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The Persistence of Vision (collection)

John Varley

Genetic engineering, sex changes, arcane pleasures, computer technology, and communication beyond the five senses are among the topics treated in nine stories by an acclaimed new science-fiction writer.

Contents:

Axiomatic

Greg Egan

From junkies who drink at the time-stream to love affairs in time-reversed galaxies; from gene-altered dolphins that converse only in limericks to the program that allows you to design your own child; from the brain implants called axiomatics to the strange attractors that spin off new religions, Greg Egan's future is frighteningly close to our own present.

Table of Contents

  • The Infinite Assassin - (1991) - short story
  • The Hundred Light-Year Diary - (1992) - short story
  • Eugene - (1990) - short story
  • The Caress - (1990) - novelette
  • Blood Sisters - (1991) - short story
  • Axiomatic - (1990) - short story
  • The Safe-Deposit Box - (1990) - novelette
  • Seeing - (1995) - short story
  • A Kidnapping - (1995) - short story
  • Learning to Be Me - (1990) - short story
  • The Moat - (1991) - short story
  • The Walk - (1992) - short story
  • The Cutie - (1989) - short story
  • Into Darkness - (1992) - novelette
  • Appropriate Love - (1991) - short story
  • The Moral Virologist - (1990) - short story
  • Closer - (1992) - short story
  • Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies - (1992) - short story

Surface Detail

The Culture Cycle: Book 9

Iain M. Banks

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters.

It begins with a murder.

And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself.

Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.

Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality.

It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the center of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.

SURFACE DETAIL is Iain M. Banks' new Culture novel, a breathtaking achievement from a writer whose body of work is without parallel in the modern history of science fiction.

The Golden Age

The Golden Age: Book 1

John C. Wright

The Golden Age is Grand Space Opera, a large-scale SF adventure novel in the tradition of A. E. Van vogt and Roger Zelazny, with perhaps a bit of Cordwainer Smith enriching the style. It is an astounding story of super science, a thrilling wonder story that recaptures the excitements of SF's golden age writers.

The Golden Age takes place 10,000 years in the future in our solar system, an interplanetary utopian society filled with immortal humans. Within the frame of a traditional tale-the one rebel who is unhappy in utopia-Wright spins an elaborate plot web filled with suspense and passion.

Phaethon, of Radamanthus House, is attending a glorious party at his family mansion to celebrate the thousand-year anniversary of the High Transcendence. There he meets first an old man who accuses him of being an impostor and then a being from Neptune who claims to be an old friend. The Neptunian tells him that essential parts of his memory were removed and stored by the very government that Phaethon believes to be wholly honorable. It shakes his faith. He is an exile from himself.

And so Phaethon embarks upon a quest across the transformed solar system--Jupiter is now a second sun, Mars and Venus terraformed, humanity immortal--among humans, intelligent machines, and bizarre life forms that are partly both, to recover his memory, and to learn what crime he planned that warranted such preemptive punishment. His quest is to regain his true identity.

The Golden Age is one of the major, ambitious SF novels of the year and the international launch of an important new writer in the genre.

Ubik

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 63

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick's searing metaphysical comedy of death and salvation is a tour de force of panoramic menace and unfettered slapstick, in which the departed give business advice, shop for their next incarnation, and run the continual risk of dying yet again.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale

The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick: Book 5

Philip K. Dick

Many thousands of readers consider Philip K. Dick the greatest science fiction mind on any planet. Since his untimely death in 1982, interest in Dick's works has continued to mount and his reputation has been further enhanced by a growing body of critical attention. The Philip K. Dick Award is now given annually to a distinguished work of science fiction, and the Philip K. Dick Society is devoted to the study and promulgation of his works.

This collection includes all of the writer's earliest short and medium-length fiction (including some previously unpublished stories) covering the years 1952-1955. These fascinating stories include We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, The Cookie Lady, The World She Wanted, and many others.

Also published as The Little Black Box.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction (The Little Black Box) - (1987) - essay by Thomas M. Disch
  • The Little Black Box - (1964) - novelette
  • The War With the Fnools - (1964) - short story
  • A Game of Unchance - (1964) - novelette
  • Precious Artifact - (1964) - short story
  • Retreat Syndrome - (1965) - novelette
  • A Terran Odyssey - (1987) - novelette
  • Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday - (1966) - novelette
  • Holy Quarrel - (1966) - novelette
  • We Can Remember It for You Wholesale - (1966) - novelette
  • Not by Its Cover - (1968) - short story
  • Return Match - (1967) - short story
  • Faith of Our Fathers - (1967) - novelette
  • The Story to End All Stories for Harlan Ellison's Anthology Dangerous Visions - (1968) - short story
  • The Electric Ant - (1969) - short story
  • Cadbury, the Beaver Who Lacked - (1987) - short story
  • A Little Something for Us Tempunauts - (1974) - novelette
  • The Pre-Persons - (1974) - novelette
  • The Eye of the Sibyl - (1987) - short story
  • The Day Mr. Computer Fell Out of Its Tree - (1987) - short story
  • The Exit Door Leads In - (1979) - short story
  • Chains of Air, Web of Aether - (1980) - novelette
  • Strange Memories of Death - (1984) - short story
  • I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon - (1980) - short story (variant of Frozen Journey)
  • Rautavaara's Case - (1980) - short story
  • The Alien Mind - (1981) - short story
  • Notes (The Little Black Box) - (1987) - essay

Shade's Children

Garth Nix

The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children

In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machinelike creature whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade -- once a man, but now more like the machines he fights -- recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power -- and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become ...

Broken Angels

Takeshi Kovacs Series: Book 2

Richard K. Morgan

Fifty years after the events of ALTERED CARBON, Takeshi Kovacs is serving as a mercenary in the Procterate-sponsored war to put down Joshuah Kemp's revolution on the planet Sanction IV. He is offered the chance to join a covert team chasing a prize whose value is limitless -- and whose dangers are endless.

Here is a novel that takes mankind to the brink. A breakneck-paced crime thriller, ALTERED CARBON took its readers deep into the universe Morgan had so compellingly realised without ever letting them escape the onward rush of the plot. BROKEN ANGELS melds SF, the war novel and the spy thriller to take the reader below the surface of this future and lay bare the treacheries, betrayals and follies that leave man so ill-prepared for the legacy he has been given: the stars. This is SF at its dizzying best: superb, yet subtle, world-building; strong yet sensitive characterisation; awesome yet believable technology, thilling yet profound writing. Richard Morgan is set to join the genre's world-wide elite.

City of Golden Shadow

Otherland: Book 1

Tad Williams

The first volume in this mesmerizing story takes readers to the near-future, when a global conspiracy threatens to sacrifice the Earth for the promise of a far more exclusive place--Otherland, a universe where any fantasy can be made real.

The Invention of Morel

Adolfo Bioy Casares

Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy's novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

Inspired by Bioy Casares's fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction's now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year in Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.

The City and the Stars

Arthur C. Clarke

Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar; for millennia its protective dome shutout the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rules the stars. But then, as legend had it, The invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man, A Unique to break through Diaspar's stifling inertia, to smash the legend and discover the true nature of the Invaders.

This is a revised and expanded version of Against the Fall of Night.

Altered Carbon

Takeshi Kovacs Series: Book 1

Richard K. Morgan

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats "existence" as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning....

Woken Furies

Takeshi Kovacs Series: Book 3

Richard K. Morgan

Takeshi Kovacs has come home. Home to Harlan's World. An ocean planet with only 5% of its landmass poking above the dangerous and unpredictable seas. Try and get above the weather in anything more sophisticated than a helicopter and the Martian orbital platforms will burn you out of the sky. And death doesn't just wait for you in the seas and the skies.

On land, from the tropical beaches and swamps of Kossuth to the icy, machine-infested wastes of New Hokkaido the hard won gains of the Quellist revolution have been lost. The First Families, the corporations and the Yakuza have a stranglehold on everything. Embarked on a journey of implacable retribution for a lost love, Kovacs is blown off course and into a maelstrom of political intrigue and technological mystery as the ghosts of Harlan's World and his own violent past rise to claim their due. Quellcrist Falconer is back from the dead, they say, and hunting her down for the First Families is a savage young Envoy called Kovacs who's been in storage.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 69

Philip K. Dick

The Three Stigmata hid a secret that could transform the world - or end it...

When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch returned from a distant galaxy, he claimed to have brought a gift for mankind. Chew-Z was a drug capable of transporting people into an illusory world, a world the could linger in for years wihout losing a second of Earth time. For the lonely colonists living out their dreary term on Mars, here was the ultimate trip, a pastime that could deliver immortality, wish fulfillment... the twin-power over time and space.

But in return, Palmer Eldritch exacted a terrible price. He would enter, control and be a god in everyone's private universe - a universe from which there was no escape, not even death...

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome

Lock In

John Scalzi

A new near-future science fiction novella by John Scalzi, one of the most popular authors in modern SF. Unlocked traces the medical history behind a virus that will sweep the globe and affect the majority of the world's population, setting the stage for Lock In, the next major novel by John Scalzi.

Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

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.

Glasshouse

Charles Stross

When Robin wakes up in a clinic with most of his memories missing, it doesn't take him long to discover that someone's trying to kill him. It's the twenty-seventh century, when interstellar travel is by teleport gate and conflicts are fought by network worms that censor refugees' personalities-including Robin's earlier self.

On the run from unknown enemies, he volunteers to participate in a unique experimental polity, the Glasshouse, constructed to simulate a preaccelerated culture. Participants are assigned anonymized identities: it looks like the ideal hiding place for a posthuman on the run. But in this escape-proof environment, Robin will undergo an even more radical change, placing him at the mercy of the experimenters-and at the mercy of his own unbalanced psyche.

Mindscan

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer's Hominids, the first volume of his bestselling Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, won the 2003 Hugo Award, and its sequel, Humans, was a 2004 Hugo nominee. Now he's back with a pulse-pounding, mind-expanding standalone novel, rich with his signature philosophical and ethical speculations, all grounded in cutting-edge science.

Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she's no longer constrained by a worn-out body either.

But suddenly Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance. Even worse, the original version of Jake, consigned to die on the far side of the moon, has taken hostages there, demanding the return of his rights of personhood. In the courtroom and on the lunar surface, the future of uploaded humanity hangs in the balance. Mindscan is vintage Sawyer -- a feast for the mind and the heart.

The Rosewater Redemption

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 3

Tade Thompson

Life in the newly independent city state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting...

Mayor Jacques finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And among the city's alien inhabitants, a group has emerged who murder humans to provide bodies for their takeover.

Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extraterrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro and his old handler Femi, may be humanity's last line of defence.

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 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.

Kiln People

David Brin

In a perilous future where disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every legal and illicit whim of their decadent masters, life is cheap. No one knows that better than Albert Morris, a brash investigator with a knack for trouble, who has sent his own duplicates into deadly peril more times than he cares to remember.

But when Morris takes on a ring of bootleggers making illegal copies of a famous actress, he stumbles upon a secret so explosive it has incited open warfare on the streets of Dittotown.

Dr. Yosil Maharal, a brilliant researcher in artificial intelligence, has suddenly vanished, just as he is on the verge of a revolutionary scientific breakthrough. Maharal's daughter, Ritu, believes he has been kidnapped-or worse. Aeneas Polom, a reclusive trillionaire who appears in public only through his high-priced platinum duplicates, offers Morris unlimited resources to locate Maharal before his awesome discovery falls into the wrong hands.

To uncover the truth, Morris must enter a shadowy, nightmare world of ghosts and golems where nothing -and no one-is what they seem, memory itself is suspect, and the line between life and death may no longer exist.

Elysium Fire

Revelation Space: Prefect Dreyfus Emergency: Book 2

Alastair Reynolds

Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise.

But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.

Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new emergency on his hands. Across the habitats and their hundred million citizens, people are dying suddenly and randomly, victims of a bizarre and unprecedented malfunction of their neural implants. And these "melters" leave no clues behind as to the cause of their deaths...

As panic rises in the populace, a charismatic figure is sowing insurrection, convincing a small but growing number of habitats to break away from the Glitter Band and form their own independent colonies.

Lock In

Lock In: Book 1

John Scalzi

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselvs "locked in"-fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people "locked in"... including the President's wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, "The Agora," in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can "ride" these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....

The Quantum Thief

The Quantum Thief Trilogy: Book 1

Hannu Rajaniemi

Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself.

Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed ...

The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.

The End of All Things

Old Man's War: Book 6

John Scalzi

Humans expanded into space... only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement... for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time - a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there's another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other - and against their own kind - for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity's union intact... or else risk oblivion, and extinction - and the end of all things.

Table of Contents:

  • The Life of the Mind - novella
  • This Hollow Union - novella
  • Can Long Endure - novella
  • To Stand or Fall - novella
  • An Alternate "The Life of the Mind": Deleted and Alternate Scenes - novella

For We Are Many

Bobiverse: Book 2

Dennis E. Taylor

Bob Johansson didn't believe in an afterlife, so waking up after being killed in a car accident was a shock. To add to the surprise, he is now a sentient computer and the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe.

Bob and his copies have been spreading out from Earth for 40 years now, looking for habitable planets. But that's the only part of the plan that's still in one piece. A system-wide war has killed off 99.9% of the human race; nuclear winter is slowly making the Earth uninhabitable; a radical group wants to finish the job on the remnants of humanity; the Brazilian space probes are still out there, still trying to blow up the competition; And the Bobs have discovered a spacefaring species that sees all other life as food.

Bob left Earth anticipating a life of exploration and blissful solitude. Instead he's become a sky god to a primitive native species, the only hope for getting humanity to a new home, and possibly the only thing that can prevent every living thing in the local sphere from ending up as dinner.

Recursion

Blake Crouch

What if someone could rewrite your entire life?

"My son has been erased." Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton, before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop.

Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death, only to learn that this wasn't an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different from the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?

Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories and relive them. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to reexperience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

Barry's search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey as he discovers that Helena's work has yielded a terrifying gift--the ability not just to preserve memories but to remake them ... at the risk of destroying what it means to be human.

The Fractal Prince

The Quantum Thief Trilogy: Book 2

Hannu Rajaniemi

"The good thing is, no one will ever die again. The bad thing is, everyone will want to."

A physicist receives a mysterious paper. The ideas in it are far, far ahead of current thinking and quite, quite terrifying. In a city of "fast ones," shadow players, and jinni, two sisters contemplate a revolution. And on the edges of reality a thief, helped by a sardonic ship, is trying to break into a Schrödinger box for his patron. In the box is his freedom. Or not.

Jean de Flambeur is back. And he's running out of time.

In Hannu Rajaniemi's sparkling follow-up to the critically acclaimed international sensation The Quantum Thief, he returns to his awe-inspiring vision of the universe...and we discover what the future held for Earth.

Noumenon

Noumenon: Book 1

Marina J. Lostetter

In 2088, humankind is at last ready to explore beyond Earth's solar system. But one uncertainty remains: Where do we go?

Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer has an idea. He's discovered an anomalous star that appears to defy the laws of physics, and proposes the creation of a deep-space mission to find out whether the star is a weird natural phenomenon, or something manufactured.

The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind's greatest ambition--to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy--is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie's mysterious star and explore its origins--and implications.

A mosaic novel of discovery, Noumenon--in a series of vignettes--examines the dedication, adventure, growth, and fear of having your entire world consist of nine ships in the vacuum of space. The men and women, and even the AI, must learn to work and live together in harmony, as their original DNA is continuously replicated and they are born again and again into a thousand new lives. With the stars their home and the unknown their destination, they are on a voyage of many lifetimes--an odyssey to understand what lies beyond the limits of human knowledge and imagination.

The Bohr Maker

Nanotech Succession: Book 1

Linda Nagata

It is the most powerful technology known to humanity, microscopically small, allowing its user to control and change other's moods and emotions, and even to reprogram his or her own genetic structure. Its potential as the ultimate weapon or an instrument of peace has led to its ban by the Commonwealth.

Someone has stolen this outlaw technology, the Bohr Maker, from the secret files of the Commonwealth Police, at the command of a man with a genetic time bomb coded into his DNA. Nikko Jiang-Tibayan has only weeks to live, and he will do anything to stay only weeks to live, and he will do anything to stay alive, even if it means the end of life as we know it.

But then the Bohr Maker falls into the hands of a beautiful young woman in the poverty-stricken slums of Sunda. Its technology will make her both fugitive and messiah. The object of frantic searches by a walking dead man and a high-tech police force, the Maker holds the key to the total destruction of humanity -- or its miraculous rebirth....

The Causal Angel

The Quantum Thief Trilogy: Book 3

Hannu Rajaniemi

With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterization and his unrivaled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science, Hannu Rajaniemi swiftly set a new benchmark for Science Fiction in the 21st century. Now, with his third novel, he completes the tale of the many lives, and minds, of gentleman rogue Jean de Flambeur.

Influenced as much by the fin de siècle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF, Rajaniemi weaves intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of a wild future,and deep conjectures on the nature of reality and story.

In The Causal Angel we will discover the ultimate fates of Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen, and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung throughout the solar system.

Head On

Lock In: Book 2

John Scalzi

In the standalone follow-up to Lock In, chilling near-future SF is combined with the thrill of a gritty cop procedural, snappy dialogue and technological speculation on the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent's head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are "threeps," robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden's Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth -- and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

All These Worlds

Bobiverse: Book 3

Dennis E. Taylor

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can't stay out of trouble.

They've created enough colonies so humanity shouldn't go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have picked a fight with an older, more powerful species with a large appetite and a short temper.

Still stinging from getting their collective butts kicked in their first encounter with the Others, the Bobs now face the prospect of a decisive final battle to defend Earth and its colonies. But the Bobs are less disciplined than a herd of cats, and some of the younger copies are more concerned with their own local problems than defeating the Others.

Yet salvation may come from an unlikely source. A couple of eighth-generation Bobs have found something out in deep space. All it will take to save the Earth and perhaps all of humanity is for them to get it to Sol -- unless the Others arrive first.

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.

Snapshot

Brandon Sanderson

If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?

From New York Times #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes a detective thriller in a police beat like no other. Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery--until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That's one order they have to refuse.

The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn't mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.

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.

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.

Engineman

Eric Brown

The Enginemen once pushed the Bigships through the Nada Continuum, using the power of their minds to propel the ships at faster-than-light speeds. Now the Kielor Vincicoff gates, which twist space and bring distant planets closer, have made both the men and their ships redundant.

Contains the novel and the following stories (other editions may vary):

  • The Girl Who Died for Art and Lived
  • The Phoenix Experiment
  • Big Trouble Upstairs
  • The Star of Epsilon
  • The Time-Lapsed Man
  • The Pineal Zen Equation
  • The Art of Acceptance
  • Elegy Perpetuum

The Rapture of the Nerds

Charles Stross
Cory Doctorow

Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.

Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.

The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander... and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there's always someone who'll take a bite from the forbidden apple.

So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.

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

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.

Six Wakes

Mur Lafferty

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently...

The Cookie Monster

Vernor Vinge

Hugo and Locus Award winning and Nebula Award nominated novella. It originally appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, October 2003. The story can also be found in the anthologies Science Fiction: The Best of 2003, edited by Karen Haber and Jonathan Strahan, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection (2004), edited by Gardner Dozois and Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology (2012), edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly.

Voyager in Night

Alliance-Union: Age of Exploration: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

[] has been zipping through the cosmos in its asteroid-size ship for 100,000 years when it comes near to the newly constructed starstation, Endeavor. Curious about the new life forms it discovers inside the many primitive ships that dot the area, [] zeroes in on one such craft, a miner held together virtually with spit and hope, called Lindy. It is owned and operated by three humans, Rafe and Jillian Murray and Paul Gaines, who watch in terror the C-speed approach of the huge alien ship. When the Lindy is destroyed by [] and taken aboard its ship, Lindy's crew learns of an existence far other than that of true flesh and blood.

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

Mickey7

Mickey7: Book 1

Edward Ashton

Dying isn't any fun... but at least it's a living.

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there's a mission that's too dangerous--even suicidal--the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal... and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7's fate has been sealed. There's a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.

Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.

That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.

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.

Mindplayers

Pat Cadigan

For Allie, putting on the madcap that Jerry borrowed was a very big mistake. The psychosis itself was quite conventional, but it didn't go away when she took the madcap off, so the Brain Police took over leaving her with a choice - go to jail as a mind criminal or become a mindplayer.

Zero Point

Owner Series: Book 2

Neal Asher

Earth’s Zero Asset citizens no longer face extermination from orbit. Thanks to Alan Saul, the Committee’s network of control is a smoking ruin and its robotic enforcers lie dormant. But power abhors a vacuum and, scrambling from the wreckage, comes the ruthless Serene Galahad. She must act while the last vestiges of Committee infrastructure remain intact – and she has the means to ensure command is hers. On Mars, Var Delex fights for the survival of Antares Base, while the Argus Space Station hurls towards the red planet. And she knows whomever, or whatever, trashed Earth is still aboard. Var must save the base, while also dealing with the first signs of rebellion. And aboard Argus Station, Alan Saul’s mind has expanded into the local computer network. In the process, he uncovers the ghastly experiments of the Humanoid Unit Development, the possibility of eternal life, and a madman who may hold the keys to interstellar flight. But Earth’s agents are closer than Saul thinks, and the killing will soon begin.

To Live Again

Robert Silverberg

First published in 1969, this novel by one of the most prolific authors in the history of science fiction explores an idea that is truly "far out." Imagine a future world where death is not exactly the end. You can record everything about you that ever made you a distinct human being and then be implanted in the mind of someone living.

Paul Kaufmann had been the richest and most powerful man on Earth. Imagine having his knowledge and insights integrated with your own persona. The tycoon's mind becomes the prize in a deadly game for those still living who want more out of life than they could ever achieve on their own.

The great man's "soul" is stored in the Scheffing Institute, waiting for the time when someone hungry enough gives him back his appetite. Silverberg extrapolates as only he can from this intriguing premise. "To Live Again" is about a future where the dead are slaves to the living--until at last someone leads a rebellion.

The Werewolf Principle

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 40

Clifford D. Simak

After several years' absence and the loss of his memory, Andrew Blake returns to earth only to find himself accused of being a werewolf.

Uncanny Valley

Greg Egan

Immortality, but at what price, in what form, and how could you be you? In the near future it's possible to build a new you, a better you, one that could carry on forever. But if you could carry on, if you could make choices about who you would be forever, how much of your past would you bring with you? Would you be tempted to maybe...edit? Adam isn't all that he used to be, but he wants to be.

BSFA nominated short fiction. This story can be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018), edited by Neil Clarke, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018), edited by Gardner Dozois, and Wilde Stories 2018: The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction (2018), edited by Steve Berman.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

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.

Up the Walls of the World

James Tiptree, Jr.

A complex science fiction story of a secret military research project involving the investigative powers of the mind and their possible strategic applications and a distant planet which is being threatened by a monumental interstellar entity.

Humans who have shown indications of telepathic ability make mental contact with the Tyrenni, strange alien beings resembling winged squids who dwell in the upper atmosphere of their tempestuous world. But the Tyrenni are threatened by a huge being and forced into the decision to take over the bodies of their human contacts...

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.

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?

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.

Home Fires

Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe takes us to a future North America at once familiar and utterly strange. A young man and woman, Skip and Chelle, fall in love in college and marry, but she is enlisted in the military, there is a war on, and she must serve her tour of duty before they can settle down. But the military is fighting a war with aliens in distant solar systems, and her months in the service will be years in relative time on Earth. Chelle returns to recuperate from severe injuries, after months of service, still a young woman but not necessarily the same person-while Skip is in his forties and a wealthy businessman, but eager for her return.

Still in love (somewhat to his surprise and delight), they go on a Caribbean cruise to resume their marriage. Their vacation rapidly becomes a complex series of challenges, not the least of which are spies, aliens, and battles with pirates who capture the ship for ransom. There is no writer in SF like Gene Wolfe and no SF novel like Home Fires.

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?

Dreaming in Smoke

Tricia Sullivan

Kalypso Deed is a shotgun, riding the interface between the AI Ganesh and human scientists who solve problems through cyberassisted Dreams. But she's young and a little careless; she'd rather mix drinks and play jazz. Azamat Marcsson is a colorless statistician: middle-aged, boring, and obsessed with microorganisms. A first-class nonentity--until one of his Dreams implodes, taking Kalypso with it.

Now Ganesh is crashing, and nothing could be worse. For on the planet T'nane, it is the AI alone that keeps the colonists alive, eking out a grim existence in an environment inimical to human life. To save the colony, Kalypso must persuade Marcsson to finish the Dream that is destroying Ganesh. But Marcsson has gone mad, and T'nane itself has plans for them both that will alter their minds--and their world--forever.

A Borrowed Man

A Borrowed Man: Book 1

Gene Wolfe

It is perhaps a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. Although the population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones.

E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human.

A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the police. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. And then the plot gets complicated.

The Jonah Kit

Ian Watson

When a young Russian boy disappears from a top-secret research establishment, and turns up in Tokyo, he presents a major problem for American security officials. The youth appears to be part of a sophisticated experiment--and to have the mind of a supposedly dead astronaut perfectly imprinted on his own. And, the boy claims the tests have been extended to a whale. As these strange events unfold, other cataclysmic events begin to occur too: a groundbreaking Nobel Prize winner proves that what we perceive as the universe is nothing more than a ghost of the real thing. Then the whales begin singing their death-mantra throughout the world's oceans.