Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

By MacKinlay Kantor

"The maximum of our Civil conflict novels."—The long island occasions.

The 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of the Andersonville fort and its use as a focus camp-like legal through the South through the Civil War.

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The close-up reality of the three gray, grim, massive, heavily gunned and blistered and turreted, shaped and shielded vessels reminded all of us that the Archons were a fierce breed. After all these centuries we had no idea who or what their enemies were in the dark light-years beyond the Tell—we knew only that they were subservient to the Poimen, Demiurgos, and mythical Abraxi—but these ships were built to fight. They were, all of us were thinking in silence, destroyers of worlds. The keep loomed larger than we had imagined.

I could see that they were not all the same. Shafts of sunlight columning down from the rough seas above illuminated a bewildering variety of Poimen sizes, shapes, and iridescent colors. Some of the creatures were as large as Archon spacecraft; others as small as the koi in funeral ponds on Earth. All showed the same sort of flat face, black eyes, throbbing gills, and tiny arms, at least relative to their body size, and delicate hands as our fi rst visitor in the sphere that had come through the Muse’s hull.

One of Kemp’s earliest lines, to the witches, was “The Thane of Cawdor lives. ” Dear God, I loved such phrases. ” It evoked human ages and vital human barbarity long lost to all of us. But what could it possibly mean to the hooded, earless, handless, eyeless, faceless Archons on their bug ledges above? By the time Kemp choked out these anguished lines, I was sure that we’d already signed our own death warrants through our very incomprehensibility to this chitinous audience: If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly.

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