Brian W. Aldiss
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Once it was the greatest planet in all science fiction. Fourteen dark visions of the future, edited by Brian Aldiss
The ambition, greed, and wanderlust of man have brought him to the horizon of time, where the starlit road of the universe forks—utopia one way, oblivion the dark dead-end. Earth has been slashed by an atomic knife. A father and son gaze at the pearl-white crescent that is the last memory of Earth. At the penultimate moment of an atomic war, the ultimate god appears—pure mutant-human and pure gold. Amid great perfect cities and faultless machines. Man is a lost soul—no reason to live and no way to die.
In the masterful stories of such writers as Philip K. Dick, Brian Aldiss, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance, Earth—the first planet of science fiction—is a tarnished world. Geart civilizations have risen and fallen. Invaders have conquered and been banished. Man has mastered time and been enslaved by desire. Humanity is in a twilight, shadowed by brilliant technology and haunted by lost dreams. But in the blackness that is the unknowable future, stars still glitter with worlds to be found and hopes yet to come true.
From the forgotten annals of science fiction magazines of three decades come fourteen dynamic stories of time-travelers, mutant, golden gods, robot lovers, earth-exiles, and mind-stunning visions of earth's future—and celestial past.
Heresies of the Huge God - Brian Aldiss
Night - John W. Campbell
Film of Death - J.S. Campbell
"If I Forgot Thee, Oh Earth..." - Arthur C. Clarke
The Golden Man - Philip K. Dick
The Wound - Howard Fast
The Time Trap - Henry Kuttner
Among the Hairy Earthmen - R.A. Lafferty
Guest Expert - Allen K. Lang
Later Than You Think - Fritz Leiber
The Last Word - Chad Oliver and Charles Beaumont
The Valley - Richard Stockham
Down Among the Dead Men - William Tenn
The Men Return - Jack Vance
“For Ever, For Always.” A small girl followed and called, “Love me when I’m young.” 95 “Forever, for always,” sang Ralpha. The weirdest witch in the world followed him and called, “Love me when I’m ugly.” “For always, forever,” sang Ralpha, and pulled her down on the grass. He knew that all the creatures had been Laurie playing Bodies. But a peculiar thing happened: the prelude became more important than the play. Ralpha fell in love with his own song, and forgot Laurie who had inspired it. He
isn’t it?” he remarked. When it became apparent that the Explorer wasn’t to be provoked into another outburst, he continued, “It became my task to interpret the contents of the cache, to reconstruct its makers’ climb from animalism and savagery to civilization, their rather rapid spread across the world’s surface, their first fumbling attempts to escape from the Earth.” “THEY had spaceships?” “It’s barely possible. I rather hope they did, since it would mean the chance of a survival elsewhere,
Nirvor’s return. He edged forward cautiously, listening to the priestess’ soft laughter, and caught sight of the woman. She was moving toward the time-ship, the two leopards beside her. She entered it. The leopards sprang lithely through the portal. Greddar Klon followed. What now? Indecision held Mason motionless. His impulse was to halt the Master, kill him if possible. But how? The atomic shield could not be penetrated by any weapon made by man. And there were the leopards-----The problem was
quintessence of horror, wading through rocks he could not feel, racing through trees that did not exist. The ant trailed its prey by scent, or by some less familiar sense, and as it was blind the shifting three-dimensional mirages made no difference to it. They had been created, apparently, to confuse the enemies of the ant-monsters. Mason and Alasa would be sprinting through what seemed to be a field of emeralds, glinting under a hazy sky with a low-hanging moon, when there would come the
stark amazement in the other’s pale eyes. Amazement—and anger, red rage that surged through Erech’s viens and gave him strength enough to throw Mason down with ease. But the beast-men by now had surrounded the two. Mason felt rough hands seize him. He made no resistance. Quietly he stood up, let the beast-men drag him toward Greddar Klon. Erech was still battling furiously, but without his scimitar he was handicapped. He went down at last, still struggling. His captors trussed him up with thongs.