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?"
It's difficult to be taken seriously when you are a member of the Magical community and saddled with the unfortunate name 'Goldie Locke'. It certainly doesn't help if you are also about five feet tall, blond, and most commonly described as 'cute.' What was a girl to do? Become one of the most dreaded Magical environmental lawyers of all time? Goldie isn't there yet, but she's well on her way when a case drags her into uncharted territory.
"Mary Sue and her Magical Menagerie"
Spanning the first part of the 21st century, Better Angels revolves around the mystery of an ancient, alien artifact resembling an angel's shoulder blade, and the transcendent effect it has on five people, whose lives and relationships lead to - and are forever altered by - its discovery.
Goldie's life has been in upheaval ever since a bite from a were bear has rendered her caught somewhere between were and witch. As she struggles with this transformation she is hired to find heiress Paige Turner, whose kidnapping involves vampires, ancient legends, and a series of brutal murders. Does Goldie have the strength and courage to face the danger that lies ahead in rescuing Paige, when she herself is trying to adapt to her new way of life?
Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the country. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattan's very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. Eight hundred forty-three carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth of great writing, and here Andrew Blauner collects some of the finest fiction and nonfiction - 20 pieces in all.
The dignified mother of a ruthless African dictator travels to England to seek treatment for her failed eyes from a renowned ophthalmologist. At first glance, it looks like one woman helping another, but each woman brings to the other her true agenda, triggering a profound moral dilemma and a chain reaction of events with great personal and political aftershocks.
Consultant Harry West is hired by the government in Hong Kong to evaluate a business deal promoted by the son of one of the richest men in Asia. But after Harry arrives in Hong Kong, he discovers the assignment is not what he expects. His client wants him to find evidence of money laundering and corruption, evidence that will kill the deal. Harry has no experience investigating criminal schemes. He harbors doubts about his courage, being all too aware that the people he might expose will stop at nothing to protect themselves. However, he needs the work. He takes on the assignment, and soon it requires him to draw on resources that he never knew he had. Along the way, Harry's journey is shaped by two women in Hong Kong, an American journalist who is investigating the same deal and a long-lost love who comes back into his life. A suspenseful story about intrigue, revenge, and the bonds of love and memory, The Trail of Money keeps the reader guessing until the end.
"Suspensful fast moving beautiful Hong Kong setting"
Deeply affected by a teenaged affair with a man nearly three times her age, Marcy Bunkleman subtly shapes the lives of everyone she meets. As she and the people closest to her tell their stories, an incredible picture emerges of secrets and lies, of knowledge and ignorance, and gradually of people longing to recapture those moments of effortless goodness in their lives. As Huddle gently strips away the layers of stories we tell ourselves and others, we find the strengths and weaknesses of people like ourselves.