Masters of Science Fiction

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Centipede Press started a new collector series in 2016, choosing cover artists Jim & Ruth Keegan to set the scene, and we love these books, huge, important and great looking! These are all signed limited editions, typically by the artists and the introductory writer.

What you’re holding in your hands is part of a science fiction revolution. James Patrick Kelly is much more than an award-winning author. He’s an SF visionary. His writing has redefined the cyberpunk genre, with a uniquely edgy, outré style. This book is a literal treasure trove of Kelly’s most memorable stories and novellas. Here you’ll see classic science fiction blended with New Age technology — and an unparalleled understanding of human psychology.

“Think Like a Dinosaur” takes us on a troubling, sometimes terrifying interstellar journey, as we track a young woman’s transformation into an alien life-form, with some unexpected results. “The Last Judgment” is a startlingly original meld of noir and cyberpunk, as a tough private eye gets embroiled in a world dominated by a race of robots. Kelly also adds some murderous extra-terrestrials to the mix. In “Ten To The Sixteenth To One,” it’s 1962, and a young science fiction fan is shoring up his mundane world with comic books and pulp magazines — until he’s visited by a creature that will alter the fate of the human race. “Daemon” is a piece of first-person fiction, in which Kelly himself is the lead character, attending a book signing and confronted by a fan from Hell. In “Going Deep,” Kelly explores teen-age rebellion in outer space, with a compelling, complex, and cloned heroine whose talent for mind-melds makes texting look antiquated. “Mr. Boy” is Peter Cage, who’s been surgically altered to remain forever young. Ever wish you were twelve years old again? Eternal youth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

James Patrick Kelly has won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards; his fiction has been translated into twenty-two languages. He writes a column on the internet for Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and is on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. 

Poet, actor, playwright, chess expert, master of fantastic fiction. Fritz Leiber was a true Renaissance Man. His writing crossed all boundaries, from horror to sword and sorcery. This book goes deep into Leiber’s underrated science fiction oeuvre. It’s a comprehensive, page-turning cache that captures Leiber’s thoroughly original style — altogether mystical, beautiful, and sometimes disturbing.

“The Foxholes of Mars” is a literary assault: a frightening, nitro-fueled tale of war on Mars, with one soldier questioning the futility and purpose of the battle against bug-eyed aliens — a distant mirror-image of our own times. “Space-Time for Springers” is told through the glaring eyes of Gummitch, a cat who happens to possess a genius IQ and a voracious appetite for scientific knowledge. “Night Passage” takes us on a dark journey into a Las Vegas where Earthlings and extra-terrestrials mingle and gamble — and where one man takes a moonlit ride with a mystery woman from Mercury, tailed by some very scary pursuers. “The Mutant’s Brother” is a malevolent mix of horror and SF, a tale of identical twins who each carry a frightful chromosome. One of them is also a monstrous serial killer. The literally chilling “A Pail of Air” takes place in an underground nest, where a family fights to survive in a sunless, moonless, post-apocalyptic world where even helium and carbon dioxide become crawling, shapeless threats.

Fritz Leiber was a storyteller and prophet for the ages. His work will never be dated or irrelevant. Treat this book like a crystal ball. These pages chronicle the world to come. You’ve been warned.

The late Richard Wilson’s fifty-year career began with “Retribution” in Oswald Train’s zine Science Adventure Stories and finished in 1988 with “The Name on the Book” in Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine.

Wilson’s writing was particularly noteworthy for its consistently high level of quality. Whether working at novel length or with short stories, Wilson was incapable of writing anything less than professional, highly polished work.

This volume collects nearly two dozen of his best stories, ranging from “The Hoaxters,” “The Inhabited,” and “Those Idiots from Earth” to his brilliant posthumously-published novella “At the Sign of the Boar’s Head Nebula,” originally slated for The Last Dangerous Visions and kindly made available to us by Harlan Ellison.

“At the Sign of the Boar’s Head Nebula” is considered by several knowledgeable critics of the genre to be the finest single work that Mr. Wilson produced. It is in remarkably good company, joined with two other powerful novellas, “The Far King” and “The Nineteenth-Century Spaceship,” giving Richard Wilson a fair claim to being one of the founding fathers of steampunk.

Along with the stories, this collection includes several highly regarded novelettes, including the Nebula Award-winning “Mother to the World,” “The Story Writer,” “Gone Past,” “If A Man Answers,” “It’s Cold Outside,” “A Man Spekith,” and “See Me Not.” Rounding out the book are a selection of the author’s finest short pieces, making this a cornerstone volume for any serious collection of modern science fiction.

Richard Wilson (1920-1987), a member of the near-legendary Futurians, is considered by many to have been one of the most consistently excellent writers of science fiction. A journalist by trade, Wilson brought to his fiction a crisp economy of style and a precise language in a field often criticized for overly-florid prose. With stories running the gamut from the humorous to bone-chilling horror and everything in between, Richard Wilson could quite accurately be said to have written something for everyone.