Books by Jack Williamson

THE STONEHENGE GATE by Jack Williamson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 1, 2005

"Low-key but inventive adventure."
A new adventure by one of the surviving giants of the pulp era (Terraforming Earth, 2001, etc.). Read full book review >
TERRAFORMING EARTH by Jack Williamson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: July 1, 2001

"Sweeping, imaginative, and captivating: As good as, perhaps better than, anything Williamson has written in his long and astonishing career."
Why would Earth need terraforming? Well, what if a giant meteorite smacked into the planet, asks grandmaster Williamson (The Silicon Dagger, 1999, etc.), wiping out all life? Rich eccentric Calvin DeFort insists that a major meteorite impact is likely, and dedicates his life to creating Tycho Base on the Moon, run by a computer, staffed by robots, and complete with frozen human-, animal-, and plant-tissue specimens. When the fateful meteorite duly shows up, devastating Earth, only DeFort's chosen handful escape. Thousands of years later, the computer prepares clones of the original survivors. They study the records intensively until it seems as though they have the actual memories of their originals. Astronaut Pepe and biologist Tanya travel to Earth, finding conditions still hostile; in the interim, weird octopus-like amphibians have evolved. Both explorers perish, however. Many years pass. Tycho Base's computer raises a new crop of clones who study both the ancient records and those more recent. Their attempt to repopulate the planet succeeds, after a fashion; survivors build a Moon-worshipping civilization whose citizens don't believe that their visitors are really from the Moon. Another impact wipes them out. Millions of years later, the latest clones awaken to discover alien invaders; still later, new clones are raised by humans so advanced that Tycho Base and its contents have been preserved as historical artifacts. Read full book review >
THE SILICON DAGGER by Jack Williamson
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 16, 1999

From a veteran author (The Black Sun, 1997, etc.), a near-future rant involving the Internet, drug laws, privacy, independence, governmental secrecy, corrupt politicos, and whatnot. When a letter bomb explodes, killing journalist Alden Kirk, his half-brother Clay Barstow vows to continue his work probing domestic terrorism, using McAdam County, Kentucky, as a paradigm. Contacted by the FBI and told that Alden reported to them, Clay agrees to do the same. He poses as a graduate student at McAdam College, but beautiful Professor Beth McAdam sees right through him, so he's obliged to take a job as an intern on the local paper. The McAdam clan owns or runs most everything, from Stuart, with his antigovernment militia, to Rob Roy's computer/encryption business. Then Lydia, Stuart's ex, calls Clay with information about Alden's murder, but when Clay arrives she's dead—with a knife in her chest. Accused of her slaying, Clay shelters with the sympathetic Beth and her father Colin. Meanwhile, the town's Citizen's Congress throws in with Stuart's swaggering militia when Rob Roy reveals he's invented a device to keep outsiders at bay. Clay is further accused of firebombing an abortion clinic and murdering its doctor. But then Rob Roy activates his shield, which prevents physical access, cuts off communications, and detonates explosives; Stuart declares an independent state. The US vows to crush it—but the army can't penetrate the shield. Clay is further accused of attempting to murder Colin (he was shot in the back). Finally, at a trial conducted by the militia, Stuart quite unbelievably confesses to shooting his father, and Lydia's real murderer emerges. Haven wins a limited victory against America. Energetic, but confused and contradictory. Read full book review >
THE BLACK SUN by Jack Williamson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

In 1928, at the young age of 20, science fiction grandmaster Williamson (The Humanoids, 1995, etc.) published his first story. Here, in his latest, Project Starseed uses quantum-wave technology to propel starships at the speed of light. Among those aboard the 99th and last starship to leave Earth are stowaway and computer whiz Carlos Mondragon, criminal Jonas Roak, and project director Herman Stecker, one step ahead of his angry creditors. Ship and crew end up thousands of light-years away near a dead sun; they land on the star's sole companion, a dark and frigid planet of rock, ice, and frozen gas that, from the monumental structures that litter the planet, may once have supported intelligent life. Stecker orders the ship readied for another flight, but this the engineers consider impossible; several crew members disappear mysteriously, while young Day Virili insists she's in communication with something alive on the planet. As civil war develops aboard the vessel, Carlos, Day, and a few others head out across the ice in a desperate attempt to contact whatever is trying to get their attention. Some pieces of the plot-puzzle clearly don't fit, yet this is still one of Williamson's all-time best efforts; for splendid characters, fascinating scenario, and sheer ``sense of wonder,'' it's hard to beat. Read full book review >
THE HUMANOIDS by Jack Williamson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

Humanity gets that awful sinking feeling when Dr. Warren Mansfield invents perfect robot servants—the Humanoids—whose prime directive is ``to serve and obey, and keep men from harm.'' So the Humanoids gently, impartially, and implacably enforce their directive, the result being that anything dangerous, exciting, or new in human existence is utterly forbidden. Williamson's groundbreaking original story, ``With Folded Hands,'' with its remorseless logic and chilling dystopian conclusion, is included here, while the subsequent novel puts a more hopeful complexion on matters. A pair of science fiction classics, as fresh and apposite today as they were nearly half a century ago. Read full book review >
BEACHHEAD by Jack Williamson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

Latest in a sudden flurry of novels about Mars: a near-future nuts-and-bolts account of humanity's first exploration of the red planet, comparable with Ben Bova's recent Mars. Sam Houston Kelligan, son of a wealthy Texas oil baron, has one ambition: to reach Mars. But he and the other candidates hoping to be selected to crew Ares, the first colony ship, must first race against each other on the moon in a deadly game to test their survival capabilities. Robot landers, however, bringing back samples of Martian dust, have returned contaminated with a sort of pre-life infective molecule—to which humans prove susceptible. And throughout the eventual Mars voyage, problems multiply. Two of the crew vote to do a quick scientific survey, then dash for Earth without landing. Kelligan, meanwhile, along with unrequited love Jayne, crashes on Mars and appears to be lost. The rebellious pair jettison equipment vital to the colony's survival, then callously flee, only to be lost in space. Kelligan and the survivors set up housekeeping on Mars, but two of them succumb to the dust-virus. The only hope is for Kelligan to attempt to reach Earth in the expedition's only remaining spacecraft. As Kelligan takes off, the Mars project back on Earth is deliberately bankrupted and then bought up by Kelligan's boyhood rival, who thus has powerful reasons to conceal the truth when Kelligan, barely alive, makes it back to Earth. Solid plotting, restrained melodrama, persuasive Martian ambience: another winning performance from the grandmasterly author of, most recently, Mazeway (1990). Read full book review >