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Operation Arcana

John Joseph Adams

In the realms of fantasy, the battlefield is where heroism comes alive, magic is unleashed, and legends are made and unmade. From the War of the Ring, Tolkien's epic battle of good versus evil, to The Battle of the Blackwater, George R. R. Martin's grim portrait of the horror and futility of war, these fantastical conflicts reflect our highest hopes and darkest fears, bringing us mesmerizing visions of silver spears shining in the sun and vast hordes of savage beasts who threaten to destroy all that we hold dear.

Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams is sounding the battle cry and sixteen of today's top authors are reporting for duty, spinning never-before-published, spellbinding tales of military fantasy, including a Black Company story from Glen Cook, a Paksenarrion story from Elizabeth Moon, and a Shadow Ops story by Myke Cole. Within these pages you'll also find World War I trenches cloaked in poison gas and sorcery, modern day elite special forces battling hosts of the damned, and steampunk soldiers fighting for their lives in a world torn apart by powers that defy imagination.

Featuring both grizzled veterans and fresh young recruits alike, including Tanya Huff, Simon R. Green, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Maberry, and Seanan McGuire, Operation Arcana is a must for any military buff or fantasy fan. You'll never look at war the same way again.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - John Joseph Adams
  • Rules of Enchantment - short story by David Klecha & Tobias S. Buckell
  • The Damned One Hundred - short story by Jonathan Maberry
  • Blood, Ash, Braids - short story by Genevieve Valentine
  • Mercenary's Honor [Paksenarrion Universe] - short story by Elizabeth Moon
  • The Guns of the Wastes - short story by Django Wexler
  • The Graphology of Hemorrhage - short story by Yoon Ha Lee
  • American Golem - short story by Weston Ochse
  • Weapons in the Earth [Shadow Ops] - novelette by Myke Cole
  • Heavy Sulfur - short story by Ari Marmell
  • Steel Ships - short story by Tanya Huff
  • Sealskin - short story by Carrie Vaughn
  • Pathfinder - short story by T.C. Mccarthy
  • Bone Eaters [Tales of the Black Company] - novelette by Glen Cook
  • Bomber's Moon - short story by Simon R. Green
  • In Skeleton Leaves - short story by Seanan Mcguire
  • The Way Home - short story by Linda Nagata

Concrete Operational

Richard Galbraith

Germany Germany, a man who was free, a man who loved, now an instrument in their machine. They have turned him into the very thing he hates, what he and everyone he loved fought against, the world's greatest celebrity, a tool in the subjugation of man. But the memories of freedom and love remain, and he will fight and change the course of human history for the better, but at what end? As humanity progresses and turns to face the eternal black of the universe, the questions of free will and fate, of love and peace, of the riddles of time itself will arise, and Germany will be called upon. But is his will strong enough, is his mind ready to breach the void and provide us with salvation?

The Proteus Operation

James P. Hogan

When malcontents from a utopian 21st century use their time gate to transform Hitler into an invincible conqueror, a band of freedom-fighting Americans launches the Proteus project and builds a second time gate.

Operation Terror

Murray Leinster

Operation Terror, written by one of the giants of the golden age of sci-fi, is a thrilling tale about a rather unconventional type of alien invasion. The story tells of an unidentified, large object that touched down in Boulder Lake Park, Colorado. What had initially been perceived as a meteor turned out to be a large, unusual alien vessel carrying many strange beings with paralyzing rays that could render their victims blind.

Can the lone survivors who have yet to be caught by the aliens actually escape? And is it really an alien attack, or a coordinated offensive that is secretly based on a Russian agenda?

Operation Time Search

Andre Norton

Snooping around a top-secret government installation, photographer Ray Osborne stumbled across an experimental time field. Suddenly the familiar Ohio landscape disappeared and Ray found himself transported to a prehistoric world where the dread priest of Atlantis waged a war against the Sun-born of Mu. So while the scientist of the Twentieth Century worked desperately to draw him back to the present, Ray Osborne was recruited by the people of Mu to win a war that could change the course of history, and trap him in the past forever!

Operation Ares

Gene Wolfe

Operation Ares depicts a dystopian future, with the United States controlled by an anti-technological leftist regime. The story traces protagonist John Castle's conflict with the government and his increasing involvement with a rebellion backed by a Martian colony which has severed its ties to the U.S. government.

Operation Excalibur

Battletech: Book 27

William Keith, Jr.

The Mercenary code was broken by the Gray Death Legion during their desperate fighting on planet Caledonia. At least, that is the ruling of the courts. And the judges decide to hit below the belt - Graysin Corlyle, revered leader of the now outlawed mercenary band, is stripped of his title and holdings, and the legion is banished from Glengarry, the planet they've called home for years.

Operation Audacity

Battletech: Book 55

Blaine Lee Pardoe

His forces bloodied from recent defeats, deposed Prince Victor Steiner-Davion forms a daring plan to cut the offensive off at its core...

Operation Shield

Cassandra Kresnov: Book 5

Joel Shepherd

Part military SF, part cyberpunk, part grand-scale space opera, and part techno-psychological thriller, the Cassandra Kresnov novels transcend the recently narrow segmentation of the science fiction genre.

In 23 Years on Fire, Cassandra discovered that the technology that created her has been misused in her former home and now threatens all humanity with catastrophe. Returning home to Callay, she finds that Federation member worlds, exhausted by the previous thirty-year-war against the League, are unwilling to risk the confrontation that a solution may require. Some of these forces will go to any lengths to avoid a new conflict, including taking a sledgehammer to the Federation Constitution and threatening the removal by force of Cassandra's own branch of the Federal Security Agency.

More frighteningly for Sandy, she has brought back to Callay three young children, whom she met on the mean streets of Droze, discovering maternal feelings she had not known she possessed. Can she reconcile her duty as a soldier, including what she must do as a tactician, with the dangers that those decisions will place upon her family--the one thing that has come to mean more to her than any cause she now believes in?

Operation Columbus

Chris Godfrey of U. N. E. X. A.: Book 3

Hugh Walters

Both America and Russia plan manned missions to the Moon to examine the wreckage of the structures destroyed in The Domes of Pico. The American astronaut, Morrison Kant, breaks his leg shortly before takeoff, so Chris Godfrey steps in. Both spacecraft arrive at the same time. Unlike Chris Godfrey, the Russian pilot, Serge Smyslov, is unable to leave his Lunar Rover vehicle and both head for the wrecked domes, leading to a tense standoff...

The book predates the first use of a Lunar Rover by 11 years.

Published in the U. S. as First on the Moon.

Cyborg 2: Operation Nuke

Cyborg: Book 2

Martin Caidin

When Steve Austin, astronaut, crashed from the skies, he woke to find himself a fragment of a man -- no legs, one arm, one eye. But Science rebuilt his body, giving him physica powers no other man possessed.

Now, the world is threatened by a syndicate that sells nuclear destruction to the highest bidder. And Steve Austin who, from the moon, saw the Earth as fragile and precious, is the one man who can save that world from the ultimate blackmail of our times.

The Ecolitan Operation

Ecolitan Envoy: Book 1

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Major Jimjoy Earle Wright, secret agent of the Empire, is intelligent and highly trained. But he succeeds all too well in overthrowing a military dictatorship--and the result is a new government inimical to the Empire and disgrace for Jimjoy. After surviving two assassination attempts, Jimjoy realizes that it's his own imperial superiors who want him dead; that, in fact, his worst enemies could become his best friends. He fights his way to safety on the planet Accord, where the Ecolitan Institute wins his loyalty and changes his identity. Now he is James Joyson Whaler, Ecolitan, in the middle of a war of independence against the inconceivably superior forces of the Empire.

Operation: Outer Space

Golden Science Fiction Library: Book 2

Murray Leinster

Jed Cochrane -- sophisticate in a world grown too crowded to breathe, newsman, interviewer, television personality -- begins this tale when he's sent on a wild goose chase (literally, to the moon) after the wayward son of one of his network's principals. But the path he follows will lead him to the stars -- and beyond them!

Operation Misfit

Operation: Book 1

E. Hoffman Price

Rod Garvin just made too many waves for the Thought Control Board that controlled the Plastic Society of the 21st century. Throwing him in an insane asylum didn't restrain him, nor -- when that didn't work -- did sentencing him to a suicide job on Mars. Garvin was bright, driven, and stubborn, so the only thing Thought Control could was was get rid of him -- quietly and permanently.

And that was fine with Garvin, since it meant he could make his dreamed-of voyage into deep space. But even beyond Saturn, Garvin couldn't avoid his talent for trouble. When his exploration ship stumbled onto an asteroid peopled by remnants of a starfaring race and possessed of incredible mineral wealth, it opened the possibility of unlimited loot for Earth and Thought Control -- if only Rod Garvin hadn't been the man to make the find...

Operation Longlife

Operation: Book 2

E. Hoffman Price

In the twenty-first century, Avery Jarvis "Doc" Brandon lived in luxurious seclusion on subtropical Nameless Island. An immensely wealthy gene-engineer who dabbled in illegal baby-making, Doc was 186 years of age and looked thirty-five.

But a storm loomed on his horizon: Bureaucrats had blundered across Doc's real age. They wanted his "secret discovery" and would undertake anything -- including blackmail, kidnapping, and murder -- to get it.

Operation Exile

Operation: Book 3

E. Hoffman Price

Alexander Heflin, Imperator of North America, had his hands full: a war was brewing that could destroy the Imperium. Seeking to protect his wife, Lani, from their increasingly powerful enemies, Alex called on the one person he could trust: ex-war hero Rod Garvin.

Babysitting an Imperatrix seemed too easy a job for an adventurer of Garvin's caliber. After all, it kept him on Mars, while the action was happening on Earth. Little did he know that Alex was embarking upon a desperate ploy to save his nation by destroying it -- and it would be up to Garvin to pick up the pieces.

Operation Isis

Operation: Book 4

E. Hoffman Price

Rod Garvin, governor of North America and Mars, was supposed to be on vacation, spending time in France with his Number One wife, Flora, and Felix, the son he had never met. But where Garvin went, trouble followed. Alerted by a spy in Flora's household, his enemies awaited his arrival. And the war leaders of North America had a new assignment for Garvin: find Lani, Imperatrix of North America, and convince her to come out of hiding.

So, trailed by assassins, Garvin set out for the Egypt colony, where the incognito Lani was worshipped as the incarnation of Isis. But Rod Garvin was no longer on his own. Son Felix, a chip off the old block, insisted on accompanying his dad on this mission. Can this new father-son team complete their mission -- or will guards, assassins, and Lani herself prove their undoing?

Operation Chaos

Operation Chaos: Book 1

Poul Anderson

In a world where magic is real, werewolf Steve Matuchek and powerful witch Virginia Graylock are paired together in the war to stop the invading Caliphate forces from taking over America. Their mission: stop the enemy from unleashing their superweapon--a genie in a bottle. And that is only the beginning of an adventure that will take them quite literally to Hell and back...

Operation Luna

Operation Chaos: Book 2

Poul Anderson

Now married with three rambunctious children, Steve and Ginny once again find themselves fighting for their country as they try to stop a plot to sabotage America's first manned mission to the moon (in an alternate history timeline, that is). But they will need help from a loyal cadre of magical allies if they hope to avert a catastrophe...

Major Operation

Sector General: Book 3

James White

Sector General: A massive deep-space hospital station on the Galactic Rim, where human and alien medicine meet. Its 384 levels and thousands of staff members are supposedly able to meet the needs of any conceivable alien patient--though that capacity is always being strained as more (and stranger) alien races turn up to join the galactic community. Sentient viruses, interspecies romances, undreamed-of institutional catering problems--it all lands on Sector General's doorstep. And the only thing weirder than a hitherto unknown alien species is having a member of that species turn up in your Emergency Room.


  • 1 - Invader - [Sector General] - (1966) - novelette by James White
  • 41 - Vertigo - [Sector General] - (1968) - novelette by James White
  • 68 - Blood Brother - [Sector General] - (1969) - novelette by James White
  • 103 - Meatball - [Sector General] - (1969) - novelette by James White
  • 136 - Major Operation - [Sector General] - (1971) - novelette by James White

Operation Orion

Starstrike: Book 2

Douglas Niles
Kevin Dockery

SEALS -- America's best just got better.

On the heels of a bloody first contact comes Earth's most important diplomatic mission in history: a summit meeting with the three alien empires vying for control of the galaxy. Assurance that Earth's first extraterrestrial ambassadors aboard the spaceship Pangaea will be safe means little to Lieutenant Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. After all, a job's a job. As escorts on the voyage, Jackson and his sixteen-man team of new-breed Navy SEALS (Sea, Air, Land, and Space) must be neither seen nor heard. Unless, of course, the op hits the fan.

While Jackson and his team respond to a distress call from an allied fleet, the Pangaea, with all its diplomatic passengers, goes missing, forcing the SEALS to follow the trail to an ice moon at the edge of the galaxy, a harsh environment crawling with crack commandos and hostile enemies. But for these warriors with their outrageous firepower, what seems an impossible quest is just another day in deep space.

Operation Motherland

The Afterblight Chronicles: Book 6

Scott Andrews

In the years following The Cull, England has fractured into various fiefdoms, each fighting for survival in this harsh new world. There are those who would exploit this weakness, people like De Falaise, the new self-proclaimed Sheriff of Nottingham. But there are also those who would stand against tyranny. In a post-apocalypse England a legend is being re-born.

Operation Sierra 75

Vor - The Maelstrom: Book 6

Thomas Gressman

Torn from the universe by a cosmic vortex, Earth remains trapped in the Maelstrom, swirling toward ultimate destruction. Now, a company of Union Marines and medics, sent to find the survivors of a crash landing on an unexplored planet, find themselves trapped in a hellish world, hunted by an unknown enemy. When weapons and equipment begin to vanish, and strange, murderous creatures haunt the Marines' every move, a simple rescue mission becomes a desperate death march...