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Authors: Edmund Cooper

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BOOK: Five to Twelve
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“I gave them names you might once have liked,” went on Juno. “I called them Blake, Byron and Shelley; Marlowe, Tennyson, Eliot and Thomas…” She gave a faint smile. “The first of all was Jubal.”

“Where are they?” demanded Dion. “Where are my sons?”

“Waiting only for me to call them. You see, I—I wanted to talk to you first… I wanted to know if…” Her voice faltered.

Briefly, the mists cleared a little in Dion’s mind. Briefly, he sensed that this stranger was no stranger, not a ghost even, but someone with whom he had shared a brighter world—before a name was tattooed on his wrist.

“Thank you,” he said simply. “Forgive me. There is
something I know and can’t remember… Forgive me… Will you call my sons ?”

Juno spoke into the tiny transceiver clipped to her sky suit.

Presently, eight dark shapes swooped in formation from the south. They circled low over Wits’ End, then touched down together in front of Juno and Dion.

The old man gazed at their proud, young faces. He saw the brightness in their eyes and sensed the energy in their limbs. Truly, they were men.

And then he thought briefly and vaguely of the dark fog of forgetfulness and loneliness in which he had lived for so many years. And the words that had obscurely comforted him for so long came tumbling into his mind.

For though they be punished in the sight of men,

yet is their hope full of immortality.

And having been a little chastised,

they shall be greatly rewarded…

Dion Quern, having endured much, and remembering little, realized dimly at last that the journey had been worthwhile.

He held out his hands. “Welcome,” he said. “Welcome, all my sons.”

It was late autumn, and there was a touch of frost in the air.

But there was also the strange, autumnal scent of fulfilment.

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Also By Edmund Cooper


Jupiter Laughs

Voices in the Dark

A World of Difference


All Fool's Day

The Cloud Walker

A Far Sunset

Five to Twelve

(1970) (aka
Son of Kronk

The Last Continent

Merry Christmas Ms Minerva

The Overman Culture

Prisoner of Fire

Seahorse in the Sky

Seed of Light

The Slaves of Heaven

The Tenth Planet


Uncertain Midnight
(1958) (aka
Deadly Image

Who Needs Men?

Ferry Rocket
(1954) (Writing as George Kinley)

The Expendables (Writing as Richard Avery)

The Expendables: The Deathworms of Kratos

The Expendables: The Rings of Tantalus

The Expendables: The Wargames of Zelos

The Expendables: The Venom of Argus

Edmund Cooper (1926 – 1982)

Edmund Cooper was born in Cheshire in 1926. He served in the Merchant navy towards the end of the Second World War and trained as a teacher after its end. He began to publish SF stories in 1951 and produced a considerable amount of short fiction throughout the ‘50s, moving on, by the end of that decade, to the novels for which he is chiefly remembered. His works displayed perhaps a bleaker view of the future than many of his contemporaries’, frequently utilising post-apocalyptic settings. In addition to writing novels, Edmund Cooper reviewed science fiction for the
Sunday Times
from 1967 until his death in 1982.


A Gollancz eBook

Copyright © The Edmund Cooper Literary Trust. Contact e-mail [email protected] 1968

All rights reserved.

The right of Edmund Cooper to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This eBook first published in Great Britain in 2011 by Gollancz

The Orion Publishing Group Ltd

Orion House

5 Upper Saint Martin’s Lane

London, WC2H 9EA

An Hachette UK Company

A CIP catalogue record for this book
is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978 0 575 11646 7

All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor to be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

BOOK: Five to Twelve
6.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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