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Deathbird Stories: A Pantheon of Modern Gods

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison's masterwork of myth and terror as he seduces all innocence on a mind-freezing odyssey into the darkest reaches of mortal terror and the most dazzling heights of Olympian hell in his finest collection.

Deathbird Stories is a collection of 19 of Harlan Ellison's best stories, including Edgar and Hugo winners, originally published between 1960 and 1974. The collection contains some of Ellison's best stories from earlier collections and is judged by some to be his most consistently high quality collection of short fiction.

The theme of the collection can be loosely defined as God, or Gods. Sometimes they're dead or dying, some of them are as brand-new as today's technology. Unlike some of Ellison's collections, the introductory notes to each story can be as short as a phrase and rarely run more than a sentence or two. One story took a Locus Poll Award, the two final ones both garnered Hugo Awards and Locus Poll awards, and the final one also received a Jupiter Award from the Instructors of Science Fiction in Higher Education (discontinued in 1979).

When the collection was published in Britain, it won the 1979 British Science Fiction Award for Short Fiction. His stories will rivet you to the floor and change your heartbeat... as unforgettable a chamber of horror, fantasy and reality as you'll ever experience. -Gallery

"Brutally and flamboyantly shocking, frequently brilliant, and always irresistibly mesmerizing." -Richmond Times-Dispatch

Table of Contents:

Inversions

The Culture Cycle: Book 6

Iain M. Banks

Iain M. Banks, the international bestselling author of The Player of Games and Consider Phlebas, is a true original, a literary visionary whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination. Now, in his acclaimed new novel, Banks presents an engrossing portrait of an alien world, and of two very different people bound by a startling and mysterious secret.

On a backward world with six moons, an alert spy reports on the doings of one Dr. Vosill, who has mysteriously become the personal physician to the king despite being a foreigner and, even more unthinkably, a woman. Vosill has more enemies than she first realizes. But then she also has more remedies in hand than those who wish her ill can ever guess.

Elsewhere, in another palace across the mountains, a man named DeWar serves as chief bodyguard to the Protector General of Tassasen, a profession he describes as the business of "assassinating assassins." DeWar, too, has his enemies, but his foes strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more direct.

No one trusts the doctor, and the bodyguard trusts no one, but is there a hidden commonality linking their disparate histories? Spiraling around a central core of mystery, deceit, love, and betrayal. Inversions is a dazzling work of science fiction from a versatile and imaginative author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.

Titan

The Gaean Trilogy: Book 1

John Varley

When Cirrocco Jones, captain of the spaceship Ringmaster, and his crew are captured by Gaea, a planet-sized creature that orbits around Saturn, they find themselves inside a bizarre world inhabited by centaurs, harpies, and constantly shifting environments.

Wizard

The Gaean Trilogy: Book 2

John Varley

Second in the Gaean Trilogy. Human explorers have entered the sprawling mind of the alien Gaea. Now they must fight her will. For she is much too powerful. And definitely insane.

Demon

The Gaean Trilogy: Book 3

John Varley

The satellite-sized alien Gaea has gone completely insane. She has transformed her love of old movies into monstrous realities. She is Marilyn Monroe. She is King Kong. And now she must be destroyed.

All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders

From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world -- and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together -- to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

Macroscope

Piers Anthony

Throughout history, man has been searching for better ways to gather information about his universe. But although they may have longed for it, not even the most brilliant minds could conceive of a device as infinitely powerful or as immeasurably precise as the macroscope, until the twenty-first century. By analyzing information carried on macrons, this unbelievable tool brought the whole universe of wonders to man's doorstep. The macroscope was seen by many as the salvation of the human race.

But in the hands of the wrong man, the macroscope could be immensely destructive-infinitely more dangerous than the nuclear bomb. By searching to know too much, man could destroy the very essence of his mind. This is the powerful story of man's struggle with technology, and also the story of his human struggle with himself. This novel takes us across the breathtaking ranges of space as well as through the most touching places in the human heart. It is a story of coming of age, of sacrifice, and of love. It is the story of man's desperate search for a compromise between his mind and his heart, between knowledge and humanity.

Chthon

Aton: Book 1

Piers Anthony

Chthon was Piers Anthony's first published novel in 1967, written over the course of seven years. He started it when he was in the US Army, so it has a long prison sequence that is reminiscent of that experience, being dark and grim. It features Aton Five, a space man who commits the crime of falling in love with the dangerous alluring Minionette and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon. It uses flashbacks to show how he came to know the Minionette, and flashforwards to show how he dealt with her after his escape from prison. The author regards this as perhaps the most intricately structured novel the science fantasy genre has seen. It was a contender for awards, but not a winner.

The Coming Race

Early Classics of Science Fiction: Book 17

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Secrets Lie Within The Earth

"Tell me frankly what you saw in that chasm: I am sure it was something strange and terrible. Confide in me."

The engineer long endeavoured to evade my inquiries. But at last, he spoke.

"I will tell you all. A steady brilliant light. I left the cage and clambered down. As I drew nearer and nearer to the light, the chasm became wider, and at last I saw, to my unspeakable amaze, a broad level road at the bottom of the abyss, illumined as far as the eye could reach by what seemed artificial gas-lamps placed at regular intervals, as in the thoroughfare of a great city; and I heard confusedly at a distance a hum as of human voices. I know, of course, that no rival miners are at work in this district. Whose could be those voices? What human hands could have levelled that road and marshalled those lamps?"

"You will descend again?"

"I ought, yet I feel as if I durst not."