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Nightfall Two

Author: Isaac Asimov

Publisher: Panther books (1973)

A collection of Asimov's short stories, the second part being just as good as the first. 'Nightfall' was widely held to be one of the best SF stories ever written. This was based on a conversation between Asimov and his editor Campbell about what would happen if mankind only saw the stars once in ten thousand years. This story is the first in Part One. Asimov was at his peak of short story writing at the time and combined the title story with others from magazines, which he contended were as good. However, they do not have the breadth of vision or universal appeal though they are each worth a read. Every reader will take away their own favourite. This is suitable for anyone from young teens upwards, especially if they have lively minds.

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Nine Tomorrows

Author: Isaac Asimov

Publisher: Pan (1959)

Nine Tomorrows is a collection of nine short stories and two pieces of comic verse by Isaac Asimov. The pieces were all originally published in magazines between 1956 and 1958, with the exception of the closing poem, "Rejection Slips", which was original to the collection. The book was first published in the United States in 1959 and in the UK in 1963. It includes two of Asimov's favorite stories, "The Last Question" and "The Ugly Little Boy".

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Once Upon A Time In The North

Authors: John Lawrence, Phillip Pullman

Publisher: Random House Group (2008)

This is the mesmerising story of the very first meeting of those two legends and friends, Lee Scoresby, the Texan balloonist, and Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear. When Lee and his daemon, Hester, land in the Arctic town of Novy Odense, they quickly become embroiled in an out-and-out political brawl. So when Iorek offers to help, Lee is only too happy to accept. Together they take on a slippery politician, his monstrous gas-powered gun and a murderous gunfighter. And so begins a friendship that will continue throughout their lives.

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Orphans Of The Sky

Author: Robert A Heinlein

Publisher: Panther (1975)

For many days, there had been no food in the Inuit camp where Brother and Little Sister lived . . . . They had set out early that morning, hoping to find some food they could bring back to share with their people." Sister Lightning and Brother Thunder are children at play, dancing across the great arctic sky in this touching story about the search for a home. Returning to camp, the children find their people have left without them. Through the long, cold night, they huddle near a fire and talk into the night. Unable to decide which of their animal cousins they should stay with while they wait for the return of their people, the children decide to live amongst the stars instead. Their journey to the sky is a homecoming in which they rediscover the beauty of play. Orphans in the Sky is a moving account of the courage and loyalty experienced by two lonely orphans who find a home in the sky.

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Past Through Tomorrow

Author: Robert A Heinlein

Publisher: NEL (1978)

Possible future worlds are explored in this collection of short pieces.

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Pebble In The Sky

Author: Isaac Asimov

Publisher: Sphere Books (1981)

The first novel of the Galactic Empire, the period between our own time and the universe of Asimov's "Foundation" series. This novel places an ordinary man in the path of little-understood phenomena being investigated at the Chicago Institute for Nuclear Research.

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Podkayne Of Mars

Author: Robert A Heinlein

Publisher: NEL (1969)

Podkayne Fries, born and raised on Mars, has just one ambition: to earn her wings as a starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. The opportunity to travel aboard the Tricorn- on an interstellar journey to Venus and Earth in the company of her diplomat uncle-is a dream come true. Poddy's idea of diplomacy is keeping the peace with her troublesome brother, Clark, but she's about to learn some things about war and peace. Because her uncle is the Ambassador from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, which makes him-and his niece and nephew-potential targets for any radicals looking to sabotage the negotiations between three worlds.

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Possible Tomorrows

Author: Groff Conklin

Publisher: Coronet (1973)

It continues to amaze me how the Old Hands in science fiction continue to come up with vivid and original tales about our various possible tomorrows. One would think that they might run out of ideas; but the contrary seems to be true; the ideas run after them. Basically, you will find as you read, the reason why their stories continue to appeal is not because of their novelty — for, in some instances, there is little novelty at all in their concepts. As I have said many times in the past, the real reason why these creators hold out attention is because they have something to say to us Twentieth Century readers, not just because they entertain. They do both, when they are of top grade, and that is what these five novelettes are - top grade. They give us to think, as well as to enjoy.

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Power Lines

Authors: Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Part of a series: Petaybee Trilogy

Publisher: Corgi (1995)

The miraculous and mysterious world of Petaybee was to be investigated. No-one –no-one outside Petaybee, that is – could believe that the planet was a living, breathing, sentient entity, that every plant and animal was in symbiotic communication with the spirit of the Petaybean world. Matthew Luzon was one of the investigators, an arrogant, wily, manipulative man who didn’t believe there was anything in the universe that couldn’t be controlled by hard scientific methods, His plan was to crush Petaybee, strip it of its mineral assets and subdue or destroy its inhabitants. Major Yanaba Maddock – who had been sent to Petaybee to die, but who now understood its secretive curative powers – with the help of Sean Shongili, Clodagh, and all the gifted ones of Kilcoole, was determined to fight for their world. It was a battle in which every human, every plant, and every secretive telepathic creature – most especially the famous orange felines of Petaybee – was to be put at risk. Luzon was determined to destroy them – whatever the cost.

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Powers That Be

Authors: Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Part of a series: Petaybee Trilogy

Publisher: Corgi (1994)

It was a world of ice and snow – a planet that just supported life and that had been terraformed from frozen uninhabitable rock. The people of Petaybe were hardy, self-reliant, friendly – and also very secretive. Major Yana Maddock, medically discharged from the service was shipped to Petaybe in the hope that her burnt-out lungs might just recover in the icy air. And at the last moment she was given a special commission. Unauthorized life-forms had been seen on the planet and, more seriously, geological survey teams had vanished, the odd survivor being discovered abandoned and insane. It was Yana’s task to infiltrate Petaybe society and find out who – or what – was causing the eerie events on the planet. She discovered a primitive ice-bound community of extraordinary people – people who possessed some mysterious quality of surviving – and people Yana discovered she both liked and revered as she found herself becoming one of them.

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