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People feared, back in the Middle Ages that the world would end with the millennium. Nor were they incorrect. It does this every millennium, only nobody notices--except for the Forces of Good and Evil, who vie for control of the universe every thousand years. "Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming" concerns the efforts of one Azzie Elbub, demon, to win the Millennial Evil Deeds award for the year 1000, given to the being whose acts do the most toward reshaping the world. Azzic's proposal to the Powers of Dark is simple. He will create a Prince Charming and a Sleeping Beauty. In time-honored fairy-tale fashion, the prince will fight his way through numerous perils to reach the side of the spellbound princess--at which point Azzie's evil twist will ensure that the Powers of Dark will win the grand prize. But even with an unlimited satanic credit card to order up any evil he needs, Azzic's plan is in trouble from the beginning ...
When a mysterious alien woman from the planet Laertes convinces Dr. Bashir to gamble for her at Quark's gaming tables, things seem innocent enough. Yet the more Dr. Bashir wins, the more things go wrong in the Federation: Ore ships vanish. Planets lose their atmosphere. Suns go nova. The cause and effect is hard to understand, but is proven by the bizarre Laertian science called Complexity Theory. When Bashir tries to stop gambling, a Laertian warfleet appears to force him to continue, while on the planet Laertes itself Major Kira and Science Officer Dax must battle their way through chaos and danger to find a way to stop the Laertians -- and save Deep Space NineTrademark and the Federation from utter destruction!
Take you--add a few hundred years of progress, and you have the person of the future. You wield tremendous power over nature and the universe. You have forces and tools of undreamed-of complexity at your fingertips. There is nothing you cannot do, cannot have. Couldn't be better--could it? Only, sometimes, things get a little scary. And even the latest labor-saving devices can't save you from having to cope with the latest complications. Welcome to 15 stories of the future by Robert Sheckley including Pilgrimage to Earth, All the Things You Are, Trap, The Body, Early Model, Disposal Service, Human Man's Burden, Bad Medicine, Protection, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, Deadhead, The Academy, Milk Run, The Lifeboat Mutiny.
"Yes sir. Well, there are three men outside trying to kill me. . . . " "Quite right," Mr. Frendlyer said. "And today is Landing Day. You came off the ship that landed today, and have been classified a peon. . . . I'm happy to say that everything is in order. The Landing Day Hunt ends at sundown. You can leave here with the knowledge that everything is correct and that your rights have not been violated. " "Leave here? After sundown, you mean. " Mr. Frendlyer shook his head and smiled sadly. "I'm afraid not. According to the law you must leave here at once. " "But they'll kill me!" "That's very true. Unfortunately it can't be helped. A victim by definition is one who is to be killed. . . . We protect rights, not victims. " OMEGA: PRISON PLANET LIFE EXPECTANCY: THREE YEARS MAXIMUM MOST PEOPLE ARE LUCKIER THAN THAT. . . .
Robert Sheckley was an eccentric master of the American short story, and his tales, whether set in dystopic cityscapes, ultramodern advertising agencies, or aboard spaceships lighting out for hostile planets, are among the most startlingly original of the twentieth century. Today, as the new worlds, alternate universes, and synthetic pleasures Sheckley foretold become our reality, his vision begins to look less absurdist and more prophetic. This retrospective selection, chosen by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich, brings together the best of Sheckley's deadpan farces, proving once again that he belongs beside such mordant critics of contemporary mores as Bruce Jay Friedman, Terry Southern, and Thomas Pynchon.
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