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Ringworld

Known Space: Ringworld: Book 1

Larry Niven

Pierson's puppeteers, strange, three-legged, two-headed aliens, have discovered an immense structure in a hitherto unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders of such a structure, the puppeteers set about assembling a team consisting of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, an alien not unlike an eight-foot-tall, red-furred cat, to explore it. The artefact is a vast circular ribbon of matter, some 180 million miles across, with a sun at its centre - the Ringworld. But the expedition goes disastrously wrong when the ship crashlands and its motley crew faces a trek across thousands of miles of the Ringworld's surface.

Dark Benediction

Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Originally published in 1980 as The Best of Walter M. Miller, then republished in 2000 as Dark Benediction.

Walter M. Miller, Jr. is best remembered as the author of A Canticle for Leibowitz, universally recognized as one of the greatest novels of modern SF. But as well as writing that deeply felt and eloquent book, he produced many shorter works of fiction of stunning originality and power.

His profound interest in religion and his innate literary gifts combined in the production of such works as "The Darfstellar", for which he won a Hugo in 1955, "Conditionally Human", "I, Dreamer" and "The Big Hunger", all of which are included in this brilliant and essential collection.

Table of Contents:

  • You Triflin' Skunk! - (1965) - shortstory
  • The Will - (1954) - shortstory
  • Anybody Else Like Me? - (1952) - novelette
  • Crucifixus Etiam - (1953) - shortstory
  • I, Dreamer - (1953) - shortstory
  • Dumb Waiter - (1952) - novelette
  • Blood Bank - (1952) - novella
  • Big Joe and the Nth Generation - (1952) - shortstory
  • The Big Hunger - (1952) - shortstory
  • Conditionally Human - (1952) - novella
  • The Darfsteller - (1955) - novella
  • Dark Benediction - (1951) - novella
  • The Lineman - (1957) - novella
  • Vengeance for Nikolai - (1957) - novelette

Icehenge

Kim Stanley Robinson

On the North Pole of Pluto there stands an enigma: a huge circle of standing blocks of ice, built on the pattern of Earth's Stonehenge--but ten times the size, standing alone at the farthest reaches of the Solar System. What is it? Who came there to build it?

In Kim Stanley Robinson's Icehenge,the secret lies, perhaps, in the chaotic decades of the Martian Revolution, in the lost memories of those who have lived for centuries.

The Secret of Life

Paul J. McAuley

2026: Something is growing in the Pacific Ocean, a strange fungus-like organism that may threaten our entire food chain. Christened "the slick," the bizarre phenomenon is quickly the subject of intense, top-secret analysis-which rapidly reveals that it contains DNA unlike that of any other life on the planet.

Where is it from? A Chinese mission to Mars is rumored to have discovered life beneath the Martian icecap, but the Chinese aren't talking. Dr. Mariella Anders is recruited by NASA to join an urgent mission to the Red Planet to find out. Brilliant and committed to science, Mariella wants only the truth, but others' motives are less noble. Faced with corporations, activist groups, and superpowers, each with their own secret agendas, Mariella is on a perilous quest for knowledge... and she's about the discover the high price of truth.