The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov  
More Details

For 14 years of a career stretching from 1939 to his death in 1992, Isaac Asimov wrote little SF and instead produced popular non-fiction in enormous quantities. The Gods Themselves (1972) was his "comeback" SF novel, welcomed by both Hugo and Nebula awards.

It opens in the world of Big Science that Asimov knew well, full of in-fighting and the race to publish first. The Inter-Universe Electron Pump sucks unlimited energy from nothing, making all power stations obsolete and bringing a new golden age. No one—especially not the scientist who got the credit—wants to listen to the doomsayer Lamont who calculates that the pump's side effects may detonate the Sun. Worse, there's no kudos for him: "And no one on Earth will live to know I was right".

Part two moves to the dying parallel universe whose hyper-intelligent aliens actually invented the pump and don't care what happens to our Sun. Asimov cleverly focuses on three immature aliens whose intelligence is less daunting and who slowly learn—with very different personal reactions—about their race's weird analogue of sex, about the pump's moral implications, and eventually about the unexpected meaning of maturity. These are the most original, engaging aliens Asimov ever created.

Part three is set in a carefully worked-out Moon colony and grapples with the "para-physics" of inter-universe loopholes. Can a politically acceptable replacement for the pump be developed? Solid, workmanlike SF with far more talk than action: one of Asimov's rare standalone novels. —David Langford

The Asimov Chronicles: Fifty Years of Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov  
More Details

A collection of 50 Asimov stories, covering half a century of his work, including tales of distant worlds, parallel universes, unknowable aliens and immeasurable space. Among this collection are "Nightfall", "The Martian Way" and "The Ugly Boy".

Azazel Isaac Asimov  
More Details

The Asimov Chronicles: Fifty Years of Isaac Asimov! Isaac Asimov  
More Details

A collection of 50 Asimov stories, covering half a century of his work, including tales of distant worlds, parallel universes, unknowable aliens and immeasurable space. Among this collection are "Nightfall", "The Martian Way" and "The Ugly Boy".

Thieves' World Robert Lynn Asprin  
More Details

First series book. One thunb,(the crooked bartender at The Vulgar Unicorn); Enas Yorl, magician and involuntary shape changer; Jubal, ex-gladiator and slave who is now a pillar of the community; Lythande the Star-browed (his magic is in question, his sword-play is not); Cappen Varra the Minstrel. These are just some of the unforgetable players you will meet on a stage where murder, mayhem, and skullduggery-with always a bit of magic-are the order of the day.

Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn Robert Lynn Asprin  
More Details

Fantasy Anthology sequel to Thieve's World.

Includes: Maps of Sanctuary; Introduction; and:
1. Spiders of the Purple Mage by Philip Jose Farmer;
2. Goddess by David Drake;
3. The Fruit of Enlibar by Lynn Abbey;
4. The Dream of the Sorceress by A. E. van Vogt;
5. Vashanka's Minion by Janet Morris;
6. Shadow's Pawn by Andrew J. Offutt;
7. To Guard the Guardians by Robert Lynn Asprin;
and Essay: The Lighter Side of Sanctuary. 299 pages.

Seven For A Secret Judy Astley  
More Details

At 16, Heather eloped with a man 10 years her senior, but the marriage lasted only five weeks. Now middle-aged and re-married with teenage children, Heather is shocked when her ex-husband re-enters her life. From the author of "Pleasant Vices" and "Just for the Summer".

Pleasant Vices Judy Astley  
More Details

The residents of the Close were much concerned with crime—preventing it, that is. With all those out-of-work teenagers on the nearby council estate hanging around, stealing, joy-riding and goodness knows what else, it was just as well that they were setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Not that the inhabitants of the Close did not have their own little activities, of course, but these were hardly the same thing. If Jenny and Alan's daughter was caught traveling on the subway without a ticket, and their son was doing a little experimenting with certain substances, and Laura didn't see the need to declare her earnings from hiring out her house to a film crew, and Jenny drove home only just over the legal limit—well, these were quite different matters, not to be compared with what went on in the Estate. And then there was Jenny's discovery, when she advertised flute lessons, that she could work up quite a nice little scheme in a rather unexpected way...

As the leafy London street resounded to the efforts of its citizens to keep crime at bay, Jenny realized that it was her marriage, rather than her property, that needed watching.

Unchained Melanie Judy Astley  
More Details

Melanie finds herself single again after years of being one half of a couple. Her friends predict loneliness, frustration, and disaster. But Melanie is overwhelmingly excited to be able to do her own thing—she plans a program of behaving badly, after a lifetime of behaving properly.

Away from It All Judy Astley  
More Details

Alice lives with her second husband in a leafy London suburb. But when her Bohemian mother falls ill, Alice has to go to Cornwall to look after her, and she begins to wonder if she has made the right life choices.

Size Matters Judy Astley  
More Details

Although Jay is happy, she had always envied her cousin Delphine; her well-organized life and size ten figure. Then Delphine reappears with her third husband. Perhaps Delphine is the envious one.

In the Garden of Iden Kage Baker  
More Details

In 16th-century Spain, everybody expects the Spanish Inquisition, as they have a well-known tendency to cart people off to their dungeons on trumped-up charges. What 5-year-old Mendoza, on the brink of being tortured as a Jew, is totally unprepared for is to be rescued by the Company—the ultimate bureaucracy of the 24th century—and made immortal. In return, all she has to do is travel through time on a series of assignments for the Company and collect endangered botanical specimens. The wisecracking, mildly misanthropic Mendoza wants nothing to do with historical humans, but her first assignment is to travel to England in 1553—uncomfortably close to those damn Inquisitors—with Joseph and Nefer, two other Company operatives. Their intent is to gather herb samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden, a foolish though generous country squire. (Kage Baker knows her Shakespeare: Sir Walter is the descendant of Alexander Iden, loyal subject of Henry IV, who slew the hungry rebel Jack Cade in that very garden in Kent.)

The cyborg trio poses as Doctor Ruy Lopez, his daughter Rosa (the irrepressible Mendoza, now grown), and her duenna, Doña Marguerita; Sir Walter's hospitality and discretion are bought for the promise of restored youth. (There are hilarious moments that call to mind the Coneheads, who claimed to be from France when caught doing anything peculiar.) Sir Walter's secretary, Nicholas Harpole, is immediately suspicious of and hostile towards the strange "Spanish" visitors, which prompts Mendoza to fall in love with him. Nicholas has his own badly kept secret: he's proudly Protestant at a time when Queen Mary and Philip of Spain are on a Catholicizing rampage. Mendoza knows Nicholas is probably doomed, and that as a Company operative she cannot meddle with his fate, but love makes people do desperate things. Baker surpasses even Connie Willis in humor and precision of period detail in this fresh, ingenious first novel.—Barrie Trinkle

Mendoza in Hollywood Kage Baker  
More Details

Ah, pity poor Mendoza. She's a botanist stuck in dusty southern California in 1862, with a broken heart, bizarre companions, lousy food (frijoles and steak again, anyone?), and no plants to study. On top of all that, she's immortal—a cyborg created and maintained by Dr. Zeus, also known as the Company. From its 24th-century headquarters, the Company sends orders back in time to Mendoza and her fellow cyborgs, who collect stuff from the past and send it ahead through time machines for inscrutable uses. But things go from bad to worse for our heroine when drought and smallpox decimate the region, leaving her with nothing to do but pine for her three-centuries-lost mortal love, the martyred Nicholas Harpole. But what's this? Along comes a British agent—the spitting image of Nicholas—hell-bent on upsetting the Union in its hour of need. Mendoza must decide whether to help him in his plot to ensure British rule of the Americas, thereby directly disobeying her Company mandates. She finds herself in a weird race against time itself in this story of science fiction adventure, mystery, and comedy, with not a few reverential in-jokes about SoCal culture thrown in for good measure.

Kage Baker's style and wit make her novels among the best reads in science fiction today. Mendoza in Hollywood, the third book in the Company series (10 are planned) is simply delightful, with the focus back on dear, tragic Mendoza, and tantalizing hints of mysterious conspiracies aplenty. Lots of questions remain unanswered, but Baker weaves such a delicious tale, it's a pleasure to be teased. The series began with In the Garden of Iden and Sky Coyote. —Therese Littleton

Sky Coyote Kage Baker  
More Details

Kage Baker's first novel, In the Garden of Iden, was a smart, funny, top-drawer read. Fans will be happy to find out that Baker avoids a sophomore slump with Sky Coyote, the second novel of the Company, and another superbly witty and intelligent book. Baker switches focus in this sequel to Joseph, the immortal cyborg who rescued Iden's heroine, Mendoza, from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition. Joseph and Mendoza work for Dr. Zeus, otherwise known as the Company, a 24th-century operation devoted to getting rich off the past. To accomplish this, the Company turns orphans and refugees from the past into super-smart, nigh invincible cyborgs and sends them on missions to save or hide precious paintings, cultural treasures, and genetic information useful to the future world.

Sky Coyote begins in pre-Columbian Mexico, where Joseph and Mendoza are reunited at New World One, an extravagant Company retreat. When European explorers are scheduled to arrive in the New World, the Company dismantles operations, and Joseph is sent to California in 1699 to save a Chumash village lock, stock, and barrel, before Europeans arrive with smallpox and slavery. To prep the Native Americans for their voyage to a Company enclave in Australia, Joseph poses as Uncle Sky Coyote, a trickster-god of the Chumash, and tells them he's there to save them from certain doom at the hands of white men. But can Joseph convince the wary, savvy Chumash labor unions, lodges, and entrepreneurs that he has their best interests at heart, all without screwing up history? And will he patch things up with Mendoza, who still hasn't forgiven him for everything that happened in 1500s England? Kage Baker delivers a terrific story and a worthy sequel with Sky Coyote. —Therese Littleton