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How Firm a Foundation

Safehold: Book 5

David Weber

The Charisian Empire, born in war, has always known it must fight for its very survival. What most of its subjects don't know even now, however, is how much more it's fighting for. Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan, Merlin Athrawes, and their innermost circle of most trusted advisers do know. And because they do, they know the penalty if they lose will be far worse than their own deaths and the destruction of all they know and love.

For five years, Charis has survived all the Church of God Awaiting and the corrupt men who control it have thrown at the island empire. The price has been high and paid in blood. Despite its chain of hard-fought naval victories, Charis is still on the defensive. It can hold its own at sea, but if it is to survive, it must defeat the Church upon its own ground. Yet how does it invade the mainland and take the war to a foe whose population outnumbers its own fifteen to one? How does it prevent that massive opponent from rebuilding its fleets and attacking yet again?

Charis has no answer to those questions, but needs to find one... quickly. The Inquisition's brutal torture and hideous executions are claiming more and more innocent lives. Its agents are fomenting rebellion against the only mainland realms sympathetic to Charis. Religious terrorists have been dispatched to wreak havoc against the Empire's subjects. Assassins stalk the Emperor and Empress, their allies and advisers, and an innocent young boy, not yet eleven years old, whose father has already been murdered. And Merlin Athrawes, the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, has finally learned what sleeps beneath the far-off Temple in the Church of God Awaiting's city of Zion.

The men and women fighting for human freedom and tolerance have built a foundation for their struggle in the Empire of Charis with their own blood.

The Screwfly Solution

Raccoona Sheldon
James Tiptree, Jr.

This Nebula-winning and Hugo-nominated novelette was collected in Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions (1981) and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1990) and anthologized in The 1978 Annual World's Best SF (1978), Nebula Winners Thirteen (1980), Armageddons (1999) and Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology (2015).


Read this story online for free at the Sci Fiction archive.

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.

By Heresies Distressed

Safehold: Book 3

David Weber

Now the battle for the soul of the planet Safehold has begun.

The Kingdom of Charis and the Kingdom of Chisholm have joined together, pledged to stand against the tyranny of a corrupt Church. The youthful Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm has wed King Cayleb of Charis, forging a single dynasty, a single empire, dedicated to the defense of human freedom. Crowned Empress of that empire, Sharleyan has found in Cayleb's arms the love she never dared hope for in a "marriage of state." In Cayleb's cause, his defiance of the ruthless Group of Four who govern mother Church, she has found the task to which she can commit her mind and her courage. It is a cause for which she was born.

Yet there are things Sharleyan still does not know. Secrets Cayleb has not been permitted to share, even with her. Secrets like the true story of humanity on Safehold. Like the intricate web of lies, deception, and fabricated "religion" which have chained humanity for almost a thousand years. Like the existence of the genocidal alien Gbaba, waiting to complete mankind's destruction should humans ever attract their attention once more. Like the existence of a young woman, Nimue Alban, nine hundred years dead, whose heart, mind, and memories live on within the android body of the warrior-monk she knows as Merlin.

And so Empress Sharleyan faces the the great challenge of her life unaware of all that task truly entails...or of how the secrets the man who loves her cannot share may threaten all they have achieved between them... and her own life.

A Mighty Fortress

Safehold: Book 4

David Weber

Young Cayleb Ahrmahk has accomplished things few people could even dream of. Not yet even thirty years old, he's won the most crushing naval victories in human history. He's smashed a hostile alliance of no less than five princedoms and won the hand of the beautiful young Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm. Cayleb and Sharleyan have created the Charisian Empire, the greatest naval power in the history of Safehold, and they've turned Charis into a place of refuge for all who treasure freedom.

Their success may prove short-lived. The Church of God Awaiting, which controls most of Safehold, has decreed their destruction. Mother Church's entire purpose is to prevent the very things to which Charis is committed. Since the first attempt to crush the heretics failed, the Church has no choice but to adopt some of the hated Charisian innovations for themselves. Soon a mighty fleet will sail against Cayleb, destroying everything in its path.

But there are still matters about which the Church knows nothing, including Cayleb and Sharleyan's adviser, friend, and guardian- the mystic warrior-monk named Merlin Athrawes. Merlin knows all about battles against impossible odds, because he is in fact the cybernetic avatar of a young woman named Nimue Alban, who died a thousand years before. As Nimue, Merlin saw the entire Terran Federation go down in fire and slaughter at the hands of a foe it could not defeat. He knows that Safehold is the last human planet in existence, and that the stasis the Church was created to enforce will be the human race's death sentence if it is allowed to stand.

The juggernaut is rumbling down on Charis, but Merlin Athrawes and a handful of extraordinary human beings stand in its path. The Church is about to discover just how potent the power of human freedom truly is.

Elder Race

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Lynesse is the lowly Fourth Daughter of the queen, and always getting in the way.

But a demon is terrorizing the land, and now she's an adult (albeit barely) with responsibilities (she tells herself). Although she still gets in the way, she understands that the only way to save her people is to invoke the pact between her family and the Elder sorcerer who has inhabited the local tower for as long as her people have lived here (though none in living memory has approached it).

But Elder Nyr isn't a sorcerer, and he is forbidden to help, and his knowledge of science tells him the threat cannot possibly be a demon...

Speaker for the Dead

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening... again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery... and the truth.

Death's End

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 3

Cixin Liu

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

Armor

John Steakley

Body armor has been devised for the commando forces that are to be dropped on Banshee-the home of the most implacable of humanity's enemies. A trooper in this armor is a one-man, atomic-powered battle fortress, but he will have to fight a nearly endless horde of berserk, hard-shelled monsters.

Dawn

Xenogenesis: Book 1

Octavia E. Butler

Rescued from Earth's destruction, one woman is called upon to revive mankind.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth-the last stage of the planet's final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali-who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations-whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet's untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

The Day of the Triffids

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 36

John Wyndham

In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having "all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare."

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

Emergency Skin

Forward: Book 3

N. K. Jemisin

Hugo Award-nominated Novelette

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet's finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind -- hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out ages ago. After all this time, there's no telling how they've devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.

Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion

Kate Boyes

A young woman working alone in a small special collections library is trapped in the building when invaders overrun her town. She barricades the doors, peeks through a window, and watches in horror as people are murdered outside. The invaders wear uniforms that cover them completely, making it impossible for her to see their faces. However, she realizes at once that they do not intend to subjugate the population. They intend to annihilate it.

Trapped in the R.A.W. is a journal of the young woman's solitary struggle to protect the books while keeping herself fed, hydrated, warm, and sane.

The Genocides

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 60

Thomas M. Disch

This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells

In this harrowing novel, the world's cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth. The plants, able to grow the size of maples in only a month and eventually reach six hundred feet, have commandeered the world's soil and are sucking even the Great Lakes dry. In northern Minnesota, Anderson, an aging farmer armed with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, desperately leads the reduced citizenry of a small town in a daily struggle for meager existence. Throw into this fray Jeremiah Orville, a marauding outsider bent on a bizarre and private revenge, and the fight to live becomes a daunting task.

Slow Bullets

Alastair Reynolds

Locus-winning and Hugo-nominated Novella

A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur -- and for humanity -- peace is not to be.

On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship.

Passengers -- combatants from both sides of the war -- are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.

Crystal Rain

Xenowealth: Book 1

Tobias S. Buckell

Long ago, so the stories say, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worm's hole in the sky. Looking for a new world to call their own, they brought with them a rich melange of cultures, religions, and dialects from a far-off planet called Earth. Mighty were the old-fathers, with the power to shape the world to their liking---but that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky.

Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore of Nanagada with no memory of his past. Although he has made a new life for himself among the peaceful islanders, his soul remains haunted by unanswered questions about his own identity.

These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the Wicked High Mountains in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel, inhuman gods. Nanagada's only hope lies in a mythical artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, said to be hidden somewhere in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device's secrets, even if he can't remember why or how!

Crystal Rain is the much-anticipated debut novel by one of science fiction's newest and most promising talents.

Footfall

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star.

The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender--or death for all humans.

Imago

Xenogenesis: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way.

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race.

Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi-the first ever born to a human mother. As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what's left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all.

Xenocide

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin: Book 3

Orson Scott Card

The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright.

On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Startways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, a second xenocide seems inevitble.

Ender in Exile

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin

Orson Scott Card

After twenty-three years, Orson Scott Card returns to his acclaimed best-selling series with the first true, direct sequel to the classic Ender's Game.

In Ender's Game, the world's most gifted children were taken from their families and sent to an elite training school. At Battle School, they learned combat, strategy, and secret intelligence to fight a dangerous war on behalf of those left on Earth. But they also learned some important and less definable lessons about life.

After the life-changing events of those years, these children-now teenagers-must leave the school and readapt to life in the outside world.

Having not seen their families or interacted with other people for years-where do they go now? What can they do?

Ender fought for humanity, but he is now reviled as a ruthless assassin. No longer allowed to live on Earth, he enters into exile. With his sister Valentine, he chooses to leave the only home he's ever known to begin a relativistic-and revelatory-journey beyond the stars.

What happened during the years between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead? What did Ender go through from the ages of 12 through 35? The story of those years has never been told. Taking place 3000 years before Ender finally receives his chance at redemption in Speaker for the Dead, this is the long-lost story of Ender.

For twenty-three years, millions of readers have wondered and now they will receive the answers. Ender in Exile is Orson Scott Card's moving return to all the action and the adventure, the profound exploration of war and society, and the characters one never forgot.

On one of these ships, there is a baby that just may share the same special gifts as Ender's old friend Bean....

The City of Gold and Lead

The Tripods: Book 2

John Christopher

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

The Pool of Fire

The Tripods: Book 3

John Christopher

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

Of Men and Monsters

William Tenn

Giant, technologically superior aliens have conquered Earth, but humankind survives - even flourishes in a way. Men and women live, like mice, in burrows in the massive walls of the huge homes of the aliens, and scurry about under their feet, stealing from them. A complex social and religious order has evolved, with women preserving knowledge and working as healers, and men serving as warriors and thieves. For the aliens, men and women are just a nuisance, nothing more than vermin. Which, ironically, may just be humankind's strength and point the way forward.

Dinner at Deviant's Palace

Tim Powers

Gregorio Rivas is retired from the Redemptionist trade - at thirty-one, he's no longer willing to risk his life rescuing new recruits from the savage religion of the Messiah Norton Jaybush, no longer eager to track the caravans of the faithful through the mutated wildernesses of Los Angeles. Once he was the best Redemptionist for hire - once he even tracked a victim right up to the walls of the Messiah's perilous Holy City in Irvine - but that's all over now.

Or it was - until he's approached to perform one last Redemption. And this time the victim who has been brainwashed and carried away by the brutal faith is his long-lost first love, Urania.

And so Rivas sets out to save her, beginning a violent pilgrimage that will take him through the landscape-of-the-damned which is 22nd Century California, and into the very heart of the Jaybush cult - and finally to the nightmare city of Venice, and the fabulous, feared castle at the core of it... Deviant's Palace.

When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide: Book 1

Edwin Balmer
Philip Wylie

A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.

A crackling plot and sizzling, cataclysmic vision have made When Worlds Collide one of the most popular and influential end-of-the-world novels of all time. This Bison Frontiers of Imagination edition features the original story and its sequel, After Worlds Collide.

Earthbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 3

Joe Haldeman

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

The Game-Players of Titan

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 63

Philip K. Dick

Philip K Dick's classic dystopian novel set in the future where the remaining human survivors on Earth must gamble for their future with aliens from Titan, one of the moons circling Saturn.

Roaming the pristine landscape of Earth, cared for by machines and aliens, the few remaining humans alive since the war with Titan play Bluff, allowing them to win or lose property and also form new marriages in order to maximise the remote chance some pairings will produce a child. When Pete Garden, a particularly suicidal member of the Pretty Blue Fox game-playing group, loses his current wife and his deed to Berkeley, he stumbles upon a far bigger, more sinister version of the game.

The telepathic, slug-like Vugs of Titan are the players and at stake is the Earth itself. The Game-Players of Titan is a brilliantly conceived vision of a future dystopia, full of imaginative detail, moments of pure humour and thought-provoking musings on the nature of perception, as the seemingly straightforward narrative soon turns into a tumultuous nightmare of delusion, precognition and conspiracy.

Elysium

Jennifer Marie Brissett

A computer program etched into the atmosphere has a story to tell, the story of two people, of a city lost to chaos, of survival and love. The program's data, however, has been corrupted. As the novel's characters struggle to survive apocalypse, they are sustained and challenged by the demands of love in a shattered world both haunted and dangerous.

Floating Worlds

Cecelia Holland

2000 years in the future, runaway pollution has made the Earth uninhabitable except in giant biodomes. The society is an anarchy, with disputes mediated through the Machiavellian Committee for the Revolution. Mars, Venus and the Moon support flourishing colonies of various political stripes. On the fringes of the solar system, in the Gas Planets, a strange, new, violent kind of human has evolved. In this unstable system the anarchist Paula Mendoza, an agent of the Committee, works to make peace, and ultimately protect her people, in a catastrophic clash of worlds that destroys the order she knows.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave: Book 1

Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

HARM

Brian W. Aldiss

The time is today or tomorrow - or perhaps the day after tomorrow. Paul Fadhil Abbas Ali, a young British citizen of Muslim descent, has written a satirical novel in which two characters joke about the assassination of the prime minister. Arrested by agents of HARM - the Hostile Activities Research Ministry - Paul is thrown into a nameless Abu Ghraib-like prison, possibly located in Syria, where he is held incommunicado and brutally interrogated by jailers to whom his Muslim heritage is itself a crime meriting the harshest punishment. Under this sadistic regime, Paul's personality begins to show signs of radical fragmentation....

On the remote planet of Stygia, a man named Fremant, haunted by memories of torture that seem drawn from Paul's mind, is one of a small group of colonists struggling for survival on a harsh but weirdly beautiful world whose dominant life-forms are insects. The sole humanoid race on the planet has been hunted to extinction by the human settlers, whose long journey to Stygia has left them unable to understand their own history and technology.

Thrown back to a more primitive state, they seem destined to repeat all the sins of the world they fled to Stygia to escape.

Is Paul dreaming Fremant as a way of escaping the horrors of his imprisonment? Or is there a stronger - and far stranger - connection between the two men, whose very different circumstances begin to take on uncanny parallels?

As aspects of their identities blur and, finally, merge, astonishing answers take shape - and profound new questions arise.

That Hideous Strength

The Cosmic Trilogy: Book 3

C. S. Lewis

The final book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom.

The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will.

A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to "recondition" society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science.

The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.

Clay's Ark

The Patternist: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

In a frightening near future, an alien disease is poised to become a devastating global epidemic - unless someone can stop it.

Blake Maslin and his two daughters are driving to Flagstaff when bandits swarm their car. At gunpoint, the marauders kidnap one of Blake's children, promising to keep her safe in return for medical care. Warily, the doctor goes with them, not realizing that he has just taken the first step down a terrifying path that will consume his life.

The gunmen take him deep into the desert, to a colony of people infected with a gruesome alien disease. It causes weakness, sallow skin, and birth defects so horrible that the children who suffer them cannot rightly be called human. The victims have quarantined themselves in the desert lest their illness spread and doom mankind. But as their willingness to accept isolation falters, Blake becomes the last hope for the survival of an uncontaminated Earth.

Star Guard

Central Control: Book 2

Andre Norton

Worlds and cons away are the adventures of Kana Karr, Swordsman Third Class, who goes to the planet Fronn with Yorke Horde in the 5th millenium A.D.-Terran figuring. Earth, or Terra, under a despotic and all powerful Central Control has developed a system of professional fighting men, which it sends out for needed patrol duty in other solar systems. For his first assignment Kana, who is one of these soldiers, is sent out as part of a patrol to quell an uprising between two humanoid factions on forbidding Fronn. The adventures that follow are protracted and typical of Andre Norton's well developed sets of fantastic circumstances and they result in Kang's initiation to the coterie of Terrans who are breaking away from Central Control and seeking freedom to pioneer on their own on other planets.

And Another Thing…

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 6

Eoin Colfer

An Englishman's continuing search through space and time for a decent cup of tea...

Arthur Dent's accidental association with that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has not been entirely without incident.

Arthur has traveled the length, breadth, and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forward and backward through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released, and colorfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And of course Arthur Dent has comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Arthur has finally made it home to Earth, but that does not mean he has escaped his fate.

Arthur's chances of getting his hands on a decent cuppa have evaporated rapidly, along with all the world's oceans. For no sooner has he touched down on the planet Earth than he finds out that it is about to be blown up... again.

And Another Thing... is the rather unexpected, but very welcome, sixth installment of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. It features a pantheon of unemployed gods, everyone's favorite renegade Galactic President, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

The Host

Stephenie Meyer

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading 'soul' who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Battlefield Earth

L. Ron Hubbard

Earth has been dominated for 1,000 by the giant, gas-breathing invaders from the planet Psychlo. Now, at the bleak dawn of the fourth millennium, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the handful of human beings that have survived 10 centuries of alien conquest and near annihilation, decides to bravely venture out of his dwindling, stricken community in the Rocky Mountains.

Initially captured and enslaved by Terl, the ruthless Psychlo Security Chief, Jonnie enlists the aid of a small band of tough Scots in a final, daring challenge to the invincible Psychlo power. At stake in the struggle: the future of Earth...and the Galaxy!

Terraforming Earth

Jack Williamson

When a giant meteor crashes into the earth and destroys all life, the small group of human survivors manage to leave the barren planet and establish a new home on the moon. From Tycho Base, men and woman are able to observe the devastated planet and wait for a time when return will become possible.

Generations pass. Cloned children have had children of their own, and their eyes are raised toward the giant planet in the sky which long ago was the cradle of humanity. Finally, after millennia of waiting, the descendants of the original refugees travel back to a planet they've never known, to try and rebuild a civilization of which they've never been a part.

The fate of the earth lies in the success of their return, but after so much time, the question is not whether they can rebuild an old destroyed home, but whether they can learn to inhabit an alien new world--Earth.