Four years after Festina Ramos left Melaquin, the "planet of no return," Uclodda Unorr arrives. Unorr is a hired smuggler tasked with gathering evidence of misconduct of the Technocracy's Outward Fleet. Much to his surprise he discovers that Oar, a resident of the planet and last of her kind, is still alive. Though Oar's glass-like body is indestructible, her mind grows weak and will soon fall victim to "apathetic hibernation." Along with her old friend Admiral Festina Ramos, Oar must reveal the true history of Melaquin and expose the ugly deeds of the Outward Fleet before her weary mind surrenders.
Oar is the last of her kind -- a resident of the so-called "planet of no return," once the Admiralty's dumping ground for undesirables and those who had become expendable. Oar's transparent body is indestructible. Yet the mind it houses grows weary and will soon surrender to the catatonic torpor that has already claimed the others of her genetically altered human race. But Oar cannot sleep, not yet. There are powerful forces seeking her destruction for reasons unknown. There are old allies who need her assistance and a true history that must be revealed. There is much Oar must accomplish before the "apathetic hibernation" overcomes her, though time is decidedly her enemy. Together with her friend, Admiral Festina Ramos, she must find her final destiny ... and in a vast and volatile universe, destiny is never a sure thing.
After most of Earth's population has left for other planets, life is simple in the isolated village of Tober Cove. Fullin, a twenty-year-old musician, lives well off of his craft. But soon he must make a life-changing decision that all residents of Tober Cove must make. Up until their twenty-first birthdays, the people of Tober Cove change gender every year. But at the age of twenty-one, they must commit to being male, female, or a Neut (essentially a hermaphrodite) for the rest of their lives. As Fullin nears the moment of decision, his faith becomes shaken when he uncovers secrets that distort his beliefs.
In Expendable, the first volume of the League of Peoples, Festina Ramos is assigned to escort an unstable admiral to planet Melaquin. Little is known about Melaquin, for every explorer who's landed there has disappeared. It's come to be known as the "planet of no return," and the High Council has made a habit of sending troublesome admirals there in an attempt to get rid of them. It's clear that this is intended to be Ramos's last mission, but she doesn't plan on dying, no matter how expendable she may be.
Under the benevolent leadership of the League of Peoples, there is no war, little crime, and life is sacred...unless you're an Explorer. The ugly, the flawed, the misfit, the deformed, they are the unwanted, flung to the farthest corners of the galaxy to investigate hostile planets and strange, vicious creatures. Out there, there are a thousand different -- and terrible -- ways to die. Festina Ramos belongs to the well-trained, always-dwindling ranks of ECMs (Expendable Crew Members). Now she and her partner, Yarrun Derigha, have been ordered to escort the unstable Admiral Chee to Melaquin -- the feared "Planet of No Return"-- which has swallowed up countless Explorers before them without a trace. Obviously, this is meant to be the last mission for Ramos and Derigha. But it won't be, if Festina can help it.
Award-winning author James Alan Gardner evokes a sense of wonder that is synonymous with great speculative fiction. Now, in his first short-story collection, he brings together the numerous tales that have made his reputation, ranging from the everyday experience to the cosmic, from peanut butter sandwiches to space drives. There are stories of wonder, imagination, humanity, and the unknown and tales that remind us of the importance of possibility. Some of the stories in this collection have won the Aurora Award and the grand prize in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest and been nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, while others are completely new and undiscovered.
James Alan Gardner has been called "one of the most engaging reads in SF." His debut novel, EXPENDABLE, was acclaimed by some of science fiction's most esteemed authors. Now, in GRAVITY WELLS, he brings together some of the stories that have helped solidify his reputation as one of the greats in speculative fiction.This collection consists of stories making their debut and previously-published stories that have won the Auraora Award, the grand prize in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest and been nominated for Hugo and Nebula Awards."As always, Gardner's narrative voice provides one of the most engaging reads in SF." - Locus "Gardner writes the kind of books people are referring to when they call science fiction a 'literature of ideas.'" - Winnipeg Free Press"A brilliant new voice." - David Feintuch"Gardner will be one of the big names of 21st century science fiction." - Robert Sawyer
For the children of Admiral Alexader York, perfection wasn't just expected, it was guaranteed -- written into their DNA before they were born.But while Samantha grew into the physical and mental marvel their father had bought and paid for, her twin brother Edward proved a disappointment. Genetic tinkering had raised Sam above the common herd, but Edward's faultless body housed a faulty brain.It took all the Admiral's influence to get Edward commissioned in the Outward Fleet Explorer Corps -- a fiercely independent band of misfits who referred to themselves proudly as Expendables. Accompanying Sam on a mission to the troubled planet of Troyen, home to the alien Mandasar, Edward found himself in the midst of a civil war. There, in an instant of horrifying insanity, Sam was killed, along with the alien hive-queen.For the next twenty years, Edward was exiled to a lonely outpost on one of Troyen's moons, blamed by the Admiral for Sam's death -- and blaming himself as well. But when escalating violence forces the evacuation of the system, Edwar d embarks on a perilous journey home that will lead hin into a forgotten past -- and, with the assistance of another ex-Expendable, the greatest Explorere of them all, the legendary Admiral Festina Ramos, into a future thick with conspiracy and betrayal. For there lurks a dark secret powerful enough to bury the hopes of human and Mandasar alike...or give them a new and brighter beginning.
In the fourth volume of the League of Peoples series, Alexander York is one of the High Council's most iron-fisted admirals. When his children, Samantha and Edward, were born, he paid top dollar to have their DNA altered to insure they grew up perfect physical and mental specimens. But when Edward ended up with a faulty brain, his father sentenced him to join the Expendables, a band of misfits and the deformed mandated to explore the most dangerous parts of the galaxy. Accompanying his sister on a mission to Troyen, an anguished planet and home to the Mandasar, Edward finds himself in the middle of a civil war and is ultimately exiled. As violence escalates, Edward struggles to navigate a treacherous path with the assistance of none other than Festina Ramos--the greatest Explorer of all.
NEW ADVENTURES BASED ON THE WORLD'S BESTSELLING VIDEO GAMEAfter completing a near-fatal mission in the mysterious cloud forests of Peru, Lara Croft flies to Warsaw to tackle her next assignment-and finds herself in the middle of an epic battle for the ultimate power.Reuben Baptiste needs Lara Croft's help transporting precious cargo. But before Reuben can reveal any details, he is murdered-and Lara signs on with Reuben's employer, the mysterious Order of the Bronze, to avenge his death. The Order shares with Lara its greatest treasure: a bronze android, thousands of years old, with uncanny abilities. But the android is crippled, missing a leg, and whoever finds that leg will gain astonishing powers. Hot on the trail is Lara's nemesis, Lancaster Urdmann, now working for an unknown employer with strange abilities. As Lara jets from Siberia to Australia to Rio de Janiero, she is drawn into an age-old conflict of secret societies, intrigue, and death. . . .From the Paperback edition.
In the 25th century, under the leadership of the League of Peoples, war and crime are a thing of the past and life is held sacred. That is, as long as you're healthy and beautiful. But those who are deformed, flawed or misfit in any way are destined - or is "doomed" a better word? - to become Explorers, crews assigned to probe worlds so hostile, the chances of returning are somewhere between slim and none.A qualified member of the expendable Explorer Corps due to her untreated facial blemish, Youn Suu sets out on a standard suicidal mission. Along with her partner, Tut, Youn is tasked with investigating a sudden infestation of the Balrog--a sentient red moss that can form parasitic, symbiotic relationship with its host--on the home world of the Cashlings.The mission takes a turn for the worse when Suu is infected with the Balrog. But just before all is lost, Suu and Tut are rescued from the planet by legendary Expendable Admiral Festina Ramos. Aboard an Outward Fleet starship, they find that the Balrog is far more intelligent and sinister than they ever could have imagined. It is only then that the scope and danger of this nightmare is truly revealed.
James Alan Gardner broke onto the sf scene with his debut novel, Expendable, which won him numerous fans for its blend of wry humor and fast-paced action set in a world where the flawed are designated as society's explorers. Now he makes his long-awaited hardcover debut with what might be his best book yet ... Explorer Third Class Youn Sue is Expendable -- a member of the highly skilled and highly disposable Explorer Corps trained to undertake hazardous missions so that the rest of humanity need not be upset by their (almost-certain) deaths. With her partner, Tut, Youn is sent to rescue an innocent planet from the extremely dangerous sentient Balrog. But how do you defeat an alien intelligence so advanced that it literally knows what you will do before you do ... especially when it has its own sinister plans? Joining forces with none other than the fabled Admiral Festina Ramos, Youn discovers that this is just the Balrog's opening gambit, and its next move could destroy them all. Fighting to stop the Balrog and save Youn's life, they head to an eerie, seemingly deserted planet. But this innocuous paradise has its own deadly secrets -- including one that will destroy thousands if they cannot prevent it -- and, perhaps, even the true plan behind the Explorers themselves.
Life on Old Earth is simple. Under the rule of the Spark Lords, most chaos has been brought under control. Five unsatisfied teachers out for a night of drinking is nothing out of the ordinary...until they find one of their students has been murdered by an unknown alien organism.When it's discovered that the murdered student's boyfriend has gone missing, this group of misfits find themselves tangled in an unofficial homicide investigation that uncovers things they'd never imagined. The hunt for a murderer unveils a horrifying conspiracy that may involve everyone from the Spark Lords to the League of Peoples...and a force more sinister than anything they could have imagined.
Life under the thumb of the Spark Lords -- the League's Earthly representatives -- is dull but comfortable for Philemon Abu Dhubhai and the other teachers at a third-rate private school for second-rate rich kids. But all that changes when a female student is found murdered by an unknown alien organism, and her boyfriend, the prime suspect, goes missing. Suddenly an unofficial homicide investigation has snared Philemon and five other "misfits" -- plus one of the planet's most powerful criminals, the mother of the murdered girl -- trapping them all in a web of terrifying conspiracy that could involve the Spark Lords ... and even the League of Peoples itself. For all is perilously not what it seems, on Earth and in the heavens. But then again, neither are Phil and his compatriots ...
In the 25th century, under the leadership of the League of Peoples, war and crime are a thing of the past and life is held sacred. That is, as long as you're healthy and beautiful. But those who are deformed, flawed or misfit in any way are destined - or is "doomed" a better word? - to become Explorers, crews assigned to probe worlds so hostile, the chances of returning are somewhere between slim and none.In VIGILANT, the third volume of the League of Peoples series, a deadly plague has struck planet Demoth, wiping out millions of the winged Ooloms. Humans, however, were left completely untouched. But before the Oolom population was utterly devastated, Dr. Henry Smallwood found a cure. He lived as a hero for only a year before dying in a mining accident.Having grown up without a father, Dr. Smallwood's daughter Faye attempts to escape her troubled past by joining the Vigil, a planetary organization that monitors the government. But on her first assignment, things go terribly awry and she and her team are targeted by android assassins. Uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the fate of Demoth, Faye turns to the only person she can trust - Festina Ramos.
Two species lived in peaceful coexistence on the planet Demoth until a deadly plague wiped out millions of the winged Ooloms while leaving humans untouched, helpless to do more than ease the suffering of their alien friends and neighbors. Faye Smallwood saw the horror firsthand, caring for the plague victims in her fahter's hospital. She was there when he discovered the cure that made him famous. She was also there when a freak accident killed him. Desperate to escape her past, Faye joins the Vigil, a band of fiercely independent monitors charged with rooting out government corruption. To help in this struggle, her mind is linked to the powerful datasphere that regulates the planet...and suddenly, she receives a cryptic vision promising peace and healing. Instead, Faye becomes the target of unknown assassins in a sinister conspiracy that threatens to unleash a new and more deadly outbreak. For humans and Ooloms were not the first species to inhabit Demoth. Somewhere in the ruins of long-abandoned settlements, something was left behind: an alien technology of unimaginable potential to build -- or destroy. Enemy agents will stop at nothing to find it. Some of Faye's own people will kill to uncover its secret. With no one else to trust, she turns to the one person who can help unravel the mystery: Festina Ramos -- explorer, outcast, ever-vigilant champion of those whom society deems expendable.
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