By: Murray Leinster (1896-1975)
The Mad Planet
It is 30,000 years following dramatically changed climate conditions on earth which had let massive amounts of carbon dioxide belch from the interior of the planet into the atmosphere. Over the millenia this would have quite devastating effects on life as it had once been known. Much of the human and animal population would not survive the climate change, and indeed those few humans who did survive knew nothing of all which their predecessors had learned and built. Indeed, they knew not even of their existence...
This World Is Taboo
Calhoun is an Interstellar Medical Serviceman, and he's needed on Dara. Trouble is: Dara is forbidden. Taboo. And breaking quarantine will make Calhoun a presumed plague-carrier and subject to being shot on sight by anyone from Weald. But hey! If he did the smart thing, we wouldn't have a story!But why are men from Dara shooting at him?
Bors felt as if he'd been hit over the head. This was ridiculous! He'd planned and carried out the destruction of that warship because the information of its existence and location was verified by a magnetometer.But, if he'd known how the information had been obtained--if he'd known it had been guessed at by a discharged spaceport employee, and a paranoid personality, and a man who used a hazel twig or something similar--if he'd known that, he'd never have dreamed of accepting it. He'd have dismissed it flatly!
The Hate Disease
Dr. Calhoun and his pet tormal Murgatroyd work for the Interstellar Medical Service making routine public health inspections on far-flung colonial planets. When they reach Tallien Three they are greeted with a rocket attack by the Paras, a mutated form of human rapidly replacing the “normals”. The normals think it’s a pandemic of demonic possession but Calhoun has his doubts. If he can keep from turning into a Para, or being assassinated by them he just might figure this thing out. – The Hate Disease was first published in the August 1963 edition of Analog Science Fact and Fiction magazine.
The Runaway Skyscraper
Arthur Chamberlain has problems. His one-man engineering firm is faltering and his pretty secretary Estelle barely notices him. But these problems are put aside when his Manhattan office building falls into the fourth dimension. Madison Square is filled with wigwams and it’s up to Arthur to engineer a way to make his building to fall back to the future. – The Runaway Skyscraper first appeared in the February 22, 1919 issue of Argosy magazine.
Operation: Outer Space
Jed Cochrane is about to take off on man's first interstellar voyage. His mission: Make sure it's good television! (Introduction by Mark Nelson)
The Machine that Saved the World
They were broadcasts from nowhere--sinister emanations flooding in from space--smashing any receiver that picked them up. What defense could Earth devise against science such as this? In the far future of 1972, on a secret military installation, Staff Sergeant Bellews is an expert on the latest scientific discovery: a way for ordinary machines like vacuums and lawnmowers to gather experience in their jobs, becoming error free over time. Then the strange broadcasts began to blow up transmitters everywhere. Were they from space? Enemies? the future? He didn't care until they started messin' with his machines. Then he took it personally. (summary from the first chapter and Phil Chenevert)
SPACE PLATFORM tells the exciting story of a young man helping to build this first station. With scientific accuracy and imagination Murray Leinster, one of the world's top science-fiction writers, describes the building and launching of the platform. Here is a fast-paced story of sabotage and murder directed against a project more secret and valuable than the atom bomb!
By: Harry Harrison (1925)
Jason dinAlit, an inhabitant of the planet Porgostrosaand, is a fast talking, conniving, tough as nails, gun toting gambler whose ethics wax and wane with each planet he travels to. He also has amazing psionic abilities which means he is gifted with a variety of psychic abilities including telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis and a host of other interesting capabilities. He is not above using these to tip the odds in his favor while gambling. A chance meeting with Kerk Pyrrus who is the Ambassador of planet Pyrrus ends up with dinAlit traveling back with the Ambassador to Pyrrus...
Planet of the Damned
Once in a generation, a man is born with a heightened sense of empathy. Brion Brandd used this gift to win the Twenties, an annual physical and mental competition among the best and smartest people on Anvhar. But scarcely able to enjoy his victory, Brandd is swept off to the hellish planet Dis where he must use his heightened sense of empathy to help avert a global nuclear holocaust by negotiating with the blockading fleet, traversing the Disan underworld, and cracking the mystery of the savagely ruthless magter. Summary by Great Plains.
The Ethical Engineer
The Ethical Engineer also known as Deathworld II finds our hero Jason dinAlt captured to face justice for his crimes, but the ever-wily gambler crashes his transport on a primitive planet populated by clans that hoard knowledge. It’s a difficult situation for a guy who just wants to get back to Pyrrus. – The Ethical Engineer was first published in the July and August 1963 issues of Analog Science Fact & Fiction.
Arm of the Law
A quiet backwater outpost on Mars gets a surprise in the form of a new police recruit - in a box! Yep, it's a prototype robot cop sent to the backwater station for testing. And Harrison tells the strange, funny and scary things that begin to happen after that, as only he can.
By: Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838-1926)
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
If you've never heard the term “Mathematical Fiction” before, Edwin Abbott Abbott's 1884 novella, Flatland can certainly enlighten you! Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions was published in 1884 and since then, it has been discovered and re-discovered by succeeding generations who have been delighted by its unique view of society and people. The plot opens with a description of the fictional Flatland. The narrator calls himself “Square” and asks readers to “Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Squares, Triangles, Pentagons, Hexagons and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about...
By: Lester Del Rey (1915-1993)
Badge of Infamy
Shifting between Earth and Mars, Badge of Infamy focuses on the gripping tale of a former doctor who becomes a pariah due to being temporarily governed by emotion and compassion, rather than complying with the highly regarded rules established by the Medical Lobby. Furthermore, the novel covers numerous topics including justice, brutality, betrayal, ethics, political control, and lobbying. Set in the year 2100, the novel begins with the introduction of its protagonist, Daniel Feldman, an ethical man, who makes the terrible mistake of going against the fixed medical protocol and performing surgery to save the life of a friend...
By: Lester del Rey
Lester del Rey (1915 – 1993) was a Golden Age science fiction author and editor closely connected to John W. Campbell Jr. and Astounding Science Fiction magazine. He also founded Del Rey Books, a popular publishing label he edited with his wife Judy-Lynn. Victory is the story of an undefended Earth in a warring galaxy. It appeared in the August 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.
The Sky Is Falling
After dying in a terrible accident at a building site, Dave Hanson finds himself being brought back to life in a world where magic is real, and where the sky is breaking apart and falling. And he is expected to put it back together again. Will he be able to save this strange world, and his own new life?
Let'em Breathe Space
The old space freighter Wahoo is all Dr. Pietro can afford for his expedition to the rings of Saturn. Although built for a crew of 6 the good doctor crams 19 people into the Wahoo, and after 5 months they are really getting on each other’s nerves. Then someone starts killing people and poisoning the air giving plants in the hydroponics bay. Can our hero Paul Tremaine find the killer before he suffocates? Perhaps you should hold your breath. – Let’em Breathe Space was first published in the July 1953 edition of Space Science Fiction magazine.
Police Your Planet
Bruce Gordon looked at his ticket, grimaced at the ONE WAY stamped on it, then tore it into bits and let the pieces scatter over the floor. He counted them as they fell; thirty pieces in all, one for each year of his life. Little ones for the two years he'd wasted as a cop. Shreds for the four years as a kid in the ring before that--he'd never made the top. Bigger bits for two years also wasted in trying his hand at professional gambling; and the six final pieces that spelled his rise from special reporter helping out with a police shake-up coverage, through a regular leg-man turning up rackets, and on up like a meteor until...
By: Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)
The Variable Man
Predictability has come a long way. The computers of the future can tell you if you’re going to win a war before you fire a shot. Unfortunately they’re predicting perpetual standoff between the Terran and Centaurian Empires. What they need is something unpredictable, what they get is Thomas Cole, a man from the past accidently dragged forward in time. Will he fit their calculations, or is he the random variable that can break the stalemate? – The Variable Man first appeared in the September, 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction magazine.
Early victories by the USSR in a global nuclear war cause the United Nations government to retreat to the moon leaving behind troops and fierce autonomous robots called “Claws”, which reproduce and redesign themselves in unmanned subterranean factories. After six bloody years of conflict the Soviets call for an urgent conference and UN Major Joseph Hendricks sets out to meet them. Along the way he will discover what the Claws have been up to, and it isn’t good… - Second Variety was first published in the May 1953 edition of Space Science Fiction Magazine.
The Crystal Crypt & Beyond the Door
Two early science fiction stories by the wonderful craftsman, Philip K. Dick. In the Crystal Crypt, taken from the 1954 Planet Stories, the war between Mars and Terra is about to erupt and earth has only merchants and salesmen to fight; can they carry out their mission? Beyond the Door is a story that asks and answers the question: what lives beyond the door? And is it dangerous?
The terrible destruction of total nuclear war between the Western and Eastern Blocks has succeeded in sterilizing the surface of the earth. No living creature can now exist there and all humans on both sides, have fled to the hives built miles below the surface where they constantly work to produce the war materials necessary to carry on the battle. For 8 years now, the actual fighting between these super powers has been conducted by robots known as Ledeys since only they can sustain the terrible levels of radiation caused by the constant bombardment...
Beyond Lies the Wub & The Skull
Two stories in the inimitable Philip Dick style. What is a Wub? A 400 pound slovenly, fat, ungainly, drooling animal that looks like a cross between a walrus and an enormous hog? Well, yes that is pretty much what he looks like and for 50 cents, a good bargain no matter how he tastes. The hungry spaceship crew expect to find out. Of course the Wub may not entirely agree but it doesn't have much to say about it. The second story, The Skull, is a skilful mesh of time travel, unscrupulous governments, prisoners, and religion. With an assassin thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
The Eyes Have It & Tony and the Beetles
Aliens have invaded the earth! Horrible one celled creatures disguised as normal human beings ! Well, at least that is what it seems to the author. Yes, The Eyes Have It is a whimsical story, making gentle fun of certain writing styles, but only a topflight science-fictionist like Philip Dick , we thought, could have written this story, in just this way. Tony and the Beetles takes place far in the future when Earth's enormous colonial empire is well established but the question is, how long can it last? 10 year old Tony grows up fast when history catches up with the human race. A sobering look at human history .. and our probable future. Two very different stories but both entertaining.
By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
The War in the Air
War in the Air was written during a prolific time in H. G. Wells's writing career. Having withdrawn from British politics to spend more time on his own ideas, he published twelve books between 1901 and 1911, including this one. while many British citizens were surprised by the advent of World War I, Wells had already written prophetically about such a conflict. War in the Air predicted use of airplanes in modern war.
In the Days of the Comet
William ("Willie") is a student living in the British town of Clayton. As a Socialist, he tries to move power from the upper class to the working class. Interestingly, in a fictitious confrontation Britain declares war on Germany. Willie falls in love with Nettie, but when she elopes with an upper-class man, Willie resolves to kill them both. Throughout the novel there is present in the sky a large comet which gives off a green glow. As Willie prepares to shoot the lovers, two battleships appear and begin shelling the coast, causing Willie to nearly lose his targets...
By: Philip Jose Farmer (b. 1918)
The Green Odyssey
Alan Green is a space traveler stranded on a barbaric planet who has been taken slave and made a consort to an insipid and smelly queen. His slave-wife, though beautiful and smart, nags him constantly. He’s given up hope of ever returning to Earth when he hears of two astronauts who have been captured in a kingdom on the other side of the planet, and sets out on an action-packed journey on a ship sailing across vast grasslands on rolling pin-like wheels in a desperate scheme to save them and return home. Due to the non-renewal of its copyright, this book is in the public domain.
Rastignac The Devil
French colonists on a planet ruled by reptiles and amphibians are forced to wear living “skins” that subdue aggression and enforce vegetarianism. As children, Rastignac and his reptile friend Mapfarity force themselves to become carnivores and begin a protein fueled journey that causes Rastignac to develop a Philosophy of Violence. When a spaceship from Earth crashes in the ocean, Rastignac and company must put their philosophy to the test. - Rastignac The Devil was first published in the May 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe Magazine.
By: William Shuler Harris (b. 1865)
Life in a Thousand Worlds
A jolly romp, which could be perhaps be described as Gulliver’s Travels Through Our Solar System and Beyond, as written by a great admirer of C. S. Lewis, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, after one too many mugs of cocoa. Includes some thought on alien philosophies and how to apply them to moral and social problems here on Planet Earth.
By: Keith Laumer (1925-1993)
Gambler's World & The Yillian Way
Here are two stores starring the always unconventional Terrestrial Diplomat, Retief. As a diplomat, Retief does not always follow procedure. Well the truth is that he almost never follows procedure but somehow his wit and strength manage to salvage most situations from the bumbling of his superiors. His sardonic approach to inter galactic negotiations in these two stories is a delight to hear. Despite everything, he manages to save the day and come out on top.
By: John Ruskin
The King of the Golden River
When three brothers mortally offend Mr. Southwest Wind, Esquire, their farm is laid waste and their riches lost. Desperate for money, the brothers become goldsmiths and melt down their remaining treasures . . . only to find that the spirit of the King of the Golden River resides with a molded tankard, and knows the secret of the riches of the Golden River. (Introduction by Xenutia)
By: Plague Ship (1912-2005)
The sequel to Plague Ship, Voodoo Planet finds the Solar Queen banned from trade and starting her supposed quiet two-year stint as an interstellar mail carrier. But instead her crew accepts a visit to the safari planet of Khatka, where they find themselves caught in a battle between the forces of reason and the powers of Khatka’s mind-controlling wizard.