A mysterious warrior woman approaches Northwest Smith, with a tantalizing proposition, "Come with me to the green hills of earth in the distant past of 1500."excerptThe rivet-studded oaken door crashed open, splintering from the assault of pikebutts whose thunderous echoes still rolled around the walls of the tiny stone room revealed beyond the wreck of the shattered door. Jirel, the warrior-maid of Joiry, leaped in through the splintered ruins, dashing the red hair from her eyes, grinning with exertion, gripping her two-edged sword. But in the ruin of the door she paused. The mail-clad men at her heels surged around her in the doorway like a wave of blue-bright steel, and then paused too, staring.For Franga the warlock was kneeling in his chapel, and to see Franga on his knees was like watching the devil recite a paternoster. But it was no holy altar before which the wizard bent. The black stone of it bulked huge in this tiny, bare room echoing still with the thunder of battle, and in the split second between the door's fall and Jirel's crashing entry through its ruins Franga had crouched in a last desperate effort at-at what?His bony shoulders beneath their rich black robe heaved with frantic motion as he fingered the small jet bosses that girdled the altar's block. A slab in the side of it fell open abruptly as the wizard, realizing that his enemy was almost within sword's reach, whirled and crouched like a feral thing. Blazing light, cold and unearthly, streamed out from the gap in the altar."So that's where you've hidden it!" said Jirel with a savage softness.
She spoke in a tongue dead a thousand years, and she had no memory for the man she faced. Yet he had held her tightly but a few short years before, had sworn eternal vengeance-when she died in his arms from an assassin's wounds.ExcerptHe had come back, though he knew what to expect. He had always come back to Klanvahr, since he had been hunted out of that ancient Martian fortress so many years ago. Not often, and always warily, for there was a price on Dantan's head, and those who governed the Dry Provinces would have been glad to pay it. Now there was an excellent chance that they might pay, and soon, he thought, as he walked doggedly through the baking stillness of the night, his ears attuned to any dangerous sound in the thin, dry air.Even after dark it was hot here. The dead ground, parched and arid, retained the heat, releasing it slowly as the double moons-the Eyes of Thar, in Klanvahr mythology-swung across the blazing immensity of the sky. Yet Samuel Dantan came back to this desolate land as he had come before, drawn by love and by hatred.The love was lost forever, but the hate could still be satiated. He had not yet glutted his blood-thirst. When Dantan came back to Klanvahr, men died, though if all the men of the Redhelm Tribe were slain, even that could not satisfy the dull ache in Dantan's heart.Now they were hunting him.The girl-he had not thought of her for years; he did not want to remember. He had been young when it happened. Of Earth stock, he had during a great Martian drought become godson to an old shaman of Klanvahr, one of the priests who still hoarded scraps of the forgotten knowledge of the past, glorious days of Martian destiny, when bright towers had fingered up triumphantly toward the Eyes of Thar.
In a hundreds of years the Aesir had slain all who stood against them, could this one human manage to beat them?ExcerptThe thousand tiny eyes raced past him, glittering with alien ecstasy, shining brighter, ever brighter as they fed. He felt the lifeblood being sucked out of him-deeper stabbed the gelid cold-louder roared the throbbing in his ears . . . then the voice came, ""The heart of the Watcher. Crush the heart.""The man running through the forest gloom breathed in hot, panting gusts, pain tearing at his chest. Underfoot the crawling, pale network of tree-trunks lay flat upon the ground, and more than once he tripped over a slippery bole and crashed down, but he was up again instantly. He had no breath to scream. He sobbed as he ran, his burning eyes trying to pierce the shadows. Whispers rustled down from above. When the leaf-ceiling parted, a blaze of terribly bright stars flamed in the jet sky. It was cold and dark, and the man knew that he was not on Earth. They were following him, even here.A squat yellow figure, huge-eyed, inhuman, loomed in his path-one of the swamp people of Southern Venus. The man swung a wild blow at the thing, and his fist found nothing. It had vanished. But beyond it rose a single-legged giant, a Martian, bellowing the great, gusty laughter of the Redland Tribes. The man dodged, stumbled, and smashed down heavily. He heard paddling footsteps and tried, with horrible intensity of purpose, to rise. He could not. The Martian crept toward him-but it was no longer a Martian. An Earthman, with the face of some obscene devil, came forward with a sidling, slow motion. Horns sprouted from the low forehead. The teeth were fangs. As the creature came nearer, it raised its hands-twisted, gnarled talons -and slid them about the man's throat.Through the forest thundered the deep, booming clangor a brass gong. The sound shattered the phantom as a hammer shatters glass. Instantly the man was alone.
Locke was determined that Absalom would follow his rules, Absalom disagreed...ExcerptAt dusk Joel Locke came home from the university where he held the chair of psychonamics. He came quietly into the house, by a side door, and stood listening, a tall, tight-lipped man of forty with a faintly sardonic mouth and cool gray eyes. He could hear the precipitron humming. That meant that Abigail Schuler, the housekeeper, was busy with her duties. Locke smiled slightly and turned toward a panel in the wall that opened at his approach.The small elevator took him noiselessly upstairs.There, he moved with curious stealth. He went directly to a door at the end of the hall and paused before it, his head bent, his eyes unfocused. He heard nothing. Presently he opened the door and stepped into the room.Instantly the feeling of unsureness jolted back, freezing him where he stood. He made no sign, though his mouth tightened. He forced himself to remain quiet as he glanced around.It could have been the room of a normal twenty-year-old, not a boy of eight. Tennis racquets were heaped in a disorderly fashion against a pile of book records. The thiaminizer was turned on, and Locke automatically clicked the switch over. Abruptly he turned. The televisor screen was blank, yet he could have sworn that eyes had been watching him from it.This wasn't the first time it had happened.
Gallegher's robot was a beautiful genius... with a talent for troubleExcerptThings often happened to Gallegher, who played at science by ear. He was, as he often remarked, a casual genius. Sometimes he'd start with a twist of wire, a few batteries, and a button hook, and before he finished, he might contrive a new type of refrigerating unit.At the moment he was nursing a hangover. A disjointed, lanky, vaguely boneless man with a lock of dark hair falling untidily over his forehead, he lay on the couch in the lab and manipulated his mechanical liquor bar. A very dry Martini drizzled slowly from the spigot into his receptive mouth.He was trying to remember something, but not trying too hard. It had to do with the robot, of course. Well, it didn't matter."Hey, Joe," Gallegher said.The robot stood proudly before the mirror and examined its innards. Its hull was transparent, and wheels were going around at a great rate inside."When you call me that," Joe remarked, "whisper. And get that cat out of here.""Your ears aren't that good.""They are. I can hear the cat walking about, all right.""What does it sound like?" Gallegher inquired, interested."Jest like drums," said the robot, with a put-upon air. "And when you talk, it's like thunder." Joe's voice was a discordant squeak, so Gallegher meditated on saying something about glass houses and casting the first stone. He brought his attention, with some effort, to the luminous door panel, where a shadow loomed-a familiar shadow, Gallegher thought."It's Brock," the annunciator said. "Harrison Brock. Let me in!""The door's unlocked." Gallegher didn't stir. He looked gravely at the well-dressed, middle-aged man who came in, and tried to remember. Brock was between forty and fifty; he had a smoothly massaged, cleanshaven face, and wore an expression of harassed intolerance. Probably Gallegher knew the man. He wasn't sure. Oh, well.
Androids were obviously not human... so they claimedExcerptBradley looked at the Director's head. His stomach tried' to crawl up into his throat. He felt suddenly dizzy. He knew that he was betraying himself, and that would be absolutely fatal.He reached into his pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a few coins, and let the coins drop, as though by accident, to the airfoam carpet."Oh-oh," he said, and immediately crouched down to recover the money. It's a basic principle of first aid, in cases of shock or faintness, to lower the head, and Bradley was doing just that. The giddiness began to pass as his circulation picked up. In a moment, he knew, he'd have to stand up and face the Director, and by that time he was determined to have his feelings under control. But how the devil could the Director's head be where it was-after last night?And then sanity came back. He remembered that, last night, the Director couldn't possibly have recognized him through the rubber-plastic false-face he had worn. On the other hand, after last night, the Director of New Products, Inc., should have been incapable of living or breathing, not to speak of using his memory-centers. Bradley had left the man's body in one corner of the room and his head in another.Man?With a violent effort he controlled himself. He recaptured the last coin and stood up, his face flushed. "Sorry," he said. "I came in to deliver that report on the induced mutation project, not to act like a horn of plenty." His fascinated stare moved down to the Director's neck and flicked away. The high collar concealed any- any mark. Any mark, such as might have been left by razor-sharp steel shearing through flesh and bone. . . . Was there a reason for the high collar? Bradley couldn't be sure. In the fall of 2060, men's fashions had changed considerably from the uncomfortable styles of a few years before, and the Director's flaring half-cape, with its gilt-braided, close-fitting collar, was far from extreme. Bradley owned one like that himself.Lord, he thought in white panic-can't the-the things even be killed?
A stone from the stars kept vigil, and a dead man smiled, as Steve Vane bore a death token from Mercury to the man who had promised him--murder!ExcerptThe noise of pursuit was growing louder. Steve Vane's lungs ached with each knife-thrust, gasping breath of the icy air. His gray prison garments were no protection against the wintry breeze, and his thin shoes were already wet with snow and beginning to freeze.It was hard to keep going. It would be far easier to give up the mad attempt, to stop and wait, with his hands in the air, till the guards came and took him back to the bare gray walls of his cell. But--Vane took a quick glance at the grim-faced man racing along beside him--if tough little Tony Apollo could keep going, certainly husky, big-shouldered Steve Vane could grit his teeth and stagger along. But where would it end? The break had been hopeless from the start, doomed to certain failure. Only the iron determination of Tony Apollo, and the burning sense of injustice rankling within Vane had kept the latter's will firm."Pasqual framed us both," Apollo had said, his dark face sombre with hatred. "I've been in here longer than you have--but I'm getting out now. If you're smart, you're coming with me. One of us has a chance to get Pasqual before the cops nail us."And so the two had planned and fled. Blue and shaking with cold, they plunged along the bank of the river gorge toward the cabin Apollo had said would serve as a hideout.
Trance-borne to a far distant age, Pilot Ethan Court is plunged into peril and adventure on a strange new world where his courage and idealism are put to a stern test!ExcerptIt was always easier when he sank into the opium-drugged stupor from which not even torture could rouse him. At first he clung to two memories-his rank, and his Army serial number. By focusing his pain-hazed mind on those realities he was able to keep sane.After a while he didn't want to keep his sanity.Men can survive a year, or two years, in a Japanese prison camp. They may emerge maimed, spiritually sick, but alive. They remember their own names.He used to say it aloud at first, in the musty darkness of the cell."Ethan Court," he whispered to the black, hidden walls. "Ethan Court." And then-"Times Square. Tiffany's, Bretano's, Staten Island. The Yankee Stadium, pop corn, whisky sours, Greenwich Village."Presently he noticed that the sound of his voice was different, and after that he scarcely spoke. The horrible lethargy of inaction closed around him. Occasionally, though less often now, he was taken before Japanese officers who questioned him.He was somewhere in Occupied China, he knew, but since his plane had been forced down, he had been shunted for a long distance by a roundabout route. He guessed that this was a temporary headquarters, probably on the site of some old Chinese town, and he suspected that it was in the hill country. His savage captors told him nothing, of course. They just asked questions.How much could he disclose in the way of military information, the Japanese did not know. Hard-pressed, they were overlooking no bets. His stubbornness enraged them. The commander of the post, a disappointed samurai of a politically-unpopular family, gradually came to believe that a feud existed between Court and himself. It became a contest between the Japanese officer and the American, entirely passive on one side, ruthlessly active on the other.Time dragged on, while bombers roared in increasing numbers over Japan and the brown hordes sullenly withdrew from Burma and Thailand and the islands north of Borneo. This headquarters was isolated, but in a strategic spot. The commander saw the tides of war rage past him and recede. The radio gave him no comfort. The Emperor of Japan was silent upon his throne.A transfer required time. In enforced idleness, the Nipponese commander devoted himself to breaking the will of the American. Torture failed, and so he tried an ancient Japanese trick-opium. It was mixed in Court's food, and, after a while, the craving grew in him. The Jap officer kept his prisoner saturated with the drug. Court's mind dulled.
Steve Trevor investigates a report that a school of mermaids have downed a ship, and he ends up being captured by them. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and the Holliday Girls are also kidnapped when they try to rescue him, but they escape to collar a former female swimming champion who had disguised herself as King Neptune as a cover for her piracy operations. During a pre-Christmas radio program, racial and religious persecution raises its ugly head, prompting Alan Scott to use a life-and-death situation involving Doiby as an example of what America really stands for.
Swords and Sorcery clash with riveting results in these four classic stories!
"[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas." —Ray Bradbury
When Robert E. Howard died in 1936, some of the greatest science-fiction and fantasy writers stepped into the void to pen amazing tales of swords and sorcery. Weird Tales published these four stories by iconic author Henry Kuttner, perfect for fans of Conan the Barbarian, and vital for every fantasy reader. Depicting a brutal world of swords and magic, with a hint of the Lovecraft mythos, Kuttner unleashes four tales as vital in today’s Game of Thrones world as they were when they first published.
These stories include: Thunder In the Dawn The Spawn Of Dagon Beyond The Phoenix Dragon Moon
Henry Kuttner's Sword and Sorcery classic returns to print at last! World War II veteran Edward Bond's recuperation from a disastrous fighter plane crash takes a distinct turn for the weird when he encounters a giant wolf, a red witch, and the undeniable power of the need-fire, a portal to a world of magic and swordplay at once terribly new and hauntingly familiar. In the Dark World, Bond opposes the machinations of the dread lord Ganelon and his terrible retinue of werewolves, wizards, and witches, but all is not as it seems in this shadowy mirror of the real world, and Bond discovers that a part of him feels more at home here than he ever has on Earth.
When Carson first noticed the sounds in his cellar, he ascribed them to the rats. Later he began to hear the tales which were whispered by the superstitious Polish mill workers in Derby Street regarding the first occupant of the ancient house, Abigail Prinn.
"[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas." —Ray Bradbury
A master of genre writing, Hugo-nominee Henry Kuttner grabs readers from page one in his first mystery.
Psychoanalyst Dr. Michael Gray lives in San Francisco, where his thriving practice keeps him busy and his life uneventful. All of this changes when he learns about the murder of Eleanor Pope from Howard Dunne, a troubled patient. The police think that the murder was the result of a bungled burglary, but Dr. Gray is certain that the killer will strike again.
"[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas." —Ray Bradbury
A mind-bending, time-traveling novel from an undisputed master of the genre.
During World War II, four humans are hurled a billion years forward in time by a being from an alien galaxy. They have been brought to a dying Earth—to Carcasilla, Earth's last citadel—where the mutated remnants of humanity are making their final stand against the monstrous creations of a fading world.
Thrust in the middle of this desperate struggle for survival, the last humans search for a way to break the deadlock in the Armageddon at the end of time.
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