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?"
During the trial of O. J. Simpson, the press focused on him. Now the victim, Nicole Brown Simpson, speaks through this private diary of her occasional roommate and constant best friend, Faye D. Resnick. Referred to by the media as the "mystery woman" who disappeared before the trial, Faye spoke to Nicole only one hour before her death.
Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business...until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Proud of the agency’s history and sure of its destiny, he was thrilled to be a part of its future—a bright era of far-reaching space exploration.
"Jack McDevitt is one of my favorites."
Bandit, murderer, known to all, seen by none...has he killed a thousand men? Has he saved a dozen worlds? His legend is as large as the Rim itself, his trail as elusive as a wisp of starlight in the empty realms of space. The reward for him is the largest in history.
"Cheesy but fun"
Nineteen gut-wrenching reports from the front lines of the War of the Worlds, as logged by Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, H.P. Lovecraft, Winston Churchill, Jules Verne, and many of the other most famous writers of the time. The most popular and acclaimed science fiction writers of today relive the Martian invasion through the eyes of their famous predecessors.
"Chronicles of the Classic Invasion"
The date is 1968 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now. The Republic, dominated by the human race, is in the midst of an all-out war with the Teroni Federation.
Almost a year has passed since the events of Starship: Mercenary. Captain Wilson Cole now commands a fleet of almost 50 ships, and he has become the single greatest military force on the Inner Frontier.
"Whats to say the book was great."
In a situation that parallels Stanley's search for Livingstone, a future journalist must find the one doctor who can cure an epidemic that is spreading from world to world. The search is filled with adventure, and the end of the search is not what was expected.
The life of a mercenary is not always predictable. Circumstance now pits Captain Wilson Cole and the Teddy R. against the former Pirate Queen, Valkyrie. Soon the fragile trust that has grown between these two legends is put to the test as they find themselves on opposite sides of a job.
"Another Great Story!"
By the 22nd century in the African nation of Kenya, polluted cities sprawl up the flanks of sacred Mount Kirinyaga. Great animal herds are but distant memories. European crops now grow on the sweeping savannas. But Koriba, a distinguished, educated man of Kikuyu ancestry, knows that life was different for his people centuries ago - and he is determined to build a utopian colony, not on Earth, but on the terraformed planetoid he proudly names Kirinyaga.
Seeking to find a new life for themselves, Cole and comrades remake the Teddy R. as a pirate ship and set sail for the lawless Inner Frontier. There, powerful warlords, cut-throat pirates, and struggling colonies compete for survival in a game where you rarely get a second chance to learn the rules. But military discipline is poor preparation for a life of pillaging and plundering.
"It Gets Better"
The date is 1970 of the Galactic Era, almost 3,000 from now, and the Republic, created by the human race but not yet dominated by it, finds itself in an all-out war against the Teroni Federation, an alliance of races that resent Man's growing military and economic power. The rebel starship, the Theodore Roosevelt, under the command of Wilson Cole, is preparing to lead Cole's ragtag armada into the Republic, even though he is outnumbered thousands to one.
"Sorry to see it End!!"
"Surprising Sequel to Santiago"
The Earth-like planet Peponi has vast riches, an abundant and opulent wildlife, and most importantly, compliant natives. But now that humanity is on the brink of opening up an entirely new world, has it learned its lessons from the past? A thought-provoking novel from the author of Ivory.
"Three strikes and I'm out"
Since she was a little girl, all humanity has been frightened by Penelope Bailey's awesome psychic talent and her ability to bend events - and men - to her will. Now a grown woman and living on the planet Hades, Penelope is caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a bounty hunter, a government agent, and an out-for-profit outlaw cyborg - none of whom suspect the true depths of her power.
Disanko, the ruler of the Enkoti, and Susan Beddoes, a representative from the Department of Cartography, help the planet of Faligor to become the richest and most technologically advanced of its sector until an evil general rises to power.
"technical and editing problems"
What would the world be like if the space race started during World War II? If Teddy Roosevelt had fought in World War I? If Joseph McCarthy had been elected President? Those and other questions are answered in these nine stories of alternate histories, when the world as we know it might have turned out different than it is today, if only one minor (or major) change had occurred in history.
Set in Resnick's far future, where humankind has long spread out through the galaxy and there are as many alien races as there are planets suitable for colonization, Purgatory is a hard look at how many ways an advanced civilization can misunderstand a "primitive" race.
"Just as true in 2016 as it was in 1992"
The date is 1966 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now, and the Republic, created by the human race - but not yet dominated by it - finds itself in an all-out war. They stand against the Teroni Federation, an alliance of races that resent Man's growing military and economic power. The main battles are taking place in the Spiral Arm and toward the Core. But far out on the Rim, the Theodore Roosevelt is one of three ships charged with protecting the Phoenix Cluster.
Thousands of years after mankind has become extinct, a party of alien archaeologists try to learn the mysteries of mankind as they excavate in a gorge on Earth. This Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella by Mike Resnick is a gripping exploration of human origins and motivations.
The Democracy is at war with the alien Traanskei Coalition. War hero Colonel Nathan Pretorius has a record of success on dangerous behind-enemy-lines missions, missions that usually leave him in the hospital. Now he's recruited for a near-impossible assignment that may well leave him dead. At the cost of many lives, the Democracy has managed to clone and train General Michkag, one of the Traanskei's master strategists.
"Good start, but where's the action?"