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The Best of All Possible Worlds

Spider Robinson

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword - essay by Spider Robinson
  • Introduction to Larry Niven's "Inconstant Moon" - essay by Spider Robinson
  • Inconstant Moon - (1971) - novelette by Larry Niven
  • Introduction to "Spud and Cochise" by Oliver La Farge - essay by Larry Niven
  • Spud and Cochise - (1936) - novelette by Oliver La Farge
  • Introduction to "Need" by Theodore Sturgeon - essay by Spider Robinson
  • Need - (1960) - novella by Theodore Sturgeon
  • Introduction to "Hop-Friend" by Terry Carr - essay by Theodore Sturgeon
  • Hop-Friend - (1962) - short story by Terry Carr
  • Introduction to "Duel Scene" by William Goldman - essay by Spider Robinson
  • "Duel Scene" (from The Princess Bride) - (1973) - short fiction by William Goldman
  • Introduction to "Seventh Victim" by Robert Sheckley - essay by William Goldman
  • Seventh Victim - (1953) - short story by Robert Sheckley
  • Introduction to "Portions of This Program..." by Dean Ing - essay by Spider Robinson
  • Portions of This Program... - (1977) - novelette by Dean Ing
  • Introduction to "They Bite" by Anthony Boucher - essay by Dean Ing
  • They Bite - (1943) - short story by Anthony Boucher
  • Introduction to "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" by Robert A. Heinlein - essay by Spider Robinson
  • The Man Who Traveled in Elephants - (1957) - short story by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Introduction to "Our Lady's Juggler" by Anatole France - essay by Spider Robinson
  • Our Lady's Juggler - (1908) - short story by Anatole France (trans. of Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame 1892)

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The Best of All Possible Worlds: Book 1

Karen Lord

Karen Lord's debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent-a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company-yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.

Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race-and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team-one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive-just may find in each other their own destinies... and a force that transcends all.

The Galaxy Game

The Best of All Possible Worlds: Book 2

Karen Lord

Karen Lord is one of today's most brilliant young talents. Her science fiction, like that of predecessors Ursula K. Le Guin and China Miéville, combines star-spanning plots, deeply felt characters, and incisive social commentary. With The Galaxy Game, Lord presents a gripping adventure that showcases her dazzling imagination as never before.

On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi possesses mental abilities that might benefit people... or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Rafi's only freedom at the Lyceum is Wallrunning: a game of speed and agility played on vast vertical surfaces riddled with variable gravity fields.

Serendipity and Ntenman are also students at the Lyceum, but unlike Rafi they come from communities where such abilities are valued. Serendipity finds the Lyceum as much a prison as a school, and she yearns for a meaningful life beyond its gates. Ntenman, with his quick tongue, quicker mind, and a willingness to bend if not break the rules, has no problem fitting in. But he too has his reasons for wanting to escape.

Now the three friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head. For Serendipity, it will challenge her ideas of community and self. For Ntenman, it will open new opportunities and new dangers. And for Rafi, given a chance to train with some of the best Wallrunners in the galaxy, it will lead to the discovery that there is more to Wallrunning than he ever suspected... and more to himself than he ever dreamed.