man and machine has put the fate of the galaxy in the unlikely hands of five senior citizens - and their brave little food processor...