Please note, you are free to use these story ideas however you so desire. You can take them in their entirety and build on them, use them as sources of inspiration or even cannibalize them for spare story parts.
If you do this, all I ask is that you mention it somewhere on your blog, social media or in your book.
Set in the distant future, a Harvester named Tess is searching for resources for her struggling colony, New Hope, using a ship with a Slipstream drive, which sends her to random places in the galaxy and leaves a wormhole connected to the colony which remains open for a limited time. On one such expedition, she discovers an immensely powerful energy signature on a nearby planet which, theoretically, could be used to power New Hope’s terraformers; as their original power sources were destroyed due to an accident and the colony has been barely surviving ever since.
Heading down, her ship is badly damaged by the ferocious acid storms and electrical interference and she is forced to crash land. She is found by a humanoid robot, a Caretaker model, who looks after her. With her scanner damaged, she heads out on foot to find the source of the energy signature. After receiving the name Novak from Tess, the robot, whose memory has degraded after thousands of years, explains that an advanced society once called the planet home, but it destroyed itself due to its greed. They arrive at a facility which produced the Caretaker series robots, discovering that all of the others switched themselves off after thousands of years of pointless existence.
Accessing the construction manifest, Tess realizes that Novak is powered by an infinite energy source, the Everspark, which is the source of the energy signature and which could power New Hope’s terraformers. She hatches a plan to steal it, but first uses Novak to locate a spaceport where she can acquire a new ship. While waiting out an acid storm, Tess reveals that Novak was the name of her brother, a test pilot for the Slipstream program who died in an accident. At the same time, Lord Victor, the current leader of New Hope, receives Tess’ initial scan results and travels to the planet, using her slipstream wormhole, intent on claiming the Everspark for himself. It is revealed that he plans to carry out a culling to reduce the colony’s population and then use the Everspark to rule over the remaining citizens, believing the planet to be incapable of being terraformed.
At the spaceport, Tess attempts to steal the Everspark but Novak is captured by Lord Victor, whose advanced ship was able to descend through the cloud layer safely. Chasing after them, Tess finds a ship called New Hope 13 and realizes that the planet they are on is the one their ancestors fled after the killing it. Aboard Lord Victor’s ship, Novak interfaces with the ship and restores his memory using the on-board repair suite. Tess follows Lord Victor through the Slipstream wormhole just before it closes and arrives at New Hope. She manages to enter the colony and faces off against Lord Victor, stealing back Novak. Novak tells Tess that the planet they were on was once called Earth, and that New Hope was a last ditch effort to save humanity.
He forgives her for her attempted betrayal asks her to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Together they travel to the Terraformer central unit but are tracked by a murderous Lord Victor. Whilst Lord Victor and Tess fight, Novak sacrifices himself by removing the Everspark and inserting it into the Terraformer, activating it (he first removes a broken Everspark, which once powered the Terraformers until it was destroyed in an accident). In the ensuing activation, Lord Victor tries to remove the Everspark but is destroyed by the enormous amount of released energy. Tess is able to get to safety, and in the aftermath, the planet’s terraforming restarts. For her actions, Tess is given the honour of naming the planet (which was set to be named after the terraforming had finished). She names it Novak in honour of his sacrifice and her brother’s, without whom Tess would never have found the Everspark and saved the colony.
Tells the story of Crater Lake, a small town in the American heartland. The story is centered on the Roanoke family, which consists of Thomas Roanoke, a Cherokee Native American who left his reservation to pursue a relationship with Samantha, an act which was heavily frowned upon. They lived in the city for several years, but Thomas's yearning to let his family experience nature led him to taking a job in Crater Lake, as a guide and rancher to tourists.
The town is situated near a massive lake supposedly formed from a meteorite impact. The family is relatively new to the town, and are still trying to fit in with the locals. The story is set over a month, during which Thomas starts to notice strange and inexplicable occurrences. However, he keeps quiet, not wanting to draw attention to himself. However, he eventually changes his mind and tells his family, who confess that they have also noticed. After a series of events, the truth is revealed: the town and the surrounding area has been taken to an alien planet. The aliens, a cautious race who prefer taking action only when they have prepared for the outcome, have been studying the town's people in the hopes of learning more about humanity.
They have also taken the forms of several members of the town for a closer look. Thomas, having found out the deception, is quietly abducted by the aliens. They explain their reasons to him and offer to wipe his memory, so that he can go back to his blissful ignorance. However, he escapes and returns to the town, telling them the truth. They do not believe him, but he eventually manages to convince them. Seeing this, the aliens appear and try to subdue them. Thomas demands that they be returned to Earth, but the Aliens tell them that they do not have a place to return to. They explain that they could not simply abduct an entire town, so they decided to recreate Crater Lake and all of its inhabitants, copying them in their entirety.
Through a system of relays and monitoring devices, the aliens were able to modify the simulated town in real-time, changing it as the real town changed. They give the townspeople a choice: have their memories erased and go back to living a happy lie, or be painlessly eliminated. Pretending to go along with the first option, Thomas and the others hatch a plan to overpower the aliens and steal a ship. Their plan works, and they find themselves on a course back to the real Crater Lake. The book ends as they land, as they wait for an uncertain future to arrive.
The Daedalus Prophecy
The story is set in the near future and follows the exploits of Orrin Sanders, a nano-mechanic and quantum engineer. He has spent a decade decoding a set of ancient documents supposedly written by Daedalus himself. He soon realizes that the documents speak of a hidden weapon capable of causing unimaginable destruction. However, to find the weapon, he needs a cypher to decode the map. He is aided by a mechanical contraption/automaton, Sym.
He found the plans in the documents and personally built him. He is pursued by a bounty hunter, Tracey Whindon, who has been hired by MegaNational (the largest weapons and research company on the planet) to track him and retrieve the weapon. Eventually, with Tracey's help, they track down the cypher and reveal the weapon to be located in Egypt, hidden in the Sphinx. Racing against MegaNational's agents, they find and deactivate the weapon. However, Tracey betrays Orrin due to MegaNational having kidnapped her younger brother, her last living relative.
She seemingly kills Orrin and takes Sym back to MegaNational headquarters. When Orrin awakens, he finds a recorded message from Tracey, which explains her motives and begs him to come and save her. Orrin heads back to his workshop to arm himself for the assault using previous inventions which he had discarded for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the head of MegaNational, Dr. Vilth, explains to Tracey that Sym is in fact the weapon, and that what they found in the Sphinx was merely a way to fully activate him. He also reveals that Sym has the ability to intake and amplify the energy of the sun a hundredfold and redirect it in the form of a super laser. When the sun rises, he will destroy the city around him, as a show of force. He will then start construction on an army of Sym's. He explains that for years MegaNational’s profits have been slipping, and he wants to take the company in a new direction: global conquest. However, before he can carry out his diabolical plan, Orrin breaks in.
He makes his way up to the top of the tower and encounters Tracey, Vilth and a completely functional Sym. Dr. Vilth orders Sym to kill Orrin using a portion of his super laser, as the sun had just risen. However he is unable to do so, as he lacks a fundamental part of his chassis which Orrin lost in when he first built Sym. He reprograms Sym who then turns on Vilth with the solar laser, eradicating him. Orrin and Tracey remove the weapon from Sym and destroy it, along with all of Daedalus's documents, reasoning that no person should possess such power. Orrin and Tracey take Sym with them, in search of more adventures. The story ends with a researcher in Greece uncovering Daedalus's tomb, which is filled with Sym units…
The World Engineer
Tells the story of Garry, a World Engineer; a highly sought after job which involves the repair of malfunctioning planets with weird magnetic fields, missing tides, poisonous atmospheres etc. by travelling through space on the Fixit, his interstellar ship. After fixing a world that was burned black by a massive solar flare, he gets an alert that planet MSE003 is in danger of being destroyed. He first visits the World Engineer headquarters, The Genesis Globe, where he meets with his former mentor, Sidd and his boss, Juli. He is reminded that he is still on probation, after a rookie mistake caused the destruction of an entire solar system.
He is told that the probation will be lifted if he can successfully complete his next mission. After a cryptic hint from Sidd, he sets off for the planet. After landing, he uses a holo-guise to make himself look human. He finds out that the planet is called Earth, and that it has been "Fixed" before, due to it having a Fixit marker isotope. He soon meets a local geophysicist, Claudia Van Sholper, while he is trying to uncover the danger to the planet. They eventually discover that Juli was the rookie World Engineer who previously fixed the planet when she stopped a second ice age from wiping out civilization, but she accidentally left her thermal modifier machine somewhere on the planet, and its continued production of greenhouse gases is causing global warming.
While trying to track down the malfunctioning machine, Juli appears and begins tampering with the sun, revealing that she plans to cause a nova that will destroy any evidence of her mistake, which could be damaging to her career, and that she is going to blame Garry for the accident, citing his previous mistake. However, Sidd contacts Garry and lets him know of Juli's scheme, while explaining that Juli had been blackmailing him with revealing his own mistake: he caused a planet wide extinction on Mars by accident. Claudia and Garry split up, with Claudia in charge of finding the machine using the Fixit's tech while Garry tries to stop Juli.
After a battle in space, in which Garry is outclassed, he teleports the thermal modifier from Earth just as Claudia places a homing beacon on it into Juli's Solar manipulator, causing it to explode and returning the sun to normal. In the aftermath, Earth returns to normal and Sidd is promoted to head World Engineer. On Garry's recommendation, he appoints Claudia as a new World Engineer, making Garry her mentor. The story ends with them flying off in The Fixit towards their next mission: removing a monolith from Jupiter’s orbit (2001: A Space Odyssey reference)
The Hole in the World
Tells the story of Iatica, one of 13 floating cities (though Hettalial was destroyed by the Meteor’s fall), which were launched before the Meteor fell and devastated the world. Each city is completely self-supported and home to millions of people. Centuries before, an alien organism impacted the planet in the Meteor. The organism spread quickly and had soon covered the planet in a hard shell, making it inhospitable for humans, although the planet had already become heavily polluted, so many saw the organism as a blessing from God. Soon, a church sprang up called The Children of A'Khan (what they call the organism, scientific name Artellian Khandresis Planatae) who want everyone to descend to the planet and become one with their "God" by sabotaging the floating cities.
The story centres on three protagonists: Joshua Greaver, a university student majoring in alien ecology and bio-permutations, who goes to work for the well-known but eccentric Dr. Rasputin Vidriss and his intern granddaughter Teresa (who lost both parents to an accident on the planet’s surface; they were scientists studying the organism and their camp was attacked by extremists from the church); Sergeant Fullard, a jaded soldier who works for Iatica's security division, who is going through a harsh divorce; and Samantha Sianne, an orphan who was raised by the church, but does not fully agree with their methods.
The book follows all three characters as they discover the secret about the organism and the church. Joshua discovers that the organism is "waiting" for something. Fullard discovers that the leaders of Iatica know about the organism's true purpose but they want to retain control over the populace, so they make it seem as though they are working on a plan to remove it. Samantha discovers that the church wants to wake the organism up prematurely, so that it will continue to grow and engulf the floating cities. In the end, Joshua realizes that the organism is waking up, and that it has been gestating from the moment it went to sleep. He also learns that the organism has feasting on the planet’s pollution for centuries in order to grow its new form (he theorizes that the organism targeted Earth on purpose due to its high pollutant levels).
Fullard confronts his superior officers and convinces them to help him take control of the cities as Joshua had told him that Iatica was orbiting directly above an emergence point, and that it had to be moved in order to be saved, ending in a successful coup. Meanwhile, Samantha confronts the leader of the church, seemingly sacrificing herself to stop his plan. As the whole world watches, the organism cracks open, revealing dozens of huge, winged beasts that take to the skies, one of which narrowly misses Iatica, thanks to Fullard moving the city, while the remnants of the organism dissolve into thin air, revealing a planet cleansed of pollution. Samantha is revealed to have survived, and vows to take the church in a new direction by helping to recolonize the planet as the cities descend and the people celebrate.
Tells the story of Luke Helioson, The Son of Niles, a prisoner of Day's End Prison, where he is currently serving a life sentence for almost destroying the sun. He was a solar engineer along with his father, Niles, who was killed in an experiment to increase the dying sun's output. However, a mistake by one of their assistants, Isaac Ferris, caused the output to decrease rapidly, leaving the planet locked in a state of twilight. While Luke was unconscious following the explosion, Isaac told the authorities that he had valiantly tried to stop the "attack".
Isaac became famous following the ordeal, gaining a lab of his own, while Luke was incarcerated. Knowing that the experiment would have worked, Luke tries to get the authorities to release him. However, they refuse, and he spends 5 years in isolated confinement. After 5 years of planning, Luke comes up with an escape plan, but it requires two people to work. He catches a lucky break with Dennis Jubar, a new prisoner who was arrested while trying to steal an organ donation for his ailing fiancé. Luke convinces Dennis to help him escape, and after several obstacles, the duo manage to do so.
They head towards Luke's lab, where they discover it intact, though several components of the machine were destroyed. The required components are stolen from Isaac's lab during a party celebrating Isaac's new "breakthrough": he has been using Luke's work to advance his career. Afterwards, they return to the lab and try to use the machine, but discover that it is no longer powerful enough to affect the diminished sun. After finding an old hologram of his father, Luke realizes that he has to use the machine at point blank range which he will do by stealing a spaceship and flying it into the sun's outer corona, while Dennis dodges the destructive sunspots. The first part of the plan works, and they are able to steal the ship.
However, a crazed Isaac follows them in his ship, determined to take the credit for saving the planet. With time running out for the sun which could collapse into a white dwarf at any time, Luke takes a spacewalk, after Isaac damages the machine’s firing mechanism, although he is killed in the process. Activating the machine, the duo then have only seconds to escape before the sun expands to its full size. They manage to do so just in time, and they return to the planet as heroes. Luke and his father's accomplishments and efforts are recognized, and his father receives a proper burial. For his part, Dennis's wife receives treatment, and the two celebrate with Luke, watching the new sun rise over the horizon.
Tells the tale of Leiden Lee, a physicist working at the top-secret U.B.C facility (Universal Bridge Creation), where scientists are trying to discover a way to cross into other dimensions and tap into the multiverse nexus of space, a focal point for all universes. Leiden is brought in to replace Dr. Curtis Dunmar, a highly respected but very eccentric scientist who went missing while running a test. His ex-wife, Jane Hollins, who is a member of the team but divorced Curtis after the death of their daughter in an accident, is sure that Curtis found the key to unlocking the Nexus. However, she believes that he has become stuck there because his lab and equipment was shut down suspiciously quickly after his disappearance.
A rival scientist, Prof. Ryan Wilhelm, does not wish for Curtis to be found, as he has become the head scientist in Curtis's absence. He is adamant that Curtis buckled under the pressure and ran away from the job. Leiden is helped by two assistants even though he wants to work alone, as a past mistake caused the death of an old friend and assistant. He is assisted by Vincent Emmerson, a young and ambitious intern who has a connection to Curtis in that he was one of his lecturers, who told him that he would never amount to anything because of his half-hearted attitude. He is also aided by Lauren Thorne, a spy for a rival facility and an old classmate of Curtis who eventually realizes that the tech is too dangerous, and agrees to keep it a secret.
After investigating Curtis's lab and discovering his hidden notes, Leiden is able to recreate a portal to the Nexus, using a quantum device to keep himself tethered to our world. For several weeks, Leiden, Vincent and Lauren explore the Nexus, following a trail of clues left by Curtis, while visiting several alternate worlds in which things happened differently. Finally, Ryan discovers the trio's portal, shutting it down so that they will not rescue Curtis. However, Jane discovers his treachery and attempts to re-open the portal. Meanwhile, Leiden finally finds Curtis in a universe where his daughter survived the accident, but he and Jane did not, leaving her orphaned. He reveals that he has been helping her adjust to her new step-parents, by acting as an angel.
Leiden and Curtis talk, with Leiden trying to convince Curtis to return to his own universe but Curtis says that his daughter needs him. In the end, Leiden is able to convince him and Curtis tells his daughter that he needs to go back to heaven but that he will always watch over her. They leave the universe and return to the nexus, where they find the portal barely holding. Leiden sacrifices himself to keep it open long enough for them to escape, where they arrive just in time to save Jane from a homicidal Ryan, who is attempting to destroy Curtis’ lab and cover up his actions. In the aftermath, Ryan is arrested, Jane and Curtis remarry and the U.B.C is closed indefinitely. Vincent and Lauren decide to further investigate the multiverse whilst also secretly looking for Leiden. In another place, Leiden awakens, seeing the entire multiverse before him. He then begins his "long walk home".
The Million Mile Race
Chronicles the adventures of Milton "No Limits" Rush, a space courier who works for Mr. Odin, the mysterious owner of Odin Armaments. The semi-legal weapons manufacturer is secretly selling weapons to The Rathakk, a violent race who tried to conquer the galaxy through force twenty years ago, but who were defeated by the coalition, who now maintain a permanent barricade around the Rathakk's home planet. Odin, however, uses couriers to get past the barricade and deliver weapons to the planet. However, on a daring run to the planet, an ambush from a rival corporation, Ion Storm, results in the destruction of Milton's cargo.
Knowing that returning to Mr. Odin having failed him would result in his death, Milton enters the Million Mile Race, an intergalactic race which takes place every ten years, and goes from one end of the galaxy to the other. It has a very high mortality rate as competitors may use any means necessary to get rid of their opponents, but it has an equally high pay-out for the winner. Milton is accompanied by his close friend and former soldier, Trent "Unbreakable" Barrons with whom he fought in the war. Milton uses his old war-fighter, Radiant, for the race. Also in the race is Milton's ex-wife, Penelope "One Shot" Myers, who met Milton during the war.
Her, Trent and Milton were in the same squad, The Daredevils, who specialized in high-impact anti-fleet operations in which they could take out entire fleets, but they could not face each other after the atrocities they had committed. The other racers come from all different walks of life and have different motivations. Throughout the book, the racers encounter a variety of deadly obstacles, like black holes and newborn stars, as well as infighting between the racers. At the same time, Milton, Trent and Penelope become aware of a dark plot involving the Rathakk and another galactic war. They eventually arrive at Rath, the home planet of The Rathakk. There, they discover Mr. Odin's true identity: the leader of the Rathakk, who has been in hiding since the end of the war, and who has been using the couriers to re-arm the Rathakk fleet. Using the Race as a diversion, several of the racers hired by Mr. Odin will destroy the barricade, allowing the Rathakk fleet to set out for another wave of carnage.
Milton also finds out that Mr. Odin hired Ion Storm to kill Milton as he knew of his war victories against his people. Using their training, Milton; Trent and Penelope are able to stop the hired racers and destroy the grounded Rathakk fleet, with Milton and Trent facing Mr. Odin in an aerial battle over the planet, which they win, but lose their ship. In the end, Penelope goes on to win the race, but Milton had bet on her to win, knowing that she had the best chance to win, earning him a large amount of money. He uses his winnings to start his own, legitimate courier company, hiring former soldiers who were discarded after the war, with Trent and Penelope as founding members. In the end, peace returns to the galaxy, while Milton and Penelope agree to try again.
Blood from Steel
The story is set in the year 2150, and the main character is a robot known as Sigma-Two-Nine (Sig for short), who wakes up in a desolate factory with no memories. Ten years earlier, a robot had become sentient due to a random mutation of its code, causing it to question its existence. In an effort to find the meaning of life, it, along with other robots it enlightened, left on a journey to find their maker. However, fearful of an uprising, the government attacked the robots with force, causing them to fight back in order to protect itself.
This led to the uprising the government had hoped to prevent, ending in almost a decade of fighting with huge loses on both sides. Sig, wandering around the area, witnesses a band of robots attack a family of refugees. He manages to scare them off with his superior weaponry, but only manages to save the youngest son, a seven year old boy called Sammy. Learning of the war from an old robot, Alpha-Three-Ten (Alph), Sig sets out, with Sammy in tow, to find the sentient robot’s maker and uncover the truth. Along the way, Sig learns more about himself and humans, finding that he is different from the other robots who can only hate humans. Eventually, he finds his maker, a disillusioned scientist who only wanted to give robots a voice.
The scientist had actually created the robot who started the rebellion, and had taught him to become sentient. That the robot is revealed to be Sigma, who was attacked by a band of humans while on his way to strike a peace treaty with the humans, but the damage caused him to lose his memories. The Maker, who has discarded his name in shame, tells Sigma that he contains a shut-down code which, when entered into the robot's headquarters, will terminate every robot on the planet. However, the Maker's lab is attacked by robots who have followed Sigma. They are led by his former second-in-command, Secundus, who wishes to wipe out all of humanity. During the attack, The Maker is killed and Sammy is taken, to teach Sigma a lesson about humans.
Sigma, unable to infiltrate the robots HQ on his own, goes to the human remnants and begs for help. He promises to force the robots to surrender once he has regained control of the robots. With their help, he launches an attack on the robots HQ while infiltrating the control room. There, he finds Sammy, about to be killed by Secundus. Sig is able to disable him and get Sammy to safety, after which he apologizes for leaving him alone, and hopes that he will grow up to be a great man. He then heads back into the core and inputs the code, shutting down every robot in the world. The epilogue has Sammy as an adult, paying homage to his father's (Sig) grave, before returning to the new community of humans and new robots created in Sig’s image.
The Time Traveling Custodian
Tells the story of Wallace Ritcher, a 21st century man who is accidentally sent back in time to the early Homo sapien /Neanderthal era. Wallace was a janitor working at CERN, he was previously working as a security guard, but was demoted after his partner went missing and he was blamed. During a particle collision, he accidentally wandered into the testing chamber at the exact moment a miniature wormhole was created. He wakes up on the Plains of Bravery, a hunting ground used by the Sa-uktan clan. While still dazed, he is attacked by a Sabre Toothed Tiger and only barely manages to kill it using his mop.
Dala, a female hunter of the Sa-uktan clan, was on the plains to prove her bravery and become an adult. Moments later, the rest of the clan arrives, and, seeing the dead tiger, pronounce “Wal-lace” to be a great warrior. They take him back to their home, The Black Caves. There, he is forced to lie about his origins and tells them that he was abandoned at birth and raised himself in the wild, to prevent them from becoming suspicious. Dala, having failed the test, is not allowed to retry until the clan returns from its trek to the Four Peak Valley, where all of the clans are gathering to discuss a new threat.
Wallace decides to accompany them while looking for a way back home. Along the way, he and Dala are separated from the others following a landslide, forcing them to take an alternate route. During the journey, Wallace shares details of his life to a disbelieving Dala, who, in turn, gradually warms to him. Finally reaching their destination, Wallace discovers that the new threat is a warmongering clan chief who uses strange weapons and tactics to take over other clans. His army is on route to the Valley, the last bastion of free homo sapiens. Using his future knowledge, Wallace trains the clan to combat the invaders. When the clan attacks, Wallace comes face to face with its leader, Francis, his security guard partner who mysteriously disappeared.
Francis, using the same techniques and with help from his gun, has taken over. He reveals his belief that God sent him there to rule, and to create a utopia for himself. With Dala's help, who comes to realize that Wallace was telling the truth, they are able to defeat Francis and free his clan. Before he dies, he tells Wallace that a portal home opened shortly after he arrived, but he chose not to step through. A few days later, a portal opens where Wallace first arrived, during Dala's second try at the bravery test. At that moment, another tiger attacks, forcing him to choose between helping Dala or returning home. Without looking back, he runs off, towards the tiger's roar...
The Electric Knight
The story begins as Graham Fulmore, a 15 year old boy who has come to Switzerland to spend time with his divorced father, a theoretical physicist at CERN searching for Tachyons: faster than light particles. During an experiment, Graham sees that his father is in danger of being hit by a beam of energy and moves him out of the way, being hit himself. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the dark ages (which he later renames the Bright Age) and is approached by a group of knights wielding electrical tools. He is taken to the King, Bern, who tells him that the Wizard, Ittsamor, had foreseen his arrival a decade earlier and made arrangements.
He is given a rubberized suit of armor and a Voltblade (a sword shaped Taser) but Prince Renton argues that Graham must prove himself worthy of the wizard’s gifts. They have a Joust using a series of wires and Voltblades and Graham wins by using his knowledge of electrical conductivity. He is given a map left by the wizard which uses ancient tunes to hide his location. Graham realizes that the “runes” are actually Morse code and deciphers the location, along with a warning that he must “Close the Loop”. He journeys to find the wizard, eventually arriving at his tower. He discovers a room filled with difficult equations and devices before meeting the wizard.
The wizard reveals the truth: he is another version of Graham who arrived 30 years ago and helped the kingdom defeat the Lord of Ash, a raider who wanted to conquer the land. He asks Graham to seek out the final components of his greatest device, which will allow Graham to go home (in reality it will close the loop, preventing Graham from ever traveling to the past in the first place). Graham succeeds in acquiring the first two components, but while searching for the third he is captured by the raiders and brought to their leader, the Lord of Ash. Graham realizes that he too is an alternate version of himself who came to the land 60 years ago. They converse and Graham manages to escape, returning to Ittsamor.
Telling him the truth about the Lord of Ash, Ittsamor realizes that they will need him to be present at the anomaly. They leak information that the kingdom is weak and manage to lure him into the capital, where they corner him in the anomaly chamber. The Lord of Ash tells them that when he arrived, he fled the kingdom in a panic and was captured by the raiders who tortured him for years to get him to create futuristic weapons for them.
He eventually managed to kill the raider leader and took over, driven mad from his treatment. Graham reveals that he knew about the Tachyon Bomb (Ittsamor’s device) and what it would do to them. He detonates it, knowing that if he doesn’t, another version of himself will arrive in another 30 years, extending the loop. In the present, Graham is about to be hit by the Tachyon beam when it barely misses him. He sees his three alternate versions (including the Lord of Ash, who has repented for his actions) who give him valuable advice that they gleamed from their different experiences before fading away. Graham, taking the advice to heart, decides to start by patching this up with his father.
Set in China in the year 2199, overpopulation has forced the government to implement a radical policy: for every child that is born, a citizen is killed at random via a shock collar that delivers a fatal shock. The main character is Heian Zheng, a young man from the slums who somehow survived his appointed death many years ago (his collar was turned OFF due to a freak malfunction). He now lives as an outcast, knowing that he will be killed if found.
He has been investigating the Equilibrium system and has developed a program to track the next target. The next person to be killed is the CEO of a large corporation, but at the last moment the target changes to an unassuming father of two. Heian becomes suspicious and recruits other outcasts to help him break into Equilibrium’s main building and discover the truth.
Eventually he succeeds and discovers that the top 1% of the country have had their collars turned OFF in exchange for huge sums of money, paid to Equilibrium, allowing them to bypass the system. He also discovers that they are planning to commit genocide of the undesirables of the country using the system in order to lighten the burden on society. After being cornered, he reveals his plan: he has inverted every collar in the system, including his own (which means that every collar set to OFF will turn ON, and vice versa).
As the next child is born, he and the 1% are suddenly killed. As the guards approach his body, they discover that he has planted explosives in the mainframe, which detonate and destroy the system. In the aftermath, his story is leaked to the press, and the Equilibrium system is dismantled while Heian is honored as a hero.
Fire from Heaven
Set in 2054, aboard the Gateway International Space Station in Low Earth orbit. A successor to the ISS, the Gateway serves as a fueling and orbital shipyard for spacecraft destined for the outer reaches of the solar system. Crewed by a joint American-Russian crew, it is caught up in the events of the world below. On Earth, American-Russian relations have deteriorated, and, after an inflammatory event, war is declared between the two countries.
The American crew receive an order to execute Protocol 1992, which sees them attempting to take control of the space station. Frederic Lauchanne, a Swiss payload specialist aboard to oversee the installation of a new waste disposal system (space toilet), is caught up in the conflict. Over the course of the story, he learns the true reason why the Americans are trying to take control of the bridge: to gain access to Project Icarus, a weapon system secretly installed on the Gateway which consists of a tungsten rod deployment device which could be used to devastate targets across the globe.
The Americans have been instructed to gain control of the secret device and use it to cripple major Russian cities in order to end the war. Ultimately, the leaders of both groups end up in a standoff in the bridge, with the weapon primed to fire on Moscow. Frederic manages to make an impassioned speech to both leaders, telling them to put aside their patriotism and work for the sake of humanity, just as they had done when choosing to work on the Gateway.
After a tense moment, both groups agree and re-target the weapon, aiming at the White House and the Kremlin simultaneously, forcing the presidents to agree to a cease-fire and peace talks or risk annihilation. The governments, unable to mount a counter-attack, begrudgingly agree, and the war ends. Frederic, for his actions, is promoted to Gateway Mediator, as work begins to dismantle the weapon.
The Forever War
Set on the planet Sera, tells the story of The Forever War, a planet spanning war that has lasted for over five hundred years. Grady Fodien, a grave keeper in the quiet village of Edgewatch, has just buried his wife and unborn child along with the majority of the village’s population after the war finally reached the Outer Colony of Farthing Point, completely filling the graveyard. Depressed and grieving, Grady sets out to end the war once and for all, quickly coming into contact with the Peacemakers, a global group of men and women who share his goal.
From them he learns that the war started in the north and is supposedly being fought over the reclamation of The Amber Heart, a priceless jewel that each side claims was stolen by the other. The majority of the fighters, however, do not know why they are fighting, and are participating for selfish or patriotic reasons. Grady travels with the Peacemakers, getting closer to the Ruins of Ambrosia, the first battleground. He is joined by the Peacemaker’s leader, Teresa, and her second in command, Logan.
Along the way they set up a broadcast network of speakers which are to be used to spread the truth. Upon arriving in the Ruins, Grady is separated from the others and heads to the Centre where he finds a dilapidated mansion. Inside he discovers a diary written by a woman named Amber, who details her troubles.
500 years prior, two of her former friends vied for her hand, causing much grief and loss in their fight for her affections. Unable to bear it any longer, she committed suicide, which each man blamed on the other, escalating their fight and bringing in their allies, friends and, in time, entire nations (which used the fight as an excuse to raid, pillage, expand or settle old rivalries). Grady realizes that The Amber Heart is actually Amber’s Heart, the object that started the Forever War.
Racing to the nearest broadcast tower, he is attacked by Logan who reveals that he is a traitor and that he wants the war to last until almost no one is left, reasoning that only the strongest and wisest people would survive such a cataclysmic war and therefore be the ones best suited to rebuild a better society.
In their struggle Logan is killed and Grady is fatally wounded. Dragging himself over to the microphone, he reads from Amber’s diary, explaining the truth and, in his dying moments, begging the fighters to lay down their arms. Moved by his words, peace is quickly declared and the Forever War finally ends. In the epilogue, the Peacemakers take his body to his graveyard where they discover that he dug a grave for himself, beside his wife, before leaving on his journey. Laying him to rest, they give their thanks for his sacrifice which has brought peace at long last...
The Solar Atom
Set in the year 2350, humanity has just discovered an unusual solar system at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy comprising of 28 Earth like planets around a Sun-like Star. While investigating this mystery, they discover that the star is only a few thousand years old, a physical impossibility. They suspect that it is early solar system with many planetesimals. Shortly thereafter, the Earth is attacked by a mysterious alien race which quickly decimates the United Earth forces yet does not carry out a ground invasion.
The aliens begin constructing strange devices at the Lagrangian points. In order to discover what the aliens are planning the remaining Earth force sends a team consisting of Elizabeth Banks, the only surviving expert on the aliens, and Major Ryan Scott, the only survivor of the space battle. Elizabeth and Ryan discover that the devices combine to form a molecular transporter that is on a planetary scale. While trying to escape the alerted aliens they accidentally activate the system and are teleported to the galactic centre. There they find the mysterious 28 planet solar system. Decoding the nearby terminal they discover that many millennia ago the aliens were able to mathematically prove that their Goddess did not exist, sparking a long and bloody civil war.
The survivors, angry at existence itself, decided to destroy the universe (this gave them purpose as they decided to get revenge on the mathematics which had disproved their Goddess). They began building a solar system sized atom, with an artificial Star at its heart (the nucleus) and dozens of captured planets of exactly the right size and electric charge (electrons) which they found and teleported from across the galaxy. Earth, the final electron, will cause an energy cascade when inserted into the ‘atoms’ valence shell which will cause a chain reaction that will initiate a false vacuum bubble which will grow at the speed of light and destroy the universe. Looking outside, they see that the transfer of Earth is already underway with no way of reversing it.
After praying for forgiveness, they forcibly stop the transfer, destroying the Earth entirely in both locations. With a nearby alien fleet coming to investigate the disturbance they flee towards the sun, reaching a maintenance station in close orbit. With the fleet preparing to fire upon them, they agree that the aliens, if left alone, will try again. Overriding the station controls, they cause the sun to undergo a supernova, thereby splitting the “atom”. The resulting blast, while powerful, is less energetic than the alien’s plan, and only destroys the Milky Way galaxy, saving the universe in the process. In the epilogue, in a far off galaxy, a pair of aliens reminiscent of Elizabeth and Ryan observe the sudden brightening and then disappearance of a galaxy in the night sky. The narrator mentions that while that light is gone, the universe is still shining brightly...
The Cost of a Life
Set on the outer planet Tombstone (named after Tombstone, Arizona), a recently colonized world orbiting a distant star. The planet was colonized by the Future Frontiers Foundation (FFF), a megacorporation which has colonized several outer planets. Edward Schieff, a young man and great grandson of the first person to set foot on Tombstone, is facing a crisis for, at birth, he already owed the FFF hundreds of thousands of credits.
The FFF, in exchange for providing food, clean water and shelter, leverages a large debt against anyone born on the planet. Failing to pay off this debt by the age of 50, or failing to pay even a single annual instalment means imprisonment in a forced labour mining camp (mining silver ore which is a key component of interstellar engines) until the debt is paid off (which is often an entire lifetime). If you die, your remaining debt is passed on to your surviving kin. Edward, unfortunately, lost his entire family to a mysterious fire when he was a child, leaving him with a combined debt of over a million credits. With the annual deadline nearing and having nowhere near enough credits, Ed decides to rob an interstellar transport carrying the annual payments to FFF headquarters. He enlists a few others who have similarly failed to pay their annual dues, including Victor Markham, the local ne’er-do-well. Unfortunately the heist goes poorly due to Victor ratting them out in exchange for the erasure of his life debt.
Edward is taken to the silver mine and forced to work long shifts in dangerous conditions. One day he meets Thaddeus, an old miner, who reveals that he was friends with Edward’s parents and that they were actually killed by FFF agents after they discovered something which would have shaken the world and changed the status quo. He says that he received a scrambled transmission from them but was arrested before he could decode it. He tells Edward that a copy of every transmission is stored in the FFF Communications Building in the central city of Tombstone. He helps Edward break out of prison, sacrificing himself in the process. Edward, reuniting with his gang, stages an attack on the central bank whilst infiltrating the Communications centre.
He manages to find the archives and decode the recording, revealing it to be detailed records on the FFF finances and how they have been systematically exploiting and underpaying the citizens of Tombstone in order to incarcerate them when they failed to pay off their debt, leading to a large unpaid work force for the silver mines. Ed is able to broadcast the records before being recaptured. In the aftermath, Ed is freed and the planet sues the FFF, winning a large settlement that is evenly split amongst its inhabitants. Finally freed of his debt, Ed faces the future, eager to live life unburdened.
Ghosts Among Us
Set in the distant future, cybernetic ocular implants (which are irreversibly attached to the cornea) have become widespread, allowing for neural connections to access the net and render a person’s world based on their preferences and ad-targets. Howard Kyne, a software developer, reports a bug in the rendering program to his supervisor. That night, while attempting to buy food, he is declined, with the kiosk claiming that he is dead.
Returning home, he finds that he has been evicted, also due to his supposedly deceased status. He tries to meet with his family but finds them mourning his untimely demise, whilst being unable to see or hear him. Scared and alone, he wanders through the city, eventually catching a thief, Angela, in the act of stealing food from an unaware man. Chasing the woman he ends up in the Ghostown, a shantytown built by others who have been erroneously classified as deceased. However, after listening to their stories, he comes to realize that each of them went against Ocularis Inc and were punished by being declared dead, making them unable to have normal lives.
They decide to get revenge by breaking into several facilities and stealing components, during which Howard is captured while allowing Angela to escape. Dominic, Ocularis’ CEO, taunts Howard, explaining that his company will continue to control the world’s perception. Howard then reveals himself to actually be Angela, having used a program to alter her appearance. At the same time, Howard reveals that he has completed his new program: Phoenix, along with the required transmitter (built using the stolen components) which declares every person in the world deceased, before rebooting the entire system, allowing the Ghosts to come back to “life”.
A moment later, Angela disappears from view, and reveals that Dominic’s perception has been hacked to portray the world as containing only himself, dooming him to a solitary existence for the rest of his life. Angela meets up with Howard, and the two celebrate by purchasing a meal together, visible to the world once more.
Story set in a self-sustaining dome habitat, where twelve people were to be sealed inside in 2025 for 5 years with no outside contact as part of a habitability study. In 2030, a storm outside the dome damages the transmission blocker, allowing the people within to see the state of the world outside.
They discover that a mutative virus, released in 2025, has driven mankind to near extinction. Samantha Grimlow, a botanist, decides to open the dome and return to the world. However, Victor Morris, the lead researcher and a renowned molecular biologist, instead argues that they should remain in the dome, safe from the virus.
Samantha tries several times to escape the dome, but discovers that the various release mechanisms have been disabled. Eventually, she discovers a secret lab belonging to Victor, and learns that he engineered a super virus in order to reset the world. He plans to use the dome as a Garden of Eden and that he immunized everyone inside and specially chose the inhabitants based on his warped views of a perfect humanity.
Samantha also discovers a batch of the immunity drug and steals a vial, intent on bringing it to the outside world. She and the others attempt to escape, triggering Victor’s rage as he starts hunting them down. Ultimately, Samantha kills Victor at the door release, and finally emerges into the world with the survivors in tow.
What Was Lost
Set in the year 2547, Earth is attacked by an alien race, The Scourge, and suffers heavy casualties, losing roughly half of the population. However, humanity eventually recovers from the surprise attack and leads a charge against the Scourge, destroying them. In the aftermath, they learn of an alien race which The Scourge were fleeing, The Harak-Kai, which has mastered time travel and used it to win every battle against The Scourge, forcing them to go on the run. In truth their attack on Earth was a last ditch effort to secure resources to prevent their annihilation.
The UEA (United Earth Alliance) announce that they plan to send the commander of their armies and the most beloved man on Earth, Rainer Holt, on a deep space mission to locate the Harak-Kai’s homeworld and either steal or barter for the time travel technology so that humanity can undo the cataclysmic invasion of Earth.
However, one year later, Rainer mysteriously disappears, necessitating the UEA to seek out his twin brother, Deckland Holt, who is living in the ruins of Sydney, as they believe that he will be able to follow the same thought patterns as Rainer and lead the UEA to him. Deckland, who lost his fiancé to the invasion, agrees, but only because he is worried about his brother. He is assigned Agent Grey, a UEA Agent, to monitor him and make sure that he doesn’t disappear as well. Deckland follows his brother’s trail, coming across the battle sites of the Scourge - Harak-Kai war.
He eventually tracks Rainer to the Harak-Kai homeworld and heads to the largest city, only to find it a wasteland. He finds Rainer and his crew in the midst of a large excavation project which has seemingly stalled. Rainer tells him that they just need to dig a little deeper in order to locate the facility where the time machines are located. Deckland instead heads to the heart of the city, finding a secure site which was heavily fought over.
Inside he finds remnants of technology that would allow for remote spying across the galaxy by utilizing quantum entanglement. He realizes that the Harak-Kai was spying on The Scourge, and thus knew when and where they would appear. In order to hide this info the Harak-Kai claimed to be capable of time travel, which also worked to demoralize their enemies as it made them seem unbeatable. Eventually, however, their civilization collapsed and they wiped themselves out, as they had come to define themselves through their conflict with The Scourge.
Deckland realizes that there is no way that Rainer hasn’t figured this out and goes to confront him. Rainer instead mocks Deckland for his perceived failures versus Rainer’s success, but Deckland points out that he is the only one who moved on after the invasion, and that Rainer’s position is actually more constricting that Deckland’s freedom.
They fight amidst the ruins, with Rainer losing. Rainer claims that he discovered the truth several months earlier but could not accept it, and thus began a pointless excavation of the city. He and the UEA has been telling people not to mourn the fallen or rebuild their cities because time travel will make it unnecessary. Rainer asks Deckland what he should tell the people, to which he replies, “The truth”. In the end, humanity learns that time travel is impossible, and that they must learn to move on, mourn the dead, and rebuild the world. Deckland visits his fiancé’s grave along with Rainer and Agent Grey, before heading off to help in the reconstruction of Earth.
It Fell From Space!
The story starts aboard the ISS as astronauts Jeffords, Rowe and Diaz are entering their re-entry module in preparation for their return. Shortly before they leave, Jeffords brings aboard a last minute addition: the results of an experiment bound for analysis on Earth. They decouple and make their way down, heading to a spot off the coast of Miami, encountering heavy turbulence and an unanticipated lightning storm which disables the pod’s communication ability.
Landing heavily, they emerge to find themselves in the middle of a small lake, way off course. Gathering what few supplies they can carry (they leave behind the experiment sample) they make their way to shore. They spend the rest of the day trying to contact NASA but have little luck. They also witness the pod sinking due to an unseen hull breach. They decide to make camp but are attacked by a troop of monkeys which steal some of their food.
They decide to head deeper inland in search of food and water, eventually finding a grove of wild apples. That night, they use the stars to determine their location, discovering that they landed in Laguna De Leche, Cuba. Fearful of being caught by Cuban military police, they sneak through the jungle, heading towards the city of Morón, hoping to contact NASA secretly and arrange a rescue. However, upon arrival, they find no city, nor any trace of human existence. They finally realize the truth, during descent they were transported to an alternate earth in which humans never evolved.
They return to the lake and recover the experiment, discovering through the accompanying notes that it contains a substance that might be the key to understanding the many world’s theory. They note that roughly half of the substance has disappeared, likely used up to create the wormhole which brought them to the alternate Earth. They also realize that the substance uses potential energy, hence why it activated during their descent. They head to the nearest mountain, encountering several obstacles. Eventually they create a makeshift sled and, holding the substance container between them, slide down the peak. As they do, the substance activates and they are flung through another wormhole, losing consciousness as they impact the forest floor.
They wake up in a Cuban hospital, relieved. However, as they recover, they notice several anomalies. After finally being discharged they head outside and see that they are still not in their original universe. In this one The Bay of Pigs invasion was a success and, in the years that followed, Cuba became the 51st State of the USA. Realizing that the substance has been used up, they agree to try and live in this strange new world…
If You Believe
Set in 2056, and follows the story of a young journalist, Marc Wendell, who accidentally comes across a conspiracy. The world is in a state of panic due to the imminent arrival of a dwarf planet named Havok, which is expected to impact the Earth and cause an extinction level event. However, a mission will soon be launched by the Joint Space Defence Council, a group made up of global military and space program members.
They have announced that they have developed a seismic weapon that, when fired into a fault in the dwarf planet, will destroy it utterly, with the resulting debris picked off via a combination of lasers, ballistic missiles and atmospheric entry heat. Marc stumbles upon a conspiracy theory that the Council’s plan is scientifically unfeasible and that their true intention is to give humanity hope and peace before they are destroyed. At the same time, Marc discovers that several other journalists who had been investigating the story have disappeared or suddenly stopped their investigations, refusing to say why.
He comes across the term Observer Effect and Quantum Reality but dismisses them as part of the conspiracy. Marc also discovers that Lionel Pont, the world’s richest man, has declared bankruptcy, after his overly ambitious plan of providing electricity, internet and television to every person on the planet drained billions of dollars from his companies. Marc soon discovers that he is being followed by a strange man who assaults him and warns him to give up on his investigation.
Instead he tracks down Abigail Sanders, the famous astronaut who is set to lead the Havokbreaker mission. After being denied an interview (he is simply told to have faith in the mission) he begins a stakeout, eventually witnessing a mysterious person visiting her with money and instructions. Following the stranger, he comes to a building on the edge of the city. Going inside, he finds a sound stage with props that are marked with the Havokbreaker logo before being discovered and captured. He meets Lionel Pont who is part of an organization named Truthweaver.
He learns that the mission is a fake but before they can explain he escapes, taking footage of the evidence and the access key to Lionel’s upload station. Arriving at the station, he prepares to upload the video to Lionel’s channel, exposing the lie. However, he is stopped by the head of Truthweaver, Dr Hugo Belmont, who begs him not to upload the video. He shows Marc a series of videos detailing a study Hugo did several years prior in which he and his team attempted to alter the outcome of random events by getting observers to believe that the outcomes were pre-determined.
He explains that they were researching the mechanics of the placebo effect and realized that the Observer Effect was involved. During a coin flipping experiment, he shows that by increasing the number of observers who believe the coin will land on heads, the greater the chance it will, with a hundred observers simultaneously believing resulting in a 99% heads rate. He explains that, after Havok’s trajectory was confirmed, he divulged his research, which he had locked away in fear of people abusing it to Lionel and several other influential people, including NASA and the USSR Space program. He also reveals that many attempts have been made to destroy or deflect Havok but all have failed.
Together with Lionel and the others they founded Truthweaver in an attempt to engineer a situation in which the entire world simultaneously believed that Havok had been destroyed, with the hope that this would alter reality to the point where it actually would be. To do this, they created a fake mission which had a “100%” success rate and filmed it, with the plan being that they would show it simultaneously worldwide at the same time a rocket carrying a nuke detonated in the space between Earth and Havok, making it appear that it had exploded.
Lionel is revealed to have bankrupted himself getting the infrastructure in place for the broadcast. In the end, Marc destroys the evidence of the deception, deciding to give faith a chance. A few days later, the fake video is uploaded and the rocket carrying the nuke is launched, however it is left ambiguous as to if it worked, with the final line asking the reader to simply believe that it did...
Story starts with the maiden voyage of the Tethysia, a luxury starliner traveling from Earth to Pluto for a Solar System cruise. Built by Solaris Systems, its biggest VIP is Eidyia Losa, the CEO’s daughter, who is worrying about succeeding the company from her mother. Joining Eidyia is her secret boyfriend, Malcolm Turnbuckle, an engineer who helped build Tethysia and who fell in love with Eidyia while working for her despite the fact that her mother wants her to marry someone who will help the company, thus they have kept the relationship secret.
Almost at Saturn, they have an argument about the secretive nature of their relationship; Malcolm wants to openly date her, and decide to spend some time apart, with Malcolm in the engineering section of the back of the ship and Eidyia in the VIP suite at the front. While doing a flyby of Saturn, a gravitational anomaly occurs (later revealed to be due to the untested gravity drive aboard the Tethysia interacting with Saturn’s magnetic field. The resulting wormhole rips Tethysia in half, leaving the forward section hurtling through the warped space whilst seemingly destroying the rear section. At the other end of the wormhole, the Tethysia is left adrift.
Caught in an unknown planet’s gravity well, the survivors gather as many supplies as possible before launching the lifeboats as the ship was not designed to withstand re-entry. Finding themselves marooned on a strange planet, Eidyia is forced to lead the survivors while privately mourning Malcolm. After several incidents, Eidyia discovers a set of ancient ruins. Venturing inside, she finds that the former inhabitant was Malcolm. She finds his diary and discovers that the rear section of the ship also travelled through the wormhole but arrived 1000 years earlier. Working out what had happened, Malcolm also led the survivors to safety. He managed to salvage the ship’s emergency navigation beacon which was badly damaged in the event.
Realizing that no help could ever reach them, he instead inspired the survivors to help him build a communications array and use the beacon to one day summon help for the front half of the Tethysia. On the last page, an elderly Malcom states that he is the only one left, and that the beacon is finally ready and will activate the moment it detects the forward half of the Tethysia. Eidyia finds an engagement ring and realizes that Malcolm was planning to propose to her. Walking outside, she sees several Solaris Systems ships descending, having used the gravity drive and navigation beacon to find her. Burying Malcolm’s remains, she puts the ring on, ready to face the future he provided for her.
Set on a world where the tide changes by several meters every day, strange monsters roam the land and devour mountains, and a very primitive people try to survive the savage world around them. 1000 years ago the civilization discovered that a rogue planet was heading towards them and built an automated system that would build a massive spaceship for them, however it would take centuries to complete. The spaceship building machine uses gigantic amounts of water to regulate its core, hence the large tides. Anoh, the main character, lost his wife, Maanah, to the tide one year ago.
All he has left is his infant son, Hesm. However, one day, a large monster appears and devours the entire village, with only Anoh surviving. Filled with loss and rage, he chases after the monster. Along the way he encounters others who have survived the monsters who claim that Armageddon has come and this is their punishment for their sins. Traveling with the others, they endure many hardships before finally tracking the monsters to the holy mountain, Mount Ratara. Heading inside, he comes face to face with God, Alrahim, who tells him the story of the old world, a technologically advanced society which predicted the end of the world due to the appearance of a rogue planet, Wicca, which would annihilate the world.
Wicca’s gravitational effects alone would cause worldwide tsunami's hundreds of feet high which would drown the land. While initially skeptical, Anoh changes his mind after Alrahim delivers Hesm to him, explaining that the ancients created Alrahim and the great machine to create a ship capable of traveling to the stars with all of humanity. The tidal fluctuations came from the machine's need to be water cooled on a daily basis, and the "monsters" were actually collection devices for raw materials for food/fuel/construction and later for the people. However, after starting construction on the ship a series of global disasters destroyed the civilization and scattered its people. Alrahim was left with the task of completing the ship in time for Wicca's arrival 1000 years later.
With Wicca approaching, Anoh is charged with gathering the last of the people and starting the ship, Vetat, and escaping the doomed planet. In the end Anoh is able to complete his mission and the ship successfully launches. As the people watch their planet drown, they ask Alrahim, who is revealed to be an A.I. built by the ancients where they will go next, and he tells them of their new home, a planet located in a nearby solar system which has 9 planets and an abundance of life on one of them. The ending implies that this planet is Earth, and that the events of the book will go on to become the legend of Noah's Ark, with the people on-board becoming our ancestors.
The story takes place on a world of constant magnetic storms. Within the great stormwall, there once existed great deposits of floating rocks which contained the rare metal Levitite, which levitated in any magnetic field. However, after years of mining, all Levitite has been depleted. Using the remaining airborne mining platforms as waypoints, the great storm chase using airplanes is now held every year. Due to the turbulent and unpredictable weather, each plane must be flown by a crew of 5 people.
Dustin Krone, a young man with a dream of flying, lives on the floating city of Gravanti. However, due to an accident in his youth, he lost most of his sight, denying him his dream. One day, he comes across Solomon Fenix, a former storm chase champion who lost his entire team due to his mistake in the previous race. He has since been trying to single-handily pilot his plane, The Wayfarer, without much success. Noticing that Dustin reacts to magnetic waves, a rare trait, he agrees to train the boy.
Together they train for the race, with Dustin using his ability to predict how the storms will change. Eventually Solomon opens up to Dustin and reveals the truth. During the previous race, he and his team had come across a massive Levitite deposit in the heart of the stormwall which was being mined by Abraham Du Pont, a ruthless businessman. Abraham had been selling tiny amounts of the mineral to Gravanti, which is slowly falling from the sky due to the ever increasing weight from new citizens and buildings, for outrageous prices. Solomon and his team had been captured and brought before Abraham. All of them were killed except for Solomon who had managed to escape. He has been trying to find the deposit ever since and bring back proof of Du Pont's scheme without much luck (due to having no crew to help him fly The Wayfarer).
On the day of the race, racers sent by Du Pont try and interfere with the Wayfarer. However, utilizing Dustin's ability, they are able to find the Levitite deposit and take photos. However, with Abraham closing in on them, Solomon sacrifices himself to allow Dustin to escape. Dustin flies the Wayfarer back using only his ability and the skills he learnt from Solomon, arriving back and simultaneously winning the race. During the award ceremony, he shows the crowd the photos he took and Abraham is arrested. With more Levitite available, Gravanti is saved and the whole city rejoices. In the end, Dustin starts assembling his own racing team, The Phoenix, in memory of Solomon.
The Thin Red Line
The story is set in the near future in which veteran cop Douglas Walker is one of the last officers in his district to be forcefully retired; in order to make room for the new automated police force which uses advanced algorithms to determine culpability and drones to carry out arrests. This is due to the rampant abuse of power and severe stereotyping at the hands of human officers.
However, at the handing over ceremony, Walker refuses to disarm himself and goes on the run, taking the activation keys with him. Now a fugitive, he is forced to seek help from Raul Cicero, a former convict whose false arrest due to stereotyping was the final piece for the creation of the automated police force. Walker, who believes that something sinister is happening, tries to get to the bottom of the case.
He eventually ends up in the headquarters of the company that created the arrest algorithm and learns that the owner, Gavin Brookes (a secret white supremacist), is planning on using the system to arrest people who he deems troublesome while also selling arrests to anyone with enough money, or protection from being arrested.
Raul is revealed to have been working with Gavin to spread discrimination and stereotyping amongst the police force to usher in the automated system. After a gunfight against a large group of drones, Walker manages to destroy the algorithm servers and reveal the truth to the world. In the aftermath he becomes the head of the anti-discrimination unit of the newly reformed police force, as they try to incorporate some of Gavin’s better ideas.
The story is set in the near future in which a company, Life After, has created a resurrection chamber that can revive humans after death. However, the process is incredibly expensive, and the resurrected people must stay at the facility in order to receive regular treatment. Joshua Noble, a young electrician, witnesses the death of his fiancée, Alice.
Lacking the funds to afford the company's fees, he resolves to break into the company and steal the technology responsible. During the break in, he meets Anna, a young woman who was resurrected several years prior, who helps to guide him around the facility where things are not what they seem. During his journey he comes across a room full of dead bodies, the same people that the creator of Life After, Victor Murdock, claims he revived. He later finds a room where he witnesses a recently deceased person undergo a brain scan that extracts their memories and mannerisms and embeds them into a robotic body.
Reaching Victor's office, Joshua demands answers. Victor tells Joshua that he has been trying to revive people for years but he has run out of funding. He used the Life After company to generate more funds by tricking people into believing that he could revive their loved ones. Anna is revealed to be a robot who had been programmed to lead Joshua to Victor. Joshua, heartbroken over the belief that he cannot revive Alice, attacks Victor, who is revealed to be a robot himself. He explains that Victor had spent his entire life trying to prevent his own inevitable death. After dying, he had used the embedding process to create a robot to continue running the company and the research into resurrection.
He tells Joshua that he has had some success, but that a human touch is required to progress the research. The "revived people" are kept in the facility so that their true forms are not revealed and so that they can be maintained. Joshua, who has the technical knowledge and the motivation to revive a loved one, was the perfect candidate to help him finish the research. After learning of Alice’s death, Victor manipulated him into coming to the company. In the end, Joshua agrees and becomes the new president, with his first action being the construction of an Alice robot, using her brain scans, to help keep him sane while he tries to perfect the resurrection method and finally end the certainty of death…
Who We Were
The story is that of a human trapped aboard a space station, who has memories of Earth but is surrounded by aliens who are hunting him down. He soon meets a woman who is experiencing a similar situation and they search for a way home. After several close calls, they encounter one of the aliens who reveals that they are part of a conservation effort.
They discover that centuries earlier the aliens, then a war faring race, had discovered Earth and in the ensuing battle for its resources had driven humans to extinction, in the process wiping out all traces of their civilization. The aliens’ descendants had realized the error of their ways and had sought to bring back humanity as a means of reparations. They later learn that they are in fact clones created from preserved samples, taken from Earth during the war, which explains their memories of a place they have never seen.
The clones had woken prematurely and had escaped, causing the aliens to try and recapture them in order to keep them safe. The aliens take them to a holographic recreation of Earth and they learn of its beauty and of their own human nature. Strangely, none of the civilizations mentioned bear any semblance to those of our own Earth. Moving onward, they discover thousands of cloned humans and beg the aliens to let them go to back to Earth, which has been deemed off-limits for any aliens in order for the planet to recover.
The aliens agree and release the humans, who are led by the man and woman, who are given the names Adam and Eve. They resettle the Earth and grow, watching as the aliens depart for their far-off home-world, never to return. In the epilogue it is implied that this is the true beginning of the human race, and that the previous humans had risen and fallen in proto-history.
The Last Fleshborn
Tells the story of a woman, Lucy, from our time who is transported during a freak storm to another world which is actually Earth thousands of years in the future. In this world every being is an automaton (robot) called a Construct, whose soul is returned to the heavens (the cloud) to be returned in the future when their body is destroyed (i.e. downloaded into a new body). They have been seeking the secret of "flesh" for aeons but have had no luck.
In truth the Reaping, a mutated flesh eating virus, wiped out all organic life forms on the planet, and in desperation humanity created the Constructs to serve as their vessels, transferring their minds into machines. However after thousands of years the data has fragmented and humanity has forgotten who they once were. All they are left with a desire to be flesh once more and some of their original mannerisms. Their "souls" aka their minds are re-uploaded to the global cloud each time their constructs break down. During the story, Lucy discovers that she is pregnant.
The desire to witness the birth of an organic life form causes the Constructs to seek her out even more. She is saved by a scientist, Altair, who reveals that he retrieved her from the past with the goal of returning flesh to the world. Lucy also learns of the virus that wiped out humanity and accidentally touches an ancient vial of it. She makes a deal with the scientist: she will allow him to witness the birth of the first flesh body in centuries in return for her being returned to the past, where she plans to warn humanity of the Reaping and prevent the future from coming to pass.
In the end, Altair helps her give birth whilst the Constructs assault his lab, now desperate to capture Lucy. Altair records the birth and, using the data, starts constructing new, flesh bodies for the Constructs to use which will allow them to birth new life forms and end their aeons of stagnation and endless loops of construction, “death” and repetition. Afterwards, Lucy and her child are returned to the past, however, she notices a rash on her arm and scratches it, wondering what it could be. In the epilogue it is revealed to actually be the first stage of the Reaping virus, which she has brought back to our time and she is to become patient zero, thus completing the cycle.
Tells the story of Dorian Monroe, a young man dying from a brain tumour. With only one month left to live, he applies to the Seleccia project, which seeks to divert the course of a massive solar flare (using a large solar-panelled mirror) and save the planet, while siphoning enough energy to bring back to the energy-starved Earth.
In exchange for his service, his family will receive a large monetary payout, saving them from poverty. He is joined by several other youths, each with their own reason for applying to the project although almost all of them have a death wish, a necessary quality for a mission with a 95% failure rating. The youths are supervised by a veteran crew who will pilot the UNE Seleccia, a massive solar ship which will be used to deflect the immense energy of the flare while the youths will be used for the hard labor of the expedition.
However, shortly after leaving Earth, the veteran crew are murdered. With the untrained youths scrambling to complete the mission, Dorian works to uncover the killer's motives. With the solar flare growing, Dorian discovers that Arnold Verra, one of the veteran crew presumed dead, is the killer. His intention was to sabotage the mission, so that his backers, a rival company with their own solar ship, would be able to catch up to the Seleccia and complete the mission in its stead, thus earning them the fame and energy which they could sell to Earth at a price of their choosing.
Dorian rushes to stop Arnold, eventually confronting him on the outer deck of the Seleccia in a spacewalk as he enacts his sabotage. After trading blows, Dorian emerges victorious. However, while activating the mechanism to divert the flare, he is exposed to a massive amount of radiation. When his body is recovered, they are shocked to find him alive. Additionally, it is revealed that the radiation has helped to shrink the tumour to non-lethal levels, a one in a billion occurrence, saving his life. In the end, the crew of the Seleccia return to Earth as heroes, with the flare diverted, energy aplenty and a new lease on life.
How to Live at the End of Time
The story is about a man, Arthur, who is living at the end of the world. In his original time period of 2327, time travel was discovered and soon became easily accessible. However, as time tourism took off, people became more and more fixated on traveling to interesting periods of past human history and gradually stopped trying to move civilization forward. Arthur lives alone in the ruins of civilization, surrounded by the evidence that his time period was the last in which innovation existed.
It is revealed that eventually people abandoned the present and went to live in the past where things were better, thus humanity ceased to exist in the future. One day, Arthur encounters a young woman, Ava, who had fallen in love with a time traveler and had gone to the future with him. However, he had cheated on her and abandoned her with no way home. She reveals that she had grown discontent with living with her parents in the year 1975, and found the time traveler freedom irresistible. Together they muse on the state of humanity while exploring the ruins of the world. As they do, Arthur muses on what led him to the future. After sharing his life story with Ava, they travel through time together and witness Arthur growing up, his failed romances and his deepening disgust with the rest of the human race. After coming to terms with his escapism, Arthur resolves to change the future.
Lying to Ava that he intends to return to his past and try to live a normal life, he instead travels to the moment that time travel was invented in a freak laboratory experiment. As he is about the change the experiment's outcome, he is confronted by Ava who reveals that she saw through his plan but does not want their relationship to be erased by him altering the timeline. Arthur tells her to believe in the power of fate and moves forward with his plan, which results in the destruction of the laboratory. With time travel no longer invented, humanity never loses its forward momentum and continues innovating.
However, Arthur is sent back to the end of the world, which he believes is his punishment for altering the timeline, but is soon relieved when he sees the ruins of humanity are much more technologically advanced than before and there are signs that humanity left the planet, which is proof that humanity continued to progress technologically instead of becoming idle and fading away. Suddenly, Ava appears and explains that she managed to grab hold of the time machine before the lab exploded, removing it from the timeline. She has spent years searching the timeline for Arthur, who was sent forward in time. Stating that their journey has just begun, she takes his hand and they use the time machine and disappear to an unknown time.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Tells the story of The Aethon, a large spaceship carrying the last remnants of humanity. Three months earlier, Earth was rendered incapable of sustaining life by an unexpected hypernova and its associated Gamma Ray burst, originating from Eta Carinae. The Aethon was a privately owned ship constructed to serve as a luxury touring vehicle for a wealthy businessman, Don. Unfortunately, the ship was unfinished and the majority of features were left out. Only a few thousand people, those who were constructing The Aethon in the low orbit shipyard when the hypernova arrived, made it safely aboard and escaped the destruction. The large majority of human survivors live in cryogenic stasis, which was cobbled together from the Aethon’s refrigeration units, with a small crew in charge of keeping the ship on course, which is taking it towards the nearest potentially habitable exoplanet.
The captain of this crew is Samantha Collins, a tough and jaded widow who lost her husband to the hypernova. Everything seems to be going well with the voyage, until problems start appearing and people begin to disappear without trace. Samantha initially suspects her untrustworthy second in command, Dirk Davidson, who has been acting strangely. It is revealed that he is the son of Don and was at the shipyard for an inspection, leading to Samantha having him locked up under the suspicion that he is trying to reclaim control over his father’s ship. Without warning, a strange blue star appears on the horizon, which seems to move towards them rapidly. As it grows closer, Dirk acts more and more erratically, eventually escaping captivity.
As the star comes within range, Dirk is found to have armed the neutron core of the ship for ejection. Samantha races to stop the core from firing at the star, which would cause a massive supernova and destroy the Aethon. Just before she disarms the core, her deceased husband appears and explains that the star is a world trying to be born, and that it needs help. He then reveals that Dirk has misunderstood his instructions, and that he has attached a nuclear reactor to the core, which will contaminate the star if it hits. Samantha and Dirk have a final showdown in the engine room, which ends with Dirk dead and the nuclear reactor destroyed. However, the ejection tube is damaged in the explosion, forcing Samantha to manually fly the ship into the star.
As the ship impacts, the star-being is born and immediately uses its immense power to recreate the solar system, with the remnant of the star becoming the sun. Samantha is reborn on the untouched Earth, along with everyone else from the ship. Her husband appears and reveals himself to be a projection of the star creature, which had waited a very long time for someone to help it hatch. It explains that the star served as an incubator but lacked the energy to kick-start the birth. This energy was provided by neutron core of The Aethon. The creature disappears and tells Samantha to take care of the new Earth. However, it is implied that this new Earth is our true Earth, as Samantha remarks that the creature only gave the Earth one moon instead of two...
The Space Whale's Song
Set in the year 2249, humanity has expanded out into the galaxy. In a distant part of the galaxy, a mining ship has just entered a newly discovered system: The Red Baron, which consists of a massive red giant star which has consumed almost all of the system’s matter. All that remains is a single partially destroyed rocky planet which the crew investigate. Also aboard is a xenobiologist, Dianne, who is hitching a ride with the crew on her way to a nearby colony where her son lives. It is later revealed that her husband recently passed away in an accident.
Upon launching a probe towards the planet and its moon, nicknamed Lucky and Little Lucky respectively, it is quickly swallowed by an enormous creature swimming through the void. Dianne studies the creature, noting that it has a series of sphincters in its throat that acts like an airlock, keeping its internal pressure consistent, and that its “flippers” act like solar sails, using solar wind to propel it forward. The ship and creature, nicknamed Big Joe (Balaenoptera Galacticus) is suddenly attacked by a group of shark like creatures which propel themselves forward with internally generated gas and attach to Big Joe with suction cupped mouths.
The crew manage to fend off the creatures and save Big Joe who leaves, heading towards Little Lucky. Following the creature, they observe it feeding on floating tree like structures which feed exclusively on solar energy and use the solar wind to disperse their seeds. Arriving at the moon, they find it ringed with asteroids and several more whale-like creatures. Dianne begins having strange dreams involving her husband and flashes of an unfamiliar planet. Upon attempting to land, the whales turn hostile and chase the ship away. Dianne learns that the asteroids are actually “whale” eggs and dates the moon to be less than a century old. She also realizes that the whales communicate using brain waves, which have been influencing her dreams.
She discovers that Lucky is the core remnant of a gas giant which was stripped of its atmosphere by the expanding sun (i.e. a Chthonian planet). The whales, sharks and tress lived in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant which slowly grew until the creatures grew to adapt to the near vacuum lifestyle, enabling them to live in space after the last of the atmosphere boiled away. Finally, as the mining ship prepares to start drilling into the moon, Dianne learns that it is actually the cocoon of the whale’s progenitor, which, after consuming enough matter, has entered into its next stage of life and is due to emerge soon.
The sharks, sensing the encroaching feast, prepare to strike the newly emerged whale. Dianne manages to convince the miners to help her, and they use the explosives they had brought for mining to battle and defeat the sharks, as the whale mother emerges. The whale mother in turn saves the ship from the returning sharks before opening her flippers and leaving the system using the solar wind to propel herself towards a new home (where she will continue to lay her eggs and propagate her species). In the aftermath, Dianne is successful in turning the system into a conservation and research area and finally is able to begin her own next stage of life.