This is a collection of seven contemporary robot tales written by some of today's most acclaimed science fiction authors. A sentient war machine combs a beach for trinkets to create memorials for its fallen comrades in the Hugo Award-winning story, "Tideline", by Elizabeth Bear. In "Balancing Accounts", by James Cambias, a small-time independent robotic space tug is hired by a mysterious client for a voyage between two of Saturn's moons.
A collection of stories written and read by Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman, including "A Writer’s Prayer", which he says, "was written shortly before I began American Gods. I knew the first two verses when I began it, and the conclusion was there when I reached it. This is why I love writing."
Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Ed Fletcher is a real estate agent with a normal life, until one day he leaves the house for work a few minutes later than he should have. He arrives at a terrifying, grey, ash world. Ed rushes home and tells his wife, Ruth, who goes back to the office with him. When they return, everything is normal. But he soon realizes people and objects have subtly changed. Panic-stricken, he runs to a public phone to warn the police, only to have the phone booth ascend heavenward with Fletcher inside....
"Ripoff - incomplete story - chapter 1 of 3"
Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman reads stories and poems from his collection, Angels and Visitations, including "The Song of the Audience", about which Gaiman says, "I wish I knew when and where I'd written this. I found it one afternoon on the hard disk of my notebook computer. I'd suspect that it had been left there by pixies if it didn't read so much like something I'd written, and if the sentiments did not jibe so well with my own."
"I love it!"
In Speaking in Tongues, Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman reads a selection of his own stories and poems, including "The Price", which he says "is more or less true. At least, the narrator...is pretty much me, the house is my house, the cats my cats, and the family is my family."
"Remarkable stories and performance!"
In an "archeological emergency", the government hijacks a group of scientists who discover advanced ancient civilizations. After making astounding finds, they then have to find a way to get out of the government's clutches.
"one star to get to write"
In the privacy of her office, a psychiatrist torments a man suffering from a faulty memory. Or does she? When treatment becomes a struggle for power, who can separate reality from illusion, lies from truth, sanity from insanity, guilt from innocence? And what is at stake in the world outside the room?
"HAVE YOU READ 1984?"
Curiosity stirred as they inched forward. Then sharp wonder took over. They stood at the edge of a perfectly circular clear space in the hushed green glade. In the center of the sun-lit circle lay a low square dais of dazzling crystal. On the dais stood a low copper couch with strangely carved sides. And on the couch, wrapped in a robe of golden cloth, ornamented with black figures, lay the motionless figure of a man. They stood wide-eyed in fearful awe.
Included are these stories: "Even the Queen"; "At the Rialto"; "Death on the Nile"; "Why the World Didn't End Last Tuesday"; and "Close Encounter".
"Nice to hear the author"
Are vampires a bloodthirsty menace to mankind? Or simply misunderstood creatures struggling to survive? After hearing these six entertaining stories, you'll be able to decide for yourself. From the horrifying to the humorous, some of today's finest authors share stories about one of the oldest imagined evils, the vampire. From Tanith Lee's chilling story to Esther Friesner's comic tale of rival teens trying to best one another, these stories bring vampires to (un)life, in all their majesty and terror.
On the wall before him, in the dimness of the room, a great circular screen glowed opaquely, awaiting his touch: a doorway into time and space, a doorway to beauty and deadly peril and everything that made livable for him a life that had, perhaps, gone on too long. The shadows leaped backward into three-dimensional vividness that wavered for a moment and then sharpened into focus upon a desert landscape under a vivid crimson sky.
"A True Classic"
Jude Plane is just a typical teenage boy: if you happen to live in a cloistered religious enclave on a giant space station, that is. Jude's faith forbids him from using advanced technology, but that resolve will be put to the test when his father sends him to work outside the enclave, unloading freight at the station's hub. There Jude will make friends stranger than any he's known, and find himself confronted by choices he couldn't have imagined just days earlier.
"I'm inclined to like this story very much."
Joan Leeton was certainly a lovely girl. A perfect girl for an English scientist to fall in love with. Unfortunately for Will Fredericks and Bill Josephs that's exactly what happened, to both of them - and to the same girl too, Joan! But they were no ordinary scientists, and they created the most marvelous invention. A device that could perfectly replicate anything. But could it replicate a lovely girl named Joan Leeton? Could they create a love triangle with four people?
"It all began with my month's layoff between galactic service assignments. I reached Marsport for the ususla three-day stopover. Before landing, I received a spacegram from my wife, Hilda, saying she would stay and wait for me on Earth. So I called Flora and set a date. As I stepped out of the Video Booth, the first whiff of catastrophe nudged itself up to me. Rog Crinton said, 'Red Emergency Alert - come with me. Jack Hawk is dead. The galactic drug menace and his killer is on his way here.'"
"What a ripoff!"
Castle Joiry had been taken. The heavy boots of invaders rang in the hallways, and the arching ceiling echoed back the clash of falling swords. Still struggling violently, Joiry's commander was brought before the conqueror. Standing tall, armor running red with blood, Jirel of Joiry refused to surrender her home and vowed to her enemy that his victory would cost him his life, and more. That very night, Joiry's lady crept by secret ways to the castle's deepest dungeon.
"written in 1934"
Journey 3,000 years into the future, where Tyrell has lived 20 centuries and is now worshipped as a god. He and Herina, his love, were born immortal and have lived together for 300 years. Each century that passes, Tyrell must undergo a mental birthing cycle that washes away most of his memories. And each time, Herina fears he will forget her. Her fears soon turn to other matters, however, after Tyrell begins exhibiting changes no one could have expected!
"Classic Religious Science Fiction"
Seasonally-themed fantasy stories by Peter S. Beagle, all set during his teen years growing up in the Bronx (1950-1954). Each story advances one season and one year at a time, from spring ("The Stickball Witch") to summer ("Mr. McCaslin") to autumn ("The Rock in the Park") to winter ("Marty and the Messenger"), then finally concluding with "The Fifth Season," a beautifully moving story that ties past and future together in a single night.
A time traveling "talent scout" from the future visits 1962 in search of his latest recruit for the entertainment megacorporations of the late 21st century. But what if she doesn't want to come? And who pays the costs?
When Jeffrey Crowder bought his autistic son some magnets and toy electric motors to play with, he had no idea what his impulsive idea would lead to. It was just that he had played with magnets when he was a child and he remembered how much fun they had been. He thought the toy magnets and motors might be just the thing to interest his son and break through the barrier between his autistic mind and events in the outside world. They certainly did that, in a way Jeffrey could never have imagined!
The Institute team gets its first item from the secret warehouse, another crystal ball, and the team discovers the secret of the crystal balls.
"Don't buy this"