The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game… a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life – and very possibly his death.
Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.
Dan Simmons - The Hyperion Omnibus
The Hyperion books are credited with single-handedly reinventing and reinvigorating SF in the 1990s. A broad canvased, hugely imaginative and exciting SF epic, the books draw on the works of Keats and provide a uniquely intelligent and literary approach with cutting edge science, compelling characterisation and edge-of-your-seat excitement. The story is continued in ENDYMION and THE RISE OF ENDYMION, which Gollancz will also be publishing in an omnibus volume.
Dan Simmons - Endymion (angol)
Two hundred and seventy-four years after the fall of the WorldWeb in _Fall of Hyperion,_ Raoul Endymion is sent on a quest. Retrieving Aenea from the Sphinx before the Church troops reach her is only the beginning. With help from a blue-skinned android named A. Bettik, Raoul and Aenea travel the river Tethys, pursued by Father Captain Frederico DeSoya, an influential warrior-priest and his troops. The Shrike continues to make enigmatic appearances, and while many questions were raised in _Hyperion_ and _Fall of Hyperion,_ still more are raised here. Raoul's quest will continue.
William Gibson - Neuromancer (angol)
Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene--it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology. Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term "cyberpunk," for easing the way into the information age and Internet society. Neuromancer's virtual reality has become real. And yet, William Gibson's gritty, sophisticated vision still manages to inspire the minds that lead mankind ever further into the future.
Iain M. Banks - Consider Phlebas
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas - a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.
Dan Simmons - The Fall of Hyperion
Dan Simmons is a phenomenal talent. Since the triumphant publication of his first novel, the multiple-award-winning author of The Hollow Man has demonstrated equal facility for writing horror; thoughtful, literary fiction; and a powerful, world-building science fiction in the best tradition of Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, and David Brin.
Dan Simmons - Hyperion (angol)
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits them all. On the eve of Armageddon with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope - and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands. A stunning tour de force filled with transcendent awe and wonder, Hyperion is a masterwork of science fiction that resonates with excitement and invention, the first volume in a remarkable new science fiction epic by the multiple-award-winning author of The Hollow Man.
Ursula K. Le Guin - The Dispossessed
The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous communication. It is the life work of Shevek, a brilliant physicist from the arid anarchist world of Anarres. But Shevek's work is being stifled by jealous colleagues, so he travels to Anarres's sister-planet Urras, hoping to find more liberty and tolerance there. But he soon finds himself being used as a pawn in a deadly political game.
J. G. Ballard - Super-Cannes
Long-regarded as one of the true visionary writers of the twentieth century, J.G. Ballard was one of the first British writers of the post-war period to begin to see, and to map out in his fiction, the future course of our civilization. For forty years his unflinching eye has turned to the point where the advancing edge of our technological progress has worn away our inner humanity. Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, with the latest in services and facilities for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, overlooking the luxurious French Riviera, the residents lack nothing. Yet one day Dr. Greenwood from Eden-Olympia's clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and she and her husband, Paul, are given Dr. Greenwood's house as a residence. Unable to work while recovering from an accident, Paul spends his days taking a close look at the house where Dr. Greenwood shot himself and three hostages. He discovers clues in the house lead him to question Eden-Olympia's official account of the killings. Drawn into investigating the activities of the park's leading citizens, while Jane is lured deeper into Eden-Olympia's inner workings, Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympia's smoothly running surface. An experiment is underway at Eden-Olympia, an experiment in power and brutality. Soon Paul finds himself in race to save himself and his wife before they are crushed by forces that may be beyond anyone's control.
Iain Banks - The Wasp Factory
Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outsIde a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank's mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric's escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother's inevitable return - an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly. Iain Banks' celebrated first novel is a work of extraordinary originality, imagination and horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; and compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all.
Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep
A Fire upon the Deep is the big, breakout book that fulfills the promise of Vinge's career to date: a gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale. Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence. Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.
Iain M. Banks - The Algebraist
It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year. The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars. Seconded to a military-religious order he's barely heard of - part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony - Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer - a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he's ever known. As complex, turbulent, flamboyant and spectacular as the gas giant on which it is set, the new science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks is space opera on a truly epic scale.
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.
Vernor Vinge - A Deepness in the Sky
After thousands of years of searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: The Qeng Ho, a culture of free, innovative traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds. The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens' very doorstep for their strange star to relight and for the alien planet to reawaken, as it does every two hundred and fifty years... Amidst terrible treachery, the Qeng Ho must fight for their freedom and for the lives of the unsuspecting innocents on the planet below, while the aliens themselves play a role unsuspected by the Qeng Ho and Emergents alike.
Paul J. McAuley - Eternal Light
In the aftermath of an interstellar war an enigmatic star is discovered, travelling towards the Solar System from the galactic core. Its appearance adds a new and dangerous factor in the turbulent politics of the inhabited worlds as the rival factions - the power-holders of the ReUnited Nations, the rebels who secretly oppose their power, and the Religious Witnesses - all see advantages to be gained. But what awesome technology started the star on its journey half a million years ago - and why?
J. G. Ballard - The Drowned World
In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. This early novel by the author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN is at once a fast paced narrative, a stunning evocation of a flooded, tropical London of the near future and a speculative foray into the workings of the unconscious mind.
Peter F. Hamilton - Judas Unchained
After hundreds of years secretly manipulating the human race, the Starflyer alien has succeeded in engineering a war which should result in the destruction of the Intersolar Commonwealth. Now, thanks to Chief Investigator Paula Myo, the Commonwealth's political elite finally acknowledges the Starflyer's existence, and puts together an unlikely partnership to track down this enigmatic and terrifying alien. The invasion from Dyson Alpha continues with dozens of Commonwealth worlds falling to the enemy. The navy fights back with what it believes to be war-winning superweapons, only to find that the alien fleet has equally powerful weapons. How the aliens got them is the question which haunts Admiral Kime. Could it be that the Commonwealth's top-secret defence project has been compromised by the Starflyer's agents, or is the truth even worse?
Iain M. Banks - Use of Weapons
The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks or military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past.