Certainly, if ever a man found a guinea when he was looking for a pin it is my good friend Professor Gibberne. I have heard before of investigators overshooting the mark, but never quite to the extent that he has done. He has really, this time at any rate, without any touch of exaggeration in the phrase, found something to revolutionise human life. And that when he was simply seeking an all-round nervous stimulant to bring languid people up to the stresses of these pushful days. I have tasted the stuff now several times, and I cannot do better than

Through the tinted glass of the office window, the clouds above the sea seemed to Joseph like enormous swollen bursts of orange dust. He sighed. He looked from the flat plane of glass to the bowed screen of his computer monitor. He tapped weakly at the keyboard. Symbols flickered back at him, tiny and meaningless. Joseph glanced at the clock on the wall above the photocopier. 12.40pm. He darted his eyes over to where his Team Leader was sitting. She hadn’t noticed his attention shift away from his desk. She hated it when people clock-watched. Joseph felt his stomach contract

The blood pooled in the foreigner’s beige shirt, just over his belt. Some of it spilled over the side, filling up a red lake beneath him. Littlebig listened for the foreigner’s shallow breathing, and waited for the dark. Dark brought cover and a chance of rescue for the boy and the foreigner. “We know there are two rebels there behind the wall,” came the sniper’s voice. “And we are going to come for you. Do you think we are afraid somehow to come down there? I assure you we are not. We are waiting for you to come out.” Littlebig

The portable classroom was larger than Joan Ellen had expected. Lit from overhead with fluorescent lights and busy with seventh-grade artwork, it smelled of chalk dust, old books, and refrigerated air. It reminded Joan Ellen of home. These days, most everything reminded Joan Ellen of home – or at least how far she was from it. She tried to pay attention, but now Joan felt the yawning chasm of distance, the thousands upon thousands of miles between Tunis and DC. “I’ll put this as simply as I can,” Mrs. Thornton said. “Patrick is a brilliant boy.” Liz Thornton was Patrick’s

“Wait for the next transporter to go by, then force the door,” Jenkins said. I liked Jenkins; he looked after me. Others wouldn’t, most wouldn’t even talk to me. I liked his Welsh accent, the way he smiled and treated me like a younger brother. I was nearly a foot taller and 10 kilos heavier but he still looked out for me. I waited behind the rear door to Med7 and surveyed the camp; dozens of soldiers moving with purpose over the desert sand, shifting crates to piles next to where the planes were loading. Despite the late hour, the

Chapter 1 He’d stood in that doorway probably a hundred times before, and shouldn’t have been surprised. The real surprise was that he always was. Over on the peeling whitewash of the window-side wall, just above the old Boxford lathe, the well-oiled centrefold of the resident, very buxom and scantily clad lady, still hung by the same rusted nail in the lintel; thermal long-johns and a hot water bottle would have been more practical in the workshop. It had taken a minute for his eyes to grow accustomed to the half-light that struggled through chicken wire and grease; but she

Boredom was killing Prism. Not literally though. To die, one must be alive. So when he captured the thought inviting him to attend the School, he became exited. Other young ethereals captured the same thought, and most of them transmitted their responses in the same resonance as that of the caller. Like Prism did. “When did you capture the thought?” Prism thought in the same resonance as Maze and Infinitesium, his two acquaintances who had also accepted the invitation. “Just a few teirons ago,” Maze thought. “Same here!” Infinitesium added. “What’s this about?” “I don’t know,” Prism thought. “But I’m

Damon Waltz stood in the field across from his mother’s one-bedroom apartment. He stared at his small, brown dog as it paced back and forth through the sopping-wet grass. It was raining, and Damon’s clothes were soaked down to his skin. He shook his hand free from the clenches of his sleeve and adjusted his hood so he could still see without being blasted in the face by raindrops. He adjusted his headphones under his hood and looked down to the shaking dog. “Would you poop already?” Damon shouted at the little brown dog. The dog didn’t care, turned away

Stella preferred the mornings on Melanos when most visitors would be nursing their hangovers or trying to eat breakfast in time to hit the beach and then collapse under the Mediterranean sun. Her flat was at the less-fashionable end of Helicia beach away from the larger clubs. It was also a decent walk to the golden sandy beach so beloved of the more casual visitors. She’d been on Melanos for just about six weeks and felt justified in regarding herself as part of the island. As ever, the weather was fabulous. It was already in the low 20s and she

The first thing I noticed about the new girl was that she wasn’t wearing the school colours on her face. I had never seen a pupil of McAllister Girls’ Academy, a major or a minor, without the school badge on her skin. Then I noticed that her hair was kind of frizzy and that it looked real. “She must be an anti-synth,” said Alicia incredulously. “Wow. I’ve read about them, but I never thought I’d meet one. What a freak.” “Why would anybody be anti-synth?” asked Jeddy. “They’d have to deal with all kind of killer diseases. I just can’t