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Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

Hugo Award winning story. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1959 and was reprinted in the October 1979 and May 2000 editions of that magazine. The story has been reprinted many times. It can be found in the anthologies:

The story would later be expanded to the full novel Flowers for Algernon (1966), which went on to win a Nebula Award.

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.

Quantum Night

Robert J. Sawyer

Experimental psychologist Jim Marchuk has developed a flawless technique for identifying the previously undetected psychopaths lurking everywhere in society. But while being cross-examined about his breakthrough in court, Jim is shocked to discover that he has lost his memories of six months of his life from twenty years previously--a dark time during which he himself committed heinous acts.

Jim is reunited with Kayla Huron, his forgotten girlfriend from his lost period and now a quantum physicist who has made a stunning discovery about the nature of human consciousness. As a rising tide of violence and hate sweeps across the globe, the psychologist and the physicist combine forces in a race against time to see if they can do the impossible--change human nature--before the entire world descends into darkness.

The Long Walk

Stephen King

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.

The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy

Ijon Tichy

Stanislaw Lem

Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flashfrozen to await a future cure. Translated by Michael Kandel.

Before Mars

Planetfall: Book 3

Emma Newman

After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist-in-residence. Already she feels like she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth--and she'll be on Mars for over a year. Throwing herself into her work, she tries her best to fit in with the team.

But in her new room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note written in her own handwriting, warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. A note she can't remember writing. She unpacks her wedding ring, only to find it has been replaced by a fake.

Finding a footprint in a place the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that her assignment isn't as simple as she was led to believe. Is she caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy, or is she actually losing her mind? Regardless of what horrors she might discover, or what they might do to her sanity, Anna has find the truth before her own mind destroys her.

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.

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.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Claire North

My name is Hope Arden, and you won't know who I am. But we've met before - a thousand times.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit, you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life difficult. It also makes me dangerous.

White Noise

Don DeLillo

Jack Gladney teaches Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America where his colleagues include New York expatriates who want to immerse themselves in "American magic and dread." Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, bound by their love, fear of death, and four ultramodern offspring, navigate the usual rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism.

Then a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives, an "airborne toxic event" unleashed by an industrial accident. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladney family - radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmerings - pulsing with life, yet heralding the danger of death.

Ironclads

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Scions have no limits. Scions do not die. And Scions do not disappear.

Sergeant Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad--the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war--but something has gone catastrophically wrong.

Now Regan and his men, ill equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironclad-killer out there? And how are common soldiers lacking the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield of tomorrow?

Good Morning, Midnight

Lily Brooks-Dalton

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton's captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

Transition

Iain M. Banks

There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

Time Out of Joint

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 182

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.

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.

Dark Matter

Blake Crouch

"Are you happy with your life?"

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined -- one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human -- a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of.

Lexicon

Max Barry

At an exclusive training school at an undisclosed location outside Washington, D.C., students are taught to control minds, to wield words as weapons. The very best graduate as "poets" and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Recruited off the street, whip-smart Emily Ruff quickly learns the one key rule: never allow another person to truly know you. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy, until she makes the catastrophic mistake of falling in love.

Slow River

Nicola Griffith

She awoke in an alley to the splash of rain. She was naked, a foot-long gash in her back was still bleeding, and her identity implant was gone. Lore Van de Oest was the daughter of one of the world's most powerful families...and now she was nobody.

Then out of the rain walked Spanner, an expert data pirate who took her in, cared for her wounds, and gave her the freedom to reinvent herself again and again. No one could find Lore if she didn't want to be found: not the police, not her family, and not the kidnappers who had left her in that alley to die. She had escaped...but she paid for her newfound freedom in crime, deception, and degradation--over and over again.

Lore had a choice: She could stay in the shadows, stay with Spanner...and risk losing herself forever. Or she could leave Spanner and find herself again by becoming someone else: stealing the identity implant of a dead woman, taking over her life, and inventing her future.

But to start again, Lore required Spanner's talents--Spanner, who needed her and hated her, and who always had a price. And even as Lore agreed to play Spanner's games one final time, she found that there was still the price of being a Van de Oest to be paid. Only by confronting her past, her family, and her own demons could Lore meld together who she had once been, who she had become, and the person she intended to be....

High-Rise

J. G. Ballard

Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on 'enemy' floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for technological mayhem!In this classic visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as the inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

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.

Cauldron

The Academy: Book 6

Jack McDevitt

When a young physicist unveils an efficient star drive capable of reaching the core of the galaxy, veteran star pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins finds herself back in the deepest reaches of space, and on the verge of discovering the origins of the deadly omega clouds that continue to haunt her.

The Insects of Love

Genevieve Valentine

The Insects of Love, by Genevieve Valentine, is a dream-like science fiction/fantasy puzzle about two sisters and several possible realities. The only certainty is that one sister gets a tattoo and disappears into the desert. The surviving sister is obsessed with insects and believes her sister has left her clues as to her disappearance.


Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

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.

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?

The White Plague

Frank Herbert

What if women were an endangered species?

It begins in Ireland, but soon spreads throughout the entire world: a virulent new disease expressly designed to target only women. As fully half of the human race dies off at a frightening pace and life on Earth faces extinction, panicked people and governments struggle to cope with the global crisis. Infected areas are quarantined or burned to the ground. The few surviving women are locked away in hidden reserves, while frantic doctors and scientists race to find a cure. Anarchy and violence consume the planet.

The plague is the work of a solitary individual who calls himself the Madman. As government security forces feverishly hunt for the renegade scientist, he wanders incognito through a world that will never be the same. Society, religion, and morality are all irrevocably transformed by the White Plague.

Interface

Neal Stephenson
George F. Jewsbury

A near-future thriller in which a shadowy coalition bent on controlling the world economy attempts to manipulate the president of the United States through the use of a computer bio-chip implanted in his brain.

Stephen Bury is a collective pseudonym for authors Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George.

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?

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.

The Last One

Alexandra Oliva

Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva's fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens--but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them--a young woman the show's producers call Zoo--stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life--and husband--she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills--and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways--and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

The Affinities

Robert Charles Wilson

In our rapidly-changing world of "social media", everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies--genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one's life. It's like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren't just like you, and they aren't just people who are likely to like you. They're also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life--creative, interpersonal, even financial.

At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he's a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It's utopian--at first. Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another--to helping him.

But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war--with one another.

What happens next will change Adam, and his world, forever.

Life As We Knew It

Last Survivors: Book 1

Susan Beth Pfeffer

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, the way "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintry in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year's worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

Bones of the Earth

Michael Swanwick

World-renowned paleontologist Richard Leyster's universe changedforever the day a stranger named Griffin walked into his office with a remarkable job offer... and an ice cooler containing the head of a freshly killed Stegosaurus. For Leyster and a select group of scientific colleagues an impossible fantasy has come true: the ability to study dinosaurs up close, in their own era and milieu. But tampering with time and paradox can have disastrous effects on the future and the past alike, breeding a violent new strain of fundamentalist terror -- and, worse still, encouraging brilliant rebels like Dr. Gertrude Salley to toy with the working mechanisms of natural law, no matter what the consequences. And when they concern the largest, most savage creatures that ever walked the Earth, the consequences may be too horrifying to imagine...

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.

Beyond Apollo

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 12

Barry N. Malzberg

A two-man mission to Venus fails and is aborted. When it returns, the Captain is missing and the other astronaut, Harry M. Evans, is unable to explain what has happened. Or, conversely, he has too many explications. His journal of the expedition -- compiled in the mental institution to which NASA has embarrassedly committed him -- offers contradictory stories: he murdered the Captain, mad Venusian invaders murdered the Captain, the Captain vanished, no one was murdered and the Captain has returned in Evans' guise....

As the explanations pyramid and as the supervising psychiatrist's increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story fail, it becomes apparent that Evans's madness and his inability to explain what happened are expressions of humanity's incompetence at the enormity of space exploration.

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...

Speak

Louisa Hall

A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence--illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding.

In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century, to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human, and what it means to be less than fully alive.

A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend's mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls.

Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps--to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human--shrinking rapidly with today's technological advances--echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.

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.

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Autonomous

Annalee Newitz

Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can't otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack's drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Triggers

Robert J. Sawyer

On the eve of a secret military operation, an assassin's bullet strikes President Seth Jerrison. He is rushed to the hospital, where surgeons struggle to save his life.

At the same hospital, researcher Dr. Ranjip Singh is experimenting with a device that can erase traumatic memories.

Then a terrorist bomb detonates. In the operating room, the president suffers cardiac arrest. He has a near-death experience-but the memories that flash through Jerrison's mind are not his memories.

It quickly becomes clear that the electromagnetic pulse generated by the bomb amplified and scrambled Dr. Singh's equipment, allowing a random group of people to access one another's minds.

And now one of those people has access to the president's memories- including classified information regarding the upcoming military mission, which, if revealed, could cost countless lives. But the task of determining who has switched memories with whom is a daunting one- particularly when some of the people involved have reason to lie...

The Girl in the Road

Monica Byrne

In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys--each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India. As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation. Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home. She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture. But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected--romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.

Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is an artistic feat of the first order: vividly imagined, artfully told, and profoundly moving.

The Wanderers

Meg Howrey

In an age of space exploration, we search to find ourselves.

In four years, aerospace giant Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they're the crew for the historic voyage by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Constantly observed by Prime Space's team of "Obbers," Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei must appear ever in control. But as their surreal pantomime progresses, each soon realizes that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The borders between what is real and unreal begin to blur, and each astronaut is forced to confront demons past and present, even as they struggle to navigate their increasingly claustrophobic quarters--and each other.

Astonishingly imaginative, tenderly comedic, and unerringly wise, The Wanderers explores the differences between those who go and those who stay, telling a story about the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart.

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 Tomorrow People

Judith Merril

"The Tomorrow People," was penned by well known author, Judith Merril, who spins a chilling sci-fi tale. Something on Mars was killing people! An ill-fated expedition to the Red Planet vanished without so much as a trace. On another expedition, only one man came back alive. That man was Johnny Wendt, and he was the only man to ever set foot on Mars and return to tell about it. His knowledge could prove to be decisive in the desperate East-West race for outer space superiority. Unfortunately, Johnny Wendt didn't know just exactly what it was that made Mars a death trap...and he didn't know that he'd brought it back with him!