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.
Loosely based on Larry Niven's 1973 novella Flash Crowd, Red Tide continues to examine the social consequences of the impact of having instantaneous teleportation, where humans can instantly travel long distances in milliseconds. This is a theme that has fascinated the author throughout his career and even appears in his seminal work, Ringworld, where the central character celebrates his birthday by instantly teleporting himself to different time zones, extending his birthday.
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.
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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