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Sometimes I fear that this war is killing that boy inside. I ache to remember him, his raw, pure heart. To forget this city moon, this Solar War, and return to the bosom of the planet that gave birth to me before the boy inside is dead forever. Before my son loses the chance to ever know him. But the worlds, it seems, have plans of their own. I force a smile. Today is our fourth Liberation Day. After two years of siege, Mercury has joined the free worlds of Luna, Earth, and Mars.


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Bars stand open. Fireworks crackle and blaze across the sky, shot from the roofs of skyscraper and tenement complex alike. With our victory on the first planet from the sun, the Ash Lord has been pushed back to his last bastion, the fortress planet Venus, where his battered fleet guards precious docks and the remaining loyalists. One last push on Venus to put this bloodydamn war to rest. So I can set down the sword and go home to my family for good. I take a moment to glance behind me. Waiting at the foot of the stairs is my Seventh Legion, or the remnants of it.

The Hammer. Wild gold hair flutters behind her head, garlanded with white feathers given to her by Obsidian admirers. She grins past the shoulders of the Obsidians and Golds around her. Blue and Red and Orange pilots wave to the crowd. Red, Gray, and Brown infantry smile and laugh as pretty young Pinks and Reds duck under barriers and rush to drape necklaces of flowers around their necks, push bottles of liquor into their hands and kisses onto their mouths.

Sevro sniffs my neck and makes a noise of distaste. You wretch. Did you dip yourself in piss before the occasion? Snorting, Sevro drops back to where the legendary Obsidian, Sefi Volarus, stands in her customary silence. He eyes the crowd with resigned distaste. Behind him lope the pack of mangy Howlers he brought with us to Mercury. My bodyguards, now drunk as gallants at a Lykos Laureltide. There used to be more of them. So many more. I smile as Wulfgar descends the stairs to meet me.

A favorite son of the Rising, the Obsidian is a tree root of a man, gnarled and narrow, armored all in pale blue. Now ArchWarden of the Republic, he smiles down at me from the step above, his black eyes crinkling at the corners. Fancy meeting you here. You should have seen the Ashies route. Trails of piss all the way to Venus. It was Sevro who put a razor in his hand in the river mud of Agea. Wulfgar has his own razor now.

Sevro sneers. You ran home like a good little dog. I am a servant of the People, my friend. As are we all. Wulfgar is a believer, like all Wardens. Brooks Ausxip Publishing Harpold Book Publishers Network Finalist Sheppard of the Argonne by G. William Weatherly iUniverse Funk Tattersall Publishing Liebhard, M. Bascom Hill, Minneapolis Winner What's Wrong With Dorfman? Conrad Rainbow Books, Inc. Finalist Eye of the Predator by Matthew J. Winner Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F. Craven Midnight Hour Studio Romero Mercury Heartlink Publishing Essential Publishing Inc.

Nuchovich, M. Finalist I have Breast Cancer — What now? Finalist WHY? Pamela Smith Archway Publishing Pham, Ph. CreateSpace Burnam Lost Coast Press Moore Muir Analytics Williams, Esq. Authorhouse Yanoff Authorhouse Winner Got Quilts? McKinley James McKinley Klein CreateSpace Earlstone CreateSpace Nazario The Quantuck Lane Press Shimi Kang, MD Tarcher Finalist The Ethics of Killing: Why is it wrong to kill an innocent human being? Snyder Chimbarazu Press Willett J. Willett There he and his crew are transformed into pure spirit.

He escapes to Phaze, a world ruled by magic, but his fate there is not much better. As he shuttles between worlds, Stile wonders if he should stay on Proton and try to win the great Games, or stay on Phaze where his survival depends on his mastering their magic. He is tall, handsome and worshipped by billions of fans around the globe. He is wealthy beyond measure, the heir apparent to one of the high-tech corporations that controls the world.

He is fashionable, setting trends with his wardrobe of immaculate designer suits. And Michael is in love with Nora, his beautiful, witty and equally perfect fiancee. When an assassin's bullets pierce Michael's body before the cameras at a press junket, everything changes. Forcibly separated from Nora, his illusions shattered, Michael seeks to uncover the reasons behind the attempted assassination.

Michael delves deep into his past, finding that all paths lead to a time when he was the golden boy, dancing furiously to the beat of notorious all-night Rage parties thrown by his father. Cities like Seattlehama are towering bastions of "sex and shopping" where "saleswarriors" and "salessoldiers" battle for customers. Most people live in the sprawling agricultural areas called slubs.

Tane Cedar, one of the world's top fashion designers, is confounded when his former lover Vada, a fugitive revolutionary, inexplicably appears near death in his showroom and asks him to complete the impossible task of finding illegal yarn and making a coat of it in just one day.

Tane's quest confronts him with the tyranny and hopelessness of the world outside of the cities while answering his questions about his nightmarish childhood and enigmatic father. Meanwhile, the power of the Pack and her deep-seated ties to Clay continually press on her, preventing a true commitment to her human lover. When the Pack Alpha calls her to help rout a band of murderous "mutts" werewolves not affiliated with the Pack , Elena reluctantly becomes the animal she has fought so long to suppress. Traders are a race that derive pleasure from the amplified pain and anguish of empaths-especially Jagernauts, as Soz knows from personal experience.

Soz is also a likely heir to the powerful Skolian Empire, rival of the Traders. On a neutral planet, she meets the Trader heir and discovers he has the unusual psi abilities her race possesses. The two link mentally and fall in love. But will Soz be forced to kill her lover to protect her empire? Though Asaro, a physicist, provides more than enough esoteric detail on faster-than-light inversion drives, cybernetic enhancements and computer networks, she manages to anchor her story with thoughtful, engaging characters and an intriguing vision of the future-and she leaves the door open for a sequel.

Sent out on a titanic Polity dreadnought, the Occam Razor, agent Cormac must investigate the disaster. Meanwhile, on the remote planet Masada, the long-term rebellion can never rise above-ground, as the slave population is subjugated by orbital laser arrays controlled by the Theocracy in their cylinder worlds, and by the fact that they cannot safely leave their labour compounds.

For the wilderness of Masada lacks breathable air The Florinians are one of the lightest-skinned people in a galaxy where racial categories seem to have been forgotten, except by the people of Sark. One of the characters, Dr. Selim Junz, comes from Libair, a planet with some of the galaxy's darkest-skinned people, and feels sympathy for the Florinians. The possible destruction of Florina is predicted by Rik, a native of the Earth, who has discovered that Florina's sun is about to explode into a nova because it is being fed carbon by one of the "currents of space".

Yet all is not well with the Galactic Empire. Its vast size is crippling to it. In particular, the administrative planet, honeycombed and tunneled with offices and staff, is vulnerable to attack or breakdown. The only person willing to confront this imminent catastrophe is Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian and mathematician. Seldon can scientifically predict the future, and it doesn't look pretty: a new Dark Age is scheduled to send humanity into barbarism in years.

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He concocts a scheme to save the knowledge of the race in an Encyclopedia Galactica. But this project will take generations to complete, and who will take up the torch after him? The series was given a retro-Hugo award. The scientists of the First Foundation had proved victorious; and now they retum to Hari Seldon's long-established plan to build a new Empire that the Second Foundation is not destroyed after all-and that its still-defiant survivors are preparing their revenge. Now the two exiled citizens of the Foundation-a renegade Councilman and the doddering historian-set out in search of the mythical planet Earth.

Meanwhile someone-or something-outside of both Foundations sees to be orchestrating events to suit its own ominous purpose. Soon representatives of both the First and Second Foundations will find themselves racing toward a mysterious world called Gaia and a final shocking destiny at the very end of the universe! They know the truth--but who will listen?

They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy--but who will believe? These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival. Calling himself "Snowman," he recalls the role of his best friend Crake and moourns the loss of their mutually beloved Oryx. Anna Blume - young, beautiful, and once a pampered rich girl - describes her years in an unnamed doomed land searching for her long-lost brother, a journalist who disappeared while on assignment.

Smith, formerly a successful assassin, is trying to retire, hoping to live an honest life in obscurity in spite of all those who have sworn to kill him.

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But when he agrees to be the master of a caravan from traveling from the inland city of Troon to Salesh by the sea, trouble follows. Mary establishes a barter-and-trade system at her new bar, the Empress of Mars. But when BAC attempts to reclaim colonist land, Mary and her patrons must find ways to outwit the company. A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks news of an ancient enemy.

A military genius plots to conquer the known world for his Emperor but dreams of the throne for himself. The spiritual leader of the Thousand Temples seeks a Holy War to cleanse the land of the infidel. An exiled barbarian chieftain seeks vengeance against the man who disgraced him. And into this world steps a man like no other, seeking to bind all - man and woman, emperor and slave - to his own mysterious ends.

But the fate of men - even great men - means little when the world itself may soon be torn asunder. Behind the politics, beneath the religious fervour, a dark and ancient evil is reawakening. After two thousand years, the No-God is returning. The Second Apocalypse is nigh. And one cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten Mallory searches for water to resuscitate the lower Sahara. At the heart of the stories lies the bitter paradox that the extraordinary creative power of man's imagination is matched only by his reckless instinct for destruction.

Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is surreally transformed into a reality more akin to a dreamscape. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man's urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an apocalyptic climax.

But now it languishes in uneasy decay, populated only by forgotten movie stars, solitary impresarios and artistic and literary failures, a place where love and lust pall before the stronger pull of evil. Included in the Complete Stories, available in Braille. Sharrow's only hope for survival rests on locating the legendary weapon known as the Lady Gun before the Huhsz find her. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random.

The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

Amazon cheap. The Department of Special Circumstances--the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section--has sent him off to investigate a 2,year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself. There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. OCPL Amazon cheap. He has only one life left - one last chance to catch his killer.

His only clues point to a conspiracy beyond his own murder. For a catastrophe is fast approaching the earth from which there is no escape - until a loophole through apocalypse is discovered. And a chosen few will do anything to keep it a secret. Someone has betrayed Sessine, killed him before he could uncover the truth.

Now he has three days before his funeral to live the way men used to live: restricted to one life where one mistake could be his last. One character thinks in phonetic English. Vosill, a lowly female, becomes physician to ailing King Quience, while warrior DeWar is the personal bodyguard go Gen.

Both are mistrusted as outsiders and, although they never meet, both are connected. They were attacks of incredible proportion -- gigadeathcrimes.

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But the war ended, and life went on. Now, eight hundred years later, light from the first explosion is about to reach the Masaq' Orbital, home to the Culture's most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq's 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture's own complicity in the terrible event.

Ferbin locates his sister, Djan, in the Culture, a technologically advanced interstellar civilization, and the siblings seek revenge against their father's killer. At its heart lies the sensualist and master art forger, Gentle, whose life unravels when he encounters Judith Odell, whose power to influence the destinies of men is vaster than she knows, and Pie 'oh' pah, an alien assassin who comes from a hidden dimension. That dimension is one of five in the great system called Imajica.

They are worlds that are utterly unlike our own, but are ruled, peopled, and haunted by species whose lives are intricately connected with ours. As Gentle, Judith, and Pie 'oh' pah travel the Imajica, they uncover a trail of crimes and intimate betrayals, leading them to a revelation so startling that it changes reality forever. His only connections with the past are computer messages he apparently left to himself. As he pieces his history together, he learns some very unpleasant things about himself and the world during his long lifetime.

Soldier, criminal, assassin, and spy appear to be some of his previous occupations. As perpetual storms threaten to decimate Earth's population, politicians, scientists, and visionaries grope for solutions while ordinary people struggle to stay alive. Braille Amazon cheap. Then, when his father dies suddenly, George stumbles onto a family secret: a sister he never knew existed. A twin named Rosa, raised in Rome by an enigmatic cult.

Hoping to find the answers to the missing pieces of his life, George sets out for the ancient city. Once in Rome, he learns from Rosa the enthralling story of their distant ancestor, Regina, an iron-willed genius determined to preserve her family as the empire disintegrates around her. It was Regina who founded the cult, which has mysteriously survived and prospered below the streets of Rome for almost two millennia.

The Order, says Rosa, is her real family. They are all so young and so very much alike. Wells' classic novel of the same name had fallen into government hands? That's the question that led Stephen Baxter to create this modern-day sequel, which combines a basic Wellsian premise with a Baxteresque universe-spanning epic.

The Time Traveller, driven by his failure to save Weena from the Morlocks, sets off again for the future. But this time the future has changed, altered by the very tale of the Traveller's previous journey. Imaginatively created from the true lives and real events. A petty crook puts on the suit, becomes clever, strong, and rich, and experiences some mind-bending adventures in space.

Because Old Earth treats its women as subservient, they have no female ambassadors, but Angelo and Vincent are gay—or "gentle"—and though they are shunned by the dictatorial government they serve, they're the only negotiators acceptable to the Amazonian rulers. The two men arrive ostensibly to return stolen art, a show of goodwill that will hopefully reopen long-stalled diplomacy between the two governments. In truth, they have been sent in an effort to secure, by any means necessary, the secret to the mysterious power source that runs Amazonia.

Playing the deceitful powers against each other, however, Angelo and Vincent are really working toward an agenda of their own, one that will decide the fate of humanity itself. Their quest for a safer home tangles with their society's own quest for safety, as the descendents of an artificial intelligence and the genetically engineered crew battle for control to save the ship from an impending supernova. In our time, three people who can alter the course of fate, a murky past, and the dreams of a decaying city at the end of time are brought together by a newspaper ad and into the hands of collectors of their kind.

Back in the future, the strange characters include keepers and the Librarian, who seek to protect history, and others who welcome Chaos. As the lines of fate and possibility collapse toward inevitability, the three fateshifters resort to the tenuous protection of a Seattle warehouse full of books as a storm that threatens to destroy everything approaches.

If the trio survives and holds onto memory through the disaster, memory will begin again, the long decay of reality will end, and mysteries will be solved in the eye of the storm. The answer is evil and all too human, as governments put the kids in camps to protect regular folks from imagined dangers. Mitch and Kaye, scientists whose daughter Stella is swept up in the fray, become unwillingly involved in the politics that erupt around the issue of the new humans. Meantime, in Soviet Georgia, Kaye Lang, a microbiologist, is investigating a massacre site, where pregnant women were exterminated.

These events relate by way of elliptical scientific reasoning to a retrovirus being hunted by U. Called SHEVA, it causes genetic mutations in embryos and may also be an agent of evolution, ushering into being a new race of humans. Now a daring expedition plans to do the impossible: return the Jurassic giants to the wild.

Two filmmakers, a circus trainer, a journalist, and a young Peter Belzoni must find a way to take the dinosaurs across oceans, continents, rivers, jungles, up a mountain that has been isolated for 70, years Exploration shows that it is divided into seven man-made, hollowed-out chambers, indicating that it had been inhabited. Scientists discover that it was built by Earth people, but in the far distant future, and that a nuclear war is imminent. It becomes crucial that theoretical mathematician Patricia Vasquez discover why the former habitants left and where they went.

As political rivals, inhuman alien intelligences, and travelers from alternate worlds meet in a corridor of possibilities, the destiny of the world hinges on the fragility of human choice. Naked, disoriented, and forced by extreme temperature and gravity fluctuations to find safety somewhere among a confusing network of passageways, the man eventually receives help from an odd assortment of fellow Dreamtime refugees.

Taking stock of their surroundings, while avoiding onboard killing machines, the gang quickly realizes the starship has given them each a unique role to play, including discovering collectively why the ship has been seriously damaged and cast aside from its mission to seek out habitable worlds. While opposing political factions on Mars battle for the support of colonists, scientists make a staggering scientific breakthrough that at once fuels the conflict and creates a united Mars front, as the technically superior Earth tries to take credit for it.

Backed against a wall, colonial leaders are forced to make a monumental decision that changes the future of Mars forever. That crime and that question lead a biotransformed policewoman to a jungle of torture and forgotten gods; a writer to the Bohemian shadows of a vast city; and a scientist directly into the mind - into the nightmare soul - of the psychopath himself. Yet when cutting-edge researcher Hal Cousins travels deep below the ocean's surface in a two-man submersible, seeking primitive lifeforms that may hold the key to immortality, his pilot attacks him.

Barely surviving, Hal maneuvers the sub to the surface--and finds a fellow scientist has shot up his research ship. Then his lab is destroyed, his twin brother leaves a mysterious message saying they're both being pursued by an unknown force, and his sister-in-law calls to tell him his twin, who is also researching life extension, has been murdered. Someone or something has already discovered the secret of eternal life. It has immense power and influence, and it will stop at nothing to protect its secret. The last P. Little does Lou know that the search is going to put her up against a murderous tycoon, brutal police, her abusive ex-husband, and a powerful AI-or that Kid is far, far more than he seems.

Their prey is the Aleph--an unknowable alien artifact that roamed and ruled Ganymede for countless millennia. Indescribable, infinitely dangerous, the Aleph haunts men's dreams and destroys all efforts to terraform Ganymede into a habitable planet.

Now in a modern world ancient struggle is joined, as a boy seeks manhood, a man seeks enlightenment, and a society seeks the power to rule the universe. Eventually, it began engulfing ancient civilizations in its never-ending roaming across the expanse of time and space. When it reaches the edge of Earth's solar system, three scientists, Benjamin Knowlton, his wife Channing, and their friend and colleague Kingsley Dart, take on the fight to prevent the black hole, named Eater, from annihilating the Earth.

He persuades Mission Control to let him put it in a large fissure he discovered, so it would be even more effective. They let him. In the fissure, Nigel discovers strips of metal worked in obviously artificial patterns. Enter John Axelrod, eccentric billionaire and space aficionado. His Consortium launches a bare-bones Mars expedition that is closely followed by a Chinese-European attempt, and the race for Mars is on. Landing on the Red Planet, veteran astronaut Julia Barth and her comrades run into difficulties. Their return craft has suffered serious damage and may not be repairable. Even if they can lift off, they discover that their nuclear-powered Chinese-European competitor, although launching later than they did, may have the sheer power necessary to return to Earth first.

Then, after months of fruitless searching, Julia discovers evidence of life on Mars. But the mission's brilliant robot leader, R. Daneel Olivaw, has discovered a potential enemy far deadlier--and closer--than he ever imagined. One of his own kind. One day the device malfunctions. He stumbles upon the scene of a murder about to take place.

Unable to convince authorities to look into the matter, he launches his own investigation. Unimat Incorporated is trying to stop the destruction by introducing a new building material. Special interests are up in arms. Environmentalists blame technology for the problem and want a different solution. Steel workers worry about jobs and safety. Now someone has hired a contract killer to stop the project.

How can Abledan expose the killer without becoming a target? III started. Three more followed. The time is The earth is now sunless and people live underground. Report of a planet that is everything ours once was provokes an exploration ship from the Sinoeuropean Federation, tailed by ones from the Aramerussian and Samurai military empires. Meanwhile, an incredible energy source is detected beneath the iced-over ruins of the Inca Empire.

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In doing so, he becomes the pathfinder of man's destiny among the stars. The cultists intend to marry the girl to the grotesque son of their leader. Later, they make new lives for themselves in the fabulous, horrific and corrupt city of Ashamoil, where beautiful artists occasionally turn into sphinxes, babies are born half crocodile, flowers spring from freshly dead corpses and drunken priests work useless miracles. Characters love to discuss theology, aesthetics and ethics, and they're prone to obsessive love affairs with inappropriate partners.

They're also capable of committing cold-blooded and gruesome murder with little or no remorse. Joshua Kampa, is torn between two worlds—the Early Pleistocene Africa of his dreams and the twentieth-century reality of his waking life. These worlds are transposed when a government experiment sends him over a million years back in time. Here, John builds a new life as part of a tribe of protohumans. But the reality of early Africa is much more challenging than his fantasies. With the landscape, the species, and John himself evolving, he reaches a temporal crossroads where he must decide whether the past or the future will be his present.

The mothballed, never-used, joint U. On board, in addition to the movie crew, is a stowaway teenage girl, who, when the leading lady does not awaken from suspended animation, gets her big chance to become a movie queen--maybe. Back on Earth, business mergers are threatening not only her chances, but also that of the entire voyage, as Mission Control goes bankrupt and can no longer provide the sophisticated course correction the Mary Poppins requires.

Anthony's Church, driven by a compulsive urge to silence the bells. In a deserted alley, a random victim is consumed by a torrent of flames. And in the light of day, a man named Walt Stebbins receives a glass jar containing the preserved body of a bluebird. As Walt unravels the mystery of the bird in a jar, he will learn that the battle between good and evil is raging every day, where you would least expect it.

Here, a night of bangers and ale at the local pub can result in an eternity at the Blood Pudding with the rest of the reanimated dead. Ives, is devastated by murder and surrounded by mayhem in the midst of an uproar over and battles to possess a wondrous machine with the power to travel through Time itself. An astutely told science fiction adventure laced through and through with humanity, reflection, high escapades, drama, and coming to grips with the terrible specter of death.

Southern California -- sunny days, blue skies, neighbors on flying bicycles It is a place of wonder A place rife with adventure - if one knows where to look for it. Two such seekers are the teenagers Jim Hastings and his friend, Giles Peach. Giles was born with a wonderful set of gills along his neck and insatiable appetite for reading.

Will he reach the center of the earth? Not only do they lack the seven deadly sins, they also lack original sin. And without any sort of religious framework, they have created the Christian ideal world, one that humans would be eager to study and emulate. But is it too perfect?

And what role does Egtverchi, the young Lithian raised on Earth, play? Is he an innocent victim of circumstance, or will he bring about the Dies Irae, the day of the wrath of God, upon the earth? His battle to realize his dream results in two momentous discoveries: anti-gravity and the secret of immortality.

In A Life for the Stars , it is centuries later and antigravity generations have enabled whole cities to lift off the surface of the earth to become galactic wanderers. In Earthman, Come Home , the nomadic cities revert to barbarism and marauding rogue cities begin to pose a threat to all civilized worlds. In the final novel, The Triumph of Time , historyrepeats itself as the cities once again journey back in to space making a terrifying discovery which could destroy the entire Universe.

But David is a prisoner -- a captive of the colony that created him -- destined to spend the days of his life in an island-sized cylinder that circles a doomed and desperate home planet. Thousands of miles below him, a world trembles; its people cringe in terror and despair in anticipation of an impending apocalypse. And as Earth's boundaries, fate has cast one extraordinary human in the role of savior.

For David Adams has a plan -- one that will ultimately ensure the salvation of his species. Dangerously skeptical, Archer gets involved in subversion when he discovers that some fellow scientists are conducting unauthorized experiments e. The latter involves a liquid-filled spaceship-cum-submarine whose crew has been surgically modified to breathe liquid and communicate through electronic implants with the ship and one another. The mission succeeds by the skin of its teeth with the help of sapient Jovians--free-floating entities, each the size of a small asteroid. On touchdown, he is so overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment that he utters a Navajo phrase instead of the political statement he is supposed to read.

This sets off a chain reaction among the leaders and politicians on Earth. Thus starts Bova's sprawling space opera. The expedition, seen from Jamie's point of view, is really the protagonist here.

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The story is filled with lots of characters of different nationalities and there's plenty of political intrigue. But even as former astronaut Paul Stavenger seeks to turn a handful of leftover government moon shelters into a full-fledged moonbase, powerful corporate forces are aligning against him. Halliday, seems determined to single-handedly turn an embittered nation around from economic, political, and social ruin.

No one could be prouder than his devoted press secretary Meric Albano. But is the President accomplishing this monumental task alone? After one of the President's rare public appearances, a derelict is found dead nearby. A derelict who not only looks like the President, but whose blood, retinas, even fingerprints match those of the man in charge. Is the real President, the man Albano swore loyalty to, still in office?

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Is this part of a plot to topple American democracy? Al-Bashir has powerful allies, among them oil magnate Wendell T. Garrison, but Dan can turn to his own friends, including a female staff member who penetrates al-Bashir's organization. Among them are Malcolm Eberly, recruited by the Holy Disciples from a prison in Vienna with strict instructions to ensure the population chooses the path of righteousness. Eberly agrees to his covert task, confident he can impose his own rule, but he finds that gaining control is harder than he thought.

Holy Disciple spies continually get in his way, while one of his subordinates murders for a promotion. Blackmail, subterfuge and another planned murder pile on top of Eberly's machinations to rig an election. Racing against one another for the prize are Alex's aimless younger brother, Van the story's narrator, who's just been disowned by Martin , and legendary asteroid-miner Lars Fuchs, who detests Martin as much as Martin detests Van.

Van's expedition goes bad early on; high above Venus, colonies of alien "bugs" eat through his ship's hull, forcing him and his crew, several of whom die, to seek refuge on Fuchs's stronger craft. The Time Rangers, Apollo's chosen servants, are in charge of preserving the peace and harmony along the Time Stream, the pathway between various worlds and times, but Apollo has given them a new task—to protect Timothy Macauley, the chosen one who must become the president of the United States or else witness the destruction of humankind.

Standing in the Rangers's way are other gods: Mercury, who's working his wiles in the world of public relations; Diana, cruising New York City in the guise of an NYPD detective; Pluto, who is in the process of grooming his successor; and Dionysus, who has caused the annihilation of an alternate world. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall.

Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home.

Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids Written in the s, the chronicles drip with nostalgic atmosphere--shady porches with tinkling pitchers of lemonade, grandfather clocks, chintz-covered sofas.

But longing for this comfortable past proves dangerous in every way to Bradbury's characters--the golden-eyed Martians as well as the humans. Starting in the far-flung future of , expedition after expedition leaves Earth to investigate Mars. The Martians guard their mysteries well, but they are decimated by the diseases that arrive with the rockets. Colonists appear, most with ideas no more lofty than starting a hot-dog stand, and with no respect for the culture they've displaced.

Brin raises questions not only of understanding but of ethics, for a "patron" race may genetically uplift another only to indenture them. The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies. Nest is also being tailed by John Ross, a shining Knight of the Word who wants to keep her from the Feeders' jaws.

Meanwhile, in the real world that dominates the novel, Nest Freemark is being stalked by a handsome, evil classmate who she has rejected, and a pack of surly, insurgent striking steelworkers plot a bombing at the company's Fourth of July picnic. The boy and the bombers are unaware that they're being subconsciously manipulated by the Demon. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world.

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him But then an archeology team accidentally activates a terrible weapon: a weapon that will destroy the entire colony, and its star, if they cannot deactivate it.

The Biolathe Corporation is sending a spaceship to study the dragonlike form, determine whether it is of natural or artificial origin, and, perhaps, return with a specimen. The round-trip voyage will take about three years of the crew's subjective time; meanwhile, years will have passed on Earth. Eagerly joining the crew of three men and two women, exobiologist Sam Fisher becomes ever more obsessed with what he considers his dragon. The colony is also the source of rhapsody, a potent drug, and when a friend overdoses under odd circumstances, Vaughan suspects a connection.

He and cop Jimmy Chandra set off for Verkerk's World and soon uncover a plot around a rhapsody-fueled religion. And there's no shortage of possibilities: the Gottschalk cartel is fomenting trouble among the knees in order to sell their latest armaments to the blanks; which ties in nicely with the fact that something big is brewing with the X Patriots. And then there's the story that just falls into his lap: the one that suggests that the respected director of the New York State Mental Hospital is a charlatan Is this private nightmare the result of a massive official cover-up?

Or is it somehow connected with rumours of gigantic flying monsters in the skies? Then the mysterious substance responds to music and begins to move, and Reilly becomes convinced of its sentience. When it kills a man, scientist Roman Sacony, whose company owns the pond, is determined to utterly destroy the emerging life form, while CJ insists on trying to save it.