The first volume in an epic trilogy featuring the most fabled warrior in Norse lore: the lusty and powerful Viking king and conqueror Harald Hardrede Here begins the glorious tale of the last of the Viking kings. At seventeen, Harald Sigurdharson--one day to be called Hardrede--tastes the bitter nectar of blood and battle for the first time, and from that day forward he will forever crave the intoxicating brew of war. Though he knows it is his destiny to conquer and to rule, he is still young and the throne he covets is beyond his grasp. In the meantime, the wide world beckons. Setting out from Norway after a great series of mercenary adventures in Sweden and Russia, the now towering seven-foot-tall Harald arrives at Constantinople on the Golden Horn. In the heart of an empire choking on its own intrigues and excesses, as a member of the Varangian Guard--the foreign warriors entrusted with the safety of the Byzantine Emperor--and a tireless suitor to an enticing beauty from a powerful clan, Harald carves out his legend in flesh, bone, and blood. But his true path stretches to the other side of the world, for he must ultimately return to Norway, his homeland, to claim his royal birthright. An acclaimed Golden Age master of fantasy and science fiction, the remarkable Poul Anderson now turns to epic historical fiction, drawing from the pages of Norse legend to spin the breathtaking yarn of Norway's most glorious hero, the fabled eleventh-century conqueror-king who could not be bested in battle or sport.
The virtual persona of a long-dead visionary entrepreneur threatens to incite a revolution from space that could topple Earth's powerful and repressive religious-technological dictatorship in this ingenious science fiction classic In the future, individual freedom is a thing of the past. North America is a police state controlled by the Avantist government, a despotic, techno-religious ruling order that promises an impending transcendence for the oppressed. Space, however, remains free, thanks to Anson Guthrie's powerful Fireball Corporation. Guthrie's corporeal self died many generations ago, but his essence lives on, preserved forever in a computerized state that enables him to inspire his loyal employees and adherents to keep reaching for the farthest stars. But now the totalitarian enemy, led by sadistic secret policeman Enrique Sayre, has gained possession of a Guthrie download, intending to subvert it to the Avantist cause, thereby breaking Fireball's hold on the cosmos. The corporation is doomed unless ace pilot Kyra Davis can smuggle a still-unreconstructed version of Guthrie out of enslaved America and rocket him to the moon and beyond, where Fireball's virtual creator can attempt to stoke the flames of revolution--and change the direction of his world. A truly remarkable work from one of science fiction's all-time greats, Harvest of Stars might be the most ingenious and ambitious novel of Grand Master Poul Anderson's acclaimed and prolific career. Thoughtful and adventurous, rich in imagination and integrity, it offers definitive proof of the seven-time Hugo Award-winning author's unparalleled mastery in the field of speculative fiction.
A would-be artist is ensnared in a desperate conspiracy, born on the Earth's moon, to break free of the artificial intelligence controlling the universe Many centuries in the future, no great destiny for humankind exists on Earth. The Lunarians, genetically engineered human adaptations bred to survive on the moon, have spread out toward the stars. But not even their colony on distant Proserpina is free from the suffocating influence of the Teramind, the vast network of intelligent machines that preserves order and logic in the universe. In his search for inspiration, poet and pilot Jesse Nichol discovers a new purpose when he reunites with his former lover, the mesmerizing Lunarian Falaire. Coerced into criminal hijacking, Jesse suddenly finds himself part of a bold anti-artificial intelligence conspiracy that could ultimately spell disaster, for nothing escapes the Teramind, especially humanity's desperate pursuit of freedom. And when human and machine are in conflict, the outcome will rock many worlds. The third volume in what ranks among SFWA Grand Master Poul Anderson's greatest creation, Harvest the Fire imagines a machine-dominated future beyond the cataclysmic eras of Harvest the Stars and The Stars Are Also Fire. A breathtaking continuation of the epic tale, it is a story of courage and insurrection that celebrates the indomitable human spirit and the unconquerable restlessness of a race born to explore new worlds.
A science fiction classic about a most unusual First Contact ... In the year of grace 1345, as Sir Roger, Baron de Tourneville, was gathering an army to join King Edward III in the war against France, a most astonishing event occurred: a huge silver ship descended through the sky and landed in a pasture beside the little village of Ansby in northeastern Lincolnshire. The Wersgorix, whose scouting ship it was, were quite expert at taking over planets, and having determined from orbit that this one was suitable, they initiated standard world-conquering procedure. That is, one of the crew showed himself--a sight that customarily terrorized backward natives. The tactic had never failed; superstitious aborigines were always quickly subdued--or wiped out--leaving the Wersgorix free to establish a base, gather specimens of indigenous plants, animals and minerals, and report their findings home, facilitating future conquest. Ah, but this time it was no mere primitives the Wersgorix sought to slaughter or enslave. They'd launched their invasion against Englishmen! ... Also Englishwomen, children and old folk of every rank, who were duly horrified by the demonic, blue-skinned creature that emerged from the strange ship. Not even the friar's reminder that sorcery could not harm good Christians calmed the throng (for there were many miserable sinners among them). But Sir Roger was undaunted. When the monster dared attack, that brave nobleman led his army charging into the ship--cavalry and foot soldiers fighting the bloody hand-to-hand battles they understood so brutally well. A form of warfare the Wersgorix hadn't seen in centuries. In the end, only one alien was left alive--and Sir Roger's grand vision was born. He intended for the creature to fly the ship, which was large enough to hold Ansby's entire human and animal populations--and all the comforts of home--first to France to aid their King, then on to the Holy Land to vanquish the infidel! But instead of taking them to France, the treacherous alien locked the ship's controls on a course set for one of the Wersgorix's previously conquered planets. And Sir Roger's Crusaders found themselves fighting against the strangest infidels they'd ever seen to win the most unholy land imaginable.
A collection of science fiction and fantasy stories about aliens who closely resemble teddy bears.
A tale of battles, betrayals, revenge, magic, and monsters: The ancient legend of the fabled sixth-century Danish king, retold by an acclaimed master of science fiction and fantasy In the court of the Anglo-Saxon king, a visiting storyteller regales the assembled nobles with the enthralling tale of her faraway land's most revered hero: the Viking Hrolf Kraki. Born of an incestuous union into a royal family with a history of violence, jealousy, usurpation, and murder, Hrolf assembled a loyal band of the mightiest champions in the realm and expanded his small kingdom through wisdom, courage, and conquest. Unbeaten on the battlefield, his great deeds and victories became legends throughout the North as he ushered in an era of peace and prosperity. But Hrolf's desire for vengeance was ever the warrior-king's driving force, as he sought the truth about his father's murder. This obsession would threaten Hrolf's life and his rule--and ultimately bring his great kingdom to ruin. Poul Anderson, one of the acknowledged giants of twentieth-century fantasy and science fiction, employs his unparalleled storytelling talents to bring Denmark's most thrilling ancient legend to life. A tale that predates the stories of King Arthur and his knights and Shakespeare's Hamlet, while echoing the Oedipus and Beowulf myths, the saga of Hrolf Kraki, the greatest of all Danish Viking kings, takes on a new and breathtaking richness in this classic novel that was honored with a British Fantasy Award in 1974.
A GRIPPING FANTASY ABOUT THE DANISH KING ARTHUR This is the story of four generations of heroes and kings, the strong men and wise women who united Denmark against the threat of Vikings, marauders and their own upstart barons. Hrolf Kraki, the greatest of his line, gathered to his court the most powerful heroes of Sweden and Denmark: Svipdag the one-eyed, who killed twelve berserkers; Bjarki, son of a were-bear; Hjalti, who drank of dragon's blood to gain his manhood. It took the treachery of Hrolf's sorcerous half-elven sister and Odin's wrath to break his rule.
The Man-Kzin Wars series created by Larry Niven allowed many other authors to write stories placed during the early period of the "known universe." This novel was created by combining two such stories which take place near the Wunderland colony at Alpha Centauri shortly after the human-kzinti war ended. The story in this particular book is of the only privately owned hyperdrive spaceship, Rover, her captain and crew, and their encounters and triumphs over the kzinti.
Sir Dominic Flandry, Knight in Earth's Imperial Space Navy, gazed at the many pinpricks of light that filled the viewscreen of his starship. This important bit of Imperial space held an estimated four million solar systems. Maybe half of those had been visited at least once. About a hundred thousand worlds of theirs belonged to the Terran Empire, though for most planets the connection was tenuous. There were too many environments, races, cultures and lives. No mind, no government could know the whole, let alone cope. Nevertheless that sprawl of planets, peoples and provinces had to cope somehow --or see the dreaded Long Night fall. Barbarians, who had gotten spaceships and nuclear weapons too early in their history, prowled just outside the Terran borders --waiting for an opportune moment to attack and bring new worlds under their domination. Flandry adjusted the screen controls again, zeroing in on the Taurian sector, one of the outermost galaxies under Terran protection. This was where his next mission would lead him. Trouble was brewing on the planet Dennitza --one of the most populous, wealthy and highly advanced worlds in the system. Secret reports brought word of a fanatical underground army planning a large scale rebellion and secession from the Empire. It would be up to Flandry to stop the movement dead in its tracks. But that was a tall order. Not even Flandry, with his vast knowledge of alien ways and customs, could hope to fathom the deadly secrets of that fringe world. He needed help...and he got it from a beautiful Dennitzian slave girl, Kossara, who'd been taken captive during a previous, unsuccessful rebellion. Unwilling to aid him at first, Kossara eventually fell victim to Flandry's charms. It seemed quite a victory for his ego, but deep down Flandry knew that anyone with a just cause to fight for would have resisted to the death. Kossara had obviously been intricately brainwashed --conditioned to hate and fight against the Empire. But by whom? Was it someone on Dennitza, or perhaps a subversive group on one of the neighboring planets, Diomedes or Chereion? Or could it be that some totally unknown intelligence was chipping away at the Terran Empire from within as well as without? That was the question to be answered and dealt with quickly. If it weren't, Flandry knew it would only be a matter of time before all the civilized planet systems were reduced to nothing but atomic rubble. ... Filled with thrilling action and wonders beyond the imagination, A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS is another in a long line of masterful SF novels by Poul Anderson, author of Fire Time and The Day of Their Return.
A spaceship engineer held captive by would-be revolutionaries plots a daring escape in a rocket constructed of odds and ends and powered by beer in this hilarious romp from a master of golden-age speculative fiction The last thing the crew of the Mercury Girl expected to find on the terraformed worldlet known as Grendel was a band of Irish revolutionaries. As far as the ship's engineer, Knud Axel Syrup, is concerned, being taken prisoner by the more-than-slightly-nutty Shamrock League Irredentist Expeditionary Force could be a lot worse. At least there's plenty of cold brew available to keep him occupied . . . and more than a little tipsy. But these crazed Fenians are spoiling for a fight, and the last thing Syrup needs is to get caught in the middle of a war between the Shamrocks and their sworn rivals, the Anglians. Luckily Syrup has a plan. With the help of a somewhat-ditzy dancer named Emily and an alien in six-legged lederhosen, he intends to pull off a daring escape from the miniplanet in a spaceship constructed of pretzel boxes, old bicycle parts, and anything else he finds lying around, trusting their liftoff to the considerable propulsive power of beer. Multiple award winner Poul Anderson is one of science fiction's most respected maestros, and here he displays another side of his creative genius with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. Hilarious, outrageous, and delightfully imaginative, The Makeshift Rocket is a wonderfully wild and wacky romp through a very different cosmos with one of the genre's best pilots at the controls.
An anthology of science fiction stories about mercenaries.<P> "Although the stories in this book are, basically, stories, meant for your enjoyment, they do show the authors' awareness of the issues and a desire to make you, too, think. That is not as grim as it looks. To most people interested in science fiction, thinking is one of life's great pleasures. It is also a necessity of survival." -- from the Introduction
The last of the merfolk scour Earth for a new home to call their own The underwater city of Liri has thrived off the coast of Denmark for generations. But now, as Europe's medieval age comes to a close, the efforts of zealous priests and the destructive ringing of church bells are causing the city to crumble. An ageless people who thrived apart from the cruelty of human existence on land, the merfolk are poetic speakers, loving and loyal, nearly impervious to death but with one great deficiency: They lack souls. Their numbers dwindling, the merpeople scatter. Some abandon their home for the coast of Dalmatia in the Adriatic Sea, while others--the half-human, half-seaborn children of the great merfolk king Vanimen--decide to scout alien territory on land for adventure, treasure, and clues to their lost human heritage.
A fantastic tale of intrigue, love, war, magic, and swashbuckling adventure set in an alternate universe where fairies mingle freely with Englishmen and all of Shakespeare's fictional characters are real Welcome to an alternate civil-war-torn seventeenth-century England--a world where Hamlet once brooded and Othello jealously raged. Here faeries and sprites gambol in English woods, railroads race across the landscape while manned balloons float above the countryside, and the most respected historian of all is one William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. The year is 1644, and the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. When Rupert, nephew of King Charles I, is taken captive by Cromwell's troops and imprisoned in a Puritan home, he is immediately smitten with the beautiful Jennifer Alayne, his captor's niece. Escaping with the help of his newfound beloved and the loyal trooper Will Fairweather, Rupert leads Jennifer deep into the forest, where the faerie folk who dwell there have a vested interest in the outcome of the great and bloody conflict. Though the lovers must soon part--with the prince undertaking a dangerous mission for his magical benefactors that could turn the tide of war--Rupert and his lady love will be forever joined by the rings presented to them by King Oberon and Queen Titania. And despite the strange, twisting pathways and turbulent seas they are destined to encounter, they will always be able to find each other again . . . as long as their love remains true. Nominated for the World Fantasy Award and winner of the Mythopoeic Award, Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest is a titanic achievement--a delightful alternate-history fantasy that brings the fictional worlds of Shakespeare's plays to breathtaking life with style, wit, and unparalleled imagination.
What if Shakespeare were a historian and his world a mortal one of men and elves? Somewhere, spinning through another universe is a history almost like ours except for the result of a revolution or two and the earlier incidence of a few inventions. A prince called Hamlet has lived in Denmark, and the English woods are full of Pucks, Titanias, and Oberons. Cromwell is at the throat of King Charles, but locomotives rage through the verdant countryside and observation balloons tower over battle lines. Rupert, prince of the Rhine and defender of the crown, has been captured by the Roundheads, and an eviscerated Royalist force is chased to Glastonbury Tor, the site of lengendary Avalon, the Court of Arthur. But Rupert has escaped, sent on a magic quest for the fairy kingdom that chooses to make its stand in England against the forces of industrial revolution. If his aims succeed, Rupert can save both the land for its spirits and the king for his crown. Poul Anderson brings back heft and haleness to an age that used its language well and its halberd even better. Cavalier and Puritan come full-bodied and lively out of his rich imagination, and science fiction takes an unexpected ride into the past.
Here is the stunning conclusion to Poul Anderson's six-volume future history series. In Mirkheim we feel the awesome movements of grand ideas and great civilizations: the first interstellar war is about to begin. A thousand years have passed; earth has established interstellar colonies; aliens have been contacted. The terran empire is loosely governed by the capitalist Polesotechnic League of trading companies. Nicholas Van Rijn, protagonist of Trader to the Stars, heads one of the largest, and his granddaughter is married to David Falkayne, hero of The Trouble Twisters and Satan's World. But the old order is dying--the PL is collapsing and a few huge corporate blocs are taking power. "Mirkheim" was a gigantic planet blasted and vaporized by a supernova. Its transmuted core survives and becomes the only natural source for vital supermetals. Falkayne discovers this phenomenally rich body, but does not report it to Van Rijn and the PL. Instead, he turns Mirkheim over to an association of poor colonies. But the secret is short-lived, and an alien race--the Baburites--with the help of a few rapacious humans, steps in and claims the planet. This investigate, and the outcome of the Baburian conflict signals a new phase in man's social evolution. Poul Anderson illuminates the sweep of time, the death and birth of human orders on a cosmic scale. Mirkheim is a magnificent and scintillating conclusion to the superb future histories--a splendrous work of science fiction.
Continuing from Orbit Unlimited, New America is the next chapter in the story of the planet Rustum, where the Constitutionalists continue their mission to build a more perfect nation Civilization on Rustum has come a long way since its early days, when a few brave colonists traveled twenty light-years from Earth to found a society, New America, on the principle of personal liberty. Some call themselves Constitutionalists, others Jeffersonians, but whatever the title everyone can agree: Rustum has a problem. With one-and-a-quarter times the gravitational force of Earth and a host of inedible flora, Rustum is most habitable on its highlands, leaving the lowlands sparsely populated and creating a great imbalance on the planet. Dan Coffin, an original settler of Rustum, agrees to join an expedition back to the lowlands, where he is one of the rare individuals who can survive in the dense air without a helmet. New America follows Coffin's endeavors to build a new life with a wife, children, and an effective governing body that can help give the lowlanders not only survive, but thrive.
Space explorers returning to an unrecognizable Earth after five millennia away find themselves caught up in a deadly political power game on a planet racing toward intergalactic war Five thousand years have passed since the interstellar spacecraft Explorer left Earth, and now Edward Langley and his two crewmates are returning home. The faster-than-light mission that took only a year for Langley, Matsumoto, and Blaustein has cost them the only world they ever knew. This future Earth is unrecognizable, its global society ruled by a benevolent, all-powerful computer and divided into a strict class structure of masters and slaves. Though war has been eradicated for generations, tensions between the powers on Earth and colonists on Centaurus over mineral mining are rapidly reaching a violent breaking point. The homecoming of three astronauts from the distant past should have no bearing on the present political situation. But the crewmembers did not come back alone--and the alien visitor who accompanied them holds the key to victory or total defeat. One of the most acclaimed of the Golden Age science fiction masters, Poul Anderson has written a provocative and enthralling tale of the future that incorporates his trademark blend of hard science, sociology, and humanism. At once thrilling and thought provoking, No World of Their Own is classic speculative fiction at its page-turning best, as only the incomparable Anderson could imagine it.
Welcome to an alternate-world fantasy set in a 20th century where sorcery and alchemy are just as respectable--and reliable--as science and technology. In Operation Chaos, Steve Matuchek, an engineer and werewolf, is teamed up with Virginia Graylock, a licensed witch, to immobilize an afreet in the Moslem War. Although their operation is a success--and the American forces go on to win the war--the Dark Folk aren't done with them. In short order, Steve and Ginny find themselves pitted against a fire elemental out to consume the world, an incubus with less than honorable intentions toward Ginny, and, last and worst, a demon who carries their three-year-old daughter Valeria off to hell. Eleven years later, in Operation Luna, Steve and Ginny are living in Arizona where they are working on a project to take humans to the moon. But something sabotages the launch. Could it be the Native American trickster, Coyote? Or are Asian spirits meddling? While they struggle to find out, Valeria tries to help ... but just might end up lost in space. That is, unless her parents can save her from the demons who are hot on her heels.
Seeking freedom from their oppressive government on Earth, a ragtag group of idealists embark on a perilous journey to found a new world light-years from home On a future Earth, gone are the halcyon days of the early space program, when the universe held endless promise and excitement. Overcrowded, ruled by a corrupt autocracy, and plagued by vast economic inequalities, life on Earth has become nightmarish, and the promise of a world beyond the planet is diminishing rapidly as the government begins shuttering its interstellar efforts. But for a small band of rebels called Constitutionalists, escaping into the vast universe beyond is the only hope. And so off they set for a distant planet where they can start over, building a new society on the principle of liberty, testing the very limits of human capability. Their years-long trip is not without its tribulations, from internecine conflict on the ship to ambiguous pleas from Earth to return. Their destination, an Earth-like planet called Rustum, is twenty light-years away, and through every treacherous moment of the journey they know that their most harrowing trials are yet to come when they finally reach their new home. The story of Rustum and the Constitutionalists who settled there continues in New America.
On an Earth that barely survived a nuclear holocaust, visionaries who dream of reaching for the stars attempt to revive the forbidden technology that once destroyed their world Centuries ago, humankind was nearly destroyed in a nuclear apocalypse. Many generations have passed since that terrible time, and the remnants of civilization have re-formed into separate, vastly different societies. The dominant culture of a widely diminished Earth, the ecologically sensitive Maurai hold fast to their belief that "non-green" science is an unacceptable evil. But the reborn dream of space flight harbored by a forward-thinking few could herald the revival of the nuclear technology that once ravaged the planet and its people--and the powerful Maurai Federation will take every step necessary, no matter how drastic, to prevent doomsday from dawning again. An enthralling work of speculative fiction, Poul Anderson's Orion Shall Rise is a feat of world-building and a sobering view of tomorrow by one of the twentieth century's most revered science fiction masters. Anderson's monumental tale combines science, anthropology, philosophy, and global politics with breathtaking action and adventure, offering an ingeniously unique and provocative vision of humankind's all-too-possible destiny. This ebook includes the bonus story "The Sky People."
THE TERRAN EMPIRE: Behemoth, reaching ever further across the star systems, seeking to suck the entire universe into its gigantic maw. In its favor it must be said that the Empire offers peace and prosperity to its subjects. THE YTHRIAN DOMAIN: Medium-size empire with room to grow.. .except where its borders meet those of the Terran Empire! Peopled by the Ythri, birdlike beings with a culture and intellect that is easily a match for the Terran way of life. AVALON: Colony planet of Ythri but inhabited by human and Ythri alike, Avalon is the Domain's secret weapon- or is it? For Avalon has formed a culture all its own, which it will defend against all comers. And Avalon seems quite capable of defying the combined might of two of the most powerful empires in the universe!
The giant Norse warrior-king Harald Hardrede strives to forge a mighty empire by conquering the North in the second volume of the epic Last Viking Trilogy He is a savior to the hordes of loyal Norsemen who would gladly give their lives battling at his side and a dreaded scourge to anyone who resists his dreams of empire. Now, Harald Hardrede--who, legend has it, has never been defeated in battle or sport--has returned to Norway, the land of his birth, after years of serving foreign rulers in faraway realms. The lessons of Constantinople are not lost on the giant Viking warrior, as he sets out to unite the northlands under his sole rule and create an empire to rival the great powers of Europe. Harald's task will not come easily and will demand great sacrifice, for the resisting Danes love their current king, and the proud people of the Throndheimsfjord would rather die than relinquish their cherished independence. But the fabled "Lightning of the North" will not be deterred, for he is determined to carve his place in history--or die in the process. Multiple-award-winning author Poul Anderson's thrilling three-volume series, the Last Viking Trilogy draws from Norse legend and lore to prove he is as adept at epic historical fiction as he is at science fiction and fantasy. Norway's most glorious hero comes alive in The Road of the Sea Horse, a magnificent tale of war, adventure, bloodlust, and loyalty.
From glittering Venice to bloody Gallipoli, from barbaric northern Europe to decadent Byzantium plundering hordes hacked and tore at the once mighty Roman Empire. The giant of the world was faltering bleeding from a thousand wounds as it tried to hold its snarling enemies at bay. These were the days of savagery and splendor when wanton fury and greed fed mens souls and only the cunning and powerful survived. This was the world of Lucas Greco warrior rogue whose sword had become a legend to friend and foe alike. Both hating and loving the horror and cruelty of war he was driven from battle to battle and woman to woman in a desperate effort to wrench beauty and meaning from a chaotic world Scarred by war and love, he yearned for the promise of peace which could only be found in the arms of a beautiful pagan slave girl, DJANSHA.
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