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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Book one of the King of Ys series: Blending fantasy, history, and adventure, the epic story of Ys begins as the Roman Gratillonius finds himself thrust into the highest seat of power In the waning days of the Roman Empire, Magnus Maximus sends his prefect Gratillonius to western Gaul and the faraway land of Ys, a place shrouded in legend and ruled by a cruel and tyrannical king. When the sovereign challenges Gratillonius to a duel, the envoy from Rome emerges victorious and claims the throne as the new king of Ys, inheriting a land whose religion, culture, and history are entirely foreign. He also gains the former king's nine wives, the Gallicenae, a powerful group of women to whom he must appear equally devoted despite his growing feelings for one in particular. As he adjusts to his new role as ruler of Ys, Gratillonius must fight to keep his strange new country on its feet while the rest of the Roman Empire begins to crumble around him. Roma Mater is the first book in Poul and Karen Anderson's King of Ys series, which continues with Gallicenae.
Thousands of years away in time and space spins a planet whose wealth in natural resources makes it the most vulnerable target for man's oldest and deadliest game--War. In the super-mercantile universe of centuries from now, young Captain David Falkayn has earned his command by blazing a trail of brilliant achievements in opening new planets to trade. Yet his very aptitudes in the rough and ready encounters on frontier worlds make him vulnerable to the supersecret machinations of Serendipity, Inc.--a firm offering any information, at the highest available prices. The giant computers of Serendipity inform David of a planet whose untapped natural resources would bring to incredible heights the wealth and power of David's boss, the irascible Nicholas van Rijn and his company Solar Spice and Liquor. The highly classified information is coupled with the warning that David's next space trek should be surrounded with maximum security. But even before he can depart on his mission he finds himself the unwilling guest of the founders of Serendipity at their secluded Lunar castle. David soon finds that not only is his life in jeopardy but the existence of his employers as well. On an even more immense scale, the strength of the Polesotechnic League is in peril of disintegration. What could be revealed in an expedition to the rogue planet that could bring such destruction to so many, and so much?
Light could enter it, but no weapon known to man could penetrate its field. The Martians had given it to Koskinen because, alone among Earthmen, they trusted him. It made him the most protected man on Earth. Also the most wanted. Also the least likely to survive...
The Cynbe sang: "Back to your planet must you be cast! Back to your caves and your dust! STARWARD FROM EARTH The Aliens were as powerful as they were beautiful, and Earth had faltered before them. Now the Time-deep Aleriona were tightening their silvery grip on the universe, and all that stood between humankind and extinction was a band of guerrillas on a fire-stormed planet--and a legend called Star Fox. . . .
[from inside flaps] "Poul Anderson, one of science fiction's most treasured visionaries, returns with a new masterpiece. Starfarers is the story of an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy, where answers to mankind's greatest questions await. The saga begins when evidence of an advanced civilization is discovered by SETI astronomers. "Trails" observed in the sky are thought to be from starships traveling at the speed of light, an enigma that spurs scientific minds until this breakthrough is achieved by mankind as well. An expedition is then mounted and an eclectic team of scientists chosen to journey into the sector where the intelligent life is allegedly located. But because the destination of the starship, Envoy, and her crew is 60,000 light-years away, the time required to reach the point of origin of the signals and return is 120,000 years--longer than Homo sapiens has been on Earth. And though the crew is ready to face the ramifications of such a trek, no one is prepared for what awaits them at the outer edge of the cosmos--or back at the planet they once called home. Starfarers is a story of patience and immediacy, but most of all of courage. It is a saga for anyone who has ever felt the emptiness of life on Earth and found the missing substance in the spaces between the stars. Poul Anderson's latest is the story of those who see the future in a clear night's sky and are ready to journey into it armed with both insight and passion."
THIS IS THE CULMINATION OF THE GREATEST ADVENTURE SERIES IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION. WITH A STONE IN HEAVEN POUL ANDERSON HAS BROUGHT THE CAREER OF DOMINIC FLANDRY FULL CYCLE. FROM THE BEGINNING FLANDRY HAS PIECE BY PIECE MORTGAGED HIS SOUL THAT THE LONG NIGHT of GALACTIC BARBARISM MIGHT BE HELD OFF JUST A LITTLE LONGER. NOW, FACE TO FACE WITH HIS PERSONAL LONG NIGHT, FLANDRY IS OFFERED ONE LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE AND HONOR IN A UNIVERSE He HAS COME TO BELIEVE HOLDS NEITHER...
In a thrilling collection of hard science fiction stories, a master of speculative fiction envisions a volatile future when Earth's colonies throughout the galaxy attempt to break free from home-world rule On a spaceship rocketing toward the stars, an official council meets to discuss how to censor history for the benefit of a new generation in space--which stories to preserve and which ones to discard forever . . . Golden-age hard science fiction luminary Poul Anderson approached the future with a mixture of excitement, hope, and skepticism. In Tales of the Flying Mountains, the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner offers stories from a new war of independence and beyond--portending a time when a North American government on Earth will take up arms against its own rebellious children colonizing the cosmos, then exploring the shape of the universe in the war's aftermath. Firmly based in hard science and human nature, here are seven excursions into a distant tomorrow, from the tense saber rattling preceding the hostilities to the establishment and growth of the independent Asteroid Republic. Whether he's spinning an imaginative yarn about the courageous crew of an unarmed state-of-the-art commercial space station using every resources at hand to battle a military incursion from the home world or chronicling a space colony's desperate gamble to thwart a government takeover by moving an entire asteroid, Anderson builds truly breathtaking worlds and imagines astonishing yet eminently credible future scenarios while infusing his unforgettable tales with intelligence, compassion, surprise, and humanism.
Poul Anderson's book Tau Zero stands out in the genre in large part because it does precisely the thing that one so rarely sees in science fiction: it takes a keen interest in the emotional lives of the characters in the novel, which the novel combines this with a general fascination for all things scientific. In Tau Zero, these two often competing themes in the genre work together with a synergy that makes the novel much more than just another deep space adventure story. From practically the very first page, Tau Zero sets the scientific realities in dramatic tension with the very real emotional and psychological states of the travelers: you have the time factor and their emotional response to the consequence of traveling at this high rate of speed and the time that has passed. This tension is a dynamic that Anderson explores with great success over the course of the novel as fifty crew-members settle in for the long journey together. While they are a highly-trained team of scientists and researchers and therefore professionals, they are also a community of individuals, each of them trying to create for him or herself a life in a whole new space (or literally, in space). It isn't too long, however, before the voyage takes a turn for the worse. The ship passes through a small, uncharted cloud-like nebula that makes it impossible to decelerate the ship. The only hope rather, is to do the opposite and speed up. But acceleration towards and within the speed of light means that time outside the spaceship passes even more rapidly, sending the crew deeper into space and also, further into an unknown future.
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