In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.
"When is a rip-off not a rip-off?"
A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper. When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris' ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap in to the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik - a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts.
"why does this sound like a 1950's radio broadcast"
The next novel from Lavie Tidhar, the award-winning author of The Violent Century. Deep in the heart of history's most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world - a world where a disgraced former dictator now known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London's grimiest streets.
Late Extra! Bomb outrage in London! When his beloved is killed in a terrorist atrocity committed by the sinister Bookman, young poet Orphan becomes enmeshed in a web of secrets and lies. His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself....
Three Wise Men came from the East for the infant Jesus in The New Testament. Three brave companions accompany the Buddha in the Chinese classic A Journey to the West. Could they have been the same three? Guided by a star, three strange companions arrive in the barbarous land of Judea to seek a newborn child - a possible messiah to some, and the reincarnation of the Budda to others. When the child’s life is threatened, his family and new guardians escape to Egypt, returning years later, to a Jewish land on the cusp of annihilation by the Roman Empire.
The world of Heven was populated, centuries ago, by Melanesian settlers from distant Earth. It is a peaceful, quiet world – yet it harbours ancient secrets. Kai just wants to fly. But flying is the one thing forbidden on Heven – a world dominated by the mysterious, ever present clouds in the skies. What do they hide? For Kai, finding the answer might mean his death – but how far will you go to realise your dreams?
In a world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante...Joe’s quest to find the man takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European Capitals of Paris and London, and as the mystery deepens around him there is one question he is trying hard not to ask: who is he, really, and how much of the books is fiction?
"Life Isn't a Pulp Novel"
The X-Files meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in this wild and clever steampunk romp. Milady de Winter is called in by the mysterious Council to solve a seemingly impossible murder in the Rue Morgue, Paris. It'll take all her ingenuity just to remain alive.
"An OK story"
For 70 years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart. But there must always be an account...and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.
After Archangels materialise over the bloodbaths of WWII, they take up residence in most of the world’s major cities. But what would happen if, more than quarter of a century later, something somehow managed to kill these supreme beings? Killarney knows and, as an agent working for the Bureau, a British agency that’s so secret it doesn’t officially exist, she finds herself embroiled in the consequences as, one by one, the Archangels die. She travels from England, through France, heading for the frozen wastes of the USSR....
The Lizardine Empire is under threat. When Mycroft Holmes is murdered in London, it is up to retired shadow executive Smith to track down his killer and stumble on the greatest conspiracy of his life. Mycroft's protégé, the young Lucy Westerna, returns from Abyssinia with an ancient device that wreaks havoc when activated, summoning into being deadly machines that look like giant tripods. And across the ocean, in Vespuccia, a young Harry Houdini faces death...and the return of an enemy once thought vanquished.
For 70 years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.But there must always be an account... and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.
Through a city torn apart by violence they cannot comprehend, three disparate people: a documentary film-maker, a yeshiva student, and a psychotic fireman must try to survive, and try to find meaning--even if it means being lost themselves. As Tel Aviv is consumed, a strange mountain rises at the heart of the city, and shows the outline of what may be another, alien world beyond.
It started out simple: Get to Falang-Et, find the mirror, find what truth it may hold. But nothing is simple for Gorel of Goliris... When Gorel forms an uneasy alliance - and ménage à trois- with an Avian spy and a half-Merlangai thief, things only start to get complicated. Add a murdered merchant, the deadly Mothers of the House of Jade, the rivalry of gods and the machinations of a rising Dark Lord bent on conquest, and things start to get out of hand.