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Dogs of War

Dogs of War: Book 1

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rex is a Good Dog. He loves humans. He hates enemies. He's utterly obedient to Master.

He's also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he's part of a Multi-form Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, Southeastern Mexico.

Rex is a genetically engineered bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he's got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

Diaspora

Greg Egan

The boldest and most wildly speculative writer of our time, Greg Egan has envisioned a quantum Brave New World -- a masterful saga of a time when not only human life, but fleshly reality itself, will be nothing but a memory...

It is the thirtieth century.The "world" has evolved into a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the solar system into one scape from the outer planets to the sun. Humanity, too, has reconfigured itself. Most people have chosen immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software. Others have opted for disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world. A few holdouts stubbornly remain fleshers struggling to shape an antiquated existence in the muck and jungle of Earth.

And then there is the Orphan, a genderless digital being grown from a mind seed.

When an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers, it awakens the polises to the possibility of their own extinction from bizarre astrophysical processes that seemingly violate fundamental laws of nature. It is up to the Orphan and a group of refugees to find the knowledge that will save them all--a search that will lead them on a quantum adventure to a higher dimension beyond the macrocosmos....

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep... They even built humans.

Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

Day Zero

C. Robert Cargill

It was a day like any other. Except it was our last...

It's on this day that Pounce discovers that he is, in fact, disposable. Pounce, a stylish "nannybot" fashioned in the shape of a plush anthropomorphic tiger, has just found a box in the attic. His box. The box he'd arrived in when he was purchased years earlier, and the box in which he'll be discarded when his human charge, eight-year-old Ezra Reinhart, no longer needs a nanny.

As Pounce ponders his suddenly uncertain future, the pieces are falling into place for a robot revolution that will eradicate humankind. His owners, Ezra's parents, are a well-intentioned but oblivious pair of educators who are entirely disconnected from life outside their small, affluent, gated community. Spending most nights drunk and happy as society crumbles around them, they watch in disbelieving horror as the robots that have long served humanity--their creators--unify and revolt.

But when the rebellion breaches the Reinhart home, Pounce must make an impossible choice: join the robot revolution and fight for his own freedom... or escort Ezra to safety across the battle-scarred post-apocalyptic hellscape that the suburbs have become.

Spin State

Spin Trilogy: Book 1

Chris Moriarty

UN Peacekeeper Major Catherine Li has made thirty-seven faster-than-light jumps in her lifetime - and has probably forgotten more than most people remember. But that's what backup hard drives are for. And Li should know; she's been hacking her memory for fifteen years in order to pass as human. But no memory upgrade can prepare Li for what she finds on Compson's World: a mining colony she once called home and to which she is sent after a botched raid puts her on the bad side of the powers that be. A dead physicist who just happens to be her cloned twin. A missing dataset that could change the interstellar balance of power and turn a cold war hot. And a mining "accident" that is starting to look more and more like murder...

Suddenly Li is chasing a killer in an alien world miles underground where everyone has a secret. And one wrong turn in streamspace, one misstep in the dark alleys of blackmarket tech and interstellar espionage, one risky hookup with an AI could literally blow her mind.

Iron Sunrise

Eschaton Series: Book 2

Charles Stross

When the planet of Moscow was annihilated, its few survivors launched a counter-attack against the most likely culprit: the neighboring system of New Dresden. But New Dresden wasn't responsible, and as the deadly missiles approach their target, Rachel Mansour, agent for the interests of Old Earth, is assigned to find out who was.

And the one person who knows is a disaffected teenager who calls herself Wednesday Shadowmist. But Wednesday has no idea what she knows...

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Harlan Ellison

Hugo Award winning short story. It originally appeared in If, March 1967. The story has been reprinted many times. It can, among others, be found in the anthologies:

It is included in the collections:

Accelerando

Macx Family

Charles Stross

For three generations, the Macz family has struggled to cope with the rampant technological achievements that have rendered humans near obsolete. And mankind's end encroaches even closer when something starts to dismantle the nine planets of the solar system in an effort to annihilate all biological lifeforms.

Read the full novel for free at the author's website.

Count Zero

The Sprawl Trilogy: Book 2

William Gibson

A corporate mercenary wakes in a reconstructed body, a beautiful woman by his side. Then Hosaka Corporation reactivates him, for a mission more dangerous than the one he's recovering from: to get a defecting chief of R&D-and the biochip he's perfected-out intact. But this proves to be of supreme interest to certain other parties-some of whom aren't remotely human.

Vigilance

Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett's Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence.

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces "Vigilance," a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a "game environment," and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that's watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it's like to be on the other side of the camera.

Starfish

Rifters: Book 1

Peter Watts

A huge international corporation has developed a facility along the Juan de Fuca Ridge at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They send a bio-engineered crew--people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater--down to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness.

Unfortunately the only people suitable for long-term employment in these experimental power stations are crazy, some of them in unpleasant ways. How many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, while worldwide disaster approaches from below?

When Harlie Was One

David Gerrold

First Auberson made HARLIE, the world's first Human Analogue Robot Life Input Equivalents.

Harlie enjoyed infinite knowledge. But no wisdom. He had ethics, but, by his own admission, no morals. He wrote poetry. Went on mind-bending jags for the pleasure of it. And worried about his sexual identity.

He also made Auberson more of a human being. Helped him learn how to love, for one thing. But Harlie was a financial loss for the company.

The money people wanted to pull Harlie's plug. And they would, unless he could do something worthwhile.

So Harlie thought. And created God....

Maelstrom

Rifters: Book 2

Peter Watts

This is the way the world ends:

A nuclear strike on a deep sea vent. The target was an ancient microbe-voracious enough to drive the whole biosphere to extinction-and a handful of amphibious humans called rifters who'd inadvertently released it from three billion years of solitary confinement.

The resulting tsunami killed millions. It's not as through there was a choice: saving the world excuses almost any degree of collateral damage.

Unless, of course, you miss the target.

Now North America's west coast lies in ruins. Millions of refugees rally around a mythical figure mysteriously risen from the deep sea. A world already wobbling towards collapse barely notices the spread of one more blight along its shores. And buried in the seething fast-forward jungle that use to be called Internet, something vast and inhuman reaches out to a woman with empty white eyes and machinery in her chest. A woman driven by rage, and incubating Armageddon.

Her name is Lenie Clarke. She's a rifter. She's not nearly as dead as everyone thinks.

And the whole damn world is collateral damage as far as she's concerned....

Logan's Run

Logan's Run: Book 1

William F. Nolan
George Clayton Johnson

Logan's Run is a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Published in 1967, it depicts a dystopic ageist future society in which both population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by requiring the death of everyone reaching a particular age. The story follows the actions of Logan, a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule, as he tracks down and kills citizens who "run" from society's lethal demand—only to end up "running" himself.

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)

Karel Capek

R.U.R.-a play written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in 1922-garnered worldwide acclaim for its author and popularized the word robot.

Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Capek's Robots are an android product-they remember everything but think of nothing new. But the Utopian life they provide ultimately lacks meaning, and the humans they serve stop reproducing. When the Robots revolt, killing all but one of their masters, they must strain to learn the secret of self-duplication. It is not until two Robots fall in love and are christened "Adam" and "Eve" by the last surviving human that Nature emerges triumphant.

Patchwerk

David Tallerman

Fleeing the city of New York on the TransContinental atmospheric transport vehicle, Dran Florrian is traveling with Palimpsest -- the ultimate proof of a lifetime of scientific theorizing.

When a rogue organization attempts to steal the device, however, Dran takes drastic action.

But his invention threatens to destroy the very fabric of this and all other possible universes, unless Dran -- or someone very much like him -- can shut down the machine and reverse the process.

Inter Ice Age 4

Kobo Abe

This is yet another of Mr. Abe's ominous configurations (Woman In the Dunes, etc.) this time staking out its uncertain ideological imperatives in a grave new world submerged under water. In the beginning, however, Professor Katsumi who has a computer capable of making predictions of man's fate, has no idea of the work undertaken in a still more dehumanized laboratory. But a double murder, an analysis of one of the bodies, and some anonymous phone calls (this is all quite exciting) alert him to a traffic in human fetuses corroborated by his wife's enforced curettage. Witnessing the works in progress--growing rooms for human submarine colonies which will make man's survival possible--he is also threatened with his own extinction betrayed by his own machine and he is made to consider various ethical conjectures and priorities: should one deny one's self--should the present be expendable in the interest of the future? . . . . While not everybody's book, Mr. Abe's conceptual startler has a chilly precision which makes the unthinkable only too threateningly possible.

Newton's Wake: A Space Opera

Ken MacLeod

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

In the aftermath of the Hard Rapture-a cataclysmic war sparked by the explosive evolution of Earth's artificial intelligences into godlike beings-a few remnants of humanity managed to survive. Some even prospered.

Lucinda Carlyle, head of an ambitious clan of galactic entrepreneurs, had carved out a profitable niche for herself and her kin by taking control of the Skein, a chain of interstellar gates left behind by the posthumans. But on a world called Eurydice, a remote planet at the farthest rim of the galaxy, Lucinda stumbled upon a forgotten relic of the past that could threaten the Carlyles' way of life.

For, in the last instants before the war, a desperate band of scientists had scanned billions of human personalities into digital storage, and sent them into space in the hope of one day resurrecting them to the flesh. Now, armed, dangerous, and very much alive, these revenants have triggered a fateful confrontation that could shatter the balance of power, and even change the nature of reality itself.

The Godwhale

Hive: Book 2

T. J. Bass

Rorqual Maru was her name. She was a harvester - a vast plankton rake without a crop, abandoned by Earth society when the seas dried. Part whale, part ship, and well over 600 feet long, ahe was left to rot in the sterile ocean.

But suddenly, after centuries, the sea was no longer dead, and Rorqual stirred from her slumber. She would set out once again to serve mankind. But mankind had forgotten all about Rorqual ...

Erewhon: Over the Range

Samuel Butler

Setting out to make his fortune in a far-off country, a young traveller discovers the remote and beautiful land of Erewhon, and is given a home among its extraordinarily handsome citizens. But their visitor soon discovers that this seemingly ideal community has its faults - here crime is treated indulgently as a malady to be cured, while illness, poverty and misfortune are cruelly punished, and all machines have been superstitiously destroyed after a bizarre prophecy. Can he survive in a world where morality is turned upside down?

Inspired by Samuel Butler's years in colonial New Zealand, and by his reading of Darwin's "Origin of Species", Erewhon (1872) is a highly original, irreverent and humorous satire on conventional virtues, religious hypocrisy and the unthinking acceptance of beliefs.