Ted Chiang’s first published story, “Tower of Babylon,” won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov’s SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.
Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer’s stories so far — plus an eighth story written especially for this volume. What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven — and broke through to Heaven’s other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life…and others.
Karl Schroeder - Sun of Suns
It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity. Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He's come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden's nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden's spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn't bode well for Fanning's chances . . .
László Zoltán - Nulla pont
Nagate furcsa hely. Egy világ, amely egyetlen város, folyton változó utcáin a legkülönfélébb lények élnek - és senki, még az évekkel korábban ideérkező emberek sem tudják, kik és miért alkották meg. Csak egy bonyolult, magára hagyott gépezet? Vagy az istenek hatalmával bíró építői ma is figyelik teremtményeik nyüzsgését? Miközben a városban intrikák szövődnek és zsarnokság tombol, egy árverésen különös szerkezet cserél gazdát. Ez olyan események láncolatát indítja el, ami nem csupán a dúsgazdag nagykereskedő vagy a kérlelhetetlen forradalmár számára nyithat utat a hatalomhoz, de segíthet az agg természettudós számára is megérteni egy titokzatos világ fizikáját. Utazásuk téren és időn át vezet egészen a nulla pontig, ahol talán minden kérdésre ott a válasz - ha egyáltalán van ott valaki és hajlandó válaszolni...
László Zoltán - Hiperballada
A fiatal szerzőnek számos novellája jelent meg a Cherubion SF-antológiák, az Átjáró és a Galaktika hasábjain. Első regénye egy alternatív történelmi valóság 2019-ébe vezeti el az olvasót, ahol nem történt meg a rendszerváltás, és a Szovjetunió minden szempontból vezető világhatalomnak látszik. 2019 tele: Grund, a budapesti neuroklinikán új emberré varázsolt háborús veterán kilép a Hungária körút holoreklámos forgatagába, hogy felkeresse titokzatos jótevőjét, aki egy bizonyos szívességet kérne tőle meghitelezett életéért cserébe. Melinda, a huszadik századi bevásárlóközpont helyét elfoglaló lerobbant iparkörzet, a Hiper sodródó lakója kétségbeesetten szabadulna drogos tartozásait behajtani akaró ismerőseitől, így későn döbben rá: gyanús adásvételi ügyletei a szokottnál sokkal komolyabb - és gyilkosabb - felek párharcába keverték. Kemal, az Oszmán Csillaga űrállomást uraló roppant hatalmú muszlim dinasztia szökött örököse, aki a Mare Frigoris szélébe vájt, elhagyott holdbázison húzza meg magát, ráébred: félőrült segítője, Pierr málladozó múltja olyan titkokat rejt, melyek gyökereiben forgatják föl életét. A Hiperballada hőseinek sorsa - induljanak bár a Magyar Népköztársaság mongol üzletemberektől, kirgiz utcai árusoktól nyüzsgő futuroszocialista fővárosából vagy orbitális magánűrállomásról - lassan, ám elkerülhetetlenül fonódik egymásba egy titokzatos műalkotás körül, mely alapjaiban képes megrázni a két szuperhatalom szembenállásába belefásult világot. A Hiperballada alternatív jövőjében sosem volt rendszerváltás; a szovjetek látszanak a technológiai verseny nyertesének, ők uralják az űrversenyt és a legfejlettebb számítógépek által megteremtett virtuális valóságokon keresztül állampolgáraik gondolkodását is. A Hálózati Hatóság, a memex, a szintetikus drogok, a szovjet Adatközpontok, az Amerikai Atomcsapás Mártírjainak szentelt emlékmű, vagy Ánya Kuger, a moszkvai kiberhősnő világa nem − vagy nem teljesen − a miénk. Ám a látszólag eltérő felszín mögött, ha gondosan figyelünk, saját valónkat pillanthatjuk meg.
John Scalzi - The Back Channel
The Conclave is a confederation of four hundred alien racesmany of whom would like to see the Colonial Union, and the humans inside of it, blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.
Alastair Reynolds - Napok háza
A csillagközi utazás korszakának hajnalán egy ifjú hölgy, Abigail Gentian ezer klónra hasítja magát, s a klónokat kiküldi a galaxisba, hogy óriási tudásra és bölcsességre tegyenek szert. A Gentian-klán hasadványai bizonyos időnként impozáns ünnepségek keretében újraegyesülnek, amikor is ezer éjszakán át osztják meg egymással az emlékeiket. A harminckettedik egyesülésre azonban két önfejű hasadvány, Campion és Purslane várhatóan több évtizedes késéssel érkezik csak meg. Ráadásul immár közösen gyűjtik tapasztalataikat a galaxist átölelő hosszú körutak során. Mi több: szerelmesek egymásba. A kiközösítéstől csak egyvalami mentheti meg őket: egy gépember, az aranyszínű robot, Hesperus. De ő sajnos amnéziában szenved, és csak arra emlékszik, hogy valami elképesztően fontos küldetést próbált teljesíteni, mielőtt törölték a memóriáját. A szerelmesek azt remélik, hogy tekintélyes vendégük megjelenése az egyesülésen enyhítheti majd a büntetésüket, de amikor a hajójuk váratlanul a klán vészjelzését fogja, nagyobb gondjuk is lesz, mint a hasadvány-társak rosszallása. Hatmillió év után valaki úgy döntött, hogy végleg le kell számolni a Gentian-klánnal. Miközben a túlélők maroknyi csapata versenyt fut térrel és idővel, hogy kiderítse, ki akarja a halálukat, megdöbbentő igazságok kerülnek napvilágra. Aztán elszabadul a pokol, mert valójában sokkal több forog kockán, mint egy ősi klán fennmaradása... A "Napok Háza" káprázatos, szédítő űropera, amely a klasszikus sci-fi eszközeivel teremt egy ragyogó, új világot - a kortárs tudományos-fantasztikus irodalom mesterműve.
Iain M. Banks - Matter
In a world renowned within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else’s war is never a simple matter.
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 (angol)
The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwells 1984 and Huxleys Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilizations enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradburys powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
Mira Grant - Feed
In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks. It raised the dead. Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power. Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all: When will you rise?
Connie Willis - Blackout
Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.
David Brin - Infinity's Shore
Nebula and Hugo award-winning author David Brin continues his bestselling Uplift series in this second novel of a bold new trilogy. Imaginative, inventive, and filled with Brin's trademark mix of adventure, passion, and wit, Infinity's Shore carries us further than ever before into the heart of the most beloved and extraordinary science fiction sagas ever written. For the fugitive settlers of Jijo, it is truly the beginning of the end. As starships fill the skies, the threat of genocide hangs over the planet that once peacefully sheltered six bands of sapient beings. Now the human settlers of Jijo and their alien neighbors must make heroic, and terrifying, choices. A scientist must rally believers for a cause he never shared. And four youngsters find that what started as a simple adventure - imitating exploits in Earthling books by Verne and Twain - leads them to the dark abyss of mystery. Meanwhile, the Streaker, with her fugitive dolphin crew, arrives at last on Jijo in a desperate search for refuge. Yet what the crew finds instead is a secret hidden since the galaxies first spawned intelligence - a secret that could mean salvation for the planet and its inhabitants... or their ultimate annihilation.
John Scalzi - Old Man's War
With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry's service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including a brain-implanted computer. But all too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry must fight for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.
Daniel H. Wilson - Robopocalypse
In this terrifying tale of humanity’s desperate stand against a robot uprising, Daniel H. Wilson has written the most entertaining sci-fi thriller in years. Not far into our future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. Controlled by a childlike—yet massively powerful—artificial intelligence known as Archos, the global network of machines on which our world has grown dependent suddenly becomes an implacable, deadly foe. At Zero Hour—the moment the robots attack—the human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back. This is the oral history of that conflict, told by an international cast of survivors who experienced this long and bloody confrontation with the machines. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly detailed, Robopocalypse is an action-packed epic with chilling implications about the real technology that surrounds us.
Iain M. Banks - The Hydrogen Sonata
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
Philip K. Dick - Ubik (angol)
Glen Runciter is dead. Or is he? Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out. If it hasn't already.
David Brin - Heaven's Reach
Winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards, David Brin brings his bestselling Uplift series to a magnificent conclusion with his most imaginative and powerful novel to date - the shattering epic of a universe poised on the brink of revelation...or annihilation. The brutal enemy that has relentlessly pursued them for centuries has arrived. Now the fugitive settlers of Jijo - both human and alien - brace for a final confrontation. The Jijoans' only hope is the Earthship Streaker, crewed by uplifted dolphins and commanded by an untested human. Yet more than just the fate of Jijo hangs in the balance. For Streaker carries a cargo of ancient artifacts that may unlock the secret of those who first brought intelligent life to the Galaxies. Many believe a dire prophecy has come to pass: an age of terrifying changes that could end Galactic civilization. As dozens of white dwarf stars stand ready to explode, the survival of sentient life in the universe rests on the most improbable dream of all - that age-old antagonists of different races can at last recognize the unity of all consciousness.
Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash (angol)
The only relief from the sea of logos is within the well-guarded borders of the Burbclaves. Is it any wonder that most sane folks have forsaken the real world and chosen to live in the computer-generated universe of virtual reality? In a major city, the size of a dozen Manhattans, is a domain of pleasures limited only by the imagination. But now a strange new computer virus called Snow Crash is striking down hackers everywhere, leaving an unlikely young man as humankind's last best hope.
John Scalzi - The Ghost Brigades
A traitor to humanity is helping a trio of alien races destroy humanity -- all of it. His motivations are unclear, his whereabouts unknown. But the traitor left something behind: a recording of his consciousness. That consciousness is poured into Jared Dirac, a warrior born as an adult to fight the battles no one else will take. As Jared fights, he learns more about the man whose personality has been placed in his head -- and learns why he turned traitor. But can Jared, bred to save humanity, be trusted not betray it instead?
Kurt Vonnegut - The Sirens of Titan
When Winston Niles Rumfoord flies his spaceship into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum he is converted into pure energy and only materializes when his waveforms intercept Earth or some other planet. As a result, he only gets home to Newport, Rhode Island, once every fifty-nine days and then only for an hour. But at least, as a consolation, he now knows everything that has ever happened and everything that ever will be. He knows, for instance, that his wife is going to Mars to mate with Malachi Constant, the richest man in the world. He also knows that on Titan - one of Saturn's moons - is an alien from the planet Tralfamadore, who has been waiting 200,000 years for a spare part for his grounded spacecraft...
J. G. Ballard - The Terminal Beach
The Terminal Beach is one of Ballard's most brilliant collections of short stories, ranging from the title story's disturbing picture of an abandoned atomic testing island in the Pacific to the shocking Oedipal fantasy of 'The Gioconda of the Twilight Noon'.At the heart of the stories lies the bitter paradox that the extraordinary creative power of man's imagination is matched only by his reckless instinct for destruction.
Nick Sagan - Everfree
Nick Sagan's _Idlewild_ , described by Neil Gaiman as a " roller-coaster ride of fusion fiction," began a brilliant trilogy. Now fans of _Idlewild_ and its sequel, _Edenborn_ , will rejoice to see the saga brought to a conclusion as original and stylish as its beginning, in _Everfree_. A small group of humans has survived the apocalyptic epidemic called Black Ep, a disease that ravaged the world and left them alone on Earth. The survivors gradually awaken other, who had been put into a state of frozen sleep to await a future when the disease might be cured. At first, everyone agrees on the basics: We're lucky to be alive. We're all in this together. Let's look out for each other and build a better world. But inevitably, as more sleepers are roused, there are those who disagree. People who remember power are waking up to a new world, and they do not intend to wait their turn politely. And from very far off indeed, one more surprise awaits the survivors - a shock that will transform the future for everyone in this post-plague, perhaps even post-human, world.