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The Darkness

Anthony Eaton

In the small coastal town of Isolation Bay, a shadow hangs over the lives of Rohan Peters and his mother Eileen. Bound together by small town superstition, their lives are dominated by fear. Into this setting comes Rachel, a girl on the run from her own dark history. As Rohan and Rachel struggle to build a friendship amidst the paranoia of Isolation Bay, their pasts come crashing down on them in an event that will change both of their lives forever.

Aton

Irving A. Greenfield

His adventure has been rescued from history. Violently ripped from the blood-steeped legend of early man, the chronicle of his passionate journey brings forth bizarre forays into foreign lands; a father challenged by a son; heroic, loving women; and the strange mystery that leads people to create new gods of terror and of power.

The Atonement Path

Alexander C. Irvine

This short story originally appeared in Lightspeed, August 2018.

Read the full story for free at Lightspeed.

The Foundation Pit

Andrei Platonov

Completed in 1930, The Foundation Pit wasn't officially published until 1987 because of state censorship.

In Andrey Platonov's The Foundation Pit, a team of workers has been given the job of digging the foundation of an immense edifice, a palatial home for the perfect future that, they are convinced, is at hand. But the harder the team works, the deeper they dig, the more things go wrong, and it becomes clear that what is being dug is not a foundation but an immense grave.

The Foundation Pit is Platonov's most overtly political book, written in direct response to the staggering brutalities of Stalin's collectivization of Russian agriculture. It is also a literary masterpiece. Seeking to evoke unspeakable realities, Platonov deforms and transforms language in pages that echo both with the alienating doublespeak of power and the stark simplicity of prayer.

This English translation is the first and only one to be based on the definitive edition published by Pushkin House in Moscow. It includes extensive notes and, in an appendix, several striking passages deleted by Platonov. Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson's afterword discusses the historical context and style of Platonov's most haunted and troubling work.

Translated from the Russian by Robert & Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson
With notes and an afterword by Robert Chandler and Olga Meerson

Hexagrammaton

Hanuš Seiner

Translated from Czech by Julie Nováková.

Each man has a measure of luck given bydestiny, but not a drop more. Has the luck of an unusual guide responsible forthe passage of visitors into the deep buried bellies of alien ships just runout? His newest client, a young woman named Janita, proves to be a member ofthe resistance carrying in her body an alien civilization's gift to humanity.Will either of them become the devil's martyr? One story gives life to another,waiting all along...

This story can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Emily Eternal

M.G. Wheaton

Emily is an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

Her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome that may save them all. But not everyone is convinced Emily has the best solution--or the best intentions. Before her theory can be tested, the lab is brutally attacked, and Emily's servers are taken hostage.

Narrowly escaping, Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions--college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra. As the sun's death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. Soon it becomes clear not just the species is at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

From the Legend of Biel

Ace SF Special, Series 2: Book 1

Mary-John Staton

They find a hauntingly beautiful planet, MC6, capable of supporting human life. But the planet does not surrender its secrets. Fighting time, the team desperately explores clusters of strange geometric structures scattered around MC6, slowly discovering traces of an advanced civilization.

Then the head of the Probe teams finds a key, turns it and is sucked screaming into a black hole where he encounters an intelligence radically different from any other encountered before or since.

Chthon

Aton: Book 1

Piers Anthony

Chthon was Piers Anthony's first published novel in 1967, written over the course of seven years. He started it when he was in the US Army, so it has a long prison sequence that is reminiscent of that experience, being dark and grim. It features Aton Five, a space man who commits the crime of falling in love with the dangerous alluring Minionette and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon. It uses flashbacks to show how he came to know the Minionette, and flashforwards to show how he dealt with her after his escape from prison. The author regards this as perhaps the most intricately structured novel the science fantasy genre has seen. It was a contender for awards, but not a winner.

Phthor

Aton: Book 2

Piers Anthony

The return to the caverns of Chthon! The planet Chthon was a prison world of ruby caverns where rebels and outlaws were exiled to endless darkness. Aton's crime was loving a minionette, one of the sensuous woman warriors it was death to touch. His son Arlo was both minion and human. Arlo's destiny was war with the deadliest enemy of all - the very planet Chthon, which was alive and furious at the life forms within its depths.

Count to a Trillion

Count to the Eschaton: Book 1

John C. Wright

Hundreds of years in the future, after the collapse of the Western world, young Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was once Texas as a gunslinging duelist for hire. But Montrose is also a mathematical genius—and a romantic who dreams of a future in which humanity rises from the ashes to take its place among the stars.

The chance to help usher in that future comes when Montrose is recruited for a manned interstellar mission to investigate an artifact of alien origin. Known as the Monument, the artifact is inscribed with data so complex, only a posthuman mind can decipher it. So Montrose does the unthinkable: he injects himself with a dangerous biochemical drug designed to boost his already formidable intellect to superhuman intelligence. It drives him mad.

Nearly two centuries later, his sanity restored, Montrose is awakened from cryo-suspension with no memory of his posthuman actions, to find Earth transformed in strange and disturbing ways, and learns that the Monument still carries a secret he must decode—one that will define humanity’s true future in the universe.

The Hermetic Millennia

Count to the Eschaton: Book 2

John C. Wright

Continuing from Count to a Trillion, Menelaus Illation Montrose - Texas gunslinger, idealist, and posthuman genius - has gone into cryo-suspension following the discovery that, in 8,000 years, a powerful alien intelligence will reach Earth to assess humanity's value as slaves. Montrose intends to be alive to meet that threat, but he is awakened repeatedly throughout the centuries to confront the woes of an ever-changing and violent world, witnessing millennia of change compressed into a few years of subjective time. The result is a breathtaking vision of future history like nothing before imagined: sweeping, tumultuous, and evermore alien, as Montrose's immortal enemies and former shipmates from the starship Hermetic harness the forces of evolution and social engineering to continuously reshape the Earth in their image, seeking to create a version of man the approaching slavers will find worthy.

Judge of Ages

Count to the Eschaton: Book 3

John C. Wright

The year is 10,515 AD. The Hyades Armada, traveling at near lightspeed, will reach Earth in just four centuries to assess humanity's value as slaves. For the last 8,000 years, two opposing factions have labored to meet the alien threat in very different ways.

One of them is Ximen del Azarchel, immortal leader of the mutineers from the starship Hermetic and self-appointed Master of the World, who has allowed his followers to tamper continuously with the evolutionary destiny of Man, creating one bizarre race after another in an apparent search for a species the Hyades will find worthy of conquest.

The other is Menelaus Montrose, the posthuman Judge of Ages, whose cryonic Tombs beneath the surface of Earth have preserved survivors from each epoch created by the Hermeticists. Montrose intends to thwart the alien invaders any way he can, and to remain alive long enough to be reunited with his bride Rania, who is on a seventy-millennia journey to confront the Hyades' masters, tens of thousands of light-years away.

Now, with the countdown to the Hyades' arrival nearing its end, del Azarchel and Montrose square off for what is to be their final showdown for the fate of Earth, a battle of gunfire and cliometric calculus; powered armor and posthuman intelligence.

Judge of Ages is the wildly inventive third volume in a series exploring future history and human evolution from John C. Wright.

The Architect of Aeons

Count to the Eschaton: Book 4

John C. Wright

The epic and mind-blowing finale to this visionary space opera series surpasses all expectation: Menelaus Montrose, having forged an uneasy alliance with his immortal adversary, Ximen del Azarchel, maps a future on a scale beyond anything previously imagined. No longer concerned with the course of history across mere millennia, Montrose and del Azarchel have become the architects of aeons, bringing forth minds the size of planets as they steer the bizarre intellectual descendants of an extinct humanity.

Ever driving their labors and their enmity is the hope of reunion with their shared lost love, the posthuman Rania, whose eventual return is by no means assured, but who may unravel everything these eternal rivals have sought to achieve.

John C. Wright's The Architect of Aeons is the latest in his millennia spanning space opera.

The Vindication of Man

Count to the Eschaton: Book 5

John C. Wright

The Vindication of Man is the epic and mind-blowing continuation of John C. Wright's visionary space opera series surpasses all expectation.

Menelaus Montrose, having renewed his enmity with his immortal adversary, Ximen del Azarchel, awaits the return of the posthuman princess Rania, their shared lost love. Rania brings with her the judgment of the Dominions ruling the known cosmos, which will determine the fate of humanity, once and for all. Vindication or destruction? And if it is somehow both, what manner of future awaits them?

Count to Infinity

Count to the Eschaton: Book 6

John C. Wright

Count to Infinity is John C. Wright's spectacular conclusion to the thought-provoking hard science fiction Eschaton Sequence, exploring future history and human evolution.

An epic space opera finale worthy of the scope and wonder of The Eschaton Sequence: Menelaus Montrose is locked in a final battle of wits, bullets, and posthuman intelligence with Ximen del Azarchel for the fate of humanity in the far future.

The alien monstrosities of Ain at long last are revealed, their hidden past laid bare, along with the reason for their brutal treatment of Man and all the species seeded throughout the galaxy. And they have still one more secret that could upend everything Montrose has fought for and lived so long to achieve.

Nightpeople

Darklands: Book 1

Anthony Eaton

Saria is the last of her kind, the final child to be born in the Darklands, a quarantined expanse of outback desert, contaminated generations earlier by the remote and mysterious Nightpeople. Spirited away at her birth before the Nightpeople could remove her from the genetic pool, Saria, now in her early teens, is called before the Council of Dreamers to be used as a bargaining chip. There she discovers the truth about her own past, and that of her people. Nightpeople explores a society turned in upon itself and a future which readers will find both alien and disturbingly familiar.

Skyfall

Darklands: Book 2

Anthony Eaton

When you live in the sky, the only way out is down...

Larinan Mann is an outsider, a social oddity. Born in contravention of the rules of his society, into a cold and powerful family, Lari's life seems to have no purpose. But then his only friend draws him unwittingly into the murky terror of the underworld that dwells below his feet, his father unexpectedly inducts him into the inner circle of history's most terrible secret, and Lari's world - and everything he thought he knew about it - is shattered forever.

Then he meets Saria, a girl with destiny looking over her shoulder, and together the two of them must walk into an unknown greater than anything humanity has ever faced...

Daywards

Darklands: Book 3

Anthony Eaton

When you've run from the past, you have to stand and face the future...

Dara, her brother Jaran and their cousin Eyna have grown up among the Clan; their lives are peaceful as they eke out an existence in the towering forest below their escarpment home.

But when the ghosts of a dead civilisation reach out to haunt them one final time, they and their family must set out, on an unmapped path across a dying land. Walking daywards, always into the sun.

Daywards is the highly anticipated conclusion to a powerful trilogy from award-winning author Anthony Eaton.

The Other End of Time

Eschaton: Book 1

Frederik Pohl

Earth, 2031: Alien contact.

Signals are received: a crude depiction of creatures pantomiming the cataclysmic destruction of the universe.

Soon after, scientists note unusual radiation emanating from an abandoned Earth-orbital observatory. When a group of scientists and astronauts board the observatory to investigate, they are taken prisoner. An unsuspecting Earth has just become part of a vast interstellar war.

For the human prisoners, this minor skirmish in a vast war becomes a fantastic adventure. The hunters become the hunted, the prey the predators, and nothing is as it seems. The only sure thing is that the winners will rule eternity at...The Other End of Time.

The Siege of Eternity

Eschaton: Book 2

Frederik Pohl

The aliens aren't coming. They're here.

We've captured some of them. Are they our saviors, or are they out to destroy us? We've seen no spaceships, received no ultimatums--but the aliens may have a more insidious plot....

Government agent Dan Dannerman and astronomer Patrice Adcock were kidnapped by the aliens and have been returned in altered states, cloned and implanted with strange devices. To what end?

Before the reasons behind their abduction can be made clear, a wave of extremist threats and terrorist attacks sweeps the globe. Are the attacks a reaction to the aliens' arrival--or a part of their plan? A race around the earth and into space begins, as humankind desperately tries to prevent the aliens from establishing a beachhead no Earth.

The siege has begun.

The Far Shore of Time

Eschaton: Book 3

Frederik Pohl

Dan Dannerman has been through hell. Caught in the middle of an interstellar war that will end only with the death of the universe, he's been captured by aliens who call themselves the Beloved Leaders, cloned repeatedly, torn from his wife, and brutally tortured.

Sitting in a prison cell on an alien world, slowly going mad, Dan is finally freed by the Horch, the sword enemies of the Beloved Leaders. The time has finally come for Dannerman to strike back--but at whom?

Trusting neither side, Dannerman must somehow convince the Horch to send him back to Earth so he can warn humanity of the approaching alien menace. But when he finally returns he finds an Earth far stranger than he can possibly imagine, an Earth that already has two Dan Dannermans--an Earth already under seige by the Beloved Leaders...

Singularity Sky

Eschaton Series: Book 1

Charles Stross

In the twenty-first century man created the Eschaton, a sentient artificial intelligence. It pushed Earth through the greatest technological evolution ever known, while warning that time travel is forbidden, and transgressors will be eliminated. Distant descendants of this ultra high-tech Earth live in parochial simplicity on the far-flung worlds of the New Republic. Their way of life is threatened by the arrival of an alien information plague known as the Festival. As forbidden technologies are literally dropped from the sky, suppressed political factions descend into revolutionary turmoil. A battle fleet is sent from Earth to destroy the Festival, but Spaceship engineer Martin Springfield and U.N. diplomat Rachel Mansour have been assigned rather different tasks. Their orders are to diffuse the crisis or to sabotage the New Republic's war-fleet, whatever the cost, before the Eschaton takes hostile action on a galactic scale.

Iron Sunrise

Eschaton Series: Book 2

Charles Stross

When the planet of Moscow was annihilated, its few survivors launched a counter-attack against the most likely culprit: the neighboring system of New Dresden. But New Dresden wasn't responsible, and as the deadly missiles approach their target, Rachel Mansour, agent for the interests of Old Earth, is assigned to find out who was.

And the one person who knows is a disaffected teenager who calls herself Wednesday Shadowmist. But Wednesday has no idea what she knows...

Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities

Sherlock Holmes: The Cthulhu Casebooks: Book 2

James Lovegrove

It is the spring of 1895, and more than a decade of combating eldritch entities has cost Dr John Watson his beloved wife Mary, and nearly broken the health of Sherlock Holmes. Yet the companions do not hesitate when they are called to the infamous Bedlam lunatic asylum, where they find an inmate speaking in R'lyehian, the language of the Old Ones. Moreover, the man is horribly scarred and has no memory of who he is.

The detectives discover that the inmate was once a scientist, a student of Miskatonic University, and one of two survivors of a doomed voyage down the Miskatonic River to capture the semi-mythical shoggoth. Yet how has he ended up in London, without his wits? And when the man is taken from Bedlam by forces beyond normal mortal comprehension, it becomes clear that there is far more to the case than one disturbed Bostonian. It is only by learning what truly happened on that fateful New England voyage that Holmes and Watson will uncover the truth, and learn who is behind the Miskatonic monstrosity...

Atonement

Star Trek: Voyager

Kirsten Beyer

Admiral Kathryn Janeway faces a tribunal determined to execute her for supposed crimes committed during Voyager's maiden trek through the Delta Quadrant. Captain Chakotay knows that the Kinara, several species now allied against the Full Circle fleet, are not all they appear to be. The Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant--a pact he cannot trust--is his only hope for unraveling the Kinara's true agenda and rescuing Admiral Janeway. Meanwhile, Seven and Tom Paris are forced to betray the trust of their superiors in a desperate bid to reveal the lengths to which a fellow officer has gone in the name of protecting the Federation from the legendary Caeliar.

The Atonement Tango

Wild Cards Stories: Book 8

Stephen Leigh

One act of terrorism changes the life of Michael "Drummer Boy" Vogali forever in Stephen Leigh's "The Atonement Tango." Now without his band, Joker Plague, Michael must figure out a way to re-build his life--and seek revenge.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.