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The Birthday of the World and Other Stories

Ursula K. Le Guin

Six of these tales are set in the author's signature world of the Ekumen, a world made familiar in her award-winning novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The title story was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "remarkable... a standout." Paradises Lost is a mesmerizing novella of space exploration and the pursuit of happiness. These stories explore complex social interactions, troublesome issues of gender and sex, and the meaning of transformation, religion, and history.

Contents:

The Glass Bead Game

Hermann Hesse

The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, The Glass Bead Game is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature.

Set in an unspecified future, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia

Hainish Cycle: Book 5

Ursula K. Le Guin

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Ursula K. Le Guin

Hugo Award winning short story. It originally appeared in the anthology New Dimensions III (1973), edited by Robert Silverberg. The story has been reprinted many times. It can be found in the anthologies:

The story is included in the collections The Wind's Twelve Quarters (1975), Outer Space, Inner Lands (2012), The Wind's Twelve Quarters & The Compass Rose (2015) and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016).

H. G. Wells Complete Short Story Omnibus

H. G. Wells

This collection of short stories by H. G. Wells is the most comprehensive yet, and showcases the hugely fertile imagination of the great author, whose ideas and storylines remain hugely relevant to this day.

Table of Contents:

  • 3 - The Stolen Bacillus - (1894) - short story
  • 9 - The Flowering of the Strange Orchid - (1894) - short story
  • 16 - In the Avu Observatory - (1894) - short story
  • 22 - The Triumphs of a Taxidermist - (1894) - short story
  • 26 - A Deal in Ostriches - (1894) - short story
  • 30 - Through a Window - (1894) - short story
  • 37 - The Temptation of Harringay - (1895) - short story
  • 42 - The Flying Man - (1895) - short story
  • 48 - The Diamond Maker - (1894) - short story
  • 55 - Aepyornis Island - (1894) - short story (variant of Æpyornis Island)
  • 65 - The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes - (1895) - short story
  • 74 - The Lord of the Dynamos - non-genre - (1894) - short story
  • 82 - The Hammerpond Park Burglary - (1894) - short story
  • 89 - The Moth - (1895) - short story
  • 98 - The Treasure in the Forest - (1894) - short story
  • 107 - The Plattner Story - (1896) - short story
  • 124 - The Argonauts of the Air - (1895) - short story
  • 135 - The Story of the Late Mr Elvesham - (1896) - short story (variant of The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham)
  • 150 - In the Abyss - (1896) - short story
  • 164 - The Apple - (1896) - short story
  • 171 - Under the Knife - (1896) - short story
  • 183 - The Sea Raiders - (1896) - short story (variant of The Sea-Raiders)
  • 192 - Pollock and the Porroh Man - (1895) - short story
  • 206 - The Red Room - (1896) - short story
  • 214 - The Cone - non-genre - (1895) - short story
  • 224 - The Purple Pileus - (1896) - short story
  • 234 - The Jilting of Jane - (1894) - short story
  • 241 - In the Modern Vein: An Unsympathetic Love Story - (1894) - short story
  • 250 - A Catastrophe - (1895) - short story
  • 258 - The Lost Inheritance - (1896) - short story
  • 264 - The Sad Story of a Dramatic Critic - (1895) - short story
  • 272 - A Slip Under the Microscope - (1896) - short story
  • 291 - The Crystal Egg - (1897) - short story
  • 306 - The Star - (1897) - short story
  • 316 - A Story of the Stone Age - (1897) - novella
  • 363 - A Story of the Days to Come - (1899) - novella
  • 436 - The Man Who Could Work Miracles - (1898) - short story
  • 453 - Filmer - (1901) - short story
  • 468 - The Magic Shop - (1903) - short story
  • 478 - The Valley of Spiders - (1903) - short story
  • 488 - The Truth About Pyecraft - (1903) - short story
  • 497 - Mr Skelmersdale in Fairyland - (1903) - short story
  • 509 - The Inexperienced Ghost - (1902) - short story
  • 520 - Jimmy Goggles the God - (1898) - short story
  • 531 - The New Accelerator - (1901) - short story
  • 543 - Mr Ledbetter's Vacation - (1898) - short fiction (variant of Mr. Ledbetter's Vacation)
  • 558 - The Stolen Body - (1898) - short story
  • 572 - Mr Brisher's Treasure - (1899) - short fiction (variant of Mr. Brisher's Treasure)
  • 581 - Miss Winchelsea's Heart - (1898) - short story
  • 596 - A Dream of Armageddon - (1901) - short story
  • 621 - The Door in the Wall - (1906) - short story
  • 636 - The Empire of the Ants - (1905) - short story
  • 650 - A Vision of Judgment - (1899) - short story (variant of A Vision of Judgement)
  • 656 - The Land Ironclads - (1903) - novelette
  • 675 - The Beautiful Suit - non-genre - (1909) - short story
  • 679 - The Pearl of Love - (1925) - short story
  • 683 - The Country of the Blind - (1904) - novelette
  • 704 - The Reconciliation - (1895) - short story
  • 710 - My First Aeroplane - [Little Mother - 1] - (1910) - short story
  • 720 - Little Mother Up the Mörderberg - [Little Mother - 2] - (1910) - short story
  • 730 - The Story of the Last Trump - (1915) - short story
  • 743 - The Grisly Folk - (1921) - essay
  • 757 - A Tale of the Twentieth Century: For Advanced Thinkers - (1887) - short fiction (variant of A Tale of the Twentieth Century)
  • 762 - Walcote - (1898) - short story
  • 769 - The Devotee of Art - (1888) - short fiction
  • 779 - The Man with a Nose - (1894) - short fiction
  • 783 - A Perfect Gentleman on Wheels - (1897) - short fiction
  • 793 - Wayde's Essence - (1895) - short fiction
  • 802 - A Misunderstood Artist - (1894) - short fiction
  • 806 - Le Mari Terrible - (1895) - short story
  • 810 - The Rajah's Treasure - (1896) - short story
  • 821 - The Presence by the Fire - (1897) - short story
  • 827 - Mr Marshall's Doppelganger - (1897) - short fiction (variant of Mr. Marshall's Doppelganger)
  • 837 - The Thing in No. 7 - (1894) - short story
  • 843 - The Thumbmark - (1894) - short story
  • 850 - A Family Elopement - (1894) - short fiction
  • 855 - Our Little Neighbour - (1895) - short fiction
  • 863 - How Gabriel Became Thompson - (1894) - short fiction
  • 872 - How Pingwill Was Routed - (1895) - short fiction
  • 876 - The Loyalty of Esau Common: A Fragment - (1902) - short fiction (variant of The Loyalty of Esau Common)
  • 891 - The Wild Asses of the Devil - (1915) - short story
  • 901 - Answer to Prayer - (1937) - short story
  • 904 - The Queer Story of Brownlow's Newspaper - (1932) - short story
  • 921 - The Country of the Blind (Revised Version) - (1939) - short fiction (variant of The Country of the Blind (revised))
  • 951 - Introduction to The Country of the Blind and Other Stories - (1911) - essay (variant of Introduction (The Country of the Blind and Other Stories))
  • 956 - Introduction to Revised Version of "The Country of the Blind" - (1939) - essay (variant of Introduction (The Country of the Blind))

The Just City

The Just City / Thessaly: Book 1

Jo Walton

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future--all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer's daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome--and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo--stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does--has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives--the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself--to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

Seven Surrenders

Terra Ignota: Book 2

Ada Palmer

In a future of near-instantaneous global travel, of abundant provision for the needs of all, a future in which no one living can remember an actual war... a long era of stability threatens to come to an abrupt end. For known only to a few, the leaders of the great Hives, nations without fixed location, have long conspired to keep the world stable, at the cost of just a little blood. A few secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction can ever dominate, and the balance holds.

And yet the balance is beginning to give way. Mycroft Canner, convict, sentenced to wander the globe in service to all, knows more about this conspiracy the than he can ever admit. Carlyle Foster, counselor, sensayer, has secrets as well, and they burden Carlyle beyond description. And both Mycroft and Carlyle are privy to the greatest secret of all: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to life.

A Door into Ocean

Elysium Cycle: Book 1

Joan Slonczewski

Thousands of years in the future in a distant part of the galaxy, lies the planet Shora, entirely covered by a world-spanning ocean. The huge and complex ecosystem of Shora is inhabited by the Sharers, an all female race who reproduce by parthenogensis, without males. The Sharers are immensely sophisticated in the life sciences, but have eschewed all unnatural technology. Over millennia of isolation, they have developed a complex philosophical and ethical system, idealistic, communal, and pacifist...

So begins a war, protracted and graphic, in which one side cannot fight because the concept is inconceivable in their philosophy...

Matter

The Culture Cycle: Book 8

Iain M. Banks

In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.

Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy.

Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.

The Machine Stops: And Other Stories

E. M. Forster

The Machine Stops is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. The story is about a world in which many humans have lost the ability to live on the surface, and live underground. The story predicted a few technological and social innovations, such as the cinematophote (television) and videoconferencing.

The Gate to Women's Country

Sheri S. Tepper

Classic fantasy from the amazing Sheri S. Tepper. Women rule in Women's Country. Women live apart from men, sheltering the remains of civilization They have cut themselves off with walls and by ordinance from marauding males. Waging war is all men are good for. Men are allowed to fight their barbaric battles! amongst themselves, garrison against garrison. For the sake of his pride, each boy child ritualistically rejects his mother when he comes of age to be a warrior. But all the secrets of civilization are strictly the possession of women. Naturally, there are men who want to know what the women know! And when Stavia meets Chernon, the battle of the sexes begins all over again. Foolishly, she provides books for Chernon to read. Before long, Chernon is hatching a plan of revenge against women!

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

William Golding's classic novel of primitive savagery and survival is one of the most vividly realized and riveting works in modern fiction. The tale begins after a plane wreck deposits a group of English school boys, aged six to twelve on an isolated tropical island. Their struggle to survive and impose order quickly evolves from a battle against nature into a battle against their own primitive instincts. Golding's portrayal of the collapse of social order into chaos draws the fine line between innocence and savagery.

Woman on the Edge of Time

Marge Piercy

Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today....

Star Maker

Early Classics of Science Fiction: Book 13

Olaf Stapledon

Widely regarded as one of the true classics of science fiction, Star Maker is a poetic and deeply philosophical work. This 1937 successor to Last and First Men offers another entrancing speculative history of the future. The story details the mental journey of an unnamed narrator who is transported not only to other worlds but also other galaxies, intelligent star clusters, mingles amoung alien races and continues on to parallel universes, until he eventually becomes part of the "cosmic mind."

First published in 1937, Olaf Stapledon's descriptions of alien life are a political commentary on human life in the turbulent inter-war years. The book challenges preconceived notions of intelligence and awareness, and ultimately argues for a broadened perspective that would free us from culturally ingrained thought and our inevitable anthropomorphism.

This is the first scholarly edition of a book that influenced such writers as C.S. Lewis, Doris Lessing, and Arthur C. Clarke. Jorge Luis Borges called this work "a prodigious novel."

The Philosopher Kings

The Just City / Thessaly: Book 2

Jo Walton

From acclaimed, award-winning author Jo Walton: Philosopher Kings, a tale of gods and humans, and the surprising things they have to learn from one another. Twenty years have elapsed since the events of The Just City. The City, founded by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, organized on the principles espoused in Plato's Republic and populated by people from all eras of human history, has now split into five cities, and low-level armed conflict between them is not unheard-of.

The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as "Pythias" in the City, his true identity known only to a few, is now married and the father of several children. But a tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge. Being Apollo, he goes handling it in a seemingly rational and systematic way, but it's evident, particularly to his precocious daughter Arete, that he is unhinged with grief.

Along with Arete and several of his sons, plus a boatload of other volunteers--including the now fantastically aged Marsilio Ficino, the great humanist of Renaissance Florence--Pythias/Apollo goes sailing into the mysterious Eastern Mediterranean of pre-antiquity to see what they can find--possibly the man who may have caused his great grief, possibly communities of the earliest people to call themselves "Greek." What Apollo, his daughter, and the rest of the expedition will discover... will change everything.

The Will to Battle

Terra Ignota: Book 3

Ada Palmer

"For Warre, consisteth not in Battell onely, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the Will to contend by Battell is sufficiently known..."

-- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan XIII.

The world of Terra Ignota has been upended. War is inevitable. But after three centuries of peace, how does a war begin? With every world ruler friends with every other, how do the nations pick sides? How can war begin when every nation already has surrendered? Genius convict Mycroft Canner has completed the history started in Too Like the Lightning and concluded in Seven Surrenders. Now he begins his chronicle of the guideless search for an order to the conflict as the world slouches toward war, while a living myth contends with a celebrity assassin, a corrupt priestess and a captive god to shape the conflict and the world to come.

Always Coming Home

Always Coming Home

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America's most respected writers of science fiction. More than five years in the making, it is a novel unlike any other. A rich and complex interweaving of story and fable, poem, artwork, and music, it totally immerses the reader in the culture of the Kesh, a peaceful people of the far future who inhabit a place called the Valley on the Northern Pacific Coast.

Necessity

The Just City / Thessaly: Book 3

Jo Walton

Necessity: the sequel to the acclaimed The Just City and The Philosopher Kings, Jo Walton's tales of gods, humans, and what they have to learn from one another.

More than sixty-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato's Republic. Among the City's children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form.

Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision.

Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can't allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun.

Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there's suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato--a ship from Earth.

Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift

In Gulliver's Travels, the narrator represents himself as a reliable reporter of the fantastic adventures he has just experienced. But how far can we rely on a narrator who has been impersonated by someone else? The work purports to be a travel book, and describes the shipwrecked Gulliver's encounters with the inhabitants of four extraordinary places: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the country of the Houyhnhnms. An extraordinarily skillful blend of fantasy and realism makes Gulliver's Travels by turns hilarious, frightening, and profound. Swift's alter ego plays tricks on us, and our gullibility uncovers one of the world's most disturbing satires of the human condition.

Pacific Edge

Three Californias: Book 3

Kim Stanley Robinson

2065: In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making. Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this "green" world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community's idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.

The Listeners

James E. Gunn

After fifty-one long years of patient waiting, the message has finally arrived. They have dedicated their lives to trying to decipher the eerie silence that resounds from space and now there is finally a sound after decades of quiet. In the beginning there is a hail of celebration, the Project has finally produced results, but then the questions begin. What does the message mean? Could it be 'we come in peace' or 'get ready for world domination'?

The message baffles Earth. Only one man has the power to make the decision and it could mean intergalactic warfare if he makes the wrong choice. Director MacDonald holds in his hands the fate of Earth, the universe and the Project, which is dedicated to answering questions that have plagued humanity for centuries. Will he make the correct choice?

Palimpsest

Catherynne M. Valente

In the Cities of Coin and Spice and In the Night Garden introduced readers to the unique and intoxicating imagination of Catherynne M. Valente. Now she weaves a lyrically erotic spell of a place where the grotesque and the beautiful reside and the passport to our most secret fantasies begins with a stranger's kiss....

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse-a voyage permitted only to those who've always believed there's another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They've each lost something important-a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life-and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

Return From the Stars

Stanislaw Lem

Hal Bregg is an astronaut who returns from a space mission in which only 10 biological years have passed for him, while 127 years have elapsed on earth. He finds that the earth has changed beyond recognition, filled with human beings who have been medically neutralized. How does an astronaut join a civilization that shuns risk?

Lost Horizon

James Hilton

Hugh Conway saw humanity at its worst while fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now, more than a decade later, Conway is a British diplomat serving in Afghanistan and facing war yet again--this time, a civil conflict forces him to flee the country by plane. When his plane crashes high in the Himalaya mountains, Conway and the other survivors are found by a mysterious guide and led to a breathtaking discovery: the hidden valley of Shangri-La.

Kept secret from the world for more than two hundred years, Shangri-La is like paradise--a place whose inhabitants live for centuries amid the peace and harmony of the fertile valley. But when the leader of the Shangri-La monastery falls ill, Conway and the others must face the daunting prospect of returning home to a world about to be torn open by war.

Thrilling and passionate, Lost Horizon is a masterpiece of modern fiction, and one of the most enduring books of the twentieth century.

Walkaway

Cory Doctorow

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza -- known to his friends as Hubert, Etc -- was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be -- except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society -- and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life -- food, clothing, shelter -- from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

It's still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war -- a war that will turn the world upside down.

The Steel Crocodile

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 35

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..."

The Boat of a Million Years

Poul Anderson

Others have written SF on the theme of immortality, but in The Boat of a Million Years, Poul Anderson made it his own. Early in human history, certain individuals were born who live on, unaging, undying, through the centuries and millenia. We follow them through over 2000 years, up to our time and beyond-to the promise of utopia, and to the challenge of the stars.

A milestone in modern science fiction, a New York Times Notable Book on its first publication in 1989, this is one of a great writer's finest works.

Triton

Samuel R. Delany

Triton, the outermost moon of Neptune, was a world of absolute freedom, where every wish could be fulfilled. But for Bron Helstrom, one of Triton's elite, life had lost its meaning. There, in a world of endless possibilities, Bron began a searing odyssey to find the object of his desires.

Solar Lottery

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 33

Philip K. Dick

Originally appeared in Ace Double D-103 (1955).

The operating principle was random selection: positions of public power were decided by a sophisticated lottery. Everyone had a chance, everyone could live in hope that they would be chosen to be the boss, the Quizmaster. But with the power came the game - the assassination game - which everyone could watch on TV. Would the new man be good enough to avoid his chosen killer? Which made for fascinating and exciting viewing, compelling enough to distract the public's attention while the Big Five industrial complexes run the world, the solar system and the people, unnoticed and completely unopposed. Then, in 2203, with the choice of a member of a maverick cult as Quizmaster, the system developed a little hitch...

Extras

Uglies: Book 4

Scott Westerfeld

Extras, the final book in the Uglies series, is set a couple of years after the "mind-rain," a few earth-shattering months in which the whole world woke up. The cure has spread from city to city, and the pretty regime that kept humanity in a state of bubbleheadedness has ended. Boundless human creativity, new technologies, and old dangers have been unleashed upon the world. Culture is splintering, the cities becoming radically different from each other as each makes its own way into this strange and unpredictable future...

One of the features of the new world is that everyone has a "feed," which is basically their own blog/myspace/tv channel. The ratings of your feed (combined with how much the city interface overhears people talking about you) determines your social status--so everyone knows at all times how famous they are.

As Scott Westerfeld explored the themes of extreme beauty in the first three Uglies books, now he takes on the world's obsession with fame and popularity. And how anyone can be an instant celebrity.

The Cassini Division

The Fall Revolution: Book 3

Ken MacLeod

Ellen May Ngewthu is a young woman with centuries of experience, a soldier and leader of the Cassini Division, the elite defense force of the utopian Solar Union. Here in the twenty-fourth century, the forts of the Division, in orbit around a mysteriously transformed Jupiter, are the front line in humanity's long standoff with the unknowable posthumans--godlike and remote beings descended from the people who transformed themselves with high technology centuries ago.

The posthumans' capacities are unknown . . . but we know they disintegrated Ganymede, we know they punched a wormhole into Jovian space, and we know that the very surface of the solar system's largest planet has been altered by their incomprehensible artifacts. Worst of all, we know that they have been bombarding the solar system with powerful data viruses for generations.

Now Ellen has a plan to rid humanity of this threat once and for all. But she needs to recruit the right people to her cause--and convince them to mistrust the posthumans as much as she does.

Her quest will take her to the mid-Atlantic towers of Solar Union Earth, to the green ruins of London, and, in the farthest reaches of human space, to the long-separated libertarian colony of New Mars. In the process, much will be revealed--about history, about power, and about what it is to be human.

The Memory of Earth

Homecoming: Book 1

Orson Scott Card

High above the planet Harmony, the Oversoul watches. Its task, programmed so many millennia ago, is to guard the human settlement on this planet--to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them, most of all, from themselves.

The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no technology that could lead to weapons of war. By control of the data banks, and subtle interference in the very thoughts of the people, the artificial intelligence has fulfilled its mission.

But now there is a problem. In orbit, the Oversoul realizes that it has lost access to some of its memory banks, and some of its power systems are failing. And on the planet, men are beginning to think about power, wealth, and conquest.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow

Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies - and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.

Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the care of a network of volunteer "ad-hocs" who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.

Now, though, it seems the "ad hocs" are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.

Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now it's war: war for the soul of the Magic Kingdom, a war of ever-shifting reputations, technical wizardry, and entirely unpredictable outcomes.

Bursting with cutting-edge speculation and human insight, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom reads like Neal Stephenson meets Nick Hornby: a coming-of-age romantic comedy and a kick-butt cybernetic tour de force.

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

Venus Plus X

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 22

Theodore Sturgeon

Charlie Johns has been snatched from his home on 61 North 34th Street and delivered to the strange future world of Ledom. Here, violence is a vague and improbable notion. Technology has triumphed over hunger, overpopulation, pollution, even time and space. But there is a change Charlie finds even more shocking: gender is a thing of the past. Venus Plus X is Theodore Sturgeon's brilliant evocation of a civilization for whom tensions between male and female and the human preoccupation with sex no longer exist.

As Charlie Johns explores Ledom and its people, he finds that the human precepts he holds dear are profane in this new world. But has Charlie learned all there is to know about this advanced society? And why are the Ledom so intent on gaining Charlie's approval? Unsettling, compelling, and no less than visionary, here is science fiction at its boldest: a novel whose wisdom and lyricism make it one of the most original and insightful speculations on gender ever produced.

Herland

Herland: Book 1

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A prominent turn-of-the-century social critic and lecturer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is perhaps best known for her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," a chilling study of a woman's descent into insanity, and Women and Economics, a classic of feminist theory that analyzes the destructive effects of women's economic reliance on men.

In Herland, a vision of a feminist utopia, Gilman employs humor to engaging effect in a story about three male explorers who stumble upon an all-female society isolated somewhere in South America. Noting the advanced state of the civilization they've encountered, the visitors set out to find some males, assuming that since the country is so civilized, "there must be men." A delightful fantasy, the story enables Gilman to articulate her then-unconventional views of male-female roles and capabilities, motherhood, individuality, privacy, the sense of community, sexuality, and many other topics.

Decades ahead of her time in evolving a humanistic, feminist perspective, Gilman has been rediscovered and warmly embraced by contemporary feminists. An articulate voice for both women and men oppressed by the social order of the day, she adeptly made her points with a wittiness often missing from polemical writings.

News from Nowhere: or, An Epoch of Rest

William Morris

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

The Female Man

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 56

Joanna Russ

It's influenced William Gibson and been listed as one of the ten essential works of science fiction. Most importantly, Joanna Russ's THE FEMALE MAN is a suspenseful, surprising and darkly witty chronicle of what happens when Jeannine, Janet, Joanna, and Jael--four alternate selves from drastically different realities--meet.

Looking Backward, 2000-1887

Edward Bellamy

Originally published in 1888, this prophetic work revolves around Julian West, a man who falls asleep near the end of the 19th century and wakes up in the year 2000. More than a brilliant visionary's view of the future, it is a guidebook that has stimulated some of the greatest thinkers of the modern age.

The Shape of Things to Come

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 5

H. G. Wells

A prescient look at humankind's future

When a diplomat dies in the 1930s, he leaves behind a book of "dream visions" he has been experiencing, detailing events that will occur on Earth for the next 200 years. This fictional account of the future (similar to Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon) proved prescient in many ways, as Wells predicts events such as World War II, the rise of chemical warfare, and climate change.

The Coming Race

Early Classics of Science Fiction: Book 19

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Secrets Lie Within The Earth

"Tell me frankly what you saw in that chasm: I am sure it was something strange and terrible. Confide in me."

The engineer long endeavoured to evade my inquiries. But at last, he spoke.

"I will tell you all. A steady brilliant light. I left the cage and clambered down. As I drew nearer and nearer to the light, the chasm became wider, and at last I saw, to my unspeakable amaze, a broad level road at the bottom of the abyss, illumined as far as the eye could reach by what seemed artificial gas-lamps placed at regular intervals, as in the thoroughfare of a great city; and I heard confusedly at a distance a hum as of human voices. I know, of course, that no rival miners are at work in this district. Whose could be those voices? What human hands could have levelled that road and marshalled those lamps?"

"You will descend again?"

"I ought, yet I feel as if I durst not."