By Alastair Reynolds
MANKIND HAS REACHED THE STARS. Two hundred years after the fall of Mechanism, human society has achieved a kind of stability. There are colonies beneath the oceans, throughout the solar system, and beyond: on extrasolar planets. Vast hemi-relativistic ships connect these colonies, travelling at half the speed of light. Or rather they would, if the ominous presence of the alien Watchkeepers had not led to an enforced moratorium on interstellar travel.But when a seemingly impossible radio signal reaches the colony Crucible, everything changes:SEND NDEGEIt's origin is unpopulated, unexplored space. No one could be there - at least, not if they travelled using human technology - so who could have sent it? How did they get there? And what use do they have for the disgraced scientist Ndege Akinya?Finding the answers will require one of the greatest expeditions humankind has ever launched, a journey further than ever attempted before, conducted under the implacable scrutiny of the Watchkeepers.But as a mission is prepared on Crucible, it turns out they weren't the only ones to see the message - or its potential . . . 'Reynolds' future is so brilliantly extrapolated . . . original ideas fizzing off every page' The Guardian'Brilliant, self-assured, colourful space opera' The SunCompleting the informal trilogy which began with Blue Remembered Earth and On the Steel Breeze, this is a powerful and effective story.
The Promise of the Child
By Tom Toner
An extraordinarily inventive and hugely original SF novel that charts a compelling vision of a future and spins an hypnotic narrative around it. A novel that could command the same amount of attention and furore that met the publication of The Quantum Thief. The richness and originality of its vision combined with its playful take on hard science make this a novel with real commercial potential that will be talked about for years and should launch a major career in SF.In the far future man has spread out into the galaxy. And diversified. Some have evolved physically into strange new forms, some have become immortal. Some hark back to the old ways. We have built a glorious new future. One that stretches from the sleepy Old World, to new terraformed planets and Dyson spheres built around artificial suns. For as long as we can remember (and some have lived 12,000 years) we have delighted in a rich new existence. Yes there have been wars but we are content in our splendour. Art is revered, life is easy, death forgotten for many. But now there are rumours of a bid to oust the Emperor and a worrying story that our history is not as we remember it - not only man left Earth...
The People Trap
By Robert Sheckley
In "Diplomatic Immunity," what happens when an alien ambassador arrives, telling the residents of Earth that they will be joining a galactic union whether they like it or not-and the ambassador is unkillable?The thirteen other stories in this collection are "The People Trap," "The Victim from Space," "Shall We Have a Little Talk?", "Restricted Area," "The Odor of Thought," "The Necessary Thing," "Redfern's Labyrinth," "Proof of the Pudding," "The Laxian Key," "The Last Weapon," "Fishing Season," "Dreamworld," and "Ghost V."
Pieces of Hate
By Ray Garton
Pieces of terror, pieces of suspense, and pieces of darkness combine to create Pieces of Hate, master storyteller Ray Garton's short story collection. Nine works, including "A Gift From Above," a new novel that will surely hit you from below, are here compiled for the sole purpose of scaring you onto the next page. Garton illuminates the dark corners in us all and highlights the depths of the human condition. He takes our ordinary, daily assumptions and turns them on the reader to frightening effect. He makes reading terrifying yet compulsive. He scares us in so many ways. Here are but a few brilliant examples in this one collection: "A Gift From Above," "Choices," "Pieces," "Cat Hater," "Bad Blood," "Ophilia Raphaeldo," "The Devil's Music," "Bait," "God's Work."
Pilgrimage to Earth
By Robert Sheckley
In "Pilgrimage to Earth," on a long-desired trip to the home planet, a young man finds a perfectly developed society and, finally, deep, true love-which, sadly, only lasts for a very limited time before the reset button removes all trace of it.The fourteen other stories in this collection are "All the Things You Are," "Trap," "The Body," "Early Model," "Disposal Service," "Human Man's Burden," "Fear in the Night," "Bad Medicine," "Protection," "Earth, Air, Fire, and Water," "Deadhead," "The Academy," "Milk Run," and "The Lifeboat Mutiny."
By Simon Ings
A mysterious box that he cannot open is all that might save Adam's autistic son as they are plunged into a world of old corruptions and new terrors.In PAINKILLERS, Simon Ings deftly teases out his knotted story that, with its many conventional elements, could have run a risk of overfamiliarity: sinister Oriental Triad gangsters, their even more sinister wives, a speedy Hong Kong with its ruthless Brit yuppies and its nightlife ridden with drugs, strange sex and violence. Shooting back and forth between a glamorous Hong Kong, in 1990, and a straitened London, in 1998, Ings sustains suspense by dropping hints but never telling enough.Adam Wyatt and his wife Eva run a small café near Southwark Market. They bicker a lot, Adam drinks and visits to their autistic son Justin tend to go awry. But underneath Adam's drinking are secrets from their previous life in Hong Kong, when he worked for the Independent Commission Against Corruption and got in with some very dubious local society types; one of whom includes 'Call me Jimmy' Yao Sau-Lan, 'a big nasty man, in a big nasty suit', whose father just happened to kill Eva's grandfather. When Jimmy's widow and sons come calling, Adam knows he's in trouble.
Pat Cadigan SF Gateway Omnibus
By Pat Cadigan
From the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal sample introduction to the compelling work of Pat Cadigan, two-times winner of the ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD. Pat Cadigan has been dubbed 'the Queen of Cyberpunk' but her novels defy such narrow categorisation. In addition to winning two ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARDs and a WORLD FANTASY AWARD, she has been nominated for the HUGO, NEBULA and PHILIP K. DICK AWARDs and garnered praise from such genre heavyweights as Neil Gaiman, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Few writers are as adept at facing the onrushing near-future as Pat Cadigan, and this volume perfectly showcases that skill, featuring TEA FROM AN EMPTY CUP, PHILIP K. DICK AWARD-finalist MINDPLAYERS and the ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD-winning FOOLS.
Poul Anderson SF Gateway Omnibus
By Poul Anderson
From The SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic science fiction and fantasy titles ever assembled, comes an ideal sample introduction to Poul Anderson, one of the great figures in the genre.Anderson served as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America and won multiple HUGO and NEBULA AWARDs. He was named a SFWA Grand Master in 1998. This omnibus showcases some of the best of his galaxy-spanning science fiction, containing the acclaimed novels BRAIN WAVE, THE BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS and THE GUARDIANS OF TIME.
By Stephen Baxter
An awe-inspiring Planetary Romance from Terry Pratchett's co-author on the Long Earth BooksThe very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous Galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light ...The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun - and (in this fiction), the nearest to host a world, Proxima IV, habitable by humans. But Proxima IV is unlike Earth in many ways. Huddling close to the warmth, orbiting in weeks, it keeps one face to its parent star at all times. The 'substellar point', with the star forever overhead, is a blasted desert, and the 'antistellar point' on the far side is under an ice cap in perpetual darkness. How would it be to live on such a world?Yuri Jones, with 1,000 others, is about to find out ...PROXIMA tells the amazing tale of how we colonise a harsh new eden, and the secret we find there that will change our role in the Universe for ever.
By Dave Duncan
THE GREAT GAME IS AFOOT!In the midst of the horror of the first World War, a stranger falls from nowhere into the mud and death of the Flanders battlefield - bruised, babbling, and stark naked...with a remarkable story to tell.Wrongly accused murderer Edward Exeter has reappeared on this Earth hearing scars and secrets. From somewhere he calls next door - a place old godly intrigues and an ancient prophecy that he wants no part of. But powerful forces on both sides of a mystical border have other plans for the young fugitive. And now, in the company of loyal comrades, he must flee murderous pursuers from two separate worlds. But there is no escape from his destiny. For Exeter has obligations to the past and the future that must be met...if myriad civilizations are to survive.
By Dave Duncan
The Great Game of Gods is afoot.In a world on the brink of madness...In the summer of 1914, a young man of reputation beyond reproach awakens under police guard - grievously injured and accused of heinous, impossible murder.And in a strange, distant place...The youngest member of a penniless acting troupe has been taken prisoner by the loyal minions of a corrupt, vengeful goddess. For an ancient prophecy has divided the realm's ruling Deities into warring factions - a prophecy that mentions the crippled captive child and a youth recovering from inexplicable wounds in a British hospital bed. The game weaves through worlds and through dimensions as it has since time immemorial - a deadly contest of skill and manipulations that ruthlessly creates wizards, destroys human pawns and transforms ordinary men, women and children into something more.
A Place Among the Fallen
By Adrian Cole
Omara's people shun all belief in the power of gods and magic, and the Deliverers, led by Simon Wargallow, pledge to put to death all heretics. When Korbillian flees his magical land of Ternannoc in the midst of a catastrophic destruction, he takes refuge on Omara and begins a quest to save this planet from its inevitable fate - the same as that of Ternannoc. Battles erupt in the clashes between destruction and salvation, from the fishing village of Sundhaven to the plateau of Xennidhum. Death becomes life for the people, and life is on its way toward death.
The Pharaoh Contract
By Ray Aldridge
Ruiz Aw is an Art League enforcer sent to investigate the disappearance of several slaves from the planet Pharaoh prior to their being "harvested". They are the property of the Art League and their property has been stolen. Ruiz is an ex-slave now working for the League, doing its corporate slave trading dirty work. Pharoah is a planet of slave herds, castes and imagination. It is a planet without hope or freedom. It is a planet of slave poachers. Ruiz must go undercover to find these poachers for the league but he has a conflicting responsibility: he is also the Lone Emancipator, a man with an oath to bring down the slave trade and destroy the League. He alone is the galaxy's last chance. However, if Ruiz is caught or his plan uncovered, the Gencha death net anchored deep within his brain is programmed to kill him!
The Prodigal Sun
By Sean Williams, Shane Dix
Morgan Roche, a commander in the Commonwealth of Empires, is assigned to escort an artificial intelligence unit known as "the box" to her superiors. But an attack on her ship forces her to escape to a prison planet, where she must protect the box at all costs.
By Greg Bear
Curiosity may kill Larry Fowler. A scientist from New Mexico, Fowler is hot on the trail of a mysterious phenomenon that is known to freeze animals instantly and can demolish an entire town. Part ghost story, part science fiction, part political treatise, Greg Bear's novel tracks Fowler on his journey to discover the true nature of the PSYCHLONE.
By William C. Dietz
Convicted of a crime he did not commit, Jonathan Renn is sentenced to life in the Swamp, a prison planet death row in a distant galaxy. Renn only has two choices, escape the Swamp or die in the process. Defending himself from attacks by deadly, native monsters and his fellow convicts, Renn is obsessed with escaping the planet and getting his revenge on the people who set him up. Marla Marie Mendez is even more down on her luck. Trapped inside a cybernetic dog and dropped defenseless into the Swamp, Marla can only rely on Renn and her claws to save her from the unfriendly elements. They must find a way out of the Swamp and quickly before their life sentence is cut short.
By Dave Duncan
A princess and a stableboy? It sounds like the worst sort of hackneyed formula romance. Think again, for A MAN OF HIS WORD may well be the most original fantasy you ever read. The magic is unique and applied in unexpected ways, some of which the late Lester del Rey admitted he had not met in fifty years as writer and editor. The world itself is unique - there are no humans in Pandemia, only imps, elves, gnomes, jotnar, and many more, all of whom you will recognize as "human". Hunted now by the fearsome warlock wardens who rule the world, Inos is convinced that Rap is dead. But Rap is not, and the tide may be about to turn... She thought he was dead. Queen Inos feels Rap's presence as if he has risen from the grave to be beside her, but she knows all that is left of him is his voice, which echoed in her mind - well, so she thinks. Her duty is to serve her people, and Queen Inos doesn't know her galley slave, Rap, is alive and, with his magic wand, trying to bring happiness to his beloved Queen. But when the evil Nordland raider, Kalkor, arrives in port, Rap's plans begin to fall apart.
By Dave Duncan
A commission of five people, each with their own motives and agendas, is dispatched on an interstellar visit to Pock's World to determine and advise whether it should be destroyed.
Partners in Wonder
By Harlan Ellison
Robert Bloch / Ben Bova / Algis Budrys / Avram Davidson / Samuel R. Delany / Joe L. Hensley / Keith Laumer / William Rotsler / Robert Sheckley / Robert Silverberg / Henry Slesar / Theodore Sturgeon / A. E. Van Vogt / Roger Zelazny / and Harlan Ellison, unassisted. If you mix Ellison with wild talents like those names listed above you've got a book as unique as the Abominable Snowperson. Here is the first collection of collaborative stories ever created, each deranged vision complete with introduction (in the patented Ellison manner) explaining how the story was written and who gets the blame. The lunatic mind of Harlan Ellison strikes again.
Paingod and Other Delusions
By Harlan Ellison
Robert Heinlein says, 'This book is raw corn liquor - you should serve a whiskbroom with each shot so the customer can brush the sawdust off after he gets up from the floor.' Perhaps a mooring cable might also be added as necessary equipment for reading these eight wonderful stories: They not only knock you down...they raise you to the stars. Passion is the keynote as you encounter the Harlequin and his nemesis, the dreaded Tictockman, in one of the most reprinted and widely taught stories in the English language; a pyretic who creates fire merely by willing it; the last surgeon in a world of robot physicians; a spaceship filled with hideous mutants rejected by the world that gave them birth. Touching and gentle and shocking stories from an incomparable master of impossible dreams and troubling truths.