Life abounds in the Universe, with every hospitable niche occupied, much primitive, some complex and occasionally intelligent. The abundance of life leads to fierce competition for resources, which sometimes produces strange encounters . . .
All Taylor MacPherson ever wanted was for his business to prosper so Vivian, his wife, wouldn’t have to work when they began their family. War in the Middle East—fueled by ancient hatreds and fought with modern weapons—spread globally. Islamic fanatics escalate the war with nuclear weapons. They paralyze the industrialized nations with massive electromagnetic pulses and follow up with decapitating missile attacks.
Chaos rules as the U.S. financial system fails—credit cards, checks, order entry systems—everything stops working. The orderly mechanisms of society halt, freezing all business transactions and the distribution of goods. Food, medicine, fuels and all sustenance for human survival become scarce. Those who possess guns soon make the rules. One by one, the lights of civilization fade, and the cruel night of anarchy dawns.
Meanwhile, the alien Qu’uda receives a faint television broadcast, which is Nixon’s resignation speech. It is proof yet another alien species exists. Hungry for living space, they form a consensus this nearby star system must be investigated. Using a small asteroid, the Qu’uda build a huge interstellar spacecraft to travel to the solar system. It takes thirty years, but this is no obstacle to the Qu’uda who are a long-lived, hermaphroditic species. Gender change is a survival characteristic brought on by living on a planet subject to periodic catastrophes.
Cal, Letty, Tony, Opi, and Sasha were kidnapped by the Molethian civilization and trained to become a fighter crew to battle against The Horde, the most dangerous enemy in all the Milky Way galaxy. As they have continued to fight battles against The Horde, they have risen in the ranks of the Molethian space service, and now each has special responsibilities related to their talents.
Opi is the chief strategist for the Molethian fleet, assisted by Letty, who is often spokesperson for both Opi and the fleet admiral. Cal is the fleet attack leader, Tony is in charge of navigation training, and Sasha, in addition to schooling weapons officers, now stands in for Cal and leads many battle sorties.
In the last titanic engagement with The Horde on the opposite side of the galaxy, Alliance forces, led by Molethan, were attacked by a second enemy, which is now besieging members of the Alliance, and have substantially destroyed two planetary civilizations. Now, in addition to facing more attacks from The Horde, Molethan and the Alliance must search for and try to control this new enemy.
Eventually discovering that Horde forces and this new enemy might be forming an alliance, Cal is able to provoke a war between these two entities. In addition, at the behests of Opi and the Molethian High Command, Cal and Sasha lead a major exploration of The Horde’s home galaxy, attempting to scope the size and danger of their largest enemy.
At the same time, Letty is called to Earth to assist in convincing the many countries in the UN to join the Alliance. The five crew members are being pulled apart, and relations are beginning to fracture. As his major force explores the dwarf galaxy where The Horde originated, Cal, rejected by Letty, begins to reach the edge of control, damaging his relation with Sasha and leading to several questionable decisions during the exploration. Can this be the end of the close family that the five became?
This collection brings together the underwater epic fantasy Oshenerth as well as 28 incredible short stories from The Taste of Different Dimensions and The Flavors of Other Worlds. These include a legend from a Pacific island, a legend from beneath a Pacific island, and stories of fighting giant bugs, defeating an interstellar empire without firing a shot, scientific idiot savants toying with the universe, and how the robots will really win the robot apocalypse.