A collection of career-launching short fiction by #1 New York Times–bestselling author Timothy Zahn, including the Hugo Award–winning novella Cascade Point.
Timothy Zahn shows an unparalleled mastership of science fiction in the fifteen tales gathered here.
“The Price of Survival” features an alien ship that arrives in our solar system without hostile intentions but with a desperate need whose fulfillment could destroy humanity. “The Giftie Gie Us” tells the story of two lonely survivors who find love among the ruins of a post-apocalyptic United States. And in “Pawn’s Gambit,” a human and his alien opponent face off over a game that will decide which one of them will return home.
This collection also includes the Hugo Award–winning novella Cascade Point and nine other works of science fiction, post-apocalyptic drama, and humorous fantasy previously unpublished in book form.
Timothy Zahn is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Heir to the Empire and has won multiple awards for his work. With nonstop action, suspenseful plots, and high-tech twists, the stories in Pawn’s Gambit are science fiction at its best.
Hard SF readers and long-time fans of Zahn will appreciate this collection of 15 short fiction works from his early writing career. Like many other hard SF writers, Zahn (Cobra Outlaw) excels at old-school puzzle stories in which a technological tweak saves the day, such as "Protocol" and the title story, as well as the space opera-flavored "The Price of Survival" and the Hugo-winning novella "Cascade Point." Flashing back to the 1980s, stories such as "The Giftie Gie Us," "The President's Doll," and "Old-Boy Network" mix the supernatural with SF settings. "Hitmen See Murderers," with its dependence on the Yellow Pages, and "Chem Lab 301," with its college students commandeering expensive high-tech lab equipment to manufacture street drugs, demonstrate how easy it is for formerly futuristic premises to fall prey to technological innovation. Zahn twists classic fantasy tropes into modern plots in "The Ring," "Clean Slate," and "Trollbridge." Several stories include author afterwords, leaving the reader wondering why Zahn didn't provide comments for all of the works included. Nevertheless, this collection will illuminate Zahn's early career for readers.