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Beyond the Doors of Death

The Stellar Guild

Robert Silverberg
Damien Broderick

Nebula- and Locus-winning Novella

"Born With the Dead" by Robert Silverberg tells the story of a man whose wife is among the rekindled dead now. He's heard that she is on a plane to Zanzibar with five other rekindled dead. As a "warm", he is not really allowed to make contact with her. The dead like to stay in their cold-cities. But he'd loved her so much when she was alive, he just has to try! This novella was nominated for every major science fiction award when it was originally published in 1974, winning the Nebula and Locus awards.

"Quicken", a novella by Australian author Damien Broderick, uses Robert Silverberg's original novella as a starting point for a brilliant leap into the far future, widening the scope and tenor of the original story by revisiting some of its subtler implications.

Tau Ceti

The Stellar Guild: Book 1

Kevin J. Anderson
Steven Savile

"Tortoise and Hare", a novella by Kevin J Anderson, tells the story of Jorie Taylor, who has lived her whole life on the generation ship Beacon. Fleeing an Earth tearing itself apart from its exhaustive demand for resources, the Beacon is finally approaching Sarbras, the planet circling Tau Ceti which they hope to make humanity's new home.

But Earth has recovered from its near-death experience, and is now under the control of a ruthless dictator whose sights are set on Tau Ceti as well. President Jurudu knows how to get what he wants - and he wants Sarbras. He sends the military ship Conquistador, which uses newly-developed FTL (faster-than-light) technology, to ensure that he gets it.

In the sequel novelette "Grasshopper and Ants" by Steven Savile, Jorie is now the eleventh captain of the generation ship Beacon, which has at last reached its destination, the colony planet Sarbras. But one by one, the colonists come down with a mysterious, undiagnosible illness. And the Conquistador's arrival is imminent.

Tau Ceti won the 2013 "Lifeboat to the Stars" Award as the best work of science fiction contributing to an understanding of the benefits, means, and difficulties of interstellar travel.

Reboots

The Stellar Guild: Book 2

Mercedes Lackey
Cody Martin

"Just the Right Bullets" by Mercedes Lackey:

Space travel is tough. No air, cosmic radiation, absolute lack of other life-sustaining essentials.

What better way to deal with space travel than to man ships with creatures that regenerate or don't need air, or are immune to various maladies?

In a future world where zombies, vampires and werewolves co-exist with 'normal' humans on Earth, these ships are staffed by a motley crew of various types of undead or near-dead creatures.

Of course no one really knows what happens when zombies and vampires are squeezed together in the close confines of a spaceship.

Don't you love surprises?

With a prequel novelette "Bad Moon Rising" by Cody Martin.

On The Train

The Stellar Guild: Book 3

Harry Turtledove
Rachel Turtledove

The world of the Train is insular even as it circles the planet, offering only fleeting glimpses into the wonders beyond, whether the ravages of war or the effects more magical regions have on the Train's mechanism.

"All Aboard!" by Harry Turtledove introduces Javan, a young man from the city of Pingaspor whose third-class ticket allows him to expand his worldview, and whose ambition allows him to make a life for himself in the narrow confines of the Train.

"First Passage" by Rachel Turtledove describes the first-class travels of nanny Eli, hired by the Baroness Vasri, who becomes entangled in the world of the Directors of the Railroad and the slinkers who stow away.

When The Blue Shift Comes

The Stellar Guild: Book 4

Robert Silverberg
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Life has spread across the stars, and everyone enjoys a long life. However, only those who are Earth-born are truly immortal.

But what happens when the immortals of Earth are suddenly faced with their ultimate destruction?

"The Song of Last Things" by Robert Silverberg introduces Hanosz Prime, a near-immortal (though not truly so, not being of true Earth stock) planetary ruler who abdicates his throne and travels to humanity's ancient home to meet the legendarily-beautiful Kaivilda and discover the ultimate answer to humanity's imminent end.

"The Last Mandala Sweeps" by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro comes in as a relationship is developing between Hanosz and Kaivilda. But then someone attempts to kill him. Is Kaivilda his soulmate, or a would-be murderer? And the Oracles of Earth, issuing conflicting prophecies, seem to think that he is destined to save Earth and humanity from the looming cataclysm. Can Hanosz Prime, with Kaivilda's help, avert disaster and save them all?

New Under The Sun

The Stellar Guild: Book 5

Nancy Kress
Therese Pieczynski

Nebula-nominated Novella

"Annabel Lee" by Nancy Kress:

Set in the near future, this story gives us a world increasingly hostile to new ideas as religious fundamentalism dictates social agenda, and where the primary use of science is to bolster these very same uncompromising attitudes.

This is a world we can imagine very easily, since the author takes us down the sliding slope very gently. Years pass, and attitudes change a little bit here... and a little bit there... until the cumulative impact of these cultural changes becomes a thought-controlling nightmare.

Annabel Lee is a child of this society, but unique. She has been infected by a long-dormant alien parasite. But this "infection" may be the only hope for the world - if she can survive long enough.

The companion novelette "Strange Attraction" by Therese Pieczynski predates Kress' world and takes us to back to 1980s Nicaragua, where a strange demon lurks.

The Aethers of Mars

The Stellar Guild: Book 6

Eric Flint
Charles E. Gannon

Welcome to Mars... circa 1900. Cecil Rhodes rules Mars and is on his way to transforming the British Empire into his vision of a powerful force, managed by the "right" type of people.

"In the Matter of Savinkov" by Eric Flint: Russian secret agents board the British aethership Agincourt, travelling from Earth to Mars, seeking Savinkov - a legendary revolutionary and assassin who is reputedly planning something truly dramatic and Mars-shattering. But which of the passengers is really Savinkov? Is he actually on the ship? Or does he even exist at all?

"White Sand, Red Dust" by Charles E Gannon features Conrad von Harrer, a veteran of the Boer Wars, who, in a nod to the 1950 film noir drama D.O.A., is on his way to Mars in search of an antidote to the poison he accidentally ingested on Earth. Will he find a solution in time to save himself?

Red Tide

The Stellar Guild: Book 7

Larry Niven
Brad R. Torgersen
Matthew J. Harrington

Loosely based on Larry Niven's 1973 novella "Flash Crowd," Red Tide continues to examine the social consequences of the impact of having instantaneous teleportation, where humans can instantly travel long distances in milliseconds.

"Red Tide", by Larry Niven, is an updated version of his 1973 novella "Flash Crowd", about the social consequences of inventing an instant, practically free transfer booth that can take one anywhere on Earth in milliseconds.

One consequence not foreseen by the builders of the system was that with the almost immediate reporting of newsworthy events, tens of thousands of people worldwide - along with criminals - would teleport to the scene of anything interesting, thus creating disorder and confusion. The plot centers around a television journalist who, after being fired for his inadvertent role in inciting a post-robbery riot in Los Angeles, decides to independently investigate the teleportation system for the flaws in its design allowing for such spontaneous riots to occur.

"Dial at Random", a companion novelette also by Niven, steps back in time to when the new, experimental long-distance teleportation system is being tested by its inventor. Something goes terribly awry, and a teenage girl is subjected to a bizarre journey.

"Sparky the Dog" a novelette by Brad R. Torgersen, ties the lives of the journalist and inventor together with a flashback to the early days of the teleportation experiments, when the inventor and his dog went on a wild adventure.

"Displacement Activity" a novelette by Matthew J. Harrington, relates the story of a man accidentally teleported far across the galaxy, where he must adapt into a distant future society where humans are not much better than slaves.

Teleportation is a theme that has fascinated Niven throughout his career and even appears in his seminal work Ringworld, where the central character celebrates his birthday by instantly teleporting himself to different time zones, extending his birthday. Niven also discusses the impact of such instantaneous transportation in an included essay, "Exercise in Speculation: The Theory and Practice of Teleportation."