The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF

Language: English

Pages: 392

ISBN: 1849013055

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The last sixty years have been full of stories of one or other possible Armageddon, whether by nuclear war, plague, cosmic catastrophe or, more recently, global warming, terrorism, genetic engineering, AIDS and other pandemics. These stories, both pre- and post-apocalyptic, describe the fall of civilization, the destruction of the entire Earth, or the end of the Universe itself. Many of the stories reflect on humankind's infinite capacity for self-destruction, but the stories are by no means all downbeat or depressing -- one key theme explores what the aftermath of a cataclysm might be and how humans strive to survive.

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black hair. She learned to sing the same songs in the same rich voice. We all loved her, or all of us but Dian, who never seemed to care if anybody loved her. Dian’s holo mother, Dr Diana Lazard, was smaller than Tanya’s, with a chest as flat as the grey name-plate on her robot. She wore dark glasses that made her eyes hard to see. Her hair was a red-gold color that might have been beautiful if she’d let it grow longer, but she kept it short and commonly hid it under a tight black tam. She

Pepe drop us into a landing orbit above the equator. Low over Africa, we found the Great Rift grown still wider. That inland sea had risen, flooding the ancient shore, yet she decided to land near it. “Why?” Arne demanded. “Have you forgotten those monsters on the beach?” “I want to see if they’ve evolved.” “I don’t like that.” He nodded at the monitor. “That black area just west of the rift. I’ve watched it creeping across central Africa, erasing what I think was dense rain forest. Something

smooth-hulled. These “trees”, as his father had called them, were in fact a kind of grass, something like bamboo. Cale came from a world of endless flatness; to him these trees were mighty constructs indeed. And sunlight shone through the trees from an open area beyond. A few paces away a freshwater stream decanted onto the beach and trickled to the sea. Cale could see that it came from a small gully that cut through the bank of trees. It was a way through, irresistible. The broken stones of

we went over this. Anything’s better than going back into the boxes.” The first week passed, and then the second, and things started to change for Gaunt. It was in small increments, nothing dramatic. Once, he took his tray to an empty table and was minding his own business when two other workers sat down on the same table. They didn’t say anything to him but at least they hadn’t gone somewhere else. A week later, he chanced taking his tray to a table that was already occupied and got a grunt of

enough drinking water to sate his thirst. In the best of outcomes, he’d be doing well to see more than a hundred other human faces before he died. Maybe there’d be friends in those hundred faces, friends as well as enemies, and maybe, just maybe, there’d be at least one person who could be more than a friend. He didn’t know, and he knew better than to expect guarantees or hollow promises. But this much at least was true. He had been adjusting. And then Steiner had shown him that there was

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