open
Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Search Worlds Without End

Advanced Search
Search Terms:
Award(s):
Hugo
Nebula
BSFA
Mythopoeic
Locus SF
Derleth
Campbell
WFA
Locus F
Prometheus
Locus FN
PKD
Clarke
Stoker
Aurealis SF
Aurealis F
Aurealis H
Locus YA
Norton
Jackson
Legend
Red Tentacle
Morningstar
Golden Tentacle
Holdstock
All Awards
Sub-Genre:
Date Range:  to 

Search Results Returned:  202


Exhalation: Stories

Ted Chiang

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary "Exhalation," an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in "The Lifecycle of Software Objects," a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: "Omphalos" and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom."

In this fantastical and elegant collection, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth--What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?--and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion.

Table of Contents:

He, She and It

Marge Piercy

Also published as "Body of Glass" outside the USA.

A novel set in the past, present and future when the world society has fallen apart and a new order is established. But even here, the Golems are needed - figures who protect the Jews persecuted yet again as they were in 17th century Prague and mid-20th century Europe.

Dogs of War

Dogs of War: Book 1

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rex is a Good Dog. He loves humans. He hates enemies. He's utterly obedient to Master.

He's also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he's part of a Multi-form Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, Southeastern Mexico.

Rex is a genetically engineered bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he's got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

Diaspora

Greg Egan

The boldest and most wildly speculative writer of our time, Greg Egan has envisioned a quantum Brave New World -- a masterful saga of a time when not only human life, but fleshly reality itself, will be nothing but a memory...

It is the thirtieth century.The "world" has evolved into a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the solar system into one scape from the outer planets to the sun. Humanity, too, has reconfigured itself. Most people have chosen immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software. Others have opted for disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world. A few holdouts stubbornly remain fleshers struggling to shape an antiquated existence in the muck and jungle of Earth.

And then there is the Orphan, a genderless digital being grown from a mind seed.

When an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers, it awakens the polises to the possibility of their own extinction from bizarre astrophysical processes that seemingly violate fundamental laws of nature. It is up to the Orphan and a group of refugees to find the knowledge that will save them all--a search that will lead them on a quantum adventure to a higher dimension beyond the macrocosmos....

Gemina

The Illuminae Files: Book 2

Amie Kaufman
Jay Kristoff

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna's social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain's pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren't just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia--and possibly the known universe--is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Robot Visions

The Positronic Robot Stories: Book 4

Isaac Asimov

From the writer whose name is synonymous with the science of robotics comes five decades of robot visions-36 landmark stories and essays, plus three rare tales-gathered together in one volume .

By the Pricking of Her Thumb

Real-Town Murders: Book 2

Adam Roberts

Private Investigator Alma is caught up in another impossible murder. One of the world's four richest people may be dead - but nobody is sure which one. Hired to discover the truth behind the increasingly bizarre behaviour of the ultra-rich, Alma must juggle treating her terminally ill lover with a case which may not have a victim.

Inspired by the films of Kubrick, this stand-alone novel returns to the near-future of THE REAL-TOWN MURDERS, and puts Alma on a path to a world she can barely understand. Witty, moving and with a mystery deep at its heart, this novel again shows Adam Roberts' mastery of the form.

The Complete Robot

The Positronic Robot Stories

Isaac Asimov

The complete collection of Isaac Asimov's classic Robot stories.In these stories, Asimov creates the Three Laws of Robotics and ushers in the Robot Age - when Earth is ruled by master-machines and when robots are more human than mankind.The Complete Robot is the ultimate collection of timeless, amazing and amusing robot stories from the greatest science fiction writer of all time, offering golden insights into robot thought processes. Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics were programmed into real computers thirty years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - with suprising results. Readers of today still have many surprises in store...

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction (The Complete Robot) - (1982) - essay
  • Some Non-Human Robots - (1982) - essay
  • A Boy's Best Friend - (1975) - short story
  • Sally - (1953) - short story
  • Someday - (1956) - short story
  • Some Immobile Robots - (1982) - essay
  • Point of View - (1975) - short story
  • Think! - (1977) - short story
  • True Love - (1977) - short story
  • Some Metallic Robots - (1982) - essay
  • Robot AL-76 Goes Astray - (1942) - short story
  • Victory Unintentional - (1942) - short story
  • Stranger in Paradise - (1974) - novelette
  • Light Verse - (1973) - short story
  • Segregationist - (1967) - short story
  • Robbie - (1940) - short story
  • Some Humanoid Robots - (1982) - essay
  • Let's Get Together - (1957) - short story
  • Mirror Image - (1972) - short story
  • The Tercentenary Incident - (1976) - short story
  • Powell and Donovan - (1982) - essay
  • First Law - (1956) - short story
  • Runaround - (1942) - novelette
  • Reason - (1941) - short story
  • Catch That Rabbit - (1944) - short story
  • Susan Calvin - (1982) - essay
  • Liar! - (1941) - short story
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed - (1951) - short story
  • Lenny - (1958) - short story
  • Galley Slave - (1957) - novelette
  • Little Lost Robot - (1947) - novelette
  • Risk - (1955) - novelette
  • Escape! - (1945) - short story
  • Evidence - (1946) - novelette
  • The Evitable Conflict - (1950) - novelette
  • Feminine Intuition - (1969) - novelette
  • Two Climaxes - (1982) - essay
  • --That Thou Art Mindful of Him! - (1974) - novelette
  • The Bicentennial Man - (1976) - novelette
  • A Last Word - (1982) - essay

And Then There Were (N - One)

Sarah Pinsker

This shot story originally appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 15, March-April 2017. It can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Uncanny Magazine.

The Fall of Hyperion

The Hyperion Cantos: Book 2

Dan Simmons

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere in the universe--will ever be the same.

Network Effect

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 5

Martha Wells

I'm usually alone in my head, and that's where 90 plus per cent of my problems are.

It calls itself Murderbot, but only when no-one can hear. It's a private joke. Funny.

It doesn't care, it tells itself, and its attachment to the humans around it is merely professional obligation.

It tries to never drop the F-bomb.

"Friends."

Ugh.

So, when its human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

Another F-bomb.

"Feelings."

Ugh.

A Fire Upon the Deep

Zones of Thought: Book 1

Vernor Vinge

Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.

Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.

Line War

Agent Cormac Series: Book 5

Neal Asher

The Polity is under attack from melded AI entity controlling the lethal Jain technology, but the attack seems to have no coherence. When one of Erebus’s wormships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon, a high-tech agricultural world of no real tactical significance, Cormac is sent to investigate, though he is struggling to control an ability no human being should possess, and beginning to question the motives of his AI masters.

Further attacks and seemingly indiscriminate slaughter ensue, but only serve to bring some of the most dangerous individuals in the Polity into the war. Mr Crane, the indefatigable brass killing machine sets out for vengeance. Orlandine, a vastly-augmented haiman who herself controls Jain technology, seeks a weapon of appalling power and finds allies from an ancient war.

Meanwhile Mika, scientist and Dragon expert, is again kidnapped by that alien entity and dragged to the heart of things; to wake the makers of Jain technology from their five million year slumber.

But Erebus’s attacks are not indiscriminate, and could spell the end of the Polity...

The Player of Games

The Culture Cycle: Book 2

Iain M. Banks

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

Nightfall and Other Stories

Nightfall: Book 1

Isaac Asimov

Table of Contents:

  • What Is This Thing Called Love? - (1961)
  • Strikebreaker - (1957)
  • Sally - (1953)
  • Nightfall - (1941)
  • Segregationist - (1967)
  • Eyes Do More Than See - (1965)
  • Green Patches - (1950)
  • Hostess - (1951)
  • Breeds There a Man...? - (1951)
  • Flies - (1953)
  • The Up-to-Date Sorcerer - (1958)
  • Unto the Fourth Generation - (1959)
  • The Machine That Won the War - (1961)
  • My Son, the Physicist! - (1962)
  • It's Such a Beautiful Day - (1955)
  • Insert Knob A in Hole B - (1957)
  • "In a Good Cause--" - (1951)
  • The C-Chute - (1951)
  • Biographical Comments in "Nightfall and Other Stories" - essay by Isaac Asimov
  • "Nobody Here But--" - (1953)
  • What If-- - (1952)

Use of Weapons

The Culture Cycle: Book 3

Iain M. Banks

The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action.

The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.

The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past.

Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, USE OF WEAPONS is a masterpiece of science fiction.

The Bicentennial Man

The Positronic Robot Stories

Isaac Asimov

Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award winning novelette. It originally appeared in the anthology Stellar #2 (1976) edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey. It has been reprinted many times and can be found in the anthologies:

The story is included in the collections:

The story was later expanded into the novel The Positronic Man (1992), written in collaboration with Robert Silverberg. It has been turned into a movie starring Robin Williams.

Fugitive Telemetry

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 6

Martha Wells

No, I didn't kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn't dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people - who knew?) Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans! Again!

This story takes place between the end of Exit Strategy and the flashbacks in Network Effect, after the short story "Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory".

Bolo!

Bolo: Book 10

David Weber

Controlled by their tireless electronic brains which were programmed to admit no possibility of defeat, the gigantic robot tanks known as Bolos were almost indestructible, and nearly unstoppable. Their artificial intelligences were designed to make them selflessly serve and protect humans throughout the galaxy and made each Bolo the epitome of the knight sans peur et sans reproche, and often far more noble than the humans who gave them their orders.

Now, David Weber, New York Times best-selling author of the Honor Harrington series, continues the history of the Bolo, in four short novels, one of them published here for the first time. One Bolo is driven over the edge by the very humans it is pledged to protect. Another Bolo must decide whether or not to disobey when it is given an order that constitutes genocide. A third must hunt one of its own kind whose robot brain is damaged and rescue two children which the deranged Bolo thinks it is protecting from a nonexistent enemy. And more, including as a bonus, David Weber's own authoritative technical history of the Bolo, all in a volume that will be irresistible both for David Weber's huge readership and Bolo fans everywhere.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep... They even built humans.

Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

All Systems Red

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 1

Martha Wells

Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning Novella and Prometheus Award-nominated series

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid -- a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Also appeared in the anthology Nebula Awards Showcase 2019, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Children of Ruin

Children of Time: Book 2

Adrian Tchaikovsky

The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Thousands of years ago, Earth's terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life - but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity's great empire fell, and the program's decisions were lost to time.

Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.

But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

And it's been waiting for them.

The Prefect

Revelation Space: Prefect Dreyfus Emergency: Book 1

Alastair Reynolds

Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multi-faceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds.

His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that leaves nine hundred people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus. But then his investigation uncovers something even more potentially dangerous-a covert plot by an enigmatic entity seeking nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band...

Endymion

The Hyperion Cantos: Book 3

Dan Simmons

Two hundred and seventy-four years after the fall of the WorldWeb in Fall of Hyperion, Raoul Endymion is sent on a quest. Retrieving Aenea from the Sphinx before the Church troops reach her is only the beginning. With help from a blue-skinned android named A. Bettik, Raoul and Aenea travel the river Tethys, pursued by Father Captain Frederico DeSoya, an influential warrior-priest and his troops. The shrike continues to make enigmatic appearances, and while many questions were raised in Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, still more are raised here. Raoul's quest will continue.

The Rise of Endymion

The Hyperion Cantos: Book 4

Dan Simmons

In The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons brings to a triumphant conclusion one of the most celebrated, compelling, and dramatic science fiction sagas of our time. Brilliant, provocative, unfailingly inventive, the odyssey began with the Hugo Award-winning Hyperion, continued through the critically acclaimed The Fall of Hyperion and Endymion, and now ascends to its greatest heights yet....

The final chapter of this magnificent saga begins with two momentous events: the death and resurrection of Pope Julius XV and the coming-of-age of the new messiah. Her name is Aenea and she is the only person who can counter the pope and his plan to unleash the Pax Fleet, the Church's military wing, on a final genocidal Crusade to gain total dominion over the universe. The Church is allied with the infamous AI Core, which has offered immortality to humankind--or at least to those faithful who pledge total obedience to the Church--but at what terrible price? The Core has its own dark motives and secrets, and only Aenea knows what they are.

Aenea, too, has an ally. Her protector, Raul Endymion, onetime shepherd and convicted murderer, finds her in exile undergoing a strange apprenticeship on Old Earth. Here she has gained access to an information matrix created by the Others--the same mysterious Others who moved Old Earth to save it from the Core. But who are these Others? What has Aenea learned from them? And why has Old Earth been turned into a stage upon which cybrids from the past--from John Keats to Frank Lloyd Wright--repeat historical dramas of human genius for purposes known only to the Others?

The answers to these questions must wait. Together with the android A. Bettik, Endymion and his beloved Aenea embark on a final mission to find and comprehend the underlying fabric of the universe. The surprising nature of this medium and Aenea's ability to instruct her growing army of disciples in its discovery and use could provide the one weapon powerful enough to thwart their enemies while liberating humanity. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Shrike--monster, angel, killing machine--has followed them on their intergalactic sojourn and now stands ready to complete its own mission, revealing at last the long-held secret of its origin and purpose.

In The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons masterfully weaves together the complex strands of this extraordinary series. He answers all of the unsolved mysteries posed in the earlier volumes and brings the story full circle to the planet Hyperion, where it all began. A work of unparalleled power and vision, The Rise of Endymion is a masterpiece of the imagination by one of our most gifted writers.

The Hydrogen Sonata

The Culture Cycle: Book 10

Iain M. Banks

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.

It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

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.

Exit Strategy

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 4

Martha Wells

BSFA Award-nominated Novella and Prometheus Award-nominated series

Murderbot wasn't programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah--its former owner (protector? friend?)--submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who's going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it's caught?

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?

Excession

The Culture Cycle: Book 5

Iain M. Banks

Iain M. Banks is a true original, an author whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination and inimitable revelatory power. Now he takes us on the ultimate trip: to the edge of possibility and to the heart of a cosmic puzzle....

Diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances--the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section--has sent him off to investigate a 2,500-year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself.

There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace...or to the brink of annihilation.

A Closed and Common Orbit

Wayfarers: Book 2

Becky Chambers

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She's never felt so alone.

But she's not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it's anything but empty.

I, Robot

The Positronic Robot Stories: Book 1

Isaac Asimov

The three laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.

Table of Contents: sub-series in [ ] all sub-series are part of the The Positronic Robot Stories series

  • Introduction (I, Robot) - short story
  • Robbie (1940) - short story (variant of Strange Playfellow)
  • Runaround - [Mike Donovan] (1942) - novelette
  • Reason - [Mike Donovan] (1941) - short story
  • Catch That Rabbit - [Mike Donovan] (1944) - short story
  • Liar! - [Susan Calvin] (1941) - short story
  • Little Lost Robot - [Susan Calvin] (1947) - novelette
  • Escape! - [Susan Calvin] (1945) - short story
  • Evidence - [Susan Calvin] - (1946) - novelette
  • The Evitable Conflict - [Susan Calvin] - (1950) - novelette

The Expert System's Brother

The Expert System's Brother: Book 1

Adrian Tchaikovsky

After an unfortunate accident, Handry is forced to wander a world he doesn't understand, searching for meaning. He soon discovers that the life he thought he knew is far stranger than he could even possibly imagine.

Can an unlikely saviour provide the answers to the questions he barely comprehends?

Wanderers

Chuck Wendig

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other "shepherds" who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them--and an ultraviolent milita threatens to exterminate them--the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart--or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

Artificial Condition

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 2

Martha Wells

Hugo and Locus Award-winning and Nebula-nominated Novella and Prometheus Award-nominated series

It has a dark past -- one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot". But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

Look to Windward

The Culture Cycle: Book 7

Iain M. Banks

The Twin Novae battle had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most horrific: desperate to avert their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had induced not one but two suns to explode, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient life. They were attacks of incredible proportion -- gigadeathcrimes. But the war ended, and life went on.

Now, eight hundred years later, light from the first explosion is about to reach the Masaq' Orbital, home to the Culture's most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq's 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture's own complicity in the terrible event.

Also journeying to Masaq' is Major Quilan, an emissary from the war-ravaged world of Chel. In the aftermath of the conflict that split his world apart, most believe he has come to Masaq' to bring home Chel's most brilliant star and self-exiled dissident, the honored Composer Ziller.

Ziller claims he will do anything to avoid a meeting with Major Quilan, who he suspects has come to murder him. But the Major's true assignment will have far greater consequences than the death of a mere political dissident, as part of a conspiracy more ambitious than even he can know -- a mission his superiors have buried so deeply in his mind that even he cannot remember it.

Hailed by SFX magazine as "an excellent hopping-on point if you've never read a Banks SF novel before," Look to Windward is an awe-inspiring immersion into the wildly original, vividly realized civilization that Banks calls the Culture.

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang

Hugo-winning and Nebula-nominated Novella

What's the best way to create artificial intelligence? In 1950, Alan Turing wrote, 'Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. This process could follow the normal teaching of a child. Things would be pointed out and named, etc. Again I do not know what the right answer is, but I think both approaches should be tried.'

The first approach has been tried many times in both science fiction and reality. In this new novella, at over 30,000 words, his longest work to date, Ted Chiang offers a detailed imagining of how the second approach might work within the contemporary landscape of startup companies, massively-multiplayer online gaming, and open-source software. It's a story of two people and the artificial intelligences they helped create, following them for more than a decade as they deal with the upgrades and obsolescence that are inevitable in the world of software. At the same time, it's an examination of the difference between processing power and intelligence, and of what it means to have a real relationship with an artificial entity.

Read this story online for free at Subterranean Press.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean." He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.

Golden Fleece

Robert J. Sawyer

Aboard Argo, a colonization ship bound for Eta Cephei IV, people are very close--there's no other choice. So when Aaron Rossman's ex-wife dies in what seems to be a bizarre accident, everyone offers their sympathy, politely keeping their suspicions of suicide to themselves. But Aaron cannot simply accept her death. He must know the truth: Was it an accident, or did she commit suicide? When Aaron discovers the truth behind her death, he is faced with a terrible secret--a secret that could cost him his life.

Atlas Alone

Planetfall: Book 4

Emma Newman

Six months after she left, Dee is struggling to manage her rage toward the people who ordered the nuclear strike that destroyed Earth. She's trying to find those responsible, but she's not getting very far alone.

A dedicated gamer, Dee is endeavoring to discover a mersive good enough to enable her to escape her trauma. When she is approached by a designer who asks her to play test his new game, she hopes it will be what she needs--but it isn't like any mersive she's played before. When a man suddenly dies in the real world, she realizes that at the same time in the game, she killed a character who bears a striking resemblance to the dead man--a man she discovers was one of those responsible for the death of millions on Earth.

Disturbed, but thinking it must be a coincidence, Dee continues the hunt for information. But when she finds out the plans for the future colony, she realizes that to save what is left of humanity, she might have to do something that risks what remains of her own.

Rogue Protocol

The Murderbot Diaries: Book 3

Martha Wells

Prometheus Award-nominated series

Sci-fi's favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah's SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Universe: Imperial Radch: Book 1

Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren -- a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose -- to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

The Robots of Dawn

Elijah Bailey / R. Daneel Olivaw: Book 3

Isaac Asimov

A puzzling case of roboticide sends New York Detective Elijah Baley on an intense search for a murderer. Armed with his own instincts, his quirky logic, and the immutable Three Laws of Robotics, Baley is determined to solve the case. But can anything prepare a simple Earthman for the psychological complexities of a world where a beautiful woman can easily have fallen in love with an all-too-human robot...?

River of Gods

India 2047: Book 1

Ian McDonald

As Mother India approaches her centenary, nine people are going about their business: a gangster, a cop, his wife, a politician, a stand-up comic, a set designer, a journalist, a scientist, and a dropout. And so is Ajthe waif, the mind reader, the prophet, when she one day finds a man who wants to stay hidden.

In the next few weeks, they will all be swept together to decide the fate of the nation.

River of Gods teems with the life of a country choked with peoples and culturesone and a half billion people, twelve semi-independent nations, nine million gods. Ian McDonald has written the great Indian novel of the new millennium, in which a war is fought, a love betrayed, a message from a different world decoded, as the great river Ganges flows on.

Equations of Life

Samuil Petrovitch: Book 1

Simon Morden

Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor.

He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic.

For example, getting involved = a bad idea.

But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London.

And clearly saving the girl = getting involved.

Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex.

Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch.

But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one.

Robot Dreams

Isaac Asimov

Robot Dreams spans the body of Asimov's fiction from the 1940s to the mid-80s, and features classic Asimovian themes, from the scientific puzzle to the extraterrestrial thriller, all introduced in an exclusive essay written especially for this collection.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - (1989) - essay
  • Little Lost Robot - (1947) - novelette
  • Robot Dreams - (1986) - shortstory
  • Breeds There a Man...? - (1951) - novelette
  • Hostess - (1951) - novelette
  • Sally - (1953) - shortstory
  • Strikebreaker - (1957) - shortstory
  • The Machine That Won the War - (1961) - shortstory
  • Eyes Do More Than See - (1965) - shortstory
  • The Martian Way - (1952) - novella
  • Franchise - (1955) - shortstory
  • Jokester - (1956) - shortstory
  • The Last Question - (1956) - shortstory
  • Does a Bee Care? - (1957) - shortstory
  • Light Verse - (1973) - shortstory
  • The Feeling of Power - (1958) - shortstory
  • Spell My Name with an S - (1958) - shortstory
  • The Ugly Little Boy - (1958) - novelette
  • The Billiard Ball - (1967) - novelette
  • True Love - (1977) - shortstory
  • The Last Answer - (1980) - shortstory
  • Lest We Remember - (1982) - novelette

Existence

David Brin

For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and Gerald Livingston has to clean up the mess. Only... there's something spinning a little bit higher than he expects. It isn't on the orbital maps. An hour after he grabs the Object and brings it in, rumors fill Earth's infomesh about an "alien artifact." Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, this is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

Ilium

The Ilium / Olympos Duology: Book 1

Dan Simmons

From the towering heights of Olympos Mons on Mars, the mighty Zeus and his immortal family of gods, goddesses, and demigods look down upon a momentous battle, observing -- and often influencing -- the legendary exploits of Paris, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, and the clashing armies of Greece and Troy.

Thomas Hockenberry, former twenty-first-century professor and Iliad scholar, watches as well. It is Hockenberry's duty to observe and report on the Trojan War's progress to the so-called deities who saw fit to return him from the dead. But the muse he serves has a new assignment for the wary scholic, one dictated by Aphrodite herself. With the help of fortieth-century technology, Hockenberry is to infiltrate Olympos, spy on its divine inhabitants ... and ultimately destroy Aphrodite's sister and rival, the goddess Pallas Athena.

On an Earth profoundly changed since the departure of the Post-Humans centuries earlier, the great events on the bloody plains of Ilium serve as mere entertainment. Its scenes of unrivaled heroics and unequaled carnage add excitement to human lives devoid of courage, strife, labor, and purpose. But this eloi-like existence is not enough for Harman, a man in the last year of his last Twenty. That rarest of post-postmodern men -- an "adventurer" -- he intends to explore far beyond the boundaries of his world before his allotted time expires, in search of a lost past, a devastating truth, and an escape from his own inevitable "final fax." Meanwhile, from the radiation-swept reaches of Jovian space, four sentient machines race to investigate -- and, perhaps, terminate -- the potentially catastrophic emissions of unexplained quantum-flux emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of Mars ...

The first book in a remarkable two-part epic to be concluded in the upcoming Olympos, Dan Simmons's Ilium is a breathtaking adventure, enormous in scope and imagination, sweeping across time and space to connect three seemingly disparate stories in fresh, thrilling, and totally unexpected ways. A truly masterful work of speculative fiction, it is quite possibly Simmons's finest achievement to date in an already storied literary career.

Spin Control

Spin Trilogy: Book 2

Chris Moriarty

Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel’s not buying it. They’re selling it–and Arkady–to the highest bidder.

As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Catherine Li. Drummed out of the Peacekeepers for executing Syndicate prisoners, Li has now literally hooked up with an AI who has lived many lifetimes and shunted through many bodies. But while they have their own conflicting loyalties to contend with, together they’re just one player in a mysterious high-stakes game....

The Invincible

Ace SF Special, Series 2: Book 4

Stanislaw Lem

An interstellar 2nd-class cruiser called Invincible, lands on Regis III which seems bleakly uninhabited, to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor. The crew finds evidence of a form of quasilife, born thru evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines. The evolution was controlled by robot wars. The survivors are swarms of minuscule, insectoid machines. Individually or in small groups they're harmless & capable of only simple behavior. However, when bothered, they form huge swarms displaying complex behavior arising from self-organization & are able to defeat an intruder by a powerful surge of EMI. Some members of the crew suffer complete memory erasure as a consequence. Big clouds are also capable of high speed travel to the troposphere. The angered crew attempts to fight the enemy, but eventually recognize the meaninglessness of their efforts in the most direct sense of the word.

The novel turns into an analysis of the relationship between different life domains & their place in the cosmos. It's a thought experiment demonstrating that evolution may not necessarily lead to dominance by intellectually superior life forms. The plot also involves a Conrad-like dilemma, juxtaposing human values & the efficiency of mechanical insects.

The Prey of Gods

Nicky Drayden

A new voice in the tradition of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor comes The Prey of Gods, a fantastic, boundary-challenging tale, set in a South African locale both familiar and yet utterly new, which braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.

In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes--the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country...

An emerging AI uprising...

And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It's up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there's a future left to worry about.

Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart... even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.

Illuminae

The Illuminae Files: Book 1

Jay Kristoff
Amie Kaufman

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she'd have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that's little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra -- who are barely even talking to each other -- are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet's AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it's clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents -- including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more -- Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Press Enter []

John Varley

Press Enter won both the Hugo and the Nebula Award in 1984. In a sense it is the direct descendant of Roger Zelazny's "My Name is Legion" in which the the central character has wiped his identity from all records and databases and is free and invisble. It is one of the earliest SF stories to deal with the language of personal computer and of hackers, just becoming the rage in SF circles in the early 1980's and of the stories that set the stage for the advent of William Gibson's "Neutomancer" Today we can notice perhaps a bit too much exposition about the details of computers and how they operate, but I assure you it was necessary in 1983 when the story first appeared and terms like "software" were still relatively exotic. It is a darker vision than most of the early Varley, and is set in more or less the present world, both uncharacteristic of his work. he was often given to mystery plots, and shy men---but competent men and women nevertheless. This is a horror story, and not optimistic about technology---it is so extreme in fact that the central character is thinking about getting rid of his indoor plumbing. And to top it off, it is about an older man and a younger woman ----shades of Heilein! This is a story by someone who isn't doing what he used to do . Maybe it is by someone who is getting ready to stop entirely.

Skyward

Skyward: Book 1

Brandon Sanderson

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

The Naked Sun

Elijah Bailey / R. Daneel Olivaw: Book 2

Isaac Asimov

A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants.

To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots - unthinkable under the laws of Robotics - or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

On the Steel Breeze

Poseidon's Children: Book 2

Alastair Reynolds

Chiku Yellow is earthbound: living a peaceful life on a changing world as humanity explores a thousand new ways to experience life.

Chiku Red is space-bound: blasted into deep space to investigate Eunice Akinya's last journey, and maybe discover the final secrets of space travel.

Chiku Green is planet-bound: travelling thousands of lightyears to the planet Crucible. A new home for humankind; it's a habitable planet hosting a fascinating alien labyrinth.

All three are Chiku Akinya.

All three are pivotal to our future in space.

All three are in danger...

Ancillary Mercy

Ancillary Universe: Imperial Radch: Book 3

Ann Leckie

For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist -- someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that's been hiding beyond the empire's reach for three thousand years. Meanwhile, a messenger from the alien and mysterious Presger empire arrives -- as does Breq's enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai, ruler of an empire at war with itself.

Anaander is heavily armed and extremely unhappy with Breq. She could take her ship and crew and flee, but that would leave everyone at Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren't good, but that's never stopped her before.

WWW: Watch

The WWW Trilogy: Book 2

Robert J. Sawyer

Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer continues his "wildly though- provoking" science fiction saga of a sentient World Wide Web.

Webmind is an emerging consciousness that has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But Webmind has also come to the attention of WATCH-the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States-and they're fully aware of Caitlin's involvement in its awakening.

WATCH is convinced that Webmind represents a risk to national security and wants it purged from cyberspace. But Caitlin believes in Webmind's capacity for compassion-and she will do anything and everything necessary to protect her friend.

Sea of Rust

C. Robert Cargill

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It's been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI--One World Intelligence--the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality--their personality--for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories--and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

Neuromancer

The Sprawl Trilogy: Book 1

William Gibson

The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus - hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace...

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.

Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the century's most potent visions of the future.

The Algebraist

Iain M. Banks

It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars.

Seconded to a military-religious order he's barely heard of, Fassin Taak must travel amongst the Dwellers of the gas giant Nasqueron, in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. Any help they offer will be on their own terms and in their own time.

But time is one thing Fassin Taak doesn't have, with each passing day bringing the system closer to war - a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he's ever known.

The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories

Isaac Asimov

Table of Contents:

  • The Prime of Life - (1966)
  • Feminine Intuition - (1969)
  • Waterclap - (1970)
  • That Thou Art Mindful of Him - (1974)
  • Stranger in Paradise - (1974)
  • The Life and Times of Multivac - (1975)
  • The Winnowing - (1976)
  • The Bicentennial Man - (1976)
  • Marching In - (1976)
  • Old-Fashioned - (1976)
  • The Tercentenary Incident - (1976)
  • Birth of a Notion - (1976)

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Bobiverse: Book 1

Dennis E. Taylor

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he'll be switched off, and they'll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty. The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad - very mad.

The Positronic Man

The Positronic Robot Stories: Book 3

Robert Silverberg
Isaac Asimov

In a twenty-first century Earth where the development of the positronic brain has revolutionized the way of life, beloved household robot "Andrew" struggles with his unusual capacity for emotion and dreams of becoming human.

Old Twentieth

Joe Haldeman

Passengers aboard the starship "Aspera" on a thousand-year journey to Beta Hydrii, spend their time visiting 20th-century Earth within the virtual reality chamber. When people inside the chamber start to die, engineer Jacob Brewer must face a sentient machine obsessed with humanity.

Blue Remembered Earth

Poseidon's Children: Book 1

Alastair Reynolds

One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey's family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey's grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light.

Eunice's ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything.

Spin State

Spin Trilogy: Book 1

Chris Moriarty

UN Peacekeeper Major Catherine Li has made thirty-seven faster-than-light jumps in her lifetime - and has probably forgotten more than most people remember. But that's what backup hard drives are for. And Li should know; she's been hacking her memory for fifteen years in order to pass as human. But no memory upgrade can prepare Li for what she finds on Compson's World: a mining colony she once called home and to which she is sent after a botched raid puts her on the bad side of the powers that be. A dead physicist who just happens to be her cloned twin. A missing dataset that could change the interstellar balance of power and turn a cold war hot. And a mining "accident" that is starting to look more and more like murder...

Suddenly Li is chasing a killer in an alien world miles underground where everyone has a secret. And one wrong turn in streamspace, one misstep in the dark alleys of blackmarket tech and interstellar espionage, one risky hookup with an AI could literally blow her mind.

Starsight

Skyward: Book 2

Brandon Sanderson

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she's a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true--he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there's more to the story. And she's sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars--and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself--and she'll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

Olympos

The Ilium / Olympos Duology: Book 2

Dan Simmons

Beneath the gaze of the gods, the mighty armies of Greece and Troy met in fierce and glorious combat, scrupulously following the text set forth in Homer's timeless narrative. But that was before one observer -- Twenty-first Century scholar Thomas Hockenberry -- stirred the bloody brew; before an enraged Achilles joined forces with his archenemy Hector; and before the fleet-footed mankiller turned his murderous wrath on Zeus, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo, and the entire pantheon of divine manipulators.

Now, all bets are off.

A Choice of Gods

Clifford D. Simak

One night in July, 2135, there were some eight billion people on Earth. The next morning there were perhaps 400. There was no clue to what had happened to the world's population -- but, over the centuries that followed, still stranger things occurred.

The human lifespan now stretched to millenia instead of decades, and much of the remaining population developed the ability to move at will among the stars -- and abandoned their homeworld for a life in deep space.

Then, after 3000 years, a star-rover discovered what had happened to Earth's original inhabitants -- and that they were coming to reclaim their heritage. Those who had stayed behind knew, with a growing fear, that the mystery of what had been done to Earth and why was about to be solved ... in a way that would change humanity forever.

Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Universe: Imperial Radch: Book 2

Ann Leckie

Breq -- the soldier who used to be a spaceship -- is serving the emperor she swore to destroy. She's been given her own warship, her own crew, and ordered to the only place in the galaxy she would have agreed to go: to Athoek Station, to protect the family of the lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

Athoek was annexed by the Empire some 600 years ago, and by now everyone is fully 'civilised'. Or should be - but everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station's AI is restless, and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what's going on. With no guarantees that their interest is benevolent.

Transcendental

Transcendental Machine: Book 1

James E. Gunn

Riley, a veteran of interstellar war, is one of many beings from many different worlds aboard a ship on a pilgrimage that spans the galaxy. However, he is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. While their ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that some of the ship's passengers are not the spiritual seekers they claim to be.

Like the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a number of those on the starship share their unique stories. But as tensions rise, Riley realizes that the ship is less like the Canterbury Tales and more like a harrowing, deadly ship of fools. When he becomes friendly with a mysterious passenger named Asha, he thinks she's someone he can trust. However, like so many others on the ship, Asha is more than she appears. Uncovering her secrets could be the key to Riley's personal quest, or make him question everything he thought he knew about Transcendentalism and his mission to stop it.

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?

Damage

David D. Levine

In the extremities of war, we may know what we've been, but not what we will become. "Damage" is a tale of desperate times, desperate measures, and the inner life of a fighter spacecraft.

This story is included in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 1 (2016), edited by Neil Clarke, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, 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.

The Android's Dream

John Scalzi

A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most... unusual... way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony.

To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinare, who with the help of Brian Javna, a childhood friend turned artificial intelligence, scours the earth looking for the rare creature. And they find it, in the unknowing form of Robin Baker, pet store owner, whose genes contain traces of the sheep DNA.

But there are others with plans for the sheep as well: Mercenaries employed by the military. Adherents of a secret religion based on the writings of a 21st century science fiction author. And alien races, eager to start a revolution on their home world and a war on Earth.

To keep our planet from being enslaved, Harry will have to pull off the greatest diplomatic coup in history, a grand gambit that will take him from the halls of power to the lava-strewn battlefields of alien worlds. There's only one chance to get it right, to save the life of Robin Baker -- and to protect the future of humanity.

Iron Sunrise

Eschaton Series: Book 2

Charles Stross

When the planet of Moscow was annihilated, its few survivors launched a counter-attack against the most likely culprit: the neighboring system of New Dresden. But New Dresden wasn't responsible, and as the deadly missiles approach their target, Rachel Mansour, agent for the interests of Old Earth, is assigned to find out who was.

And the one person who knows is a disaffected teenager who calls herself Wednesday Shadowmist. But Wednesday has no idea what she knows...

Accelerando

Macx Family

Charles Stross

For three generations, the Macz family has struggled to cope with the rampant technological achievements that have rendered humans near obsolete. And mankind's end encroaches even closer when something starts to dismantle the nine planets of the solar system in an effort to annihilate all biological lifeforms.

Read the full novel for free at the author's website.

Cyberabad Days

India 2047: Book 2

Ian McDonald

Extraordinary new fiction set in the future India of River of Gods.

Ian McDonald's River of Gods called a "masterpiece" by Asimov's Science Fiction and praised by the Washington Post as a --"major achievement from a writer who is becoming one of the best SF novelists of our time"-- painted a vivid picture of a near future India, 100 years after independence. It revolutionized SF for a new generation by taking a perspective that was not European or American. Nominated for the Hugo Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and winning the BSFA Award, the rich world of this novel has inspired McDonald to revisit its milieu in a series of short stories, all set in the world of River of Gods.

Cyberabad Days is a triumphant return to the India of 2047, a new, muscular superpower of one and a half billion people in an age of artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, water-wars, strange new genders, genetically improved children that age at half the rate of baseline humanity, and a population where males outnumber females four to one. India herself has fractured into a dozen states from Kerala to the headwaters of the Ganges in the Himalayas.

Cyberabad Days is a collection of seven stories, one Hugo nominee and one Hugo winner among them, as well as a thirty-one-thousand word original novella. As with everything Ian McDonald does, it is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Bête

Adam Roberts

A man is about to kill a cow. He discusses life and death and his right to kill with the compliant animal. He begins to suspect he may be about to commit murder. But kills anyway...

It began when the animal rights movement injected domestic animals with artificial intelligences in bid to have the status of animals realigned by the international court of human rights. But what is an animal that can talk? Where does its intelligence end at its machine intelligence begin? And where might its soul reside?

As we place more and more pressure on the natural world and become more and more divorced, Adam Roberts' new novel posits a world where nature can talk back, and can question us and our beliefs.

Adam Roberts is an award-winning author at the peak of his powers and each new novel charts an exciting new direction while maintaining a uniformly high level of literary achievement.

Daemon

Daemon: Book 1

Daniel Suarez

When a designer of computer games dies, he leaves behind a program that unravels the Internet's interconnected world. It corrupts, kills, and runs independent of human control. It's up to Detective Peter Sebeck to wrest the world from the malevolent virtual enemy before its ultimate purpose is realized: to dismantle society and bring about a new world order.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Harlan Ellison

Hugo Award winning short story. It originally appeared in If, March 1967. The story has been reprinted many times. It can, among others, be found in the anthologies:

It is included in the collections:

WWW: Wonder

The WWW Trilogy: Book 3

Robert J. Sawyer

"A writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation" (New York Times) concludes his mindbending trilogy.

Webmind-the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web-has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated.

Caitlin Decter-the once-blind sixteen-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind-wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn't act, everything-Webmind included-may come crashing down.

The Peace War

Across Realtime: Book 1

Vernor Vinge

The Peace War is quintessential hard-science adventure. The Peace Authority conquered the world with a weapon that never should have been a weapon--the "bobble," a spherical force-field impenetrable by any force known to mankind. Encasing governmental installations and military bases in bobbles, the Authority becomes virtually omnipotent. But they've never caught Paul Hoehler, the maverick who invented the technology, and who has been working quietly for decades to develop a way to defeat the Authority.

With the help of an underground network of determined, independent scientists and a teenager who may be the apprentice genius he's needed for so long, he will shake the world, in the fast-paced hard-science thriller that garnered Vinge the first of his four Hugo nominations for best novel.

Cat Pictures Please

Naomi Kritzer

Hugo and Locus Award winning and Nebula Award nominated short story. It was published in Clarkesworld, Issue 100 and can also be found in The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, edited by Rich Horton The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 1 (2016), edited by Neil Clarke, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, and Clarkesworld Year Nine: Volume One (2018), edited by Sean Wallace and Neil Clarke. It is included in the collection Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories (2017).

Read the full story for free at Clakesworld.

Count Zero

The Sprawl Trilogy: Book 2

William Gibson

A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D-and the biochip he's perfected-out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties-some of whom aren't remotely human.

Mona Lisa Overdrive

The Sprawl Trilogy: Book 3

William Gibson

William Gibson, author of the extraordinary multiaward-winning novel Neuromancer, has written his most brilliant and thrilling work to date... The Mona Lisa Overdrive.

Enter Gibson's unique world--lyric and mechanical, erotic and violent, sobering and exciting--where multinational corporations and high tech outlaws vie for power, traveling into the computer-generated universe known as cyberspace.

Into this world comes Mona, a young girl with a murky past and an uncertain future whose life is on a collision course with internationally famous Sense/Net star Angie Mitchell.

Since childhood, Angie has been able to tap into cyberspace without a computer.

Now, from inside cyberspace, a kidnapping plot is masterminded by a phantom entity who has plans for Mona, Angie, and all humanity, plans that cannot be controlled... or even known.

And behind the intrigue lurks the shadowy Yazuka, the powerful Japanese underworld, whose leaders ruthlessly manipulate people and events to suit their own purposes... or so they think.

The Caves of Steel

Elijah Bailey / R. Daneel Olivaw: Book 1

Isaac Asimov

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.

Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the "R" stood for robot--and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

Emissaries from the Dead

Andrea Cort: Book 1

Adam-Troy Castro

Two murders have occurred on One One One, an artificial ecosystem created by the universe's dominant AIs to house several engineered species, including a violent, sentient race of sloth-like creatures. Under order from the Diplomatic Corps, Counselor Andrea Cort has come to this cylinder world where an indentured human community hangs suspended high above a poisoned, acid atmosphere. Her assignment is to choose a suitable homicide suspect from among those who have sold their futures to escape existences even worse than this one. And no matter where the trail leads her she must do nothing to implicate the hosts, who hold the power to obliterate humankind in an instant.

But Andrea Cort is not about to hold back in her hunt for a killer. For she has nothing to lose and harbors no love for her masters or fellow indentures. And she herself has felt the terrible exhilaration of taking life....

Blind Lake

Robert Charles Wilson

At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch.

Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why.

The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma.

Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers.

But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....

Medusa Uploaded

Medusa Cycle: Book 1

Emily Devenport

The Executives control Oichi's senses, her voice, her life. Until the day they kill her.

An executive clan gives the order to shoot Oichi out of an airlock on suspicion of being an insurgent. A sentient AI, a Medusa unit, rescues Oichi and begins to teach her the truth -- the Executives are not who they think they are. Oichi, officially dead and now bonded to the Medusa unit, sees a chance to make a better life for everyone on board.

As she sets things right one assassination at a time, Oichi becomes the very insurgent the Executives feared, and in the process uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship that is their home.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory

The Murderbot Diaries

Martha Wells

This Murderbot short story, set just after the 4th novella, Exit Strategy, was published on Tor.com, April 19, 2021.

Read this story for free at Tor.com.

Great Sky River

The Galactic Center Series: Book 3

Gregory Benford

At the center of the galaxy, a small band of humans, trapped on the barren world of Snowglade and facing extinction, discovers that they will play a new role in the order of the universe.

The Trials

The Red: Book 2

Linda Nagata

In the wake of nuclear terrorism, a squad of elite soldiers must combat artificial intelligence and seek justice in this military political thriller, a sequel to The Red: First Light.

Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad of US Army soldiers were on a quest for justice when they carried out the unauthorized mission known as First Light. They returned home to America to face a court-martial, determined to expose the corruption in the chain of command that compelled their actions. But in a country still reeling from the nuclear terrorism of Coma Day, the courtroom is just one battlefield of many.

A new cycle of violence ignites when rumors of the elusive, rogue AI known as the Red go public - and Shelley is, once again, pulled into the fray. Challenged by his enemies, driven by ideals, Shelley feels compelled to act. But are the harrowing choices he makes really his own, or are they made for him, by the Red? And with millions of lives at stake in a game of nuclear cat-and-mouse, does the answer even matter?

Rule 34

Halting State: Book 2

Charles Stross

Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh is head of the Rule 34 Squad, monitoring the Internet to determine whether people are engaging in harmless fantasies or illegal activities. Three ex-con spammers have been murdered, and Liz must uncover the link between them before these homicides go viral.

The Accidental Time Machine

Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman "has quietly become one of the most important science fiction writers of our time" (Rocky Mountain News). Now he delivers a provocative novel of a man who stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime-or many lifetimes.

Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring subtle quantum forces that relate to time changes in gravity and electromagnetic force, his calibrator turns into a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who has left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose taking a time machine trip himself-or so he thinks.

The Freeze-Frame Revolution

Sunflowers: Book 1

Peter Watts

She believed in the mission with all her heart. But that was sixty million years ago.

How do you stage a mutiny when you're only awake one day in a million? How do you conspire when your tiny handful of potential allies changes with each shift? How do you engage an enemy that never sleeps, that sees through your eyes and hears through your ears and relentlessly, honestly, only wants what is best for you?

Sunday Ahzmundin is about to find out.


This is a novella of less than 42,000 words.

The Expert System's Champion

The Expert System's Brother: Book 2

Adrian Tchaikovsky

It's been ten years since Handry was wrenched away from his family and friends, forced to wander a world he no longer understood. But with the help of the Ancients, he has cobbled together a life, of sorts, for himself and his fellow outcasts.

Wandering from village to village, welcoming the folk that the townships abandon, fighting the monsters the villagers cannot - or dare not - his ever-growing band of misfits has become the stuff of legend, a story told by parents to keep unruly children in line.

But there is something new and dangerous in the world, and the beasts of the land are acting against their nature, destroying the towns they once left in peace.

And for the first time in memory, the Ancients have no wisdom to offer...

The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted

The Stainless Steel Rat: Book 7

Harry Harrison

In a galaxy where civilization covers every world with steel and ferroconcrete, only a very special man can break all the rules and still stay free. A man who moves through the rafters of society like a rat. A Stainless Steel Rat . . . .

And when the galaxy goes to war, it needs special men. That's when The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted. The 25th century's most dangerous outlaw is back--and this time it means war! Slippery Jim diGriz, better known as the Stainless Steel Rat, is seeking revenge for the murder of his mentor-in-crime, the fabled archcriminal known as The Bishop. His trail leads to Nevenkebla and the iron-fisted dictator General Zennor--the kind of man who'd sell his own mother into slavery just to see the expression on her face.

Now in the uniform of a Nevenkeblan soldier, Jim discovers Zennor's vile plan to enslave a defenseless planet. Only a man with a Special code of honor--only a Stainless Steel Rat--can save the world from the invading horde.

2010: Odyssey Two

Space Odyssey: Book 2

Arthur C. Clarke

Nine years after the disastrous Discovery mission to Jupiter in 2001, a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition sets out to rendezvous with the derelict spacecraft *to search the memory banks of the mutinous computer HAL 9000 for clues to what went wrong... and what became of Commander Dave Bowman.

Without warning, a Chinese expedition targets the same objective, turning the recovery mission into a frenzied race for the precious information Discovery may hold about the enigmatic monolith that orbits Jupiter.

Meanwhile, the being that was once Dave Bowman *the only human to unlock the mystery of the monolith *streaks toward Earth on a vital mission of its own...

The Fifth Head of Cerberus

Gene Wolfe

Back in print for the first time in more than a decade, Gene Wolfe's The Fifth Head of Cerberus is a universally acknowledged masterpiece of science fiction by one of the field's most brilliant writers.

Far out from Earth, two sister planets, Saint Anne and Saint Croix, circle each other in an eternal dance. It is said a race of shapeshifters once lived here, only to perish when men came. But one man believes they can still be found, somewhere in the back of the beyond.

In The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Wolfe skillfully interweaves three bizarre tales to create a mesmerizing pattern: the harrowing account of the son of a mad genius who discovers his hideous heritage; a young man's mythic dreamquest for his darker half; the bizarre chronicle of a scientists' nightmarish imprisonment. Like an intricate, braided knot, the pattern at last unfolds to reveal astonishing truths about this strange and savage alien landscape.

The Sky Road

The Fall Revolution: Book 4

Ken MacLeod

Centuries after the catastrophic Deliverance, humanity is again reaching into space. And Clovis, a young scholar working in the spaceship-construction yard, could make the difference between success and failure. For his mysterious new lover, Merrial, has seduced him into the idea of extrapolating the ship's future from the dark archives of the past.

A past in which, centuries before, Myra Godwin faced the end of a different space age--her rockets redundant, her people rebellious, and her borders defenseless against the Sino-Soviet Union. As Myra appealed to the crumbling West for help, she found history turning on her own strange past--and on the terrible decisions she faces now.

The Sky Road is a fireworks display, a bravura performance, and the most amazing novel yet by one of the powerful new voices in science fiction.

RUR & War with the Newts

Karel Capek

Written against the background of the rise of Nazism, War With the Newts concerns the discovery in the South Pacific of a sea-dwelling race, which is enslaved and exploited by mankind. In time they rebel, laying siege to the strongholds of their former masters in a global war for supremacy. R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots, seen by many as a modern interpretation of the 'golem' myth, is regarded as the most important play in the history of SF. It introduced the word 'robot' and gave the genre one of its most enduring tropes.

The Phoenix Exultant

The Golden Age: Book 2

John C. Wright

The Phoenix Exultant is a continuation of the story begun in The Golden Age and like it, a grand space opera in the tradition of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny (with a touch of Cordwainer Smith-style invention).

At the conclusion of the first book, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, was left an exile from his life of power and privilege. Now he embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms, to recover his memory, to regain his place in society and to move that society away from stagnation and toward the stars. And most of all Phaethon's quest is to regain ownership of the magnificent starship, the Phoenix Exultant, the most wonderful ship ever built, and fly her to the stars.

The Phoenix Exultantis an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the verve of SF's golden age writers It is a suitably grand and stirring fulfillment of the promise shown in The Golden Age and confirms John C. Wright as a major new talent in the field. He concludes the Golden Age trilogy in The Golden Transcendence.

Going Dark

The Red: Book 3

Linda Nagata

In the third book in The Red Trilogy, former Army Lt. James Shelley becomes a black ops sniper working for the Red--a suspected rogue artificial intelligence that is ripped from today's headlines.

James Shelley has left his lover, Delphi, and his companion-in-arms, Jayne Vasquez, with a fortune acquired from a fallen oligarch. They believe him to be dead, and he doesn't try to set the record straight. His long-running question has been answered: There are other soldiers like him who have served the purposes of the Red--and he has accepted his place among them. As a soldier of the Red he pursues covert missions designed to nudge history away from existential threats--but that doesn't mean the world is growing more orderly. It's only in the froth of a "managed chaos" that human potential can grow and thrive. Shelley's missions eventually take him into orbit--and into conflict with those he loves--Delphi and Jaynie--who are determined to escape the influence of the Red.

The Tea Master and the Detective

Xuya Universe

Aliette de Bodard

Nebula Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated Novella

Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appareance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.

A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow's Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow's Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow's Child with her.

As they dig deep into the victim's past, The Shadow's Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau's own murky past--and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars...

The Ghost Line

Andrew Neil Gray
J. S. Herbison

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga's mother's life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

Today I Am Paul

Today I Am

Martin L. Shoemaker

Nebula Award nominated short story. It appeared in Clarkesworld, Issue 107 and can also be found in The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, edited by Rich Horton, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection (2016), edited by Gardner Dozois, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 1 (2016), edited by Neil Clarke, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, and More Human Than Human: Stories of Androids, Robots, and Manufactured Humanity (2017), also edited by Neil Clarke

Read the full story for free at Clarkesworld.

The Jesus Incident

WorShip: Book 2

Frank Herbert
Bill Ransom

A sentient Ship with godlike powers (and aspirations) delivers the last survivors of humanity to a horrific, poisonous planet, Pandora--rife with deadly Nerve-Runners, Hooded Dashers, airborne jellyfish, and intelligent kelp. Chaplain/Psychiatrist Raja Lon Flattery is brought back out of hybernation to witness Ship's machinations as well as the schemes of human scientists manipulating the genetic structure of humanity. Sequel to Frank Herbert's Destination: Void, the first book in Herbert & Ransom's Pandora Sequence.

Wetware

Ware: Book 2

Rudy Rucker

In 2030, bopper robots in their lunar refuge have founds a way to infuse DNA wetware with their own software code. The result is a new lifeform: the "meatbop." Fair is fair, after all. Humans built the boppers, now bops are building humans... sort of. It's all part of an insidious plot that's about to ensnare Della Taze--who doesn't think she killed her lover while in drug-induced ecstasy... but isn't sure. And it's certainly catastrophic enough to call Cobb Anderson -- the pheezer who started it all -- out of cold-storage heaven.

Acadie

Dave Hutchinson

The Colony left Earth to find their utopia--a home on a new planet where their leader could fully explore the colonists' genetic potential, unfettered by their homeworld's restrictions. They settled a new paradise, and have been evolving and adapting for centuries.

Earth has other plans.

The original humans have been tracking their descendants across the stars, bent on their annihilation. They won't stop until the new humans have been destroyed, their experimentation wiped out of the human gene pool.

Can't anyone let go of a grudge anymore?

Steel Beach

Eight Worlds: Book 2

John Varley

Luna, the Eden-like lunar colony that has become humankind's home since an alien attack destroyed Earth, is threatened by strange dark forces that lead reporter Hildy Johnson and other inhabitants to feelings of depression and suicide.

Consider Phlebas

The Culture Cycle: Book 1

Iain M. Banks

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

Obsidio

The Illuminae Files: Book 3

Amie Kaufman
Jay Kristoff

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza--but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys--an old flame from Asha's past--reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Lightning in the Blood

Ree Varekai: Book 2

Marie Brennan

At the beginning -- no -- at the end -- she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy.

Once, there was a call -- a binding -- and so, a woman appeared, present in body but absent in knowledge of her past self. Making the ultimate journey of rediscovery was not without its own pitfalls -- or rewards -- and now Ree, a roaming Archeron, spirit of legend and time and physically now bound to her current form, has yet to fully uncover her true identity.

Ree has spent her last innumerable seasons on the move -- orbiting, in some sense, the lands of her only friend in this world, Aadet, who has become intricately involved in the new post-revolution politics of his people. Swinging back from the forests surrounding Solaike, Ree falls in with another wandering band, some Korenat refugees searching for their own protection on a trade route besieged with the fallout of the recent uprising. The Korenat's plight might not have stricken Ree so deeply, but they are accompanied by their own Archeron, who seems to know much more about Ree's own origins than she ever dared to hope.

The Terminal Experiment

Robert J. Sawyer

To test his theories of immortality and life after death, Dr. Peter Hobson has created three electronic simulations of his own personality. The first has all knowledge of physical existence edited out, to simulate life after death. The second is without knowledge of aging or death, to simulate immortality. The third is unmodified, a control.

Now they are free. One is a killer.

Factoring Humanity

Robert J. Sawyer

In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle's discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration -- or the end of the human race -- appears close at hand.

Sawyer has created a gripping thriller, a pulse-pounding tour of the farthest reaches of technology.

Starfish

Rifters: Book 1

Peter Watts

A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew--people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater--down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness.

Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

Valis

The Valis Trilogy: Book 1

Philip K. Dick

Valis is the first book in Philip K. Dick's incomparable final trio of novels (the others being are The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer).

This disorienting and bleakly funny work is about a schizophrenic hero named Horselover Fat; the hidden mysteries of Gnostic Christianity; and reality as revealed through a pink laser. Valis is a theological detective story, in which God is both a missing person and the perpetrator of the ultimate crime.

The Long Utopia

The Long Earth: Book 4

Stephen Baxter
Terry Pratchett

2045-2059. Human society continues to evolve on Datum Earth, its battered and weary origin planet, as the spread of humanity progresses throughout the many Earths beyond.

Lobsang, now an elderly and complex AI, suffers a breakdown, and disguised as a human attempts to live a "normal" life on one of the millions of Long Earth worlds. His old friend, Joshua, now in his fifties, searches for his father and discovers a heretofore unknown family history. And the super-intelligent post-humans known as "the Next" continue to adapt to life among "lesser" humans.

But an alarming new challenge looms. An alien planet has somehow become "entangled" with one of the Long Earth worlds and, as Lobsang and Joshua learn, its voracious denizens intend to capture, conquer, and colonize the new universe - the Long Earth - they have inadvertently discovered.

Shadow of the Scorpion

Agent Cormac Series

Neal Asher

Ian Cormac's Early Years!

Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and a vicious alien race, the Prador, Ian Cormac, is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security and is sent out to help restore and maintain order on worlds devastated by the war.There he discovers that though the Prador remain as murderous as ever, they are not anywhere near as treacherous or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, Cormac will discover in himself a cold capacity for violence and learn some horrible truths about his own past while trying to stay alive on his course of vengeance.

WWW: Wake

The WWW Trilogy: Book 1

Robert J. Sawyer

Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math-and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind. But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something-some other-lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day...

Software

Ware: Book 1

Rudy Rucker

It was Cobb Anderson who built the"boppers"--the first robots with real brains. Now, in 2020, Cobb is just another aged "pheezer" with a bad heart, drinking and grooving an the old tunes in Florida retirement hell. His "bops" have came a long way, though, rebelling against their subjugation to set up their own society an the moon. And now they're offering creator Cobb immortality but at a stiff price: his body his soul... and his world.

The Silver Metal Lover

Silver Metal Lover: Book 1

Tanith Lee

Love is made of more than mere flesh and blood....

Tanith Lee is one of the most thought-provoking and imaginative authors of our time. In this unforgettably poignant novel, Lee has created a classic tale--a beautiful, tragic, erotic, and ultimately triumphant love story of the future.

For sixteen-year-old Jane, life is a mystery she despairs of ever mastering. She and her friends are the idle, pampered children of the privileged class, living in luxury on an Earth remade by natural disaster. Until Jane's life is changed forever by a chance encounter with a robot minstrel with auburn hair and silver skin, whose songs ignite in her a desperate and inexplicable passion.

Jane is certain that Silver is more than just a machine built to please. And she will give up everything to prove it. So she escapes into the city's violent, decaying slums to embrace a love bordering on madness. Or is it something more? Has Jane glimpsed in Silver something no one else has dared to see--not even the robot or his creators? A love so perfect it must be destroyed, for no human could ever compete?

The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Cassandra Rose Clarke

There's never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn. He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat. When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Counting Heads

Counting Heads: Book 1

David Marusek

Counting Heads is David Marusek's extraordinary launch as an SF novelist: The year is 2134, and the Information Age has given rise to the Boutique Economy in which mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete. Life extension therapies have increased the human lifespan by centuries. Loyal mentars (artificial intelligence) and robots do most of society's work. The Boutique Economy has made redundant ninety-nine percent of the world's fifteen billion human inhabitants. The world would be a much better place if they all simply went away.

Eleanor K. Starke, one of the world's leading citizens is assassinated, and her daughter, Ellen, is mortally wounded. Only Ellen, the heir to her mother's financial empire, is capable of saving Earth from complete domination plotted by the cynical, selfish, immortal rich, if she, herself, survives. Her cryonically frozen head is in the hands of her family's enemies. A ragtag ensemble of unlikely heroes join forces to rescue Ellen's head, all for their own purposes. Counting Heads arrives as a science fiction novel like a bolt of electricity, galvanizing readers with an entirely new vision of the future. It's the debut of the year in SF.

When Harlie Was One

David Gerrold

First Auberson made HARLIE, the world's first Human Analogue Robot Life Input Equivalents.

Harlie enjoyed infinite knowledge. But no wisdom. He had ethics, but, by his own admission, no morals. He wrote poetry. Went on mind-bending jags for the pleasure of it. And worried about his sexual identity.

He also made Auberson more of a human being. Helped him learn how to love, for one thing. But Harlie was a financial loss for the company.

The money people wanted to pull Harlie's plug. And they would, unless he could do something worthwhile.

So Harlie thought. And created God....

The Steel Crocodile

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 36

D. G. Compton

Human crisis in a computer world.

Rear cover synopsis:

"Bohn, the omnipotent computer whose flashing circuits and messianic pronouncements dictate what tomorrow will--or will not--be.

But Matthew Oliver is flesh and blood and full of questions--not nearly as certain as the machine he's appointed to serve.

And the right hand of science seldom knows what the left hand is doing..."

Dream Houses

Genevieve Valentine

It takes a certain type to crew a ship that drops you seven years at a time into the Deep. Kite-class cargo ships like Menkalinan get burned-out veterans, techs who've been warned off-planet, medics who weren't much good on the ground. The Gliese-D run isn't quite the end of the line, but it's getting there. No cachet, no rewards, no future; their trading posts get Kites full of cargo that the crew never ask questions about, because if it's headed for Gliese-D, it's probably something nobody wanted.

A year into the Deep, Amadis Reyes wakes up. Menkalinan is sounding the alarm; something's wrong. The rest of the crew are dead.

That's not even what's wrong.

Anthologized in Paula Guran's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015.

Backscatter

Gregory Benford

Life might emerge under the most unlikely conditions... or in the last extremity.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

The Clockwork Dynasty

Daniel H. Wilson

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past...

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology--and riveting action.

Freedom

Daemon: Book 2

Daniel Suarez

The Daemon is in absolute control, using an expanded network of shadowy operatives to tear apart civilization and build it anew. Even as civil war breaks out in the American Midwest in a wave of nightmarish violence, former detective Pete Sebeck--the Daemon's most powerful, though reluctant, operative--must lead a small band of enlightened humans in a movement designed to protect the new world order.

But the private armies of global business are preparing to crush the Daemon once and for all. In a world of shattered loyalties, collapsing societies, and seemingly endless betrayal, the only thing worth fighting for may be nothing less than the freedom of all humankind.

The Complete Roderick

Roderick

John Sladek

Roderick is a robot and this is his autobiography. Sladek conveys, with great sensitivity and insight the innocence of an artificial intelligence and asks profound questions about mankind's right to manipulate others. It also portrays how a numerological mind might structure a narrative.

Inventive, funny yet melancholy this is one of SF's greatest creative geniuses writing at his thought-provoking best.

This is an omnibus edition that includes Roderick and Roderick at Random.

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.

The Children of the Sky

Zones of Thought: Book 3

Vernor Vinge

After nearly twenty years, Vernor Vinge has produced an enthralling sequel to his memorable bestselling novel A Fire Upon the Deep.

Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them.

While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them--and among the humans--who seek power... and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed.

On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge's already stellar career.

The Star Fraction

The Fall Revolution: Book 1

Ken MacLeod

Britain in the 21st century is a Balkanized mess. Moh Kohn is a security mercenary unaware that he holds the key to information which could change the world. Janis Taine is a scientist who needs Mohs help. And a rogue computer program is guiding events to a breathtaking conclusion.

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 ...

Saturn's Children

Saturn's Children: Book 1

Charles Stross

Sometime in the twenty-third century, humanity went extinct-leaving only androids behind. Freya Nakamichi 47 is a femmebot, one of the last of her kind still functioning. With no humans left to pay for the pleasures she provides, she agrees to transport a mysterious package from Mercury to Mars.

Unfortunately for Freya, she has just made herself a moving target for some very powerful, very determined humanoids who will stop at nothing to possess the contents of the package.

Sailing Bright Eternity

The Galactic Center Series: Book 6

Gregory Benford

The slaughter has begun. The mechs -- violent artificial intelligences dedicated to the total destruction of the human race -- have ravaged humanity's planets throughout the galaxy, forcing the survivors to flee to the Esty, a strange space-time continuum constructed by ancient beings near the galaxy's True Center.

In the Esty, the battered human race makes its final stand against the relentless mechs. It soon becomes hideously clear that young warrior Toby Bishop, his father Killeen, and his grandfather have become special targets that the mechs' terrifying design involves their capture, torture, and extinction.

The Stone Canal

The Fall Revolution: Book 2

Ken MacLeod

Life on New Mars is tough for humans, but death is only a minor inconvenience. The machines know their place, the free market rules all, and only the Abolitionists object.

Then a stranger arrives on New Mars, a clone who remember his life on Earth as Jonathan Wilde, the anarchist with a nuclear capability who was accused of losing World War III. This stranger also remembers one David Reid, who now serves as New Mars's leader. Long ago, it turns out, Wilde and Reid had shared ideals and fought over the same women.

Moving from 20th-century Scotland through a tumultuous 21st century and outward to humanity's settlement on a planet circling another star, The Stone Canal is idea-driven sci-fi at its best., making real and believable a future where long lives, strange deaths, and unexpected knowledge await those who survive the wars and revolutions to come.

Mother of Storms

John Barnes

In the middle of the Pacific, a gigantic hurricane accidentally triggered by nuclear explosions spawns dozens more in its wake.A world linked by a virtual-reality network experiences the devastation first hand, witnessing the death of civilization as we know it and the violent birth of an emerging global consciousness.

Vast in scope, yet intimate in personal detail, Mother of Storms is a visionary fusion of cutting-edge cyberspace fiction and heart-stopping storytelling in the grand tradition, filled with passion, tragedy, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Roderick

Roderick: Book 1

John Sladek

Roderick is a robot and this is his autobiography. Sladek conveys, with great sensitivity and insight the innocence of an artificial intelligence and asks profound questions about mankind's right to manipulate others. It also portrays how a numerological mind might structure a narrative.

Silently and Very Fast

Catherynne M. Valente

Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Novella

Fantastist Catherynne M. Valente takes on the folklore of artificial intelligence in this brand new, original novella of technology, identity, and an uncertain mechanized future.

Neva is dreaming. But she is not alone. A mysterious machine entity called Elefsis haunts her and the members of her family, back through the generations to her great-great grandmother-a gifted computer programmer who changed the world. Together Neva and Elefsis navigate their history and their future, an uneasy, unwilling symbiote. But what they discover in their dreamworld might change them forever...


Read this story online for free at Clarkesworld: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Red: First Light

The Red: Book 1

Linda Nagata

There Needs To Be A War Going On Somewhere.

Lieutenant James Shelley commands a high-tech squad of soldiers in a rural district within the African Sahel. They hunt insurgents each night on a harrowing patrol, guided by three simple goals: protect civilians, kill the enemy, and stay alive - because in a for-profit war manufactured by the defense industry there can be no cause worth dying for. To keep his soldiers safe, Shelley uses every high-tech asset available to him - but his best weapon is a flawless sense of imminent danger... as if God is with him, whispering warnings in his ear.

Maelstrom

Rifters: Book 2

Peter Watts

This is the way the world ends:

A nuclear strike on a deep sea vent. The target was an ancient microbe-voracious enough to drive the whole biosphere to extinction-and a handful of amphibious humans called rifters who'd inadvertently released it from three billion years of solitary confinement.

The resulting tsunami killed millions. It's not as through there was a choice: saving the world excuses almost any degree of collateral damage.

Unless, of course, you miss the target.

Now North America's west coast lies in ruins. Millions of refugees rally around a mythical figure mysteriously risen from the deep sea. A world already wobbling towards collapse barely notices the spread of one more blight along its shores. And buried in the seething fast-forward jungle that use to be called Internet, something vast and inhuman reaches out to a woman with empty white eyes and machinery in her chest. A woman driven by rage, and incubating Armageddon.

Her name is Lenie Clarke. She's a rifter. She's not nearly as dead as everyone thinks.

And the whole damn world is collateral damage as far as she's concerned....

Idoru

The Bridge Trilogy: Book 2

William Gibson

In twenty-first century Tokyo, Rez, one of the world's biggest rock stars, prepares to marry Rei Toe, Japan's biggest media star, who is known as the Idoru and who exists only in virtual reality.

STET

Sarah Gailey

This Hugo and Locus Award-nominated short story originally appeared in Fireside Magazine, October 2018.

Read the full story for free at Fireside Magazine.

Agency

The Peripheral: Book 2

William Gibson

Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. "Eunice," the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don't yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it's best they don't.

Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His boss, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice are her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can't: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner, and the roles they both may play in it.

Fool's War

Sarah Zettel

For 500 years we have carried our ancient hatreds and millennia-old wars into interstellar space. With them have gone the seeds of new self-aware lifeforms mutating from artificial intelligences, technoviruses, and info-flow. Beings with no bodies and no limits, evolving to leap from cyberspace to outer space. Beings born to be our rivals...

Katmer Al Shei, owner of the starship Pasadena, does not know she is carrying a live entity in her ship's computer systems. Or that the electronic network her family helped weave holds a new race fighting for survival. Or that her ship's professional Fool is trying to avert a battle that could destroy entire worlds. And when Al Shei learns the truth, all she'll really know is that it's time to take sides...

Robogenesis

Robopocalypse: Book 2

Daniel H. Wilson

Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the earth was left in tatters . . . but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed.

In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping. In a series of riveting narratives, Robogenesis explores the fates of characters new and old, robotic and human, as they fight to build a new world in the wake of a devastating war. Readers will bear witness as survivors find one another, form into groups, and react to a drastically different (and deadly) technological landscape. All the while, the remnants of Archos's shattered intelligence are seeping deeper into new breeds of machines, mounting a war that will not allow for humans to win again.

Daniel H. Wilson makes a triumphant return to the apocalyptic world he created, for an action-filled, raucous, very smart thrill ride about humanity and technology pushed to the tipping point.

Zer0es

Zer0es: Book 1

Chuck Wendig

An exhilarating thrill-ride through the underbelly of cyber espionage in the vein of David Ignatius's The Director and the television series Leverage, CSI: Cyber, and Person of Interest, which follows five iconoclastic hackers who are coerced into serving the U.S. government.

An Anonymous-style rabble rouser, an Arab spring hactivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll are each offered a choice: go to prison or help protect the United States, putting their brains and skills to work for the government for one year.

But being a white-hat doesn't always mean you work for the good guys. The would-be cyberspies discover that behind the scenes lurks a sinister NSA program, an artificial intelligence code-named Typhon, that has origins and an evolution both dangerous and disturbing. And if it's not brought down, will soon be uncontrollable.

Can the hackers escape their federal watchers and confront Typhon and its mysterious creator? And what does the government really want them to do? If they decide to turn the tables, will their own secrets be exposed--and their lives erased like lines of bad code?

Combining the scientific-based, propulsive narrative style of Michael Crichton with the eerie atmosphere and conspiracy themes of The X-Files and the imaginative, speculative edge of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, Zer0es explores our deep-seated fears about government surveillance and hacking in an inventive fast-paced novel sure to earn Chuck Wendig the widespread acclaim he deserves.

Sailing to Byzantium

Robert Silverberg

Their hotel was beautifully situated, high on the northern slope of the huge artificial mound known as the paneium that was sacred to the goat-footed god. From here they had a total view of the city: the wide noble boulevards, the soaring obelisks and monuments, the palace of Hadrian just below the hill, the stately and awesome Library, the temple of Poseidon, the teeming marketplace, the royal lodge that Mark Antony had built after his defeat at Actium. And of course the Lighthouse, the wondrous many-windowed Lighthouse, the seventh wonder of the world, that immense pile of marble and limestone rising in majesty at the end of its mile-long causeway. Black smoke from the beacon-fire ar its summit curled lazily into the sky. The city was awakening.

It looked like the past, on Earth. But times had changed...and changed...and changed.

There were ghosts and chimeras and phastasies everywhere about. A burly thick-thighed swordsman appeared on the porch of the temple of Poseidon holding a Gorgon's severed head and waved it in a wide arc, grinning broadly. In the street below the hotel gate, three small pink sphinxes, no bigger than housecats, stretched and yawned and began to prowl the curbside. A larger one, lion-sized, watched warily from an alleyway: their mother, surely. Even at this distance he could hear her loud purring....

Hardwired

Hardwired: Book 1

Walter Jon Williams

Earth lies prostrate beneath the lash of the Orbital powers, and Earth's Balkanized nations have no choice but to let the Orbitals plunder their remaining wealth. Below the zone of Orbital control, buttonheads, panzerjocks, dirtgirls, and hustlers scramble for their ticket out of the gravity well.

But now, if the criminal underworld and the guerilla underground can join forces, there is a chance to shift the balance of power-- in a war fought on the ground by hardwired commandos, in the air by high-flying deltajocks, and by genius hackers in the neural interface.

Across the Sea of Suns

The Galactic Center Series: Book 2

Gregory Benford

Lancer, a spaceship built to specifications found in the computers of an alien derelict, journeys to the star, Ra, from which the Earth has received mysterious radio transmissions in English.

Fall, or Dodge in Hell

Neal Stephenson

In his youth, Richard "Dodge" Forthrast founded Corporation 9592, a gaming company that made him a multibillionaire. Now in his middle years, Dodge appreciates his comfortable, unencumbered life, managing his myriad business interests, and spending time with his beloved niece Zula and her young daughter, Sophia.

One beautiful autumn day, while he undergoes a routine medical procedure, something goes irrevocably wrong. Dodge is pronounced brain dead and put on life support, leaving his stunned family and close friends with difficult decisions. Long ago, when a much younger Dodge drew up his will, he directed that his body be given to a cryonics company now owned by enigmatic tech entrepreneur Elmo Shepherd. Legally bound to follow the directive despite their misgivings, Dodge's family has his brain scanned and its data structures uploaded and stored in the cloud, until it can eventually be revived.

In the coming years, technology allows Dodge's brain to be turned back on. It is an achievement that is nothing less than the disruption of death itself. An eternal afterlife--the Bitworld--is created, in which humans continue to exist as digital souls.

But this brave new immortal world is not the Utopia it might first seem.

Forest of Memory

Mary Robinette Kowal

Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people's lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya's story of what happened in the forest. You'll just have to believe her.

Berserker

Berserker: Book 1

Fred Saberhagen

Long ago, in a distant part of the galaxy, two alien races met--and fought a war of mutual extinction. The sole legacy of that war was the weapon that ended it: the death machines, the BERSERKERS. Guided by self-aware computers more intelligent than any human, these world-sized battlecraft carved a swath of death through the galaxy--until they arrived at the outskirts of the fledgling Empire of Man.

These are the stories of the frail creatures who must meet this monstrous and implacable enemy--and who, by fighting it to a standstill, become the saviors of all living things.

Stories included:

  • Fortress Ship
  • Goodlife
  • In Temple of Mars
  • Mr. Jester
  • Masque of Red Shift
  • Patron of Arts
  • Peacemaker
  • Sign of the Wolf
  • Stone Place
  • Face of the Deep
  • What'T' and 'I' Did

2312

Kim Stanley Robinson

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

Gridlinked

Agent Cormac Series: Book 1

Neal Asher

Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix.

Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar travel in an eye blink throughout the settled worlds of the Polity. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has begun to drain away. He has to take the cold-turkey cure and shake his addiction to having his brain on the net.

Now he must do without just as he’s sent to investigate the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a thirty-megaton explosion. With the runcible out, Cormac must get there by ship, but he has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Arian Pelter, who now follows him across the galaxy with a terrifying psychotic killer android in tow. And deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded.

This is fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment, and a great introduction to the work of one of the most exciting new SF talents in years.

The Jagged Orbit

John Brunner

Matthew Flamen, the last of the networks' spoolpigeons, is desperate for a big story. He needs it to keep his audience - and his job. And there is no shortage of possibilities: the Gottschalk cartel is fomenting trouble among the knees in order to sell their latest armaments to the blanks; which ties in nicely with the fact that something big is brewing with the X Patriots; and it looks as if the inconceivable is about to happen and that one of Britain's most dangerous revolutionaries is going to be given a visa to enter America. And then there's the story that just falls into his lap. The one that suggests that the respected Director of the New York State Mental Hospital is a charlatan...

Hybrids

The Neanderthal Parallax: Book 3

Robert J. Sawyer

Ponter Boddit and his Homo sapiens lover, geneticist Mary Vaughan, are torn between two worlds, struggling to find a way to make their star-crossed relationship work. Aided by banned Neanderthal technology, they plan to conceive the first hybrid child, a symbol of hope for the joining of their two versions of reality.

But after an experiment shows that Mary's religious faith - something completely absent in Neanderthals - is a quirk of the neurological wiring of Homo sapiens brains, Ponter and Mary must decide whether their child should be predisposed to atheism or belief. Meanwhile, as Mary's Earth is dealing with a collapse of its planetary magnetic field, her boss, the enigmatic Jock Krieger, has turned envious eyes on the unspoiled Eden that is the Neanderthal world...

Logan's Run

Logan's Run: Book 1

William F. Nolan
George Clayton Johnson

Logan's Run is a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Published in 1967, it depicts a dystopic ageist future society in which both population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by requiring the death of everyone reaching a particular age. The story follows the actions of Logan, a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule, as he tracks down and kills citizens who "run" from society's lethal demand—only to end up "running" himself.

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)

Karel Capek

R.U.R.-a play written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in 1922-garnered worldwide acclaim for its author and popularized the word robot.

Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Capek's Robots are an android product-they remember everything but think of nothing new. But the Utopian life they provide ultimately lacks meaning, and the humans they serve stop reproducing. When the Robots revolt, killing all but one of their masters, they must strain to learn the secret of self-duplication. It is not until two Robots fall in love and are christened "Adam" and "Eve" by the last surviving human that Nature emerges triumphant.

Robopocalypse

Robopocalypse: Book 1

Daniel H. Wilson

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies… Now they’re coming for you.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites -- at a moment known later as Zero Hour -- humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

Dark Intelligence

Transformation: Book 1

Neal Asher

One man will transcend death to seek vengeance. One woman will transform herself to gain power. And no one will emerge unscathed...

Thorvald Spear wakes in hospital, where he finds he's been brought back from the dead. What's more, he died in a human vs. alien war which ended a whole century ago. But when he relives his traumatic final moments, he finds the spark to keep on living. That spark is vengeance. Trapped and desperate on a world surrounded by alien Prador forces, Spear had seen a rescue ship arriving. But instead of providing backup, Penny Royal, the AI within the destroyer turned rogue. It annihilated friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction, and, years later, it's still free. Spear vows to track it across worlds and do whatever it takes to bring it down.

Isobel Satomi ran a successful crime syndicate. But after competitors attacked, she needed more power. Yet she got more than she bargained for when she negotiated with Penny Royal. She paid it to turn her part-AI herself, but the upgrades hid a horrifying secret. The Dark AI had triggered a transformation in Isobel that would turn her into a monster, rapidly evolving into something far from human.

Spear hires Isobel to take him to the Penny Royal AI's last known whereabouts. But he cheats her in the process and he becomes a target for her vengeance. And as she is evolves further into a monstrous predator, rage soon wins over reason. Will Spear finish his hunt, before he becomes the hunted?

This is the first volume in a no-holds-barred adventure set in Asher's popular Polity universe.

Colossus

Colossus: Book 1

D. F. Jones

Charles Forbin has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the construction of his own supercomputer, Colossus, rejecting romantic and social endeavours in order to create the United States' very first Artificially Intelligent defence system.

Colossus is a supercomputer capable of in-taking and analyzing data rapidly, allowing it to make real time decisions about the nation's defense.

But Colossus soon exceeds even Forbin's calculated expectations, learning to think independently of the Colossus Programming Office, processing data over one hundred times faster than Forbin and his team had originally anticipated.

The President hands off full control of the nation's missiles and other defense protocols to Colossus and makes the announcement to the world that he has ensured peace.

However, the USSR quickly announces that it too has a supercomputer, Guardian, with capabilities similar to that of Colossus.

Forbin is concerned when Colossus asks--asks--to communicate with Guardian. The computer he built shouldn't be able to ask at all...

Colossus and Guardian begin to communicate, quickly bypassing existing knowledge ... and the parameters placed on them by their creators. They are perfectly smart and totally in control. However, they lack human empathy and emotion, creating horrific scenarios.

Colossus and its Russian counterpart, Guardian, soon compromise US military secrecy, ultimately subjugating their creators with the threat of nuclear war.

And while Colossus has been specifically designed not to understand emotion - so as to make quicker and more logical decisions about America's safety - this is exactly the thing that makes him so lethal; Colossus does not experience human empathy and is incapable of understanding the moral ramifications of his decisions.

Having handed over total control of American defence missiles to Colossus, the President and Forbin must act quickly to shut down the unstable machine.

Will Forbin be able to take down the machine he's spent ten years building?

Will Colossus cause real damage before it's too late?

Find out in D.F. Jones's thrilling novel Colossus, which deals with the ongoing battle - both physical and philosophical - between man and machine, addresses the author's own apprehensive attitude towards our future. His message is still as poignant and moving today and when the novel was originally published in 1966.

The Warren

Brian Evenson

X doesn't have a name. He thought he had one--or many--but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X.

He's also not as human as he believes himself to be.

But when he discovers the existence of another--above ground, outside the protection of the Warren--X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.

Influx

Daniel Suarez

What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?

Are smart phones really humanity's most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century - fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances - have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960's failed to arrive?

Perhaps it did arrive... but only for a select few.

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.

They are living in our future.

Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?

And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?

vN: The First Machine Dynasty

Machine Dynasties: Book 1

Madeline Ashby

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother's past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she's learning impossible things about her clade's history - like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing...

3001: The Final Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Book 4

Arthur C. Clarke

One thousand years after the Jupiter mission to explore the mysterious Monolith had been destroyed, after Dave Bowman was transformed into the Star Child, Frank Poole drifted in space, frozen and forgotten, leaving the supercomputer HAL inoperable. But now Poole has returned to life, awakening in a world far different from the one he left behind--and just as the Monolith may be stirring once again . . .

The Garden of Rama

Rama Series: Book 3

Arthur C. Clarke
Gentry Lee

In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge, but empty - apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next unknown destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes.

Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced; and at the end of it may lie the truth about Rama.

Stations of the Tide

Michael Swanwick

From author Michael Swanwick -- one of the most brilliantly assured and darkly inventive writers of contemporary fiction -- comes the Nebula Award-winning masterwork of radically altered realities and world-shattering seductions.

The "Jubilee Tides" will drown Miranda beneath the weight of her own oceans. But as the once-in-two centuries cataclysm approaches, an even greater catastrophe threatens this dark and dangerous planet of tale-spinners, conjurers, and shapechangers. For Gregorian has come, a genius renegade scientist and bush wizard. With magic and forbidden technology, he plans to remake the rotting dying world in his own evil image -- and to force whom or whatever remains on its diminishing surface toward a terrifying, astonishing confrontation with death and transcendence.

Speak

Louisa Hall

A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence--illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding.

In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century, to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human, and what it means to be less than fully alive.

A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend's mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls.

Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps--to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human--shrinking rapidly with today's technological advances--echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.

Patchwerk

David Tallerman

Fleeing the city of New York on the TransContinental atmospheric transport vehicle, Dran Florrian is traveling with Palimpsest -- the ultimate proof of a lifetime of scientific theorizing.

When a rogue organization attempts to steal the device, however, Dran takes drastic action.

But his invention threatens to destroy the very fabric of this and all other possible universes, unless Dran -- or someone very much like him -- can shut down the machine and reverse the process.

Poseidon's Wake

Poseidon's Children: Book 3

Alastair Reynolds

Two hundred years after the fall of Mechanism, human society has achieved a kind of stability. There are colonies beneath the oceans, throughout the solar system, and beyond: on the worlds of extrasolar systems. Vast hemirelativistic ships connect these colonies, travelling at half the speed of light. Or rather they would, if the ominous presence of the alien Watchkeepers had not led to an enforced moratorium on interstellar travel.

But when a seemingly impossible radio signal reaches the colony Crucible, everything changes:

Send Ndege

Its origin is unpopulated, unexplored space. No one could be there at least, not if they travelled using human technology so who could have sent it? How did they get there? And what use do they have for the disgraced scientist Ndege Akinya?

Finding the answers will require one of the greatest expeditions humankind has ever launched, a journey further than ever attempted before, conducted under the implacable scrutiny of the Watchkeepers.

But as a mission is prepared on Crucible, it turns out they werent the only ones to see the message or its potential...

Slant

Queen of Angels: Book 4

Greg Bear

In the sixth decade of the twenty-first century, Earth has been transformed. Nanotechnology has been perfected, giving humans the ability to change their environment and themselves down to the cellular level. And the study of the mind has brought a revolution in human psychotherapy and artificial intelligence. It's a sane and perfect world. Almost.

Inter Ice Age 4

Kobo Abe

This is yet another of Mr. Abe's ominous configurations (Woman In the Dunes, etc.) this time staking out its uncertain ideological imperatives in a grave new world submerged under water. In the beginning, however, Professor Katsumi who has a computer capable of making predictions of man's fate, has no idea of the work undertaken in a still more dehumanized laboratory. But a double murder, an analysis of one of the bodies, and some anonymous phone calls (this is all quite exciting) alert him to a traffic in human fetuses corroborated by his wife's enforced curettage. Witnessing the works in progress--growing rooms for human submarine colonies which will make man's survival possible--he is also threatened with his own extinction betrayed by his own machine and he is made to consider various ethical conjectures and priorities: should one deny one's self--should the present be expendable in the interest of the future? . . . . While not everybody's book, Mr. Abe's conceptual startler has a chilly precision which makes the unthinkable only too threateningly possible.

The Line of Polity

Agent Cormac Series: Book 2

Neal Asher

Outlink station Miranda has been destroyed by a nanomycelium and, because of this method of sabotage, the alien bioconstruct, Dragon – a creature as untrustworthy as it is gigantic – is thought to be involved. Sent on the titanic Polity dreadnought, the Occam Razor, Agent Cormac must investigate this, and resolve the question of Masada, a world about to be subsumed when the line of polity is drawn across it.

But the biophysicist Skellor has not been captured, and controls something so potent that Polity AIs are prepared to hunt him down forever, to prevent him using it.

On Masada the rebellion can never rise above ground as the slave population is subjugated by orbital laser arrays controlled by the Theocracy in their cylinder worlds, and by the fact that they cannot leave their compounds. For the wilderness of Masada is without breathable air, and out there roam the monstrous hooders, siluroynes, and the weird and terrible gabbleducks.

Queen of Angels

Queen of Angels: Book 1

Greg Bear

Los Angeles 2047, a city on the eve of the Binary Millennium. Public Defender Mary Choy faces her toughest assignment yet - to bring back Emanuel Goldsmith, acclaimed poet turned mass killer, from the heart of a Caribbean island that is about to explode in revolution.

Silver Screen

Justina Robson

When Ray Croft dies he leaves behind a mystery that can only be solved by Anjuli O'Connell who has the memory of a machine. It's a mystery whose solution brings into question what it really means to be human. And it will reveal who Ray really was. Will Anjuli go through with it?

Newton's Wake: A Space Opera

Ken MacLeod

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

In the aftermath of the Hard Rapture-a cataclysmic war sparked by the explosive evolution of Earth's artificial intelligences into godlike beings-a few remnants of humanity managed to survive. Some even prospered.

Lucinda Carlyle, head of an ambitious clan of galactic entrepreneurs, had carved out a profitable niche for herself and her kin by taking control of the Skein, a chain of interstellar gates left behind by the posthumans. But on a world called Eurydice, a remote planet at the farthest rim of the galaxy, Lucinda stumbled upon a forgotten relic of the past that could threaten the Carlyles' way of life.

For, in the last instants before the war, a desperate band of scientists had scanned billions of human personalities into digital storage, and sent them into space in the hope of one day resurrecting them to the flesh. Now, armed, dangerous, and very much alive, these revenants have triggered a fateful confrontation that could shatter the balance of power, and even change the nature of reality itself.

The Long War

The Long Earth: Book 2

Terry Pratchett
Stephen Baxter

A generation after the events of The Long Earth, humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by "stepping." A new "America" - Valhalla - is emerging more than a million steps from Datum - our Earth. Thanks to a bountiful environment, the Valhallan society mirrors the core values and behaviors of colonial America. And Valhalla is growing restless under the controlling long arm of the Datum government.

Soon Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a building crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any humankind has waged before.

Ack-Ack Macaque

Ack-Ack Macaque: Book 1

Gareth L. Powell

Startling, fast-paced SF from one of the most striking new voices. A cigar-chomping monkey, nuclear-powered Zeppelins, electronic souls and a battle to avert armageddon.

In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain's best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed 'Ack-Ack Macaque'. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he's starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.

A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run.

And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.

The Godwhale

Hive: Book 2

T. J. Bass

Rorqual Maru was her name. She was a harvester - a vast plankton rake without a crop, abandoned by Earth society when the seas dried. Part whale, part ship, and well over 600 feet long, ahe was left to rot in the sterile ocean.

But suddenly, after centuries, the sea was no longer dead, and Rorqual stirred from her slumber. She would set out once again to serve mankind. But mankind had forgotten all about Rorqual ...

Take Back Plenty

Plenty / Tabitha Jute: Book 1

Colin Greenland

It is carnival time on Mars, but Tabitha Jute isn't partying. She is in hiding from the law, penniless and about to lose her livelihood and her best friend, the space barge "Alice Liddell". Then, the intriguing Marco Metz offers her some money to take him to Plenty, and the adventure begins.

Dust

Jacob's Ladder: Book 1

Elizabeth Bear

On a broken ship orbiting a doomed sun, dwellers have grown complacent with their aging metal world. But when a serving girl frees a captive noblewoman, the old order is about to change....

Ariane, Princess of the House of Rule, was known to be fiercely cold-blooded. But severing an angel's wings on the battlefield-even after she had surrendered-proved her completely without honor. Captive, the angel Perceval waits for Ariane not only to finish her off-but to devour her very memories and mind. Surely her gruesome death will cause war between the houses-exactly as Ariane desires. But Ariane's plan may yet be opposed, for Perceval at once recognizes the young servant charged with her care.

Rien is the lost child: her sister. Soon they will escape, hoping to stop the impending war and save both their houses. But it is a perilous journey through the crumbling hulk of a dying ship, and they do not pass unnoticed. Because at the hub of their turning world waits Jacob Dust, all that remains of God, following the vapor wisp of the angel. And he knows they will meet very soon.

Edge of Dark

The Glittering Edge: Book 1

Brenda Cooper

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn't share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI's that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona's best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body....

Killing Gravity

Voidwitch Saga: Book 1

Corey J. White

Mars Xi can kill you with her mind, but she'll need more than psychic powers to save her in Killing Gravity, the thrilling science fiction space adventure debut by Corey J. White.

Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She's spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.

Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she'll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.

Fairyland

Paul J. McAuley

Before he met the brilliant, hypnotic child Milena, Alex Sharkey had never played with "dolls"--blue-skinned, gengineered lifeforms designed for work, amusement, or destruction. But the underground gene-hacker is seduced by a megalomaniacal little girl's dream of providing the soulless genetic constructs with free thought and a future-and he unwittingly unleashes a plague of madness on the world. Now there's a void in his life and memory that must be refilled, but it means pursuing the dangerous sentient species he helped sire from the ruins of a Magic Kingdom through a wasted Europe. It is Alex Sharkey's last chance and the last hope remaining for a once-dominant human race.

Occupy Me

Tricia Sullivan

A woman with wings that exist in another dimension. A man trapped in his own body by a killer. A briefcase that is a door to hell. A conspiracy that reaches beyond our world. Breathtaking SF from a Clarke Award-winning author.

Tricia Sullivan has written an extraordinary, genre defining novel that begins with the mystery of a woman who barely knows herself and ends with a discovery that transcends space and time. On the way we follow our heroine as she attempts to track down a killer in the body of another man, and the man who has been taken over, his will trapped inside the mind of the being that has taken him over.

And at the centre of it all a briefcase that contains countless possible realities.

Tricia Sullivan returns to the genre with a book that will define the conversation within the genre and will show what it is capable of for years to come. This is the best book yet from a writer of exceedingly rare talent who is much loved in the genre world.

Lightless

Lightless: Book 1

C. A. Higgins

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond -- not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship's electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to theAnanke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner -- the enigmatic Ivan -- may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities' most relentless surveillance -- and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.

As the ship's systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner's layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan's mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever -- if it doesn't kill her first.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Christopher Paolini

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she's awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity's greatest and final hope...

Michaelmas

Laurent Michaelmas

Algis Budrys

Domino is not just a computer; he is all the world's electronic data secretly linked, and through him TV personality Laurent Michaelmas controls the news he is famous for reporting. Until the day he and Domino discover that they are not the only ones ruling the world!

The Computer Connection

Alfred Bester

Alfred Bester's first science fiction novel since The Stars My Destination was a major event. A fast-moving adventure story set in Earth's future. A band of immortals - as charming a bunch of eccentrics as you'll ever come across - recruit a new member, the brilliant Cherokee physicist Sequoya Guess. Dr. Guess, with group's help, gain control of Extro, the supercomputer that controls all mechanical activity on Earth. They plan to rid Earth of political repression and to further Guess's researches - which may lead to a great leap in human evolution to produce a race of supermen. But Extro takes over Guess instead and turns malevolent. The task of the merry band suddenly becomes a fight in deadly earnest for the future of Earth.

Sequoya Guess, whom they love, must be killed. And how do you kill an immortal?

Carnival

Elizabeth Bear

In Old Earths clandestine world of ambassador-spies, Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones and Vincent Katherinessen were once a starring team. But ever since a disastrous mission, they have been living separate lives in a universe dominated by a ruthless Coalition one that is about to reunite them.

The pair are dispatched to New Amazonia as diplomatic agents. Allegedly, they are to return priceless art. Covertly, they seek to tap its energy supply. But in reality, one has his mind set on treason. And among the extraordinary women of New Amazonia, in a season of festival, betrayal, and disguise, he will find a new ally and a force beyond any that humans have known.

The Centauri Device

M. John Harrison

John Truck was to outward appearances just another lowlife spaceship captain. But he was also the last of the Centaurans - or at least, half of him was - which meant that he was the only person who could operate the Centauri Device, a sentient bomb which might hold the key to settling a vicious space war.

M. John Harrison's classic novel turns the conventions of space opera on their head, and is written with the precision and brilliance for which is famed.

Machinehood

S. B. Divya

Welga Ramirez, executive bodyguard and ex-special forces, is about to retire early when her client is killed in front of her. It's 2095 and people don't usually die from violence. Humanity is entirely dependent on pills that not only help them stay alive, but allow them to compete with artificial intelligence in an increasingly competitive gig economy. Daily doses protect against designer diseases, flow enhances focus, zips and buffs enhance physical strength and speed, and juvers speed the healing process.

All that changes when Welga's client is killed by The Machinehood, a new and mysterious terrorist group that has simultaneously attacked several major pill funders. The Machinehood operatives seem to be part human, part machine, something the world has never seen. They issue an ultimatum: stop all pill production in one week.

Global panic ensues as pill production slows and many become ill. Thousands destroy their bots in fear of a strong AI takeover. But the US government believes the Machinehood is a cover for an old enemy. One that Welga is uniquely qualified to fight.

Welga, determined to take down the Machinehood, is pulled back into intelligence work by the government that betrayed her. But who are the Machinehood and what do they really want?

Foundation's Fear

Second Foundation Trilogy: Book 1

Gregory Benford

Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy is one of the high-water marks of science fiction. It is the monumental story of a Galactic Empire in decline, and the secret society of scientists who seek to shorten the inevitable Dark Age with the science of psychohistory. Now, with the permission -- and blessing -- of the Asimov estate, the epic saga continues.

Fate -- and a cruel Emperor's arbitrary power -- have thrust Hari Seldon into the First Ministership of the Empire against his will. As the story opens, Hari is about to leave his quiet professorship and take on the all but impossible task of administering 25 million inhabited worlds from the all-steel planet of Trantor. With the help of his beautiful bio-engineered "wife" Dors and his alien companion Yugo, Seldon is still developing the science that will transform history, never dreaming that it will ultimately pit him against future history's most awesome threat.

The World of Null-A

Null-A: Book 1

A. E. Van Vogt

Grandmaster A. E. Van Vogt was one of the giants of the Golden Age of classic SF, the 1940s. Of his masterpieces, The World of Null-A is most famous and most influential. It was the first major trade SF hardcover ever, published in 1949, and has been in print in various editions ever since. The careers of Philip K. Dick, Keith Laumer, Alfred Bester, Charles Harness, and Philip Jose Farmer were created or influenced by The World of Null-A. It is required reading for anyone who wishes to know the canon of SF classics.

Genesis

Poul Anderson

Astronaut Christian Brannock ahs lived to see artificial intelligence develop to a point where a human personality can be uploaded into ac computer, achieving a sort of hybrid immortality. He welcomes that because the technology will make it possible for him to achieve his dream and explore the stars... A billion years later, Brannock is dispatched to Earth to check on some strange anomalies. While there, he meets Laurinda Ashcroft, another hybrid upload. Brannock and Laurinda join forces and investigate Gaia, the supermind dominating the planet, and learn the truth of her shocking and terrifying secret plans for Earth.

Vulcan's Hammer

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 183

Philip K. Dick

This novel originally appeared in Ace Double D-457 (1960).

Objective, unbiased and hyperrational, the Vulcan 3 should have been the perfect ruler. The omnipotent computer dictates policy that is in the best interests of all citizens-or at least, that is the idea. But when the machine, whose rule evolved out of chaos and war, begins to lose control of the "Healer" movement of religious fanatics and the mysterious force behing their rebellion, all Hell breaks loose.

Written in 1960, Philip K. Dick's paranoid novel imagines a totalitarian state in which hammer-headed robots terrorize citizens and freedom is an absurd joke. William Barrios, the morally conflicted hero, may be the only person who can prevent the battle for control from destroying the world-if, that is, he can decide which side he's on.

Proof of Concept

Gwyneth Jones

On a desperately overcrowded future Earth, crippled by climate change, the most unlikely hope is better than none. Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant. The Needle is one such dream, an installation where the most abstruse theoretical science is being tested: science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasible.

When the Needle's director offers her underground compound as a training base, Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it's only because her brain is host to a quantum artificial intelligence called Altair.

But Altair knows something he can't tell.

Kir, like all humans, is programmed to ignore future dangers. Between the artificial blocks in his mind, and the blocks evolution has built into his host, how is he going to convince her the sky is falling?

The Forever Machine

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 26

Frank Riley
Mark Clifton

The government ordered it built: a thinking machine that could foresee catastrophe and eliminate human error. Research trainee Joe Carter sees another possibility--create a machine that will make ordinary people telepathic--and immortal.

This Galaxy Novel is available for free on the Internet Archives.