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The Pursuit of the Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein
“An absolutely essential and 'must read' novel for the legions of Robert Heinlein fans, The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes is an extraordinary work of science fiction”—Midwest Book Review
"Heinlein still offers a rollicking ride even after all these years."—The Oklahoman
The Pursuit of the Pankera is one of the most audacious experiments ever done in science fiction by the legendary author of the classic bestseller Starship Troopers.
Robert A. Heinlein wrote The Number of the Beast, which was published in 1980. In the book Zeb, Deety, Hilda and Jake are ambushed by the alien “Black Hats” and barely escape with their lives on a specially configured vehicle (the Gay Deceiver) which can travel along various planes of existence, allowing them to visit parallel universes.
However, unknown to most fans, Heinlein had already written a “parallel” novel about the four characters and parallel universes in 1977. He effectively wrote two parallel novels about parallel universes. The novels share the same start, but as soon as the Gay Deceiver is used to transport them to a parallel universe, each book transports them to a totally different parallel world.
From that point on the plot lines diverge completely. While The Number of the Beast morphs into something very different, more representative of later Heinlein works, The Pursuit of the Pankera remains on target with a much more traditional Heinleinesque storyline and ending, reminiscent of his earlier works.
The Pursuit of the Pankera was never published and there have been many competing theories as to why (including significant copyright issues in 1977). Over time the manuscript was largely forgotten but survived in fragments. A recent re-examination of these fragments, however, made it clear that put together in the right order they constituted the complete novel.
And here it finally is: Robert A. Heinlein’s audacious experiment. A fitting farewell from one of the most inventive science fiction writers to have ever lived: a parallel novel about parallel universes as well as a great adventure pitting the forces of good versus evil only the way Heinlein could do.
The Number of the Beast (reprint) by Robert A. Heinlein
The Number of the Beast, by the legendary author of the classic bestseller Starship Troopers, is one of the most audacious experiments ever done in science fiction.
Robert A. Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, originally published in 1980, follows the adventures of Zeb, Deety, Hilda, and Jake when they are ambushed by the alien “Black Hats” and barely escape with their lives on a specially configured vehicle (the Gay Deceiver) that can travel along various planes of existence, allowing them to visit parallel universes.
However, unknown to most fans, Heinlein had already written a “parallel” novel about the four characters and parallel universes in 1977. He effectively wrote two parallel novels about parallel universes. The novels share the same start, but as soon as the Gay Deceiver is used to transport them to a parallel universe, each book takes the readers to a totally different parallel world. From that point on, the plot lines diverge completely. Although some later passages may be found in both books, most of them are, fascinatingly, given a totally different context or perspective.
The companion parallel book was never published, and there have been many competing theories as to why (including significant copyright issues in 1977 due to some of the material used in the book). Over time the manuscript was largely forgotten, although it survived in fragments. A recent re-examination of these fragments made it clear that, put together in the right order, they constituted the complete novel that is finally being published as The Pursuit of the Pankera.
As both books are “parallel” books, they carry the subtitle A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes.
So here it finally is, the other half of Heinlein’s audacious experiment: a parallel novel about parallel universes.
The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J. Sawyer
A nail-biting new science fiction thriller from Robert J. Sawyer; the all-time worldwide leader in award-wins as a science fiction or fantasy novelist.
"Well worth reading.―Analog Science Fiction and Fact
“Really great, a page turner. I was hooked from the beginning to the end.”―Andre Bormanis, co-executive producer, The Orville and Cosmos
On the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Hugo and Nebula-winning author Robert J. Sawyer takes us back in time to revisit history…with a twist.
While J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Manhattan Project team struggle to develop the A-bomb, Edward Teller wants something even more devastating: a bomb based on nuclear fusion―the mechanism that powers the sun.
Teller’s research leads to a terrifying discovery: by the year 2030, the sun will eject its outermost layer, destroying the entire inner solar system―including Earth.
As the war ends with the use of fission bombs against Japan, Oppenheimer's team, plus Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun, stay together―the greatest scientific geniuses from the last century racing against time to save our future.
Meticulously researched and replete with real-life characters and events, The Oppenheimer Alternative is a breathtaking adventure through both real and alternate history.
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Perhaps the most relevant science fiction release of the decade.
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”— First Corinthians 15:52
From New York Times bestselling author, Harry Turtledove, critically-acclaimed novelist, James Morrow, and Nebula Award finalist, Cat Rambo, comes a masterful anthology of three sensational novellas depicting a dark fictional future of the United States.
And the Last Trump Shall Sound is a prophetic warning about where we, as a nation, may be headed. Mike Pence is President of the United States after years of divisive, dogmatic control by Donald Trump. The country is in turmoil as the Republicans have strengthened their stronghold on Congress, increasing their dominance. And with the support of the Supreme Court, more conservative than ever, State governments become more marginalized by the authoritarian rule of the Federal government.
There are those who cannot abide by what they view as a betrayal of the nation’s founding principles. Once united communities break down and the unthinkable suddenly becomes the only possible solution: the end of the Union.
The authors’ depiction of a country that is both unfamiliar and yet unnervingly all too realistic, make you realize the frightening possible consequences of our increased polarization—a dire warning to all of us of where we may be headed unless we can learn to come together again.
November 17, 2020
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Salamis by Harry Turtledove
“The Master of Alternate History”.―Publishers Weekly
Salamis is the fifth (stand alone) novel in Harry Turtledove’s critically acclaimed Hellenic Traders universe. Creating an intricately detailed world (as Turtledove is famous for doing), the series details the adventures of two cousins, Menedemos and Sostratos who work as seaborne traders following the death of Alexander the Great.
In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great's marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos' son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refuse his offer.
Menedemos and Sostratos take the Aphrodite to Egypt for business...and to tell Ptolemaios what has been going on. Just before they leave, they learn Demetrios has invaded the island of Cyprus, which Ptolemaios dominates. He is advancing on the southeastern town of Salamis, where Ptolemaios' brother, Menelaos, has concentrated his forces.
After they pass on their news, Menedemos does business in the brash new city of Alexandria while Sostratos travels up the Nile to old, old Memphis to trade there, and to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ptolemaios, meanwhile, readies a fleet to rescue his brother and drive Demetrios back to Asia Minor.
Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing the Aphrodite along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world's greatest naval battles.
February 16, 2021
Least Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp
and Timeless Tales Told in Tribute by Harry Turtledove, David Webber,
S.M. Stirling, Frederik Pohl and David Drake.
Rarely do books have such a great influence on a genre as Lest Darkness Fall has had on science fiction. Frequently quoted as one of the ‘favorite’ books of many of masters of the field, this book by L. Sprague de Camp helped establish alternate-history as solid sub-genre of science fiction.
An indication of the influence and longevity of the book is by the number of best-selling writers who have written stories in direct response to, or influenced by, Lest Darkness Fall. This volume reprints three such stories by Frederik Pohl, David Drake and S. M. Stirling written over a period of forty-three years—a testament to the timelessness of the book.
The 2021 edition also includes two brand new stories by Harry Turtledove and David Weber.
Similar, thematically, to Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the book tells the tale of Martin Padway who, as he is walking around in modern Rome, is suddenly transported though time to 6th Century Rome.
Once in ancient Rome, Padway (now Martinus Paduei Quastor) embarks on an ambitious project of single-handedly changing history.
L. Sprague de Camp was a student of history (and the author of a number of popular works on the subject). In Lest Darkness Fall he combines his extensive knowledge of the workings of ancient Rome with his extraordinary imagination to create one of the best books of time travel ever written.
This volume also includes an afterword by Alexei and Cory Panshin, adapted from their Hugo-winning book on science fiction, The World Beyond the Hill.
April 13, 2021
Power Challenges Fall by Ben Bova
It is time to start the colonizing the solar system. Ex-astronaut, current space advisor, and all-out trouble shooter for the President, Jack Ross, is determined to make it happen.
And what better way than to return to America’s by returning to the moon and setting up a permanent moon-base which can then serve as the launching pad for Mars and beyond.
But as usual, political intrigue and conflicting priorities are threatening the whole program. Add to that a President who is about to die, a strong contingent in the legislative body which thinks that money spent on a moon-base is money wasted and the general apathy of the public, and you have an almost impossible task.
Even NASA, natural enthusiasts of a project like this, are dragging their feet because they have lost control of the top-spot in the project.
But none of those opposing forces have contended with the resolve and the skill of Jack Ross. He will create the base on the moon. He will send humans out to many worlds.