Once there was unlimited magic, but reckless magicians have used up the "mana", the power behind the magic. Larry Niven opens his world to the storytelling talents of Poul Anderson, Steven Barnes, Mildred Downey Broxon, and Dean Ing with stories that tap the hidden reserves of mana and uncover the forgotten places of power.
"Not the best effort"
Once there was magic in the world. But hordes of selfish, short-sighted magicians have used up the mana that moved the world, and the magic goes away. Even the most powerful spells are fast becoming futile, and so Orolandes, sad Achaean with half a sword, goes on a quest in search of the lost power. But all the gods and Fair Atlantis are dead. The creatures of spirit, the unicorns and centaurs, are dying. Soon all the sparkling things will be gone from the world and only clay will remain....
"THE COLD BECAME WET COLD"
Hanville Svetz was born into a future to match the sorriest predictions of Greenpeace. Most of Earth's original life forms are extinct. It had been Svetz's job to go back in time and retrieve them but he's been transferred. He now must figure out why the Martian canals have gone dry and what that means for Earth's future, because Mars was inhabited. When Svetz learns how the sapient Martian species was wiped out, he realizes that Earth could soon fall victim to a similar fate.
Two masters of science fiction collaborate on one wild post-apocalyptic story. After World War III, the Servants of Wrath cult deified the mysterious Carlton Lufteufel, creator of the doomsday weapon that wiped out much of humanity. But to worship the man, they need an image of him as a god, and no one has ever seen him. So the high priests send a limbless master painter named Tibor McMasters into the wilderness on a mission to find Lufteufel and capture his likeness.
At the heart of these stories, as with all the best of Lovecraft’s work, is the belief that the Earth was once inhabited by powerful and evil gods, just waiting for the chance to recolonise their planet. Cthulhu is one such god, lurking deep beneath the sea until called into being by cult followers who – like all humans – know not what they do.
One starship will either save Earth or destroy her. A century ago our star erupted, destroying Earth's wormhole network and closing off trade with her colonized planets. After being out of contact with the younger worlds for so many years, humanity is shocked when a huge ship appears at the edge of the solar system. Our outdated navy investigates, both curious and fearful. What they learn from the massive vessel shocks the planet.
"An Unlikely Hero"
Four stories describe a world of warlocks, wizards, werewolves, dervishes, unicorns, and the magical power of mana.
©1984 Larry Niven, Roger Zelazny, Bob Shaw, Dian Girard (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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