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The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model

Charlie Jane Anders

Jon and Toku travel the universe suspended in Interdream, only waking up to check up on certain business ventures. Simple. Until one of the business ventures, something called "Earth," objects.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

The Trinity Paradox

Kevin J. Anderson
Doug Beason

Activist Elizabeth Devane wished for an end to nuclear weapons. Surely, she thought, if they'd known what they were unleashing, the scientists of the Manhattan Project would never have created such a terrible instrument of destruction. But during a protest action, the unthinkable happened: a flash of light, a silent confusion, and Elizabeth awakes to find herself alone in a desolate desert arroyo... and almost fifty years in the past. June 1944. Los Alamos, New Mexico. While the Allies battle in the Pacific and begin the Normandy invasion in Europe, Nazi Germany deviates from the timeline Elizabeth knows and uses its newfound nuclear arsenal against America. Somehow, someway, Elizabeth has been given the chance to put the genie back in the bottle... yet could she--should she--attempt the greatest sabotage in history?

Paradox Bound

Peter Clines

Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town's still got a video store, for god's sake.

So why doesn't Eli Teague want to leave?

Not that he'd ever admit it, but maybe he's been waiting--waiting for the traveler to come back. The one who's roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires. The one who's a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model-A Ford.

The one who's being pursued by...something.

So when the mysterious traveler finally reappears, Eli's determined that this time, he's going to get some answers. But his hunt soon yields far more than he bargained for, plunging him headlong into a dizzying world full of competing factions and figures straight out of legend.

To make sense of the mystery at its heart, he must embark on a breakneck chase across the country and through two centuries of history--with nothing less than America's past, present, and future at stake.

The Color of Paradox

A. M. Dellamonica

"The Color of Paradox", by A. M. Dellamonica, is a science fiction story about one of a series of time travelers sent back to the past in order to buy more time for the human race, which in the future is on the verge of extinction.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

The Paradox Men

Charles L. Harness

Altar the thief, a man of mystery and secret master of a gaudily decadent world.... a gargantuan spaceship designed to span civilisations... a desperate plunge into the heart of the sun... just the basic ingredients of the volcanic recipe that produces Charles L. Harness's shattering masterpiece.

The Sister Paradox

Jack Campbell

Liam is his parents' only child, and that's just fine with him.

Until the day the sister-he-never-had shows up at school.

Just to make it worse, the sword-wielding Kari tells him they have an important quest to complete.

And that's how Liam finds himself dragged into another world, facing basilisks and unicorns, cursed objects, elves, and even a dragon, all magical and dangerous, but none more so than the sister he didn't have until that morning. A sister who turns out to be quite good with her sword, and ready to use it when faced with things like a dragon as long as her brother is at her side.

Liam begins to realize two things: it's going to be a very long day, and having a sister can be weird.

But most unsettling of all, he's not sure he minds...

Paradox

Naomi Kritzer

This story originally appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 16, May-June 2017.

Read the full story for free at Uncanny Magazine.

Paradox: Stories Inspired by the Fermi Paradox

Ian Whates

The Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the high probablity of extraterrestrial civilizations' existence and the lack of contract with such civilizations.

In Paradox, a selection of the world's leading science fiction authors are joined by physicists and other scientists in this collection of exciting and original stories inspired by Fermi's famous paradox, daring to ask...

Where is everyone?

Contents:

  • 7 - Fermi Paradox: An Introduction - essay by Marek Kakula and Rob Edwards
  • 17 - Catching Rays - shortfiction by David L. Clements
  • 39 - The Big Next - shortfiction by Pat Cadigan
  • 47 - Baedeker's Fermi - shortfiction by Adam Roberts
  • 61 - Zeta Reticuli - shortfiction by Paul Cornell
  • 69 - The Ambulance Chaser - shortfiction by Tricia Sullivan
  • 81 - Lost to Their Own Devices - shortfiction by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • 89 - In the Beginning - shortfiction by Gerry Webb
  • 105 - The Trial of the Creator, The Trial of the Creation - shortfiction by Paul Di Filippo
  • 121 - Stella by Starlight - shortfiction by Mike Resnick and Robert T. Jeschonek
  • 139 - Fermi's Doubts - shortfiction by George Zebrowski
  • 149 - Audiovisionary - shortfiction by Stephanie Saulter
  • 165 - Aether - shortfiction by Robert Reed
  • 173 - The End of the World - shortfiction by Keith Brooke and Eric Brown
  • 187 - The Worldmaker - shortfiction by Rachel Armstrong
  • 209 - Atonement, Under the Blue-White Sun - shortfiction by Mercurio D. Rivera

Paradox

A. J. Paquette

Fans of James Dashner's Maze Runner series will love this postapocalyptic adventure about a girl who must survive an alien planet in order to save the Earth.

Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?

Meeting up with three other teens--one boy seems strangely familiar--Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They're working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana's mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can't remember anything?

The Paradox Men / Dome Around America

Ace Double D-Series: Book 118

Charles L. Harness
Jack Williamson

The Paradox Men

Set after the Third Great War, North and South America are united into one country: Imperial America. A slave state run by a small noble elite who flaunt their wealth by using, and abusing, the one commodity that only the rich can have: human labour. But working underground, persecuted by the police, is an organization dedicated to the overthrow of government and the existing way of life and the establishment of freedom.

The Society of Thieves was the only organization that flouted authority in America Imperial: they robbed the rich to buy freedom for the slaves. They were well equipped and trained for their job and had friends and informers in high places ready to reveal where the wealth of the nobles was hidden. And Alar was the best Thief of them all - for he had senses not found in ordinary men, senses that accurately warned him when danger was near. But Alar had amnesia and did not know his true identity though sometimes he sensed that there was a purpose in his actions that was not entirely his own volition.

When Keiris, wife of the Imperial Chancellor saw him, she sensed that he was something special and helped him to elude pursuit even though it put her own life in danger. And in trips to the Moon and even the Sun itself, Alar begins to see what part he is destined to play in the struggle for men's freedom.

Dome Around America

What new menace was besieging mankind's last refuge?

The Earth had been stripped bare of the atmosphere and water, its surface left an airless and lifeless desert...except for America. A dome of energy had been erected around the U.S. in the nick of time and only within this vast transparent dome could men and women live in safety. Until the moment Barry Thane spotted a moving thing outside the dome!

Something was there where only Death reigned. Something that was spying on the dome, trying to break in and destroy Earth's last oasis! But what was it...and why?

Barry's single-handed struggle with the unknown, his own break-out into the outside world of airless terror, makes one of the most exciting novels that Jack Williamson, master of science fiction, has ever written.

Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox

Artemis Fowl: Book 6

Eoin Colfer

When Artemis Fowl's mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy. Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short. The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all... and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.

Honor's Paradox

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 6

P. C. Hodgell

Jame is one of the last of the Kencyrath line, born to battle a world-destroying Lord of Darkness and resuscitate her ancestral heritage. Jame's youth was spent hard and low in a desert wasteland. Now she has discovered her past and her heritage as Highborn - and, with it, the power to call souls out of their bodies and slay the occasional god or two (as well as to resurrect them).

First, though, Jame must survive the politics and dangers of haunted Tentir College, a school for warriors where she's a student. At Tentir, Jame saves a young protÉgÉ from possession by a powerful, evil soul in search of a body, while combating jealous students who see her as a danger to their ambition for power and want her expelled - and blinded and dead, in the bargain! Then, just as graduation approaches, Jame's exemption from the sacred laws of the tribe of her youth expires and she is expected to wed immediately, plus take on a family. To make matters worse, she's challenged to a mounted combat duel to decide who is Tentir 'top gun' - a competition she must win to graduation. It's trial by fire, as Jame moves closer to a magnificent destiny she both fears - and knows she must face.

The Paradox of the Sets

Daedalus Mission: Book 6

Brian Stableford

The final contact made by the Daedalus Mission begins badly, even before the ship makes a hard landing in the middle of nowhere. The situation of the colony doesn't seem to make any sense, and neither does the situation of the indigenous aliens--the Sets--that have helped the colony survive and thrive.

Alex Alexander doesn't take long to work out a hypothesis that might explain the mystery--a hypothesis that the people on the ground have already worked out for themselves--and he's fortunate enough to fall in with a colonist who's obsessively determined to prove the hypothesis. Unfortunately, the quest seems likely to become so dangerous that both of them might die trying--and there's too much at stake not to take it to the very limit of possibility, no matter what the cost.

The stunning conclusion (Book Six) of The Daedalus Mission series.

Paradox Lost

Doctor Who New Series: Book 47

George Mann

'The Squall feed on psychic energy. They spread like a plague and if they are not stopped they will strip the Earth clean...'

London 1910: an unsuspecting thief finds himself confronted by grey-skinned creatures that are waiting to devour his mind. London 2789: the remains of an ancient android are dredged from the Thames. When reactivated it has a warning that can only be delivered to a man named 'the Doctor'.

The Doctor and his friends must solve a mystery that has spanned over a thousand years. If they fail, the deadly alien Squall will devour the world.

Fortune's Pawn

Paradox: Book 1

Rachel Bach

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.

Honor's Knight

Paradox: Book 2

Rachel Bach

Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun, easy-to-shoot kind either.

After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she's determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi's not actually looking for it -- trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she is entangled with the cook she's supposed to hate.

But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there's worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.

Heaven's Queen

Paradox: Book 3

Rachel Bach

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell's doomed ship, Devi Morris' life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that's eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone -- even her own government -- determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi's never been one to shy from a fight, and she's getting mighty sick of running.

It's time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

Paradox

Rogue Angel: Book 21

Alex Archer

Archaeologist Annja Creed reluctantly accepts an assignment on behalf of a covert arm of the U.S. Government. She is to lead an expedition to the top of Mount Ararat to find the truth about what is thought to be the remains of Noah's Ark. But while she doubts the massive anomaly is really the Ark, she can't help but wonder what is up there.

Annja must escort a group of militant fundamentalists through civil unrest in eastern Turkey, but the impending war is nothing compared to the danger that lies hidden within the team. With lives at stake, Annja has no choice but to protect the innocent... and get them out of there alive. Legend says the Ark once saved mankind, but this time it could kill them all.

Paradox Alley

Skyway: Book 3

John DeChancie

Jake McGraw, independent space trucker, has been shanghaied. He and his crew, fresh off their adventures in Starrigger and Red Limit Freeway, are plucked off the Skyway by a creature of unknown power. Now on an alien planet where most of the rules of the regular universe do not seem to apply, Jake confronts the builders of the Skyway once and for all. Will he and his crew make it out alive?

Paradox Alley is the thrilling conclusion of the classic Starrigger series.

Paradox Resolution

Spider Webb: Book 2

K. A. Bedford

Aloysius "Spider" Webb fixes time machines for a living. He hates his job; he hates his life, and hates time travel even more. He simply wants to get on with his life. He's a hard working Australian bloke -- a good man in a bad situation who is willing to do almost anything to regain his self-respect and the affection of his nearly ex-wife, Molly; a mad sculptress on her way to international fame and fortune.

Spider's life and his world are changing. After quitting the Western Australian Police Service, Spider studied to become a time machine repair mechanic, eking out a sparse living fixing broken down machines. But the repair business isn't what it used to be. Once, time machines were as big as cars; but now they're smaller and compact, portable, and cost too much to get fixed so it's easier for people to simply buy a new one. Times are tough and there is no end in sight.

Meanwhile, Spider's new boss at the Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait franchise needs help: his secretly built, totally illegal, radically overclocked, hotrod time machine has been stolen, and Spider is the right man to get it back before it falls into the wrong hands, or worse inadvertently destroys the entire universe.

Spider's journey begins with a simple favor to help his almost ex-wife, Molly, and moves to the icy wastes of the far, far future.

Surprise and shock are the only constants in Spider's life; why should this job be any different?

Paradox Gate

The Gates of Time: Book 3

Dan Parkinson

The time has come... to reinvent time.

Oklahoma native Ben Culver possesses a sudden, strange power. Much like a sleepwalker, without awareness or intent, he begins to travel through time--into the past, into the future, and into serious trouble. Maude and Lucas Hawthorn, owners of an exclusive time travel agency in Kansas, hope to find Ben fast, before someone turns the sacred space-time continuum into cosmic Swiss cheese.

For Ben has unwittingly provided the means for the evil genius Kaffer to escape from his pyramid prison and accomplish his diabolical goal: wipe out the Whispers--the Hawthorns' time-jumping friends who are searching for their origins back in the very roots of time. And it is there, deep in time, that the Hawthorns must discover the secret of Ben's uncanny abilities, stop the timemonger, and save the world from the lost realities and alternate universes that threaten to end it forever...

Lumiere

The Illumination Paradox: Book 1

Jacqueline E. Garlick

Even in a land of eternal twilight, secrets can't stay in the dark forever.

Seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth has only one hope left: finding her late father's most prized invention, the Illuminator. It's been missing since the day of the mysterious flash--a day that saw the sun wiped out forever over England.

But living in darkness is nothing new to Eyelet. She's hidden her secret affliction all of her life--a life that would be in danger if superstitious townspeople ever guessed the truth. And after her mother is accused and executed for a crime that she didn't commit, the now-orphaned Eyelet has no choice but to track down the machine that was created with the sole purpose of being her cure.

Alone and on the run, she finally discovers the Illuminator--only to see a young man hauling it off. Determined to follow the thief and recover the machine, she ventures into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of her twisted world.

Revised edition: This edition of Lumière includes editorial revisions.

Noir

The Illumination Paradox: Book 2

Jacqueline E. Garlick

With Urlick imprisoned for the murder of Professor Smrt, Eyelet must find her way back through the Infirm-infested woods, to the forbidden city of Brethren, to free Urlick before it's too late. Along the way, she elicits the help of Crazy Legs, Urlick's longtime friend. Together they overthrow a travelling freak show train destined for Brethren, with plans to use it to distract the city, so Urlick can make an escape. But Eyelet is lead astray, when a haunting image from her past appears in an abandoned factory at the edge of town. There she unearths a series of ungodly secrets and soon finds herself, imprisoned. Will C.L. be able to save them both from their fates? Or will he too, fall prey to the tyranny of Brethren's newest Ruler? Rumor has it the Ruler has secrets of her own. Secrets she's determined to keep. Seems an heir may have been overlooked. The true heir to the Commonwealth throne.

Paradox

The Nulapeiron Sequence: Book 1

John Meaney

Centuries of self-imposed isolation have transformed Nulapeiron into a world unlike any other - a world of vast subterranean cities maintained by extraordinary organic technologies. For the majority of its peoples, however such wonders have little meaning. Denied their democratic rights and restricted to the impoverished lower levels, they are subjected to the brutal law of the Logic Lords and the Oracles, supra-human beings whose ability to truecast the future maintains the status quo. But all this is about to change.

In a crowded marketplace a mysterious, beautiful woman is brutally cut down by a militia squad's graser fire. Amongst the horrified onlookers is young Tom Corcorigan. He recognizes her. Only the previous day she had presented him with a small, seemingly insignificant info-crystal. And only now, as the fire in the dying stranger's obsidian eyes fades, does he comprehend who - or what - she really was: a figure from legend, one of the fabled Pilots.

What Tom has still to discover is that his crystal holds the key to understanding mu-space, and so to freedom itself. He doesn't know it yet, but he has been given a destiny to fulfill - nothing less than the rewriting of his future, and that of his world.

Spectacularly staged, thrillingly written and set in a visionary future, Paradox places John Meaney at the forefront of science fiction in this new century.

The Paradox

The Oversight Trilogy: Book 2

Charlie Fletcher

SOMETIMES YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR - SOMETIMES IT LOOKS BACK.

Those who belong to the secret society called The Oversight know many things. They know cold iron will hold back the beasts in the darkness. They know it is dangerous to stand between two mirrors. And they know that, despite their dwindling numbers, it remains their duty to protect humanity from the predations of the supernatural. And vice versa.

But two of the society's strongest members, Mr Sharp and Sara Falk, are trapped in the world between the mirrors, looking for each other, searching for a way back home. What they discover there will have ominous consequences both for The Oversight and the world it protects, effects that will make them question everything they thought they knew.

The dark waters rise. The candle is guttering. But the light still remains. For now...