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Science fiction has always confronted the concerns of society, and our concern over humanity's ecological impact on nature has inspired incredible stories for generations. In this new collection of stories from the classic period of the genre, explore both tales of eco-catastrophe and ruin following abuse of Earth's natural resources, and stories of hope and learning for humankind's future forays into the new environments of the future. Featuring rare stories from the science fiction and fantasy magazines in the British Library collection and pieces from some of the most influential writers in the field including Brian W Aldiss, Clifford D Simak, Margaret St Clair and Elizabeth Sanxay Holding.
The fact that humanity is not alone in the universe has long preoccupied our thoughts. In this compelling new collection of short stories from SF's classic age our visions of `other' are shown in a myriad of forms - beings from other worlds, corrupted lifeforms from our own planet and entities from unimaginable dimensions. Amongst these tales, the humble ant becomes humanity's greatest foe, a sailor awakes in a hellish landscape terrified by a monstrous creature from the deep, an extra-terrestrial apocalypse devastates our world but also brings us together, and our race becomes the unwitting agent of another species' survival. Be prepared to face your greatest fears and relinquish your hold on reality as you confront the menace of the monster.
Join Mike Ashley on a characterful tour of the most ingenious and often forgotten books from the rich history of classic British science fiction. From the enrapturing tales of H. G. Wells to the punishing dystopian visions of 1984 and beyond, the evolution of science fiction from the 1890s to the 1960s is a fascinating journey into the hopes and fears of those years. Establishing this period as what we can now appreciate as the 'classic' age of the genre, which for most of this time had no name, Mike Ashley takes us on a tour of the stars, utopian and post-apocalyptic futures, worlds of AI and techno-thriller masterpieces asking piercing questions of the present. Though not seeking to be exhaustive, this book offers an accessible view of the impressive spectrum of imaginative writing which the genre's classic period has to offer. Towering science fiction greats such as Ballard and Aldiss run alongside the, perhaps unexpected, likes of G. K. Chesterton and J. B. Priestley and celebrate a side of science fiction beyond the stereotypes of space opera and bug-eyed monsters; the side of science fiction which proves why it must continue to be written and read, so long as any of us remain in uncertain times.
Terror in the steamy jungles of Venus, encounters on the arid expanse of Jupiter; asteroids mysteriously bursting with vegetation whizz past and reveal worlds beyond imagination orbiting the giver of all known life - the Sun. Mike Ashley curates this literary tour through the space around this heavenly body, taking in the sights of Mercury, Venus, Mars, an alternate Earth, strange goings on on Saturn and tales from a bizarre civilization on Neptune. Pluto (still a planet in the Classic period of SF) becomes the site for a desperate tale of isolation, and a nameless point at the limits of the Sun's orbital space gives rise to a final poetic vision of this spot in the universe we call home... Born of the Sun collects one story for each of the planets thought to be in our solar system during the Golden Age of SF, from some of the greatest, and from some of the most obscure, authors of the genre. Featuring the genius works of Larry Niven, Poul Andersen, Clifford D Simak, Clare Winger Harris and many more.
When London journalist Philip Wade learns that his article on nuclear weapons testing has been censored by the British government, he is prompted to investigate the truth that lies behind it. Philip's search leads to a mysterious job offer in a newly-formed government department, and he soon realises the lasting damage that the nuclear tests have caused. The country is rife with uncertainty and distrust - then the water levels start to drop. This gripping apocalyptic novel, originally published in 1958, asks pertinent questions about censorship and the potential for violence in the face of disappearing resources. The Tide Went Out outlines the horrors that arise when we are forced to ask the question: `what happens when the water runs out?'
`I was suddenly struck with the sight of a trail of rich red vegetation of several miles in the midst of the eternal snows. I approached with curiosity this oasis in the frozen desert.' An antique shop owner gets a glimpse of the red planet through an intriguing artefact. A Martian's wife contemplates the possibility of life on Earth. A resident of Venus describes his travels across the two alien planets. From an arid desert to an advanced society far superior to that of Earth, portrayals of Mars have differed radically in their attempt to uncover the truth about our neighbouring planet. Since the 1880s, writers of science fiction have delighted in speculating on what life on Mars might look like and what might happen should we make contact with the planet's inhabitants. These ten short stories from the golden age of science fiction feature classic SF writers including H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury and J.G. Ballard, as well as lesser-known writers from the genre. They reveal much about how we understand our place in the universe. Lost Mars: The Golden Age of the Red Planet is the first volume in the British Library Science Fiction Classics series.
Sound the sirens! The end is here, and it comes in many forms in this new collection of apocalyptic short stories from the classic age of science fiction. Join humanity on the brink of destruction in 13 doom-laden visions from the 1890s to the 1960s, featuring rare tales from the Library's vaults. Tales of plague seizing an over-polluted capital, a world engulfed in absolute darkness by some cosmic disaster, and of poignant dreams of a silent planet after the last echoes of humanity have died away. Extreme climate change, nuclear annihilation, comet strike; calamities self-inflicted and from beyond the steer of humankind vie to deal the last blow in this countdown from the first whisper of possible extinction to the Earth's final sunrise.
Technological advance is never straightforward. A man is murdered by an automaton built for chess. A computer system designed to arbitrate justice develops a taste for iron-fisted, fatal rulings. An AI governing what we now know as an internet wreaks havoc on society after removing all forms of censorship. Assembled with parts from the late 19th century to the 1960s, this new collection of classic stories warns of the possible threats, both comic and severe, of a world in which human and machine live side by side. A delightfully, and worryingly, prescient selection for today's world in which robotic coexistence is passing with each day from speculation to reality.
During her lifetime Violet Paget, who wrote as Vernon Lee, was referred to as 'the greatest of modern exponents of the supernatural in fiction', and yet today she remains on the periphery of the genre. This collection of her uniquely weird short stories and dark fantasies proves why she was once considered among the best of the genre, and why she deserves to return to those ranks today. From modernised folk tales such as 'Marsyas in Flanders' and 'The Legend of Madame Krasinska' to ingenious psychological hauntings such as the titular 'A Phantom Lover' and 'A Wicked Voice', Lee's own voice is just as distinctive and captivating - her weird imaginings just as freshly unsettling - as in her fin-de-siecle heyday.
A vicious plague has broken out in China and spread to Japan. The world governments look on callously, until the shadow of the Hueste virus begins to sweep across the rest of the globe. The pandemic draws nearer to Britain; shelters are hastily constructed across the country, but for whom? As the death toll booms and the populace finds themselves sacrificed for the sake of the elite, the cry for revolution rings out amidst the sirens. Maine's savage portrayal of society on the brink of ruin is a cruel forerunner of a more pessimistic science fiction of the 1960s. This subversive novel shows that even the heroes may succumb to brutality as the world descends into a desperate scramble for the last shred of what it means to be human: survival.
Rare jewels of Victorian fiction highlight the fantastic contributions made by women writers in the early development of science fiction
A selection of early science fiction short stories by women are collected here, along with an introduction exploring the contributions women made in the early development of the field--in particular the different perspectives they cast on the wonders or fears that technological and scientific advances may bring. The contributions of women to the history of science fiction and to the genre's development has been sorely overlooked. "Frankenstein," generally reckoned as the first true work of science fiction, was by Mary Shelley, and one of the first utopian works written in America was also by a woman, Mary Griffith. A companion volume to his acclaimed "The Darker Sex," Mike Ashley's latest collection is more essential reading by such female writers as Mary Shelley, Clare Winger Harris, Adeline Knapp, and many others.
It is too often accepted that during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was the male writers who developed and pushed the boundaries of the weird tale, with women writers following in their wake - but this is far from the truth. This new anthology follows the instrumental contributions made by women writers to the weird tale, and revives the lost authors of the early pulp magazines along with the often overlooked work of more familiar authors. See the darker side of The Secret Garden author Frances Hodgson Burnett and the sensitively-drawn nightmares of Marie Corelli and Violet Quirk. Hear the captivating voices of Weird Tales magazine contributors Sophie Wenzel Ellis, Greye La Spina and Margaret St Clair, and bow down to the sensational, surreal and challenging writers who broke down the barriers of the day. Featuring material never before republished, from the abyssal depths of the British Library vaults.
Between horror and fantasy lies a world in which the inexplicable remains unsolved and the rational mind is assailed by impossible questions. Welcome to the realm of Dark Fantasy, where safe answers are beyond reach and accounts of unanswerable dilemma find their home. Delving deep into the sub-genre, fiction expert Mike Ashley has gathered an unsettling mixture of twisted tales, encounters with logic-defying creatures and nightmarish fables certain to perplex, beguile and of course, entertain.
From atop the choppy waves to the choking darkness of the abyss, the seas are full of mystery and rife with tales of inexplicable events and encounters with the unknown. In this anthology we see a thrilling spread of narratives; sailors are pitched against a nightmare from the depths, invisible to the naked eye; a German U-boat commander is tormented by an impossible transmission via Morse Code; a ship ensnares itself in the kelp of the Sargasso Sea and dooms a crew of mutineers, seemingly out of revenge for her lost captain... The supernatural is set alongside the grim affairs of sailors scorned in these salt-soaked tales, recovered from obscurity for the 21st century.
The last sixty years have been full of stories of one or other possible Armageddon, whether by nuclear war, plague, cosmic catastrophe or, more recently, global warming, terrorism, genetic engineering, AIDS and other pandemics. These stories, both pre- and post-apocalyptic, describe the fall of civilization, the destruction of the entire Earth, or the end of the Universe itself. Many of the stories reflect on humankind's infinite capacity for self-destruction, but the stories are by no means all downbeat or depressing - one key theme explores what the aftermath of a cataclysm might be and how humans strive to survive. Includes six original works, of which the most outstanding is probably the amazing novella Sleepover, by Alistair Reynolds (Lisa Tuttle, Times Saturday 3 July 2010).
A figure emerges from a painting to pursue a bitter vengeance; the last transmission of a dying man haunts the airwaves, seeking to reveal his murderer; a treasure hunt disturbs an ancient presence in the silence of a lost tomb... From the vaults of the British Library comes a new anthology celebrating the best works of forgotten, never since republished, supernatural fiction from the early 20th century. Waiting within are malevolent spirits eager to possess the living and mysterious spectral guardians - a diverse host of phantoms exhumed from the rare pages of literary magazines and newspaper serials to thrill once more.
The companion volume to The Darker Sex and The Dreaming Sex, this absorbing anthology of early women's crime fiction belongs on the bookshelf of any serious crime fan Many of the leading writers of crime fiction are women--Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell et al--but it still comes as a surprise to many that the first full-length detective novel was by one Metta Fuller whose The Dead Letter, under the alias Seeley Regester, appeared as far back as 1866, predating Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone by two years. In fact, women writers were instrumental in developing the new genre of detective fiction. This anthology selects stories from the late Victorian and Edwardian era including one of the Violet Strange stories by Anna Katharine Green, known as the "mother of the detective novel;" one of the Loveday Brooke stories by Catherine Pirkis, featuring an early private woman detective; and a story by the Australian writer Mary Fortune, who had written more than 500 detective novels by the time Edward VII came to the throne.
Twenty-three spellbinding tales of sorcery, wizardry and witchcraft, of the ceaseless battle between good and evil. From dark lords and epic clashes between the forces of good and evil to a child's struggle to control magical powers for the first time this wonderfully varied collection comprises stories by the most outstanding writers of fantasy: A. C. Benson, James Bibby, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Louise Cooper, Ralph Adams Cram, Peter Crowther, Esther M. Friesner, Tom Holt, Doug Hornig, Diana Wynne Jones, Michael Kurland, Tim Lebbon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Richard A. Lupoff, Michael Moorcock, John Morressy, Tim Pratt, David Sandner, Lawrence Schimel and Mike Resnick, Darrell Schweitzer, Clark Ashton Smith, Steve Rasnic Tem and Robert Weinberg.
Howling down the tunnels comes a new collection showcasing the greatest stories of strange happenings on the tracks, many of which are republished here for the first time since their original departure. Waiting beyond the barrier are ghostly travelling companions bent on disturbing the commutes of the living, a subway car disappearing into a different dimension without a trace, and a man's greatest fears realized on the ghost train of a carnival. An express ticket to unforgettable journeys into the supernatural, from the open railways of Europe and America to the pressing dark of the tube.
What dark deed from the past haunts Major Heatherstone? Why does he
live like a hermit at Cloomber Hall, forbidding his children to
venture beyond the estate grounds? Why is he plagued by the sound
of a tolling bell, and why does his paranoia rise to frantic levels
each year on the fifth of October? With the sudden appearance of
three shipwrecked Buddhist monks, the answers to these questions
follow close behind.
Before the Apollo 11 mission succeeded in landing on the Moon in 1969, writers and visionaries were fascinated by how we might get there and what we might find. The Greeks and Romans speculated about the Moon almost two thousand years before H. G. Wells or Jules Verne wrote about it, but interest peaked from the late 1800s when the prospect of lunar travel became more viable. This anthology presents twelve short stories from the most popular magazines of the golden age of SF - including The Strand Magazine, Astounding Science Fiction and Amazing Stories - and features classic SF writers as well as lesser-known writers for dedicated fans of the genre to discover. Includes stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Judith Merril and John Wyndham.
When we think of science fiction, we think primarily of movies and
television shows, but this assumption belies the fact that the
genre's initial rise to prominence came in pulp magazines. With
lurid covers and titles like "Galaxy," "If," and "Thrilling Wonder
Stories," the science fiction pulp magazines created the visual and
thematic vocabulary that continues to animate today's science
Companion title to The Astounding Illustrated History of Science Fiction this new book reflects the same roots in Gothic literature but follows a complementary path through the 20th century, to the movies of Peter Jackson, the success of streaming TV series such as Grimm, and the fantasy of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. From the wellspring of Frankenstein, Germanic fairy tales, and heroic, epic myths a dark and fantastic path can be found to the fragmentation of the 1930s: the schlock horror of early modern movies, the invention of High Fantasy by Tolkien and fellow Inkling C.S. Lewis, and the pulp magazine powerhouse Weird Tales with Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery archetype Conan. A brilliant concoction of movie posters, stills, book covers, fantastic art and incredible timelines.
In the 1970s science fiction exploded into the popular
consciousness, appearing everywhere along the cultural
spectrum--from David Bowie's alien stage persona to the massively
successful global juggernaut that was "Star Wars," With the
American involvement in Vietnam reaching its bitter conclusion, the
Apollo moon program ending, and awareness of humanity's destructive
impact on the environment increasing, our planet began to seem a
smaller, lonelier, more fragile place--and the escapist appeal of
science fiction grew.
Sixteen spine-tingling tales from the dark side of our nation's literary history include The Gray Champion by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe, plus fables by Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry James, Mark Twain, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Frank R. Stockton, Parke Godwin, and others.
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