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The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia

Hainish Cycle: Book 5

Ursula K. Le Guin

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

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.

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story

George Orwell

Retro Hugo- and Prometheus-winning Novella

As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess

In this nightmare vision of a not-too-distant future, fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends rob, rape, torture and murder - for fun. Alex is jailed for his vicious crimes and the State undertakes to reform him - but how and at what cost?

The Space Merchants

Space Merchants: Book 1

Frederik Pohl
C. M. Kornbluth

It is the 20th Century, an advertisement-drenched world in which the big ad agencies dominate governments and everything else. Now Schoken Associates, one of the big players, has a new challenge for star copywriter Mitch Courtenay. Volunteers are needed to colonise Venus. It's a hellhole, and nobody who knew anything about it would dream of signing up. But by the time Mitch has finished, they will be queuing to get on board the spaceships.

A Series of Steaks

Vina Jie-Min Prasad

This Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Award-nominated Clarkesworld Reader's Poll-winning novelette originally appeared in Clarkesworld, #124, January 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, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018), edited by Gardner Dozois, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018), edited by Neil Clarke, and The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 5 (2018), edited by Cristina Jurado and Lavie Tidhar, and Nebula Awards Showcase 2019, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Read the full story for free at Clarkesworld.

The Goblin Reservation

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 32

Clifford D. Simak

En route to an interplanetary research mission, a scientist is abducted by a strange, shadowy race of aliens and taken to a previously uncharted planet, a storehouse of information that would be invaluable--even to an Earth so advanced that time travel allows goblins, dinosaurs, even Shakespeare to coexist.

Mostly Harmless

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 5

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams is back with the amazing, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Here is the epic story of Random, who sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors.

Zodiac

Neal Stephenson

Sangamon Taylor's a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil -- all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. Before long Taylor's house is bombed, his every move followed, he's adopted by reservation Indians, moves onto the FBI's most wanted list, makes up with his girlfriend, and plays a starring role in the near-assassination of a presidential candidate.

Closing the case with the aid of his burnout roomate, his tofu-eating comrades, three major networks, and a range of unconventional weaponry, Sangamon Taylor pulls off the most startling caper in Boston Harbor since the Tea Party. As he navigates this ecological thriller with hardboiled wit and the biggest outboard motor he can get his hands on, Taylor reveals himself as one of the last of the white-hatted good guys in a very toxic world.

The Merchants' War

Space Merchants: Book 2

Frederik Pohl

The witty sequel to Frederik Pohl's & C. M. Kornbluth's legendary science fiction classic The Space Merchants, written 30 years later.

Great advertising agencies still dominate the world and control all governments and every aspect of human behavior. When a handful of renegades on Venus zealously opposes the so-called "benefits" of the hucksters' paradise, it seems inevitable that the all-powerful account executives of Earth will stop at nothing, not even war, to force the rebels to submit.

But the Veenies have a plan.../p>

The Planet Buyer

The Instrumentality of Mankind: Rod McBan

Cordwainer Smith

Rod McBan owned Earth.

One night of frenzied manipulation had made an obscure rancer on a far planet the richest man in history, and the sole owner of Man's home planet. It had also made him the target of every criminal in the Universe.

There was one way Rod McBan could reach the planet he owned - alive. But it meant he would have to die first...


The Planet Buyer and The Underpeople were combined into the novel Norstrilia.

Tik-Tok

John Sladek

Something has gone very seriously wrong with Tik-Tok's "asimov circuits." They should keep him on the straight and narrow, following Asimov's first law of robotics: A robot shall not injure a human being, or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. But, that's not what's happening. Although every thing looks fine from the surface, and Tik-Tok maintains the outward appearance of a mild-mannered robot, his agenda is murderously different. And, it's not just because of his artistic tendencies and sympathy for the robot rights movement, either.

A Time of Changes

Robert Silverberg

Three thousand years after Earth's colonization of the planet Borthan, stories of self-serving hypocrisy that occurred among the first arrivals have bred a culture that forbids emotional sharing and denies the naturally human concept of 'self.' Kinnall Darival breaks the strict code of the Covenant to record the sordid details of his rebellious life from the days of his royal youth to self-appointed prophet of love.

A Calculated Life

A Calculated Life: Book 1

Anne Charnock

Late in the twenty-first century, big business is booming and state institutions are thriving thanks to advances in genetic engineering, which have produced a compliant population free of addictions. Violent crime is a rarity.

Hyper-intelligent Jayna is a star performer at top predictive agency Mayhew McCline, where she forecasts economic and social trends. A brilliant mathematical modeler, she far outshines her co-workers, often correcting their work on the quiet. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime.

When a string of events contradicts her forecasts, Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs direct interactions with the rest of society. Bravely-and naively-she sets out to disrupt her strict routine and stumbles unwittingly into a world where her IQ is increasingly irrelevant... a place where human relationships and the complexity of life are difficult for her to decode. And as she experiments with taking risks, she crosses the line into corporate intrigue and disloyalty.

Can Jayna confront the question of what it means to live a "normal" life? Or has the possibility of a "normal" life already been eclipsed for everyone?

I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land

Connie Willis

Jim is in New York City at Christmastime shopping a book based on his blog--Gone for Good-- premised on the fact that "being nostalgic for things that have disappeared is ridiculous." Progress decides for people what they need and what's obsolete. It's that simple. Of course, not everyone agrees. After Jim bombs a contentious interview with a radio host who defends the sacred technology of the printed, tangible book, he gets caught in a rainstorm only to find himself with no place to take refuge other than a quaint, old-fashioned bookshop.

Ozymandias Books is not just any store. Jim wanders intrigued through stacks of tomes he doesn't quite recognize the titles of, none with prices. Here he discovers a mysteriously pristine, seemingly endless wonderland of books--where even he gets nostalgic for his childhood favorite. And, yes, the overwhelmed and busy clerk showing him around says they have a copy. But it's only after Jim leaves that he understands the true nature of Ozymandias and how tragic it is that some things may be gone forever...

This novella originally appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, November-December 2017. It was published in chapbook edition in 2018.

Nova Swing

Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy: Book 2

M. John Harrison

Years after Ed Chianese's fateful trip into the Kefahuchi Tract, the tract has begun to expand and change in ways we never could have predicted - and, even more terrifying, parts of it have actually begun to fall to Earth, transforming the landscapes they encounter.

Not far from Moneytown, in a neighborhood of underground clubs, body-modification chop shops, adolescent contract killers, and sexy streetwalking Monas, you'll find the Saudade Event Site: a zone of strange geography, twisted physics, and frightening psychic onslaughts - not to mention the black and white cats that come pouring out at irregular intervals.

Vic Serotonin is a "travel agent" into and out of Saudade. His latest client is a woman who's nearly as unpredictable as the site itself - and maybe just as dangerous. She wants a tour just as a troubling new class of biological artifacts are leaving the site - living algorithms that are transforming the world outside in inexplicable and unsettling ways. Shadowed by a metaphysically inclined detective determined to shut his illegal operation down, Vic must make sense of a universe rapidly veering toward a virulent and viral form of chaosand a humanity almost lost.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Flatland: Book 1

Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland (1884) is an influential mathematical fantasy that simultaneously provides an introduction to non-Euclidean geometry and a satire on the Victorian class structure, issues of science and faith, and the role of women. A classic of early science fiction, the novel takes place in a world of two dimensions where all the characters are geometric shapes. The narrator, A Square, is a naïve, respectable citizen who is faced with proof of the existence of three dimensions when he is visited by a sphere and is forced to see the limitations of his world. The introduction to this Broadview Edition provides context for the book's references to Victorian culture and religion, mathematical history, and the history of philosophy. The appendices contain contemporary reviews; extracts from the work of fellow mathematical fantasy writer/mathematician Charles Hinton; Hermann von Helmboltz's "The Axioms of Geometry" (1870); and autobiographical passages from Abbott's The Kernel and the Husk (1886).

Extras

Uglies: Book 4

Scott Westerfeld

Extras, the final book in the Uglies series, is set a couple of years after the "mind-rain," a few earth-shattering months in which the whole world woke up. The cure has spread from city to city, and the pretty regime that kept humanity in a state of bubbleheadedness has ended. Boundless human creativity, new technologies, and old dangers have been unleashed upon the world. Culture is splintering, the cities becoming radically different from each other as each makes its own way into this strange and unpredictable future...

One of the features of the new world is that everyone has a "feed," which is basically their own blog/myspace/tv channel. The ratings of your feed (combined with how much the city interface overhears people talking about you) determines your social status--so everyone knows at all times how famous they are.

As Scott Westerfeld explored the themes of extreme beauty in the first three Uglies books, now he takes on the world's obsession with fame and popularity. And how anyone can be an instant celebrity.

Battle Royale: Remastered

Koushun Takami

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan--where it became a runaway best seller--Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available in a new English-language translation.

Walk to the End of the World

Holdfast Chronicles: Book 1

Suzy McKee Charnas

The men of the Holdfast had long treated with contempt the degenerated creatures known as "fems." To give themselves the drive to survive and reconquer the world, the men needed a common enemy. Superstitious belief had ascribed to the fems the guilt for the terrible Wasting that had destroyed the world. They were the ideal scapegoat. The truth was lost in death and decay and buried in history. It was going to be a long journey back...

Player Piano

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Dr. Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at the modern society of the mid 20th century.

Upright Women Wanted

Sarah Gailey

"That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks."

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

The Maze Runner

Maze Runner: Book 1

James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him into the Glade - a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got into the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up - the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more suprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Jennifer Government

Max Barry

Jennifer Government is Here to Help!

In Max Barry’s twisted, hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations (except for a few deluded holdouts like the French); taxes are illegal; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly-traded security firms; the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly. It’s a free market paradise!

Hack Nike is a lowly Merchandising Officer who’s not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives from the promised land of Marketing, offer him a contract, he signs without reading it. Unfortunately, Hack’s new contract involves shooting teenagers to build up street cred for Nike’s new line of $2,500 sneakers. Scared, Hack goes to The Police, who assume he’s asking for a subcontracting deal and lease the assassinations to the NRA.

Soon Hack finds himself pursued by Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a barcode tattoo under her eye and a rabid determination to nail John Nike (the boss of the other John Nike). In a world where your job title means everything, the most cherished possession is a platinum credit card, and advertising jingles give way to automatic weapons in the fight for market share, Jennifer Government is the consumer watchdog from hell.

Jennifer Government is the kind of novel that can become a byword--a Catch-22 for the New World Order, a satire both broad and pointed, deeply funny and disturbingly on-target.

The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues

The Stainless Steel Rat: Book 8

Harry Harrison

Cutting a deal with the authorities to escape a death sentence, Slippery Jim deGriz prepares to retrieve a missing alien artifact from the Liokukae, a planet that serves as a dumping ground for the Galactic League's misfits.

The Doomed City

Arkady Strugatsky
Boris Strugatsky

The magnum opus of Russia's greatest science fiction novelists translated into English for the first time

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, Roadside Picnic, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide. Yet the novel they worked hardest on, that was their own favorite, and that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English. The Doomed City was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their closest friends for sixteen years after its completion in 1972. It was only published in Russia during perestroika in the late 1980s, the last of their works to see publication. It was translated into a host of European languages, and now appears in English in a major new effort by acclaimed translator Andrew Bromfield.

The Doomed City is set in an experimental city whose sun gets switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. And as increasinbly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect. Boris Strugatsky wrote that the task of writing The Doomed City "was genuinely delightful and fascinating work." Readers will doubtless say the same of the experience of reading it.

Doomsday Morning

C. L. Moore

Comus, the communications network/police force, has spread its web of power all across an America paralyzes by the after-effects of limited nuclear war. But in California, resistance is building against the dictatorship of Comus and Andrew Raleigh, president for life. For now Raleigh is dying and the powers of Comus are fading. It's the perfect time for the Californian revolutionaries to activate the secret weapon that alone can destroy America's totalitarian system and re-establish democracy. Yet Comus too has powers at its disposal, chief among them Howard Rohan. A washed-up actor until Comus offers him a second chance, Rohan will head a troupe of players touring in the heart of rebel territory. Howard Rohan, double agent, caught between the orders of Comus and rebels demands Which side will he choose? Who will he play false - himself or the entire country?

Mindswap

Robert Sheckley

In the future, interstellar travel to alien worlds will be too expensive for most ordinary people. It certainly is for Marvin, a college student who wants to take a really good vacation. And so he signs up for what he can afford, a mindswap, in which your consciousness is swapped into the body of an alien lifeform. But Marvin is unlucky, and finds himself in the body of an interstellar criminal, a body that he has to vacate fast. But that criminal consciousness has stolen Marvin's earthly body, and Marvin has to find a body on the black market.

Travel from world to world with Marvin, each one crazier than the last, as he keeps finding far from ideal bodies in awful situations, just to stay alive.

Galactic Pot Healer

Sirius Five: Book 1

Philip K. Dick

A powerful and enigmatic alien recruits humans and aliens to help it restore a sunken cathedral in this touching and hilarious novel.

Sometimes even gods need help. In Galactic Pot-Healer that god is an alien creature known as The Glimmung, which looks alternately like a flaming wheel, a teenage girl, and a swirling mass of ocean life. In order to raise a sunken city, he summons beings from across the galaxy to Plowman's Planet. Joe Fernwright is one of those summoned, needed for his skills at pot-healing--repairing broken ceramics. But from the moment Joe arrives on Plowman's Planet, things start to go awry. Told as only Philip K. Dick can, Galactic Pot-Healer is a wildly funny tale of aliens, gods, and ceramics.

Gladiator-at-Law

Frederik Pohl
C. M. Kornbluth

Caution! You are about to enter a world...

...where all engineering ingenuity has been employed for public spectacles of torture and death.

...where the stock market operated with pari-mutuel machines.

...where a court clerk transcribes testimony on punch cards, then feeds it to a jury machine.

...where the dream real-estate development of today has become a cracked-concrete savage jungle.

In this world, young lawyer Charles Mundin battles a great combine of corporate interest--battles them in board meetings and in dark alley--in a struggle that lays bare some brutal promises about the future... promises we are beginning to make right now.

Riders of the Purple Wage

Philip José Farmer

Hugo Award winning and Nebula Award nominated novella. It originally appeared in the anthology Dangerous Visions (1967), edited by Harlan Ellison. The story can also be found in the anthology The Hugo Winners, Volume 2: (1963-70) (1971), edited by Isaac Asimov. It is included in the collections The Purple Book (1982), The Classic Philip José Farmer, 1964-1973 (1984), Riders of the Purple Wage and The Best of Philip Jose Farmer (2006).