The Xmas Files
By Stephen Law
A philosophical but fun look at the meanings of Christmas myths and rituals, from carving the turkey to why Santa wears red.Picture the scene: Aunt Gertrude has just given you the most appalling Christmas tie, complete with snow-flecked kittens in a bowler hat. Do you smile, nod, and confine it to the bottom drawer? Or do you tell the truth and spare yourself future ties from hell? Kant would say that we must, at all costs, tell the truth - whilst Mill would insist that we should think of the consequences. THE XMAS FILES is a philosophical meander though the myths and rituals of Christmas today, asking such important questions as does Santa exist? What's wrong with Christmas kitsch? Is it all just a commercial racket? What was Augustine's attitude to 'peace on earth'? And what would David Hume have to say about the virgin birth? For underneath all the festive fun, the way we celebrate Christmas does raise serious questions about the beliefs that sustain us, and the ways in which we still value ritual and tradition as a means of coming together.
The Xmas Factor
By Annie Sanders
Thank goodness Christmas comes just once a year...! From the bestselling authors of GETTING MAD, GETTING EVEN.Meet two women with two totally different approaches to the festive season.Beth: it's only September, and already she has performance anxiety. Not surprising when she has agreed to lay on the annual Christmas Eve village bash - the piece de resistance of her husband's former wife - not to mention having to host Christmas for his difficult offspring. New to this frenzied build-up to the festivities, Beth begins to lose sight of what it all means. To her the Christmas lights are looking more like the headlamps of an oncoming train. Carol: glamorous magazine editor, who put her aspirational Christmas issue to bed sometime in July and is so involved in finding a scoop to save her ailing magazine that she fails to notice the impending festive rush. Panicked and wracked with guilt, she is determined to make it a picture-perfect time for her little boy and, opting for convenience, books a lovely-sounding cottage in a quaint village.Even the best-laid plans have a habit of unravelling - and no plan at all is a recipe for disaster. So when these two Christmases collide, it looks like it's going to be anything but goodwill towards men...
Xeelee: An Omnibus
By Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter's epic sequence of Xeelee novels was introduced to a new generation of readers with his highly successful quartet, Destiny's Children, published by Gollancz between 2003 and 2006. But the sequence of novels began with RAFT in 1991.From there it built into perhaps the most ambitious fictitious universe ever created. Beginning with the rise and fall of sub-quantum civilisations in the first nano-seconds after the Big Bang and ending with the heat death of the universe billions of years from now the series charts the story of mankinds epic war against the ancient and unknowable alien race the Xeelee.Along the way it examines questions of physics, the nature of reality, the evolution of mankind and its possible future. It looks not just at the morality of war but at the morality of survival and our place in the universe.This is a landmark in SF.
Xeelee: Vacuum Diagrams
By Stephen Baxter
Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this collection of stories, available in ebook for the first time!Baxter's future history, known as the Xeelee sequence, is an exemplar of the form: it comprises his first four novels - Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux and Ring - and these marvellous linked stories, as well as those in the new collection XEELEE: ENDURANCE.Contains 21 short stories, all set in the XEELEE universe.
By Stephen Baxter
Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this selection of uncollected and unpublished stories, newly edited and placed in chronological reading order.From tales charting the earliest days of man's adventure to the stars to stories of Old Earth, four billion years in the future, the range and startling imagination of Baxter is always on display. As humanity rises and falls, ebbs and flows, one thing is always needed - the ability to endure.Contains eleven short stories and novellas.
By Stephen Baxter
Half a million years in the future, on a dead, war-ravaged world at the centre of the Galaxy, there is a mile-high statue of Michael Poole.Poole, born on Earth in the fourth millennium, was one of mankind's most influential heroes. He was not a warrior, not an emperor. He was an engineer, a builder of wormhole transit systems. But Poole's work would ultimately lead to a vast and destructive conflict, a million-year war between humanity and the enigmatic, powerful aliens known as the Xeelee. The Xeelee won, but at a huge cost. And, defeated in a greater war, the Xeelee eventually fled the universe. Most of them.A handful were left behind, equipped with time travel capabilities, their task to tidy up: to reorder history more to the Xeelee's liking. That million-year war with humankind was one blemish. It had to be erased. And in order to do that, a lone Xeelee was sent back in time to remove Michael Poole from history . . .
By Stephen Baxter
Beginning with RAFT in 1991, Stephen Baxter's epic sequence of Xeelee novels introduced readers to perhaps the most ambitious fictitious universe ever created. Beginning with the rise and fall of sub-quantum civilisations in the first nano-seconds after the Big Bang and ending with the heat death of the universe billions of years from now the series charts the story of mankind's epic war against the ancient and unknowable alien race the Xeelee.Along the way it examines questions of physics, the nature of reality, the evolution of mankind and its possible future. It looks not just at the morality of war but at the morality of survival and our place in the universe.This is a landmark in SF. And now, for the first time, all ten titles comprising the Xeelee sequence are collected together in one volume. Includes: Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring, Coalescent, Exultant, Transcendent, Resplendent, Vacuum Diagrams, Xeelee: Endurance
By Paul Cornell, Martin Day, Keith Topping
'Open your mind to extreme possibilities'Scully's desire to be recognised as 'a medical doctor', ooze, mouthfuls of difficult dialogue and the tendency for characters not to make it through the pre-titles sequence were just a few of the tragically underexamined elements of THE X-FILES phenomenon - until the first edition of this book. Now the authors take their study of televisions weirdest show through to the end of series five, and THE X-FILES movie.X-TREME POSSIBILITIES presents a unique analysis of the programme that transformed US television. While sometimes witty and light-hearted, this volume is also a serious study of the elements that made the show such a success. As well as a detailed episode guide of the first five seasons, the book pieces together the nature of the series' Conspiracy - and attempts to discover just what the truth is.Never before has THE X-FILES been put under such focused, affectionate and bizarre scrutiny. Please note this new release of the second edition has not been updated.
By John E. Muller, Lionel Fanthorpe, Patricia Fanthorpe
Sally McQuire worked for an unusual organisation. She was an undercover agent for the I.P.F., but her friends knew her only as a scatter-brained night club dancer. Then came the Thing. At first there were just off paragraphs in provincial papers. A cow disappeared. Fish stopped biting. Finally Jon Vardo, a shepherd, vanished without a trace. The I.P.F. put Sally on the track. She discovered a strange common denominator linking the events. There was a mathematical and geographical sequence. Sally arranged to be at the next danger zone, and then she too vanished. This is a story of humanity at its best, locked in a life and death struggle with a cruel, cold culture of Beings from the Beyond. This is a story of humanity fighting against incredible odds and fantastic weapons. Can the mind of man hold its own against deadly, sinister Intelligence from beyond the stars?
By Steve Heaney, MC, Damien Lewis
For three decades one of the most secretive units in the British military has been a mystery force known as X Platoon.Officially there was no X Platoon. The forty men in its elite number were specially selected from across the Armed Forces, at which point they simply ceased to exist. X Platoon had no budget, no weaponry, no vehicles and no kit - apart from what its men could beg, borrow or steal from other military units.For the first time a highly decorated veteran of this specialised force - otherwise known as the Pathfinders - reveals its unique story. Steve Heaney became one of the youngest ever to pass Selection, the gruelling trial of elite forces, and was at the cutting edge of X Platoon operations - serving on anti-narcotics operations in the Central American jungles, on missions hunting war criminals in the Balkans, and being sent to spy on and wage war against the Russians.The first non-officer in the unit's history to be award the Military Cross, Steve Heaney reveals the extraordinary work undertaken by this secret band of brothers.