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Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

Hugo Award winning story. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1959 and was reprinted in the October 1979 and May 2000 editions of that magazine. The story has been reprinted many times. It can be found in the anthologies:

The story would later be expanded to the full novel Flowers for Algernon (1966), which went on to win a Nebula Award.

Lilith's Brood

Xenogenesis

Octavia E. Butler

Butler’s acclaimed Xenogenesis trilogy about humanity’s struggle for survival after nuclear apocalypse, and the alien race that could save the world—or destroy it.

The newest stage in human evolution begins in outer space. Survivors of a cataclysmic nuclear war awake to find themselves being studied by the Oankali, tentacle-covered galactic travelers whose benevolent appearance hides their surprising plan for the future of mankind. The Oankali arrive not just to save humanity, but to bond with it—crossbreeding to form a hybrid species that can survive in the place of its human forebears, who were so intent on self-destruction. Some people resist, forming pocket communities of purebred rebellion, but many realize they have no choice. The human species inevitably expands into something stranger, stronger, and undeniably alien.

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance--until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

James Tiptree, Jr.

These 18 darkly complex short stories and novellas touch upon human nature and perception, metaphysics and epistemology, and gender and sexuality, foreshadowing a world in which biological tendencies bring about the downfall of humankind. The Nebula Award-winning short story "Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death," the Hugo Award-winning novella "The Girl Who Was Plugged In," and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novella "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" are included.

Table of Contents

Raising the Stones

The Arbai Trilogy: Book 2

Sheri S. Tepper

Hobbs Land was a quiet agricultural colony, a peaceful planet where men and women worked together as equals to provide food for other worlds. Once it had been the home of the alien Owlbrit, who left behind only the temples where their strange gods had lived. But then the gods awoke.

Peace. War. Hate. And love. Raising the Stones weaves disparate threads to tell a story that builds to an inescapable climax. And, in a time when so many predict humanity won't survive through the next century, author Sheri S. Tepper gives us an insightful look into what is the best in all of us.

The Speed of Dark

Elizabeth Moon

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.

But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"?

There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world... and the very essence of who he is.

Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.

The Face

Demon Princes: Book 4

Jack Vance

Kirth Gersen carries in his pocket a slip of paper with a list of five names written upon it--the names of five Demon Princes. The Demon Princes are a race of beings who disguise themselves as humans and delight in power and destruction. however, to Kirth they are merely murderers who killed his family and destroyed his home planet--and who deserves to die for those misdeeds. Three have already fallen in Kirth's hands, but there are two more names on his list, two more Princes who will live only long enough to regret their evil ways.

The Persistence of Vision

John Varley

Hugo, Nebula and Locus award nominated novella. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1978. The story can also be found in the anthologies:

It is half of Tor Double #29: Nanowire Time / The Persistence of Vision and is included in the collections The Persistence of Vision (1979) and The John Varley Reader (2004).

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

Waking after a night of troubled dreams, Gregor is surprised to find himself trapped in the body of a hideous man-sized bug. As he lies on his shell and gazes into space, his mother and father begin calling to him from outside his bedroom door. He must get out of bed, they tell him. He has to go to work. They need his money to live. Gregor replies to them nervously, his voice sounding strange to his ears. He'll be out very soon, he says. He's just getting ready! But he can't keep saying that forever.

Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuk

An underground classic since its first publication in 1996, Fight Club is now recognized as one of the most original and provocative novels published in this decade. Chuck Palahniuk's darkly funny first novel tells the story of a godforsaken young man who discovers that his rage at living in a world filled with failure and lies cannot be pacified by an empty consumer culture. Relief for him and his disenfranchised peers comes in the form of secret after-hours boxing matches held in the basements of bars. Fight Club is the brainchild of Tyler Durden, who thinks he has found a way for himself and his friends to live beyond their confining and stultifying lives. But in Tyler's world there are no rules, no limits, no brakes.

The Lottery and Other Stories

Shirley Jackson

The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. "Power and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery:" with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jack son's remarkable range--from the hilarious to the truly horrible--and power as a storyteller.

Table of Contents:
• The Intoxicated • non-genre • (1949)
• The Daemon Lover • (1949)
• Like Mother Used to Make • non-genre • (1949)
• Trial by Combat • non-genre • (1944)
• The Villager • non-genre • (1944)
• My Life with R. H. Macy • non-genre • (1941)
• The Witch • non-genre • (1949)
• The Renegade • non-genre • (1948)
• After You, My Dear Alphonse • non-genre • (1943)
• Charles • non-genre • (1948)
• Afternoon in Linen • non-genre • (1943)
• Flower Garden • non-genre • (1949)
• Dorothy and My Grandmother and the Sailors • non-genre • (1949)
• Colloquy • non-genre • (1944)
• Elizabeth • non-genre • (1949)
• A Fine Old Firm • non-genre • (1944)
• The Dummy • non-genre • (1949)
• Seven Types of Ambiguity • non-genre • (1946)
• Come Dance with Me in Ireland • non-genre • (1943)
• Of Course • non-genre • (1949)
• Pillar of Salt • (1948)
• Men with Their Big Shoes • non-genre • (1947)
• The Tooth • (1949)
• Got a Letter from Jimmy • non-genre • (1949)
The Lottery • (1948)
• James Harris, the Daemon Lover • (1949) • poem by uncredited (variant of The Demon Lover 1737)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I was raised with a chimpanzee," she explains. "I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion... she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister." As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.

In We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date-a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.

Unholy Land

Lavie Tidhar

When pulp-fiction writer Lior Tirosh returns to his homeland in East Africa, much has changed. Palestina?a Jewish state established in the early 20th century?is constructing a massive border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in the capital, Ararat, is at fever pitch.

While searching for his missing niece, Tirosh begins to act as though he is a detective from one of his own novels. He is pursued by ruthless members of the state's security apparatus while unearthing deadly conspiracies and impossible realities. For if it is possible for more than one Palestina to exist, the barriers between the worlds are beginning to break.

Regenesis

Alliance-Union: Unionside: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

The direct sequel to the Hugo Award- winning novel Cyteen, Regenesis continues the story of Ariane Emory PR, the genetic clone of one of the greatest scientists humanity has ever produced, and of her search for the murderer of her progenitor-the original Ariane Emory.

Murder, politics, deception, and genetic and psychological manipulation combine against a backdrop of interstellar human societies at odds to create a mesmerizing and major work in Regenesis. Who did kill the original Ariane Emory? And can her personal replicate avoid the same fate?

Those questions have remained unanswered for two decades-since the publication of Cyteen. Now in Regenesis those questions will finally be answered.

The Languages of Pao

Jack Vance

The Panarch of Pao is dead and Beran Panasper, his young son and heir, must flee the planet to live and avenge his father's death. It is at the secret fortress on the planet Breakness that Beran discovers the dreaded truth behind the assassination of his father-and much more. The people of Pao are a docile lot, content to live in harmony with the rest of the cosmos, but the scientists at Breakness seek to alter the psychology of the Paonese for their own purpose-and Beran holds the key to their audacious plan. Beran will return to Pao, transforming his home world beyond his teacher's wildest dreams. But though he has been fashioned into a man of Breakness, Beran's heart is of Pao. And he brings to his world the seeds of change that will save Pao...or destroy it.

Lexicon

Max Barry

At an exclusive training school at an undisclosed location outside Washington, D.C., students are taught to control minds, to wield words as weapons. The very best graduate as "poets" and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Recruited off the street, whip-smart Emily Ruff quickly learns the one key rule: never allow another person to truly know you. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy, until she makes the catastrophic mistake of falling in love.

Just After Sunset

Stephen King

A stunning collection from international bestseller Stephen King that displays his phenomenally broad readership (stories published in The New Yorker, Playboy,and McSweeney's and including the 25,000 word story "Gingerbread Girl" published in Esquire).

Stephen King--who has written more than fifty books, dozens of number one New York Times bestsellers, and many unforgettable movies--delivers an astonishing collection of short stories, his first since Everything's Eventual six years ago. As guest editor of the bestselling Best American Short Stories 2007, King spent over a year reading hundreds of stories. His renewed passion for the form is evident on every page of Just After Sunset. The stories in this collection have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, Esquire, and other publications.

Who but Stephen King would turn a Port-O-San into a slimy birth canal, or a roadside honky-tonk into a place for endless love? A book salesman with a grievance might pick up a mute hitchhiker, not knowing the silent man in the passenger seat listens altogether too well. Or an exercise routine on a stationary bicycle, begun to reduce bad cholesterol, might take its rider on a captivating--and then terrifying--journey. Set on a remote key in Florida, "The Gingerbread Girl" is a riveting tale featuring a young woman as vulnerable--and resourceful--as Audrey Hepburn's character in Wait Until Dark. In "Ayana," a blind girl works a miracle with a kiss and the touch of her hand. For King, the line between the living and the dead is often blurry, and the seams that hold our reality intact might tear apart at any moment. In one of the longer stories here, "N.," which recently broke new ground when it was adapted as a graphic digital entertainment, a psychiatric patient's irrational thinking might create an apocalyptic threat in the Maine countryside...or keep the world from falling victim to it.

Just After Sunset--call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.

Dying Inside

Robert Silverberg

David Selig was born with an awesome power - the ability to look deep into the human heart, to probe the darkest truths hidden in the secret recesses of the soul. With reckless abandon, he used his talent in the pursuit of pleasure. Then, one day, his power began to die...

Dying Inside is a vivid, harrowing portrait of a man who squandered a remarkable gift, of a superman who had to learn what it was to be human.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with psi powers - telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, teleportation, pyrolysis, and the ability to take control of the minds of others - and complete innocence regarding the mores of man.

After his tutelage under a surrogate-father figure, Valentine begins his transformation into a messiah figure. His introduction into Earth society, together with his exceptional abilities, lead Valentine to become many things to many people: freak, scam artist, media commodity, searcher, free-love pioneer, neon evangelist, and martyr.

Heinlein won his third Hugo award for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein's earthly "divine comedy."

Lullaby

Chuck Palahniuk

Ever heard of a culling song? It's a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. The lyrics of a culling song kill, whether spoken or even just thought. You can find one on page 27 of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World, an anthology that is sitting on the shelves of libraries across the country, waiting to be picked up by unsuspecting readers.

Reporter Carl Streator discovers the song's lethal nature while researching Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and before he knows it, he's reciting the poem to anyone who bothers him. As the body count rises, Streator glimpses the potential catastrophe if someone truly malicious finds out about the song. The only answer is to find and destroy every copy of the book in the country. Accompanied by a shady real-estate agent, her Wiccan assistant, and the assistant's truly annoying ecoterrorist boyfriend, Streator begins a desperate cross-country quest to put the culling song to rest.

Written with a style and imagination that could only come from Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby is the latest outrage from one of our most exciting writers at work today.

Maze of Death

Philip K. Dick

Fourteen strangers came to Delmak-O. Thirteen of them were transferred by the usual authorities. One got there by praying. But once they arrived on that planet whose very atmosphere seemed to induce paranoia and psychosis, the newcomers found that even prayer was useless. For on Delmak-O, God is either absent or intent on destroying His creations.

Also published as A Maze of Death.

Rite of Passage

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 27

Alexei Panshin

After the destruction of Earth, humanity has established itself precariously among a hundred planets. Between them roam the vast Ships, doling out scientific knowledge in exchange for raw materials. On one of the Ships lives Mia Havero. Belligerent soccer player, intrepid explorer of ventilation shafts, Mia tests all the boundaries of her insulated world. She will soon be tested in turn. At the age of fourteen all Ship children must endure a month unaided in the wilds of a colony world, and although Mia has learned much through formal study, about philosophy, economics, and the business of survival, she will find that her most vital lessons are the ones she must teach herself.

Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

Brain Wave

Poul Anderson

Tha Change had come.

The world was suddenly, incredibly different. Somwhow, the Earth has escaped from a force field that had until then showed down light and otherwise affected electromagnetic and electrochemical processes. Almost overnight the intelligence of every living creature - man and beast - trebled. And the world went mad.

Archie Brock, the near moron, found himself in sold charge of a farm of strangely uncooperative animals and had to enlist the aid of superintelligent chimpanzees who had escaped from a nearby circus.

Peter Corinth, a physicist who started out life bright, was suddenly translated to an order of intelligence that left his rather dumb wife far behind... and shw was no longer too dumb to notice.

But the biggest problem of all was the ultimate one. In a world withoute problems where all the questions that have plagues mankind throughout history are solved, what is man to do with his time?

The Dream Master

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 48

Roger Zelazny

Charles Render is a shaper, one of a small number of psychotherapists qualified, by his granite will and ultra-stability, to use the extraordinary device that enables him to to participate in, and control, his patients' dreams. But this is a dangerous therapy for the therapist and only his armour-plated integrity protects Render from too deep an involvement in the mental worlds of the damaged people he seeks to help. But then, Eileen Shallot, another therapist who is blind, asks him to help her 'see' by transferring from his mind to hers a world of colour and light. Render agrees but suddenly finds himself obsessed with Eileen and drawn into fantasies which, she controls.

A Time of Changes

Robert Silverberg

Three thousand years after Earth's colonization of the planet Borthan, stories of self-serving hypocrisy that occurred among the first arrivals have bred a culture that forbids emotional sharing and denies the naturally human concept of 'self.' Kinnall Darival breaks the strict code of the Covenant to record the sordid details of his rebellious life from the days of his royal youth to self-appointed prophet of love.

Wave Without a Shore

Alliance-Union: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

Freedom was an isolated planet, off the spaceways track and rarely visited by commercial spacers. It wasn't that Freedom was inhospitable as planets go. The problem was that outsiders – tourists and traders – claimed the streets were crowded with mysterious characters in blue robes and with members of an alien species.

Native-born humans, however, said that was not the case. There were no such blue-robes and no aliens. Such was the viewpoint of both Herrin the artist and Waden the autocrat – until a crisis of planetary identity forced a life-and-death confrontation between the question of reality and the reality of the question...

The Affinities

Robert Charles Wilson

In our rapidly-changing world of "social media", everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies--genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one's life. It's like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren't just like you, and they aren't just people who are likely to like you. They're also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life--creative, interpersonal, even financial.

At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he's a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It's utopian--at first. Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another--to helping him.

But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war--with one another.

What happens next will change Adam, and his world, forever.

Aye, and Gomorrah…

Samuel R. Delany

Nebula Award winning and Hugo Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in the anthlogy Dangerous Visions (1967), edited by Harlan Ellison. The story has been reprinted many times. It can be found in the anthologies:

The story can also be found in the collections Driftglass (1971), The Complete Nebula Award-Winning Fiction (1986), Driftglass/Starshards (1993), and Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories (2003).

Read the full story for free at Strange Horizons.

The Whole Man

John Brunner

Gerald Howson was born in the gutter, with the body of a cripple... he was raised in harsh poverty and ridicule... and he would grow up with a mind of transcendant power.... What kind of man would he be?

A daring and fascinating exploration into the possibilities that include the marvel of internal creation---or the threat of lingering death!

Published in the UK as: The Telepathist

Holy Fire

Bruce Sterling

The 21st century is coming to a close, and the medical industrial complex dominates the world economy. It is a world of synthetic memory drugs, benevolent government surveillance, underground anarchists, and talking canine companions. Power is in the hands of conservative senior citizens who have watched their health and capital investments with equal care, gaining access to the latest advancements in life-extension technology. Meanwhile, the young live on the fringes of society, ekeing out a meagre survival on free, government-issued rations and a black market in stolen technological gadgetry from an earlier, less sophisticated age.

Mia Ziemann is a 94-year-old medical economist who enjoys all the benefits of her position. But a deathbed visit with a long-ago ex-lover and a chance meeting with a young bohemian dress-designer brings Mia to an awful revelation. She has lived her life with such caution that it has been totally bereft of pleasure and adventure. She has one chance to do it all over. But first she must submit herself to a radical--and painful--experimental procedure which promises to make her young again. The procedure is not without risk and her second chance at life will not come without a price. But first she will have to escape her team of medical keepers.

Hitching a ride on a plane to Europe, Mia sets out on a wild intercontinental quest in search of spiritual gratification, erotic revelation, and the thing she missed most of all: the holy fire of the creative experience. She joins a group of outlaw anarchists whose leader may be the man of her dreams... or her undoing. Worst of all, Mia will have to undergo one last radical procedure that could cost her a second life.

The Doomed City

Arkady Strugatsky
Boris Strugatsky

The magnum opus of Russia's greatest science fiction novelists translated into English for the first time

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, Roadside Picnic, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide. Yet the novel they worked hardest on, that was their own favorite, and that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English. The Doomed City was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their closest friends for sixteen years after its completion in 1972. It was only published in Russia during perestroika in the late 1980s, the last of their works to see publication. It was translated into a host of European languages, and now appears in English in a major new effort by acclaimed translator Andrew Bromfield.

The Doomed City is set in an experimental city whose sun gets switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. And as increasinbly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect. Boris Strugatsky wrote that the task of writing The Doomed City "was genuinely delightful and fascinating work." Readers will doubtless say the same of the experience of reading it.

The Martian Way and Other Stories

Isaac Asimov

This collection of four famous science fiction tales masterfully exemplifies author Isaac Asimov's ability to create quickly a believable human milieu in the midst of alien circumstances. Each of the long stores also shows his considerable skill in fully fleshing out a speculative scientific or social possibility.

Table of Contents

  • The Martian Way - (1952) - novella by Isaac Asimov
  • Youth - (1952) - novelette by Isaac Asimov
  • The Deep - (1952) - novelette by Isaac Asimov
  • Sucker Bait - (1954) - novella by Isaac Asimov

Triggers

Robert J. Sawyer

On the eve of a secret military operation, an assassin's bullet strikes President Seth Jerrison. He is rushed to the hospital, where surgeons struggle to save his life.

At the same hospital, researcher Dr. Ranjip Singh is experimenting with a device that can erase traumatic memories.

Then a terrorist bomb detonates. In the operating room, the president suffers cardiac arrest. He has a near-death experience-but the memories that flash through Jerrison's mind are not his memories.

It quickly becomes clear that the electromagnetic pulse generated by the bomb amplified and scrambled Dr. Singh's equipment, allowing a random group of people to access one another's minds.

And now one of those people has access to the president's memories- including classified information regarding the upcoming military mission, which, if revealed, could cost countless lives. But the task of determining who has switched memories with whom is a daunting one- particularly when some of the people involved have reason to lie...

The Squares of the City

John Brunner

A tour-de-force, a disciplined exercise peopled originally by wooden or ivory or jade figurines, now fleshed and clothed and given dramatic life in a battle as old as the classic conflict of chess. But these are real people. When heads roll, blood gouts out and drenches the remaining players while they watch in horrified fascination - until their turn comes. For it is a real game. And the players cannot tell the outcome. Even when their lives depend on it....

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world's motor--and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.

Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life--from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy--to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction--to the philosopher who becomes a pirate--to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph--to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad--to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions. This is a mystery story, not about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.