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The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy

Ijon Tichy

Stanislaw Lem

Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flashfrozen to await a future cure. Translated by Michael Kandel.

Bellwether

Connie Willis

Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet O'Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

Oxford Time Travel: Book 3

Connie Willis

In her first full-length novel since her critically acclaimed Doomsday Book Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, once again visits the unpredictable world of time travel. But this time the result is a joyous journey into a past and future of comic mishaps and historical cross-purposes, in which the power of human love can still make all the difference.

On the surface, England in the summer of 1888 is possibly the most restful time in history--lazy afternoons boating on the Thames, tea parties, croquet on the lawn--and time traveler Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling back and forth between the 21st century and the 1940s looking for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's birdstump. It's only the latest in a long string of assignments from Lady Schrapnell, the rich dowager who has invaded Oxford University. She's promised to endow the university's time-travel research project in return for their help in rebuilding the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years before.

But the bargain has turned into a nightmare. Lady Schrapnell's motto is "God is in the details," and as the l25th anniversary of the cathedral's destruction--and the deadline for its proposed completion--approaches, time-travel research has fallen by the wayside. Now Ned and his colleagues are frantically engaged in installing organ pipes, researching misericords, and generally risking life and limb. So when Ned gets the chance to escape to the Victorian era, he jumps at it. Unfortunately, he isn't really being sent there to recover from his time-lag symptoms, but to correct an incongruity a fellow historian, Verity Kindle, has inadvertently created by bringing something forward from the past.

In theory, such an act is impossible. But now it has happened, and it's up to Ned and Verity to correct the incongruity before it alters history or, worse, destroys the space-time continuum. And they have to do it while coping with eccentric Oxford dons, table-rapping spiritualists, a very spoiled young lady, and an even more spoiled cat. As Ned and Verity try frantically to hold things together and find out why the incongruity happened, the breach widens, time travel goes amok, and everything starts to fall apart--until the fate of the entire space-time continuum hangs on a sÚance, a butler, a bulldog, the battle of Waterloo, and, above all, on the bishop's birdstump.

At once a mystery novel, a time-travel adventure, and a Shakespearean comedy, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a witty and imaginative tale of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and a chaotic world in which the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line, and the secret to the universe truly lies "in the details."

The President's Brain Is Missing

John Scalzi

The question is, how can you tell the President's brain is missing? And are we sure we need it back?

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Crosstalk

Connie Willis

In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal -- to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely -- in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

It is almost more than she can handle -- especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize love -- and communication -- are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

Gun, With Occasional Music

Jonathan Lethem

Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.

Double Star

Robert A. Heinlein

One minute, down and out actor Lorenzo Smythe was -- as usual -- in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake -- failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe's own life was on the line -- for if he wasn't assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!

The Long Earth

The Long Earth: Book 1

Stephen Baxter
Terry Pratchett

NORMALLY, WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO DO, HE LISTENED TO THE SILENCE.

The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable.... This was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn't Joshua's world. None of it was his world. In fact, when you got right down to it, he didn't have a world; he had all of them.

ALL OF THE LONG EARTH.

Zodiac

Neal Stephenson

Sangamon Taylor's a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil -- all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. Before long Taylor's house is bombed, his every move followed, he's adopted by reservation Indians, moves onto the FBI's most wanted list, makes up with his girlfriend, and plays a starring role in the near-assassination of a presidential candidate.

Closing the case with the aid of his burnout roomate, his tofu-eating comrades, three major networks, and a range of unconventional weaponry, Sangamon Taylor pulls off the most startling caper in Boston Harbor since the Tea Party. As he navigates this ecological thriller with hardboiled wit and the biggest outboard motor he can get his hands on, Taylor reveals himself as one of the last of the white-hatted good guys in a very toxic world.

Dream Park

Dream Park: Book 1

Larry Niven
Steven Barnes

They were all playing games.... but one of them was playing for keeps.

Chet Henderson was playing at revenge, an to boost his flagging reputation as a Lore-master.

Richard Lopez was playing to prove this his earlier successes as a Gamemaster were no fluke.

Ollie and Gwen and Mary-em and Tony were playing because it made them feel alive.

Alex Griffin was playing to protect Dream Park's darkest secret.

In Dream Park, everyone plays. But if some win, some have to lose. And losing can be a matter of life or death.

Player Piano

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at modern society.

Friday

Robert A. Heinlein

Friday is her name... She is as thoroughly resourceful as she is strikingly beautiful. She is one of the best interplanetary agents in the business. And she is an Artificial Person... the ultimate glory of genetic engineering.

Friday... not since Valentine Michael Smith, hero of the bestselling Stranger in a Strange Land, has Robert Heinlein created a more captivating protagonist... in a novel every bit as entertaining and exciting as this Grand Master of science fiction, now in his seventy-fifth year, has given us over his four-decade career.

Friday is a secret courier. She is employed by a man known to her only as "Boss." Operating from and over a near-future Earth, in which North America has become Balkanized into dozens of independent states, where culture has become bizarrely vulgarized and chaos is the happy norm, she finds herself on shuttlecock assignment at Boss's seemingly whimsical behest. From New Zealand to Canada, from one to another of the new states of America's disunion, she keeps her balance nimbly with quick, expeditious solutions to one calamity and scrape after another. Desperate for human identity and relationships, she is never sure whether she is one step ahead of, or one step behind, the ultimate fate of the human race.

Jennifer Government

Max Barry

Jennifer Government is Here to Help!

In Max Barry’s twisted, hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations (except for a few deluded holdouts like the French); taxes are illegal; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly-traded security firms; the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly. It’s a free market paradise!

Hack Nike is a lowly Merchandising Officer who’s not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives from the promised land of Marketing, offer him a contract, he signs without reading it. Unfortunately, Hack’s new contract involves shooting teenagers to build up street cred for Nike’s new line of $2,500 sneakers. Scared, Hack goes to The Police, who assume he’s asking for a subcontracting deal and lease the assassinations to the NRA.

Soon Hack finds himself pursued by Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a barcode tattoo under her eye and a rabid determination to nail John Nike (the boss of the other John Nike). In a world where your job title means everything, the most cherished possession is a platinum credit card, and advertising jingles give way to automatic weapons in the fight for market share, Jennifer Government is the consumer watchdog from hell.

Jennifer Government is the kind of novel that can become a byword--a Catch-22 for the New World Order, a satire both broad and pointed, deeply funny and disturbingly on-target.

Super Extra Grande

Yoss

With playfulness and ingenuity in the tradition of Douglas Adams, the Cuban science fiction master Yoss delivers a space opera of intergalactic proportions with Super Extra Grande, the winner of the 20th annual UPC Science Fiction Award in 2011.

Set in a distant future, after the invention of faster-than-light space travel has propelled a still-immature mankind into the far corners of the Milky Way, the novel features creatures of immense variety--amoebas that cover entire worlds, sensual females that feed on substances from their males' reproductive systems, talking reptiles, and other creations drawn from the classics of Cuban and international science fiction--all of which serve as colleagues, fellow adventurers, sex partners, teachers, or members of the military high command in the Galactic Community governing this part of the universe. Our protagonist, Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, has a special role in this otherworldly menagerie: He is a veterinarian who specializes in treating enormous animals across the galaxy. When a colonial conflict threatens the fragile peace between the Galaxy's seven intelligent species, Dr. Sangan must embark on a daring mission to enter a gigantic creature and find two swallowed ambassadors--who also happen to be his competing love interests.

Coupling his own extensive studies in (earthly) biology with his vast curiosity and wild imagination, Yoss brings us a rare specimen in the richly parodic tradition of Cuban science fiction.