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Chasm City

Revelation Space: Book 2

Alastair Reynolds

Tanner Mirabel was a security specialist who never made a mistake - until the day a woman in his care was blown away by Argent Reivich, a vengeful young postmortal. Tanner's pursuit of Reivich takes him across light-years of space to Chasm City, the domed human settlement on the otherwise inhospitable planet of Yellowstone.

But Chasm City is not what it was. The one-time high-tech utopia has become a Gothic nightmare: a nanotechnological virus has corrupted the city's inhabitants as thoroughly as it has the buildings and machines. Before the chase is done, Tanner will have to confront truths which reach back centuries, towards deep space and an atrocity history barely remembers.

All You Zombies –: Five Classic Stories by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein

This collection from Grand Master Robert A. Heinlein includes five short stories sure to please science fiction fans everywhere.

All You Zombies -: A young man walks into a bar and meets a time-traveling bartender whose origins - and relation to the young man - are more convoluted and stranger than the snake-swallowing-his-tail ring on the barkeep's finger. This is considered one of the most influential and thought-provoking short stories ever to tackle the mind-bending nature and paradoxes of time travel.
this story can be read online here

The Man Who Traveled in Elephants: In one of both Heinlein and Spider Robinson's all-time favorite stories, we join a former traveling salesman on a bus. The man and his wife had once traveled with a host of imaginary animals searching for places to sell elephants.
this story can be read online here

They: This story takes listeners inside a mental institution, where a man suffering from delusions has been confined.
this story can be read online here

Our Fair City: A parking attendant named Pappy, a sentient whirlwind named Kitten, and a crusading reporter named Pete aim to take down their corrupt city government.
this story can be read online here

- And He Built a Crooked House -: A clever architect designs a house in the shape of the shadow of a tesseract, but it collapses through the fourth dimension when an earthquake shakes it into a more stable form.
this story can be read online here

The title story was adapted into the theatrical film Predestination in 2014.

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 Collapsium

The Queendom of Sol: Book 1

Wil McCarthy

No writer stretches the boundaries of science fiction like Wil McCarthy does. Now this acclaimed author has crafted his most wildly ambitious and stunningly original novel yet, an unforgettable tale set in a wondrous future in which the secrets of matter have been unlocked and death itself is but a memory. A future also imperiled by a bitter rivalry between two brilliant scientists: one perhaps the greatest genius in the history of humankind, the other, its greatest monster...

In the eighth decade of the glorious reign of Her Majesty Tamra Lutui, the Queendom of Sol enjoys a peace and prosperity even gods might envy. In fact, two awesome technologies have given human beings all the powers--and caprices--of the gods they once worshiped. The first is wellstone, a form of programmable matter capable of emulating almost any substance: natural, artificial, even hypothetical. The second is collapsium, a deadly crystal, composed of miniature black holes, that allows the virtually instantaneous transmission of information and matter--including humans--throughout the solar system.

Bruno de Towaji, royal consort and the inventor of collapsium, dreams of building the arc de fin, an almost mythical device capable of probing the farthest reaches of spacetime. Marlon Sykes, de Towaji's rival in both love and science, is meanwhile hard at work on a vast telecommunications project whose first step consists of constructing a ring of collapsium around the sun. But when a ruthless saboteur attacks the Ring Collapsiter and sends it falling toward the sun, the two scientists must put aside personal animosity and combine their prodigious intellects to prevent the destruction of the solar system... and every living thing within it.

In his most daring work yet, Wil McCarthy blasts us into a mythical realm--by turns hilarious, magnificent, and deeply moving--where two archmasters of physics compete for love and honor against a backdrop of stellar catastrophe. The Collapsium is a bold work of the imagination.

More Than Human

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 29

Theodore Sturgeon

First published in 1953, this most celebrated of Sturgeon's works won the International Fantasy Award, as has been touted as "a masterpiece of provocative storytelling" (The Herald Tribune).

A group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover their combined powers renders them superhuman.

Permutation City

Greg Egan

The story of a man with a vision - immortality : for those who can afford it is found in cyberspace. Permutation city is the tale of a man with a vision - how to create immortality - and how that vision becomes something way beyond his control. Encompassing the lives and struggles of an artificial life junkie desperate to save her dying mother, a billionaire banker scarred by a terrible crime, the lovers for whom, in their timeless virtual world, love is not enough - and much more - Permutation city is filled with the sense of wonder.

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 Skinner

Spatterjay Series: Book 1

Neal Asher

To the Line planet Spatterjay come three travellers: Janer brings the eyes of a hornet Hive mind, and an agenda he would rather not own; Erlin comes to find Ambel – the ancient sea captain who can teach her to live; and Sable Keech is a man with a vendetta he will not give up, though he has been dead for seven hundred years.

The world is mostly ocean, where all but a few visitors from the Human Polity remain safely in the island Dome. Outside, the native hoopers risk the voracious appetite of the planet’s fauna in their struggle for life and life eternal. Somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop himself, and monitor Keech will not rest until he can bring this legendary renegade to justice – for crimes so hideous Keech can never forget.

Pursuing rumour, Keech learns that Hoop has become something monstrous: his body roaming free on an island wilderness, whilst his living head is confined in a box on board one of the old captain's ships. Janer, the eternal tourist, is bewildered by this place where sails speak and the people just will not die, but his bewilderment turns to anger when he learns the Hive mind’s intentions. Erlin thinks she has all the time she will ever need to find the answers she requires, and could not be more wrong. And so these three travel and search, not knowing that one of the brutal Prador is about to pay a surreptitious visit, intent on exterminating witnesses to wartime atrocities, nor do they know how terrible is the price of immortality on Spatterjay.

As the fortunes of these travellers unwittingly converge, a major hell is about to erupt in this chaotic waterscape ... where minor hell is already a remorseless fact of everyday life – and death.

Cyteen

Alliance-Union: Unionside: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

This multilayered epic of interstellar cabals and dark human passions is a profound exploration of genetics, environment, nurture, society, and the secrets of human intelligence.

In a futuristic world of cybernetics, two young friends become trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion, surveillance, programmable servants, a centuries-old ruling class, and an enigmatic woman who dominates them all, in a story marked by genius, blackmail, sacrifice, murder, resurrection, the betrayal of innocence, and loyalty stronger than death.

This is the story of Ariane Emory: brilliant, corrupt, a genius in genetics, psychology, rape, and blackmail. She dominates the Council of Nine, as head of the Expansionist Party of the Multiworld Union, and is despot of the territory Reseune, where her laboratories create the one product essential to Cyteen: people. They are the "azi," human workers and soldiers artificially grown, computer trained, and owned by Reseune and hence by Ariane Emory. After one hundred and twenty years of life and fifty years of rule, Emory is murdered. But not for long...

This is the story of the Project: the plan to replicate Ariane Emory. Creatiing a genetic double is routine for Reseune's bio-technology, but nature is not nurture, and clones are still human beings. For the Project to succeed, Emory's followers have to subject the clone to every formative influence of the tyrant's life, keep her innocent of history, protect her from Emory's enemies, and oppress or silence anyone who might, even accidentally, disrupt the program.

This is also the story of Ari: a little girl driven to solve a mystery she can sense, but not define. A child thrown into a storm of global upheaval when her creation is made public, she inherits a stranger’s face and past, enemies and victims. She must wield her predecessor’s power to save herself, even from people she loves. And to survice, she must find out if she’s a puppet crafted by a dead megalomaniac – or the one person who can defuse a socio-genetic time bomb threatening to destroy her planet. For only Ariane Emory can save Cyteen...

The Invisible Man

H. G. Wells

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

The Ringworld Engineers

Known Space: Ringworld: Book 2

Larry Niven

The sequel to "Ringworld". Louis Wu, Speaker-to-Animals, and the Hindmost return to Ringworld. Their aim is to prevent cataclysm. In the process, they find themselves learning Ringworld's incredible secrets.

Ringworld's Children

Known Space: Ringworld: Book 4

Larry Niven

Welcome to a world like no other.

The Ringworld: a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band 3 million times the surface area of Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of which are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe.

Explorer Louis Wu, an Earth-born human who was part of the first expedition to Ringworld, becomes enmeshed in interplanetary and interspecies intrigue as war, and a powerful new weapon, threaten to tear the Ringworld apart forever. Now, the future of Ringworld lies in the actions of its children: Tunesmith, the Ghould protector; Acolyte, the exiled son of Speaker-to-Animals, and Wembleth, a strange Ringworld native with a mysterious past. All must play a dangerous in order to save Ringworld's population, and the stability of Ringworld itself.

Blending awe-inspiring science with non-stop action and fun, Ringworld's Children, the fourth installment of the multiple award-winning saga, is the perfect introduction for readers new to this New York Times bestselling series, and long-time fans of Larry Niven's Ringworld.

Planet of the Damned

Brion Brandd: Book 1

Harry Harrison

72 hours in Hell! Dis was a harsh, inhospitable, dangerous place and the Magter made it worse. They might have been human once -- but they were something else now. The Magter had only one desire -- to kill everything, themselves, their planet, the universe if they could. Brion Brandd was sent in at the eleventh hour. His mission was to save Dis, but it looked as though he was going to preside over its annihilation.

The Forever Machine

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 26

Frank Riley
Mark Clifton

The government ordered it built: a thinking machine that could foresee catastrophe and eliminate human error. Research trainee Joe Carter sees another possibility--create a machine that will make ordinary people telepathic--and immortal.

This Galaxy Novel is available for free on the Internet Archives.