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The Screwfly Solution

Raccoona Sheldon
James Tiptree, Jr.

This Nebula-winning and Hugo-nominated novelette was collected in Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions (1981) and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1990) and anthologized in The 1978 Annual World's Best SF (1978), Nebula Winners Thirteen (1980), Armageddons (1999) and Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology (2015).


Read this story online for free at the Sci Fiction archive.

Empire Ascendant

Worldbreaker Saga: Book 2

Kameron Hurley

Loyalties are tested when worlds collide...

Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.

Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful - but unpredictable - magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress's sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire's undoing.

But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?

In this devastating sequel to The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley transports us back to a land of blood mages and sentient plants, dark magic, and warfare on a scale that spans worlds.

Adulthood Rites

Xenogenesis: Book 2

Octavia E. Butler

As humans and Oankali struggle to live together, the future of both species rests in the hands of Lilith's hybrid son.

Nuclear war had nearly destroyed mankind when the Oankali came to the rescue, saving humanity - but at a price. The Oankali survive by mixing their DNA with that of other species, and now on Earth they have permitted no child to be born without an Oankali parent. The first true hybrid is a boy named Akin - son of Lilith Iyapo -and to the naked eye he looks human, for now.

He is born with extraordinary sensory powers, understanding speech at birth, speaking in sentences at two months old, and soon developing the ability to see at the molecular level. More powerful than any human or Oankali, he will be the architect of both races' intergalactic future. But before he can carry this new species into the stars, Akin must decide which unlucky souls will stay behind.

Dawn

Xenogenesis: Book 1

Octavia E. Butler

Rescued from Earth's destruction, one woman is called upon to revive mankind.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth-the last stage of the planet's final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali-who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations-whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet's untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

Death's End

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 3

Cixin Liu

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

The Day of the Triffids

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 36

John Wyndham

In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having "all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare."

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

Trapped in the R.A.W.: A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion, by Kaylee Bearovna, With an Afterwords by Pearl Larken

Kate Boyes

A young woman working alone in a small special collections library is trapped in the building when invaders overrun her town. She barricades the doors, peeks through a window, and watches in horror as people are murdered outside. The invaders wear uniforms that cover them completely, making it impossible for her to see their faces. However, she realizes at once that they do not intend to subjugate the population. They intend to annihilate it.

Trapped in the R.A.W. is a journal of the young woman's solitary struggle to protect the books while keeping herself fed, hydrated, warm, and sane.

The Genocides

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 59

Thomas M. Disch

This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells

In this harrowing novel, the world's cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth. The plants, able to grow the size of maples in only a month and eventually reach six hundred feet, have commandeered the world's soil and are sucking even the Great Lakes dry. In northern Minnesota, Anderson, an aging farmer armed with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, desperately leads the reduced citizenry of a small town in a daily struggle for meager existence. Throw into this fray Jeremiah Orville, a marauding outsider bent on a bizarre and private revenge, and the fight to live becomes a daunting task.

Footfall

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star.

The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender--or death for all humans.

Imago

Xenogenesis: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way.

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race.

Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi-the first ever born to a human mother. As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what's left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all.

Under the Dome

Stephen King

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

Nightwings

Robert Silverberg

A fabulous tale of pilgrimage and hope, betrayal and transformation by one of science fiction's greatest writers. Only at night on the winds of darkness can she soar. And it was Avluela the Flier's ebony and scarlet wings that lead the Watcher to the seven hills of the ancient city from which, in a moment of weakness, the Watcher failed his vigil, leaving the skies and deep space unguarded. The invaders came and conquered. With Avluela lost in the turmoil of conquest, the Watcher set out alone for the Holy City home of the Rememberers, keepers of the past. This is where the secret of Earth's salvation lay hidden in antiquity. On his journey the Watcher hoped to recapture his youth and find the soaring, beautiful woman he loved. But Avluela held more for the Watcher - and Earth - than love. Her wonder stretched beyond flight, for she knew the riddle that would free all men.

The City of Gold and Lead

The Tripods: Book 2

John Christopher

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

Earthbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 3

Joe Haldeman

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

The Pool of Fire

The Tripods: Book 3

John Christopher

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

Elysium

Jennifer Marie Brissett

A computer program etched into the atmosphere has a story to tell, the story of two people, of a city lost to chaos, of survival and love. The program's data, however, has been corrupted. As the novel's characters struggle to survive apocalypse, they are sustained and challenged by the demands of love in a shattered world both haunted and dangerous.

Of Men and Monsters

William Tenn

Giant, technologically superior aliens have conquered Earth, but humankind survives - even flourishes in a way. Men and women live, like mice, in burrows in the massive walls of the huge homes of the aliens, and scurry about under their feet, stealing from them. A complex social and religious order has evolved, with women preserving knowledge and working as healers, and men serving as warriors and thieves. For the aliens, men and women are just a nuisance, nothing more than vermin. Which, ironically, may just be humankind's strength and point the way forward.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave: Book 1

Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Battlefield Earth

L. Ron Hubbard

Earth has been dominated for 1,000 by the giant, gas-breathing invaders from the planet Psychlo. Now, at the bleak dawn of the fourth millennium, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, one of the handful of human beings that have survived 10 centuries of alien conquest and near annihilation, decides to bravely venture out of his dwindling, stricken community in the Rocky Mountains.

Initially captured and enslaved by Terl, the ruthless Psychlo Security Chief, Jonnie enlists the aid of a small band of tough Scots in a final, daring challenge to the invincible Psychlo power. At stake in the struggle: the future of Earth...and the Galaxy!