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Robot Visions

The Positronic Robot Stories: Book 4

Isaac Asimov

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

The Bicentennial Man

The Positronic Robot Stories

Isaac Asimov

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

The story is included in the collections:

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

Bolo!

Bolo: Book 10

David Weber

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

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

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang

Hugo-winning and Nebula-nominated Novella

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

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

Read this story online for free at Subterranean Press.

The Secret Life of Bots

Bot 9: Book 1

Suzanne Palmer

This novelette originally appeared in Clarkesworld, #132, September 2017. It can also be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve (2018), edited by Jonathan Strahan, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018), edited by Neil Clarke, The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF: Volume 4 (2018), edited by David Afsharirad, and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Clarkesworld.

Waking Gods

The Themis Files: Book 2

Sylvain Neuvel

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she's dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers -- and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer now than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth... and maybe even the stars.

Crux

Nexus 5: Book 2

Ramez Naam

Six months have passed since the release of Nexus 5. The world is a different, more dangerous place.

In the USA, the freedom fighters of the Post-Human Liberation Front use Nexus to turn men and women into human time bombs aimed at the President and his allies.

The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck.

Time Out of Joint

Philip K. Dick

Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick's classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is.

The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn't know that. He thinks it's 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world's long-standing champion of newspaper puzzle contests. It is only after a series of troubling hallucinations that he begins to suspect otherwise. And once he pursues his suspicions, he begins to see how he is the center of a universe gone terribly awry.

Zero History

The Blue Ant Trilogy: Book 3

William Gibson

The new novel from William Gibson, "one of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working." (The Boston Globe)

Hollis Henry worked for the global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend once before. She never meant to repeat the experience. But she's broke, and Bigend never feels it's beneath him to use whatever power comes his way -- in this case, the power of money to bring Hollis onto his team again. Not that she knows what the "team" is up to, not at first.

Milgrim is even more thoroughly owned by Bigend. He's worth owning for his useful gift of seeming to disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic - so much so that he spoke Russian with his therapist, in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of the addiction that would have killed him.

Garreth has a passion for extreme sports. Most recently he jumped off the highest building in the world, opening his chute at the last moment, and he has a new thighbone made of rattan baked into bone, entirely experimental, to show for it. Garreth isn't owned by Bigend at all. Garreth has friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors that a man like Bigend will find he needs, when things go unexpectedly sideways, in a world a man like Bigend is accustomed to controlling.

As when a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy that even Bigend, whose subtlety and power in the private sector would be hard to overstate, finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift in a seriously dangerous world.

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.

Nexus

Nexus 5: Book 1

Ramez Naam

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he's thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage - for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

From the halls of academe to the halls of power, from the headquarters of an elite US agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath a top university in Shanghai, from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok, from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand - Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion.

Makers

Cory Doctorow

From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, a major novel of the booms, busts, and further booms in store for America.

Perry and Lester invent things-seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems, like the "New Work," a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups like Perry and Lester's. Together, they transform the country, and Andrea Fleeks, a journo-turned-blogger, is there to document it.

Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot.combomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Wal-Marts across the land. As their rides, which commemorate the New Work's glory days, gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive grows jealous, and convinces the police that Perry and Lester's 3D printers are being used to run off AK-47s.

Hordes of goths descend on the shantytown built by the New Workers, joining the cult. Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry's friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the 'fatkins' treatment, turning him into a sybaritic gigolo.

Then things get really interesting.

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

Ball Lightning

Cixin Liu

When Chen's parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.

The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier in particle physics. Although Chen's quest provides a purpose for his lonely life, his reasons for chasing his elusive quarry come into conflict with soldiers and scientists who have motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge.

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.

Nekropolis

Maureen F. McHugh

An extraordinary literary artist offers a powerful vision of tomorrow in a world barely touched by the passing centuries.

There is life in the Nekropolis -- but no future. Hariba spent her youth here, among the exquisite paper flower wreaths her mother meticulously constructed, playing contentedly with other children around the rows and rows of old buildings housing the crumbling bones of the dead. But when an older brother's criminal indiscretion robbed Hariba of any possibility of a husband, she agreed to have herself "jessed" -- submitting to the technoblological process designed to render her docile and subservient to whomever has purchased her service. In this way, Hariba could escape the confinement of her surroundings and hopelessness of her fate...though she could never again be truly free.

At the age of twenty-six, she enters the house of a wealthy merchant as an indentured servant. It is a new world for Hariba, filled with many wondrous objects and strange amusements that she has never before seen. But there is one thing in this place that greatly disturbs her: a harni, an intelligent, machine-bred creature of flesh and organs, a perfect replica of a man. A menial, like herself, it calls itself "Akhmim." And it unsettles Hariba with its beauty, its nave, inappropriate tenderness -- and with prying, unanswerable questions like "Why are you sad?"

But slowly, almost imperceptibly, Hariba's revulsion metamorphoses into acceptance, and then into something much more. For Akhmim, like her, is a nonentity at the very bottom of the social order -- and the harni's gentle concern for her is real. And if she shuts out the accusing voices in her head, Hariba can even forget that Akhmim is less than human.

Dangerous thoughts, however, must inevitably lead to dangerous actions -- and outlaw emotions can breed an unholy love defying the strictly enforced edicts of God and man. Soon feelings Hariba can neither control nor ignore have her contemplating the unthinkable -- escape. But the "jessed" abandon their masters at the risk of sickness, pain, imprisonment, and perhaps even death. And there is no safe haven for a rebel servant and a runaway A.I. -- not even within the shunned, technology-barren bowels of the city of the dead.

Hugo Award winner Maureen F. McHugh has written a provocative, powerfully dazzling novel of repression and reawakening -- and a unique, profoundly moving love storythat stands alongside the acclaimed works of Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

The Silver Metal Lover

Silver Metal Lover: Book 1

Tanith Lee

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

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

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

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

Sleeping Giants

The Themis Files: Book 1

Sylvain Neuvel

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved--its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand's code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history's most perplexing discovery--and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Shadow of the Giant

Ender's Universe: Ender's Shadow: Book 4

Orson Scott Card

Bean's past was a battle just to survive. He first appeared on the streets of Rotterdam, a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else. He knew he could not survive through strength; he used his tactical genius to gain acceptance into a children's gang, and then to help make that gang a template for success for all the others. He civilized them, and lived to grow older. Then he was discovered by the recruiters for the Battle School.

For Earth was at war -- a terrible war with an inscrutable alien enemy. A war that humanity was near to losing. But the long distances of interstellar space has given hope to the defenders of Earth -- they had time to train military geniuses up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high-orbital facility called the Battle School. That story is told in two books, the beloved classic Ender's Game, and its parallel, Ender's Shadow.

Bean was the smallest student at the Battle School, but he became Ender Wiggins' right hand. Since then he has grown to be a power on Earth. He served the Hegemon as strategist and general in the terrible wars that followed Ender's defeat of the alien empire attacking Earth. Now he and his wife Petra yearn for a safe place to build a family -- something he has never known -- but there is nowhere on Earth that does not harbor his enemies -- old enemies from the days in Ender's Jeesh, new enemies from the wars on Earth. To find security, Bean and Petra must once again follow in Ender's footsteps. They must leave Earth behind, in the control of the Hegemon, and look to the stars.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Cassandra Rose Clarke

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

Moderan

David R. Bunch

A collection of stories all centered on a dystopian world dominated by warring cyborgs. humans have been replaced by machines with an organic core. The transformation from human to machine is a painful ritual meant to remind the "machine being" of the disadvantage of the human state. Startlingly original for its time.

Table of Conents

  • Of Hammers and Men
  • The Stronghold
  • 2064, or Thereabouts - (1964)
  • Penance Day in Moderan - (1960)
  • Strange Shape in the Stronghold - (1960)
  • Getting Regular - (1960)
  • The Walking, Talking I-Don't-Care Man - (1965)
  • To Face Eternity
  • In the Innermost Room of Authority
  • The Problem
  • Playmate - (1965)
  • A Husband's Share - (1960)
  • The Complete Father - (1960)
  • Was She Horrid? - (1959)
  • A Glance at the Past - (1959)
  • Educational
  • It Was in Black Cat Weather - (1963)
  • Sometimes I Get So Happy - (1963)
  • Remembering - [Moderan] - (1960)
  • A Little Girl's Xmas in Moderan - (1960)
  • The Flesh-Man from Far Wide - (1959)
  • The One from Camelot Moderan - (1962)
  • Reunion - (1965)
  • The Warning - (1960)
  • Has Anyone Seen This Horseman? - (1961)
  • Interruption in Carnage
  • The Miracle of the Flowers - (1966)
  • Incident in Moderan - (1967)
  • The Final Decision - (1961)
  • Will-Hung and Waiting
  • How They Took Care of Soul in a Last Day for a Non-Beginning - (1962)
  • How It Ended - [Moderan] - (1969)

Freedom

Daemon: Book 2

Daniel Suarez

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

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

Shadow of the Hegemon

Ender's Universe: Ender's Shadow: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

The War is over, won by Ender Wiggin and his team of brilliant child-warriors. The enemy is destroyed, the human race is saved. Ender himself refuses to return to the planet, but his crew has gone home to their families, scattered across the globe. The battle school is no more.

But with the external threat gone, the Earth has become a battlefield once more. The children of the Battle School are more than heros they are potential weapons that can bring power to the countries that control them. One by one, all of Ender's Dragon Army are kidnapped. Only Bean escapes and he turns for help to Ender's brother Peter.

Peter Wiggin, Ender's older brother, has already been manipulating the politics of Earth from behind the scenes. With Bean's help, he will eventually rule the world.

Corsair

James L. Cambias

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself, and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating.

Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows under a multiplicity of names for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth's economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans.

David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can't prove it. And when Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble.

Shadow Puppets

Ender's Universe: Ender's Shadow: Book 3

Orson Scott Card

Bestselling author Orson Scott Card brings to life a new chapter in the saga of Ender's Earth.

Earth and its society has been changed irrevocably in the aftermath of Ender Wiggin's victory over the Formics--the unity enforced upon the warring nations by an alien enemy has shattered. Nations are rising again, seeking territory and influence, and most of all, seeking to control the skills and loyalty of the children from the Battle School.

But one person has a better idea. Peter Wiggin, Ender's older, more ruthless, brother, sees that any hope for the future of Earth lies in restoring a sense of unity and purpose. And he has an irresistible call on the loyalty of Earth's young warriors. With Bean at his side, the two will reshape our future.

Here is the continuing story of Bean and Petra, and the rest of Ender's Dragon Army, as they take their places in the new government of Earth.

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.

vN: The First Machine Dynasty

Machine Dynasties: Book 1

Madeline Ashby

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

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

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

Homeland

Little Brother: Book 2

Cory Doctorow

In Cory Doctorow's wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco-an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California's economy collapses, but Marcus's hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It's incendiary stuff-and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him-but he can't admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He's surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can't even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He's not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he's gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they're used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother -- a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

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

Islands in the Net

Bruce Sterling

In the high-tech twenty-first century, a family of "corporate associates" descends into an underworld of data pirates and bootleg biogenetics to discover the identity of new-order terrorists.

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.

Helicopter Story

Isabel Fall

This short story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. Its publication history is explained in a Wikipedia entry. It is a finalist for the 2021 Hugo Award and is on the 2020 Otherwise honor list.

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.

One Second After

One Second After: Book 1

William R. Forstchen

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real... a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages... A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future... and our end.

Hidden Empire

Empire: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

The war of words between right and left collapsed into a shooting war, and raged between the high-technology weapons on each side, devastating cities and overrunning the countryside.

At the close of Empire, political scientist and government adviser Averell Torrent had maneuvered himself into the presidency of the United States. And now that he has complete power at home, he plans to expand American imperial power around the world.

Opportunity comes quickly. There's a deadly new plague in Africa, and it is devastating the countryside and cities.  President Torrent declares American solidarity with the victims, but places all of Africa in quarantine until a vaccine is found or the disease burns itself out. And he sends Captain Bartholomew Coleman, Cole to his friends, to run the relief operations and protect the American scientists working on identifying the virus. If Cole and his team can avoid dying of the plague, or being cut down by the weapons of fearful African nations, they might do some good.  Or they might be out of the way for good.

Empire

Empire: Book 1

Orson Scott Card

The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone.

The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the countryside. But the vast majority, who only want the killing to stop, and the nation to return to more peaceful days, have technology, weapons and strategic geniuses of their own.

When the American dream shatters into violence, who can hold the people and the government together? And which side will you be on?

Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller, who has earned millions of fans and reams of praise for his previous science fiction and fantasy novels. Now he steps a little closer to the present day with this chilling look at a near future scenario of a new American Civil War.