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Time Is the Fire: The Best of Connie Willis

Connie Willis

This new collection by the author of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog contains stories which have all won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, or both - and are compulsory reading for the serious science fiction fan.

Table of Contents:

Houston, Houston, Do You Read?

James Tiptree, Jr.

Hugo- and Nebula-winning Novella

In Tiptree's most famous and most reprinted story, a US spacecraft with an all-male crew is thrown forward in time to an Earth where all men have died from a plague.

This story was collected in Star Songs of an Old Primate (1978) and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1990), and anthologized in Aurora: Beyond Equality (1976), The 1977 Annual World's Best SF (1977), Nebula Winners Twelve (1978), The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels (1980), The Hugo Winners, Volume 4 (1985), The Best of the Nebulas (1989), and as one half of Tor Double #11 (1989).


Listen to a radio play of this story at the Sci-Fi Radio archive (#17).

The Entropy Effect

Star Trek: The Original Series: Book 2

Vonda N. McIntyre

The universe has less than a century left... unless Spock can change history.

The Enterprise is summoned to transport a dangerous criminal from starbase prison to a rehabilitation center: brilliant physicist, Dr. Georges Mordreaux, accused of promising to send people back in time - then killing them instead. But when Mordreaux escapes, bursts onto the bridge and kills Captain Kirk, Spock must journey back in time to avert disaster - before it occurs.

Now there's more at stake than just Kirk's life. Mordreaux's experiments have thrown the entire universe into a deadly time warp. Spock is fighting time... and the universe is closing in on itself with the relentless squeeze of the Entropy Effect.

Eternity

The Way Series: Book 2

Greg Bear

Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award-winner Greg Bear returns to the Earth of his acclaimed novel Eon—a world devastated by nuclear war. The crew of the asteroid-starship Thistledown has thwarted an attack by the Jarts by severing their link to the Way, an endless corridor that spans universes. The asteroid settled into orbit around Earth and the tunnel snaked away, forming a contained universe of its own.

Forty years later, on Gaia, Rhita Vaskayza recklessly pursues her legacy, seeking an Earth once again threatened by forces from within and without. For physicist Konrad Korzenowski, murdered for creating The Way, and resurrected, is compelled by a faction determined to see it opened once more. And humankind will discover just how entirely they have underestimated their ancient adversaries.

The Year of the Quiet Sun

Wilson Tucker

It was a top secret government project, its funds coming quietly from the Bureau of Standards, its orders directly from the President. The project's goal was to survey the future.

The survey would be made in person, by use of the newly-developed Time Displacement Vehicle. Three specially trained men would be sent to the year 2000, and they would return with invaluable data about the problems to be faced by the government in decades to come.

It seemed almost routine at first. But when the survey team reached their target they found a savage land... an awesome world they may have made, and they had to wonder if any would return to tell about it.

Cemetery World

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 35

Clifford D. Simak

Earth: expensive, elite graveyard to the galaxy. Ravaged 10,000 years earlier by war, Earth was reclaimed by its space-dwelling offspring as a planet of landscaping and tombstones. None of them fully human, Fletcher, Cynthia, and Elmer journey through this dead world, discovering human traits and undertaking a quest to rebuild a human world on Earth.

Exultant

Xeelee: Destiny's Children: Book 2

Stephen Baxter

For more than twenty thousand years, humans have been at war with the alien race of Xeelee. It is a war fought with armaments so advanced as to be godlike, a war in which time itself has become an ever-shifting battleground. At the cost of billions of lives, and with ruthless and relentless efficiency, the ruling Coalition has pushed the Xeelee back to the galactic core, where the supermassive black hole known as Chandra serves the Xeelee as both fortress and power source.

There, along a front millions of light-years long, a grisly stalemate reigns, until a young pilot, Pirius, faced with certain death, disobeys orders and employs an innovative time-travel maneuver that, for the first time in the history of the war, results in the capture of a Xeelee fighter. But far from being hailed as a hero when he returns to base with his prize, Pirius is court-martialed, disgraced, and sentenced to penal servitude on a bleak asteroid.

It is not only Pirius who pays the price. In flying into the future and back again, Pirius returned to a time before he’d left, a time inhabited by his younger self. And that younger self, by the pitiless logic of Coalition justice, shares the older Pirius guilt and must be punished. Not everyone in the Coalition agrees. Commissary Nilis believes that the elder Pirius, whom he dubs Pirius Blue, may have found a way to defeat the Xeelee. But Nilis can do nothing for Pirius Blue. Instead, he takes charge of the younger Pirius (Pirius Red), and brings him back to Earth, the capital of a vast empire seething with intrigue.

There Pirius Red will discover truths that will shatter his preconceived notions of all that he is fighting for, even of what it means to be human. Pirius Blue, meanwhile, will learn truths harsher and more discomfiting still. Yet the most shocking revelation of all is still to come, waiting for them at a place called Chandra....

There Will Be Time

Maurai: Book 1

Poul Anderson

Jack Havig, a man born with the ability to move at will through the past and the future of mankind, must save the world from a doomed future of tyranny before his time runs out.

Time Salvager

Time Salvager: Book 1

Wesley Chu

In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman -- a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point.

On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets an intriguing woman from a previous century, scientist Elise Kim, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, James brings her back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, and discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity's home world.

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

Nancy Kress

Hugo-nominated and Nebula-winning Novella

The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors-the last of humanity-are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell. Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six-children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool.

Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity-a future which might never unfold. Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth's destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut adventure offers a topical message with a satisfying twist.