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The Test

Sylvain Neuvel

Britain, the not-too-distant future.

Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.

He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.

When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.

How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

We Are Satellites

Sarah Pinsker

Everybody's getting one.

Val and Julie just want what's best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all.

Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device.

Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it's everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot's powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.

Catfishing on CatNet

CatNet: Book 1

Naomi Kritzer

How much does the internet know about YOU?

Because her mom is always on the move, Steph hasn't lived anyplace longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet - a social media site where users upload cat pictures - a place she knows she is welcome. What Steph doesn't know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I.

When a threat from Steph's past catches up to her and ChesireCat's existence is discovered by outsiders, it's up to Steph and her friends, both online and IRL, to save her.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One: Book 1

Ernest Cline

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune-and remarkable power-to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved-that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt-among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life-and love-in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

For the Win

Cory Doctorow

In the virtual future, you must organize to survive

At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual "gold," jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world's poorest countries, where countless "gold farmers," bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.

Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of "General Robotwalla." In Shenzen, heart of China's industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.

The ruthless forces arrayed against them are willing to use any means to protect their power-including blackmail, extortion, infiltration, violence, and even murder. To survive, Big Sister's people must out-think the system. This will lead them to devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once-a Ponzi scheme combined with a brilliant hack that ends up being the biggest, funnest game of all.

Imbued with the same lively, subversive spirit and thrilling storytelling that made LITTLE BROTHER an international sensation, FOR THE WIN is a prophetic and inspiring call-to-arms for a new generation.

Download this book for free from the author's website.

The Real-Town Murders

Real-Town Murders: Book 1

Adam Roberts

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.

Alma's partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.

So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.

What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.

Reamde

Neal Stephenson

In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T'Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.

But T'Rain's success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player's electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game's virtual universe-and Richard is at ground zero.

Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara And The Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly-changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

Summer Frost

Forward: Book 2

Blake Crouch

A video game developer becomes obsessed with a willful character in her new project, in a mind-bending exploration of what it means to be human by the New York Times bestselling author of Recursion.

Maxine was made to do one thing: die. Except the minor non-player character in the world Riley is building makes her own impossible decision--veering wildly off course and exploring the boundaries of the map. When the curious Riley extracts her code for closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own?

The Shockwave Rider

John Brunner

He Was The Most Dangerous Fugitive Alive, But He Didn't Exist!

Nickie Haflinger had lived a score of lifetimes...but technically he didn't exist. He was a fugitive from Tarnover, the high-powered government think tank that had educated him. First he had broken his identity code -- then he escaped.

Now he had to find a way to restore sanity and personal freedom to the computerized masses and to save a world tottering on the brink of disaster.

He didn't care how he did it...but the government did. That's when his Tarnover teachers got him back in their labs...and Nickie Haflinger was set up for a whole new education!

The Best We Can

Carrie Vaughn

First contact was supposed to change the course of human history. But it turns out, you still have to go to work the next morning.

This story is included in the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection (2014), edited by Gardner Dozois, and Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction(2018), edited by Irene Gallo.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Chaos on CatNet

CatNet: Book 2

Naomi Kritzer

When a mysterious entity starts hacking into social networks and chat rooms to instigate paranoia and violence in the real world, it's up to Steph and her new friend, Nell, to find a way to stop it – with the help of their benevolent AI friend, CheshireCat.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Claire North

My name is Hope Arden, and you won't know who I am. But we've met before - a thousand times.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit, you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life difficult. It also makes me dangerous.

Octavia Gone

Alex Benedict: Book 8

Jack McDevitt

After being lost in space for eleven years, Gabe finally makes his triumphant return to reunite with Alex and Chase and retrieve a possibly alien artifact--which may lead them to solve the greatest archaeological mystery of their careers, in the eighth installment of the Alex Benedict series.

After his return from space, Gabe is trying to find a new life for himself after being presumed dead--just as Alex and Chase are trying to relearn how to live and work without him. But when a seemingly alien artifact goes missing from Gabe's old collection, it grants the group a chance to dive into solving the mystery of its origins as a team, once again.

When a lead on the artifact is tied to a dead pilot's sole unrecorded trip, another clue seems to lead to one of the greatest lingering mysteries of the age: the infamous disappearance of a team of scientists aboard a space station orbiting a black hole--the Amelia Earhart of their time. With any luck, Alex, Chase, and Gabe may be on the trail of the greatest archaeological discovery of their careers...

Maul

Tricia Sullivan

In a mall like any other, two gangs of teenaged girls are about to embark on an orgy of shopping and designer violence. In the battleground of cool, they'll fight for their lives to prove that "image is everything." And in another place, within a sealed room, a lone man fights an equally desperate war against a new virus and the scientists who have developed it. If anyone gets out alive, it will be a small miracle.

Dark Matter

Blake Crouch

"Are you happy with your life?"

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined -- one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human -- a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of.

Prime Meridian

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Amelia dreams of Mars. The Mars of the movies and the imagination, an endless bastion of opportunities for a colonist with some guts. But she's trapped in Mexico City, enduring the drudgery of an unkind metropolis, working as a rent-a-friend, selling her blood to old folks with money who hope to rejuvenate themselves with it, enacting a fractured love story.

And yet there's Mars, at the edge of the silver screen, of life.

This novella can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018), edited by Gardner Dozois.

Afterparty

Daryl Gregory

It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide.

Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right.

A Song for a New Day

Sarah Pinsker

In the Before, when the government didn't prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce's connection to the world--her music, her purpose--is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.

Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery--no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she'll have to do something she's never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won't be enough.

The Execution Channel

Ken MacLeod

Fighting has spread across the Middle East and Central Asia to the borders of China. In the US, refugees from climate-change disaster subsist in FEMA camps. Images of official executions circulate on the Internet like al Qaeda videos. State agencies sponsor conspiracy theories as cover-ups. As the troops of the last superpower stand astride the last of the oil, China and Russia aren't the only states considering their options: certain nations of Old Europe are quietly preparing for the worst.

James Travis is a middle-aged middle manager in a software company. He has a son in the army, a daughter in a peace-protest camp outside a USAF base, and a compromising relationship with a foreign intelligence service. When his cover is blown hours before a nuclear explosion destroys the base, Travis, his son, and his daughter are all in serious trouble. And as the spooks and disinformation specialists focus their efforts on his capture, Travis knows that all it will take is one mistake and his only memorial will be another grainy video on... The Execution Channel.

Frameshift

Robert J. Sawyer

Geneticist Pierre Tardivel may not have long to live-he's got a fifty-fifty chance of having the gene for Huntington's disease. But if his DNA is tragic, his girlfriend's is astonishing: Molly Bond has a mutation that gives her telepathy. Both of them have attracted the interest of Pierre's boss, Dr. Burian Klimus, a senior researcher in the Human Genome Project who just might be hiding a horrific past. Avi Meyer, a dogged Nazi hunter, thinks Klimus was the monstrous "Ivan the Terrible" of the Treblinka Death Camp.

As Pierre races against the ticking clock of his own DNA to make a world-changing scientific breakthrough, Avi also races against time to bring Klimus to justice before the last survivors of Treblinka pass away.

The Iron Heel

Jack London

Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack London's The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as the state oligarchy, known as "the Iron Heel," moves to crush all opposition to its power.

Air

Geoff Ryman

When the UN decides to test the radical new technology Air, Mae is boiling laundry and chatting with elderly Mrs Tung. The massive surge of Air energy swamps them, and when the test is finished, Mrs Tung is dead, and Mae has absorbed her 90 years of memories. Rocked by the unexpected deaths and disorientation, the UN delays fully implementing Air, but Mae sees at once that her way of life is ending. Half-mad, struggling with information overload, the resentment of much of the village, and a complex family situation, she works fiercely to learn what she needs to ride the tiger of change.

Rainbows End

Vernor Vinge

Four time Hugo Award winner Vernor Vinge has taken readers to the depths of space and into the far future in his bestselling novels A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. Now, he has written a science-fiction thriller set in a place and time as exciting and strange as any far-future world: San Diego, California, 2025.

Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he's starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts . Living with his son's family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access-through nodes designed into smart clothes-and to see the digital context-through smart contact lenses.

With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination.

In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert's son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot.

As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected. This is science fiction at its very best, by a master storyteller at his peak.

Hummingbird Salamander

Jeff VanderMeer

Security consultant "Jane Smith" receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.

Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina's footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out – for her and possibly for the world.

The Restoration Game

Ken MacLeod

There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know - she was born there.

In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organisers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy's mother Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the '30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin's terror.

As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family's past, the darker secrets of Krassnia's past - and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game ...

Gnomon

Nick Harkaway

Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency and ambient direct democracy. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.

Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave. She runs a lending library and conducts business by barter. She is off the grid in a society where the grid is everything. Denounced, arrested and interrogated by a machine that reads your life history from your brain, she dies in custody.

Mielikki Neith is the investigator charged with discovering how this tragedy occurred. Neith is Hunter's opposite. She is a woman in her prime, a stalwart advocate of the System. It is the most democratic of governments, and Neith will protect it with her life.

When Neith opens the record of the interrogation, she finds not Hunter's mind but four others, none of which can possibly be there: the banker Constantine Kyriakos, pursued by a ghostly shark that eats corporations; the alchemist Athenais Karthagonensis, jilted lover of St Augustine of Hippo and mother to his dead son, kidnapped and required to perform a miracle; Berihun Bekele, artist and grandfather, who must escape an arson fire by walking through walls--if only he can remember how; and Gnomon, a sociopathic human intelligence from a distant future, falling backwards in time to conduct four assassinations.

Aided--or perhaps opposed--by the pale and paradoxical Regno Lönnrot, Neith must work her way through the puzzles of her case and find the meaning of these impossible lives. Hunter has left her a message, but is it one she should heed, or a lie to lead her into catastrophe? And as the stories combine and the secrets and encryptions of Gnomon are revealed, the question becomes the most fundamental of all: who will live, and who will die?

Golden State

Ben H. Winters

In a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else, Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, a nation standing where California once did, a place where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life and governance impossible.

In the Golden State, knowingly contradicting the truth is the greatest crime--and stopping those crimes is Laz's job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths, to "speculate" on what might have happened.

But the Golden State is less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the truth requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance and recording. And when those in control of the facts twist them for nefarious means, the Speculators are the only ones with the power to fight back.

Fools

Pat Cadigan

With brain-suckers and body-snatchers around, not even your own identity is safe. When Marva, a Method actress, wakes up in a hologram pool in a club with new clothes, lots of money and a memory of murder, she knows something is wrong.

The California Voodoo Game

Dream Park: Book 3

Larry Niven
Steven Barnes

Dream Park, the ultimate in amusement parks, was about to embark on the greatest Game ever: the California Voodoo Game. Across the world bets were being placed; fortunes and reputations hung in the balance. Gaming careers would be made--or destroyed. And the most advanced software package ever invented was going to be tested.

But one of the players was a murderer--and worse. Only Alex Griffin, head of Dream Park Security, and Game Master Tony McWhirter guessed the extent of the treachery tainting the Game. Somehow, they had to catch the killer--but above all, the Game must go on....

The Girl in the Road

Monica Byrne

In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys--each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India. As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation. Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home. She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture. But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected--romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.

Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is an artistic feat of the first order: vividly imagined, artfully told, and profoundly moving.

News from Nowhere: or, An Epoch of Rest

William Morris

News From Nowhere, one of the most significant English works on the theme of utopia, is the tale of William Guest, a Victorian who wakes one morning to find himself in the year 2102 and discovers a society that has changed beyond recognition into a pastoral paradise, in which all people live in blissful equality and contentment. A socialist masterpiece, News From Nowhere is a vision of a future free from capitalism, isolation and industrialisation.

Randomize

Forward: Book 6

Andy Weir

In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.

An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house--unless human ingenuity isn't entirely a thing of the past.

You Have Arrived at Your Destination

Forward: Book 4

Amor Towles

Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.

When Sam's wife first tells him about Vitek, a twenty-first-century fertility lab, he sees it as the natural next step in trying to help their future child get a "leg up" in a competitive world. But the more Sam considers the lives that his child could lead, the more he begins to question his own relationships and the choices he has made in his life.

Ready Player Two

Ready Player One: Book 2

Ernest Cline

AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY?

Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything.

Hidden within Halliday's vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous--and addictive--than even Wade dreamed possible.

With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest--a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize.

And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who'll kill millions to get what he wants.

Wade's life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Fast Times at Fairmont High

Vernor Vinge

Hugo Award winning novella.

In a near future where wireless mind links and wearable computers blur the line between artificial reality and "real" reality, it's final exam time at San Diego's Fairmont Junior High. Juan Orozco and his friends have a killer idea for their off-line project. But can a bunch of 13-year-olds really figure out the secret of what's going on at Torrey Pines Park?

The story originally appeared in the collection The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge (2001). It can also be found in the anthology The Hard SF Renaissance (2002), edtied by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.

The Games

Ted Kosmatka

This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think.

Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas's boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten.

The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer's cold logic.

Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia João. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and-most disquietingly-intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.

The Circle

Dave Eggers

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.