The Best of Cordwainer Smith

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NecroTek (The Necrotek Series)

From New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, NecroTek is a gripping sci fi thriller full of ghosts, Gods, and a battle for the soul of humanity. Neither cosmic philosopher Lars Soren, hotshot pilot Bianca Petrescu, nor the high priestess Jessica McHugh—Lady Death herself—can Read more

Cordwainer Smith was one of the original visionaries to think of humanity in terms of thousands of years in the future, spread out across the universe. This brilliant collection, often cited as the first of its kind, explores fundamental questions about ourselves and our treatment of the universe (and other beings) around us and ultimately what it means to be human.

In “Scanners Live in Vain” we meet Martel, a human altered to be part machine—a scanner—to be able withstand the trauma space travel has on the body. Despite the stigma placed on him and his kind, he is able to regrasp his humanity to save another.

In “The Dead Lady of Clown Town” we get to know the underpeople—animals genetically altered to exist in human form, to better serve their human owners—and meet D’Joan, a dog-woman who will make readers question who is more human: the animals who simply want to be recognized as having the same right to life, or the people who created them to be inferior.

In “The Ballad of Lost C’mell” the notion of love being the most important equalizer there is—as first raised in “The Dead Lady of Clown Town”—is put into action when an underperson, C’mell, falls in love with Lord Jestocost. Who is to say her love for him is not as valid as any true-born human? She might be of cat descent, but she is all woman!

And in “A Planet Named Shayol” it is an underperson of bull descent, and beings so mutilated and deformed from their original human condition to be now considered demons of a hellish land, who retain and display the most humanity when Mankind commits the most inhumane action of all.

Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories

Frederik Pohl, the bestselling author of The Boy Who Would Live Forever, is famous for his novels, but first and foremost, he is a master of the science fiction short story.

For more than fifty years he has been writing incisive, entertaining SF stories, several hundred in all. Even while writing his bestselling triple-crown (Hugo, Nebula, Campbell Award) novel Gateway and the other Heechee Saga novels, he has always written short fiction.

Now, for the first time, he has gathered together the best of his many stories in Platinum Pohl. Spanning the decades, these tales are in their way a living history of science fiction. Because Frederik Pohl has been on the frontlines of the field since the halcyon days of the late 1930s, and has written short stories in every decade since. And because he has always been a keen observer of the human condition and the world that is shaped by it, his stories reflect the currents of political movements, social trends, major events that have shaken the world . . .

Yet at their core, all his stories are most acutely concerned with people. All sorts of people. Some are people you’ll love, some you’ll hate. But you will need to find out what happens to the people who inhabit these stories. Because Frederik Pohl imbues his characters with a depth and individuality that makes them as real as people you see every day. Of course, he also employs a mind-boggling variety of scientific ideas and science fictional tropes with which his characters must interact. And he does it all with seemingly no effort at all. That’s some trick. Not everyone can do that . . . but that’s why he was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by his peers in the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Here are his two Hugo Award winning stories, “Fermi and Frost” and “The Meeting” (with C. M. Kornbluth), along with such classic novellas as the powerful “The Gold at the Starbow’s End” and “The Greening of Bed-Stuy,” and stories such as “Servant of the People,” “Shaffery Among the Immortals,” and “Growing Up in Edge City,” all finalists for major awards. And dozens of other wonderful tales, like “The Mayor of Mare Tranq” and the provocative “The Day the Martians Landed” and many others.

Altogether, a grand collection of thought-provoking, entertaining science fiction by one of the all-time greats!

Double Star

Double Star
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Many of Heinlein’s fans consider the novels he wrote in the fifties amongst the author’s strongest work; when he was at the peak of his talents. Double Star is considered by many to be the finest of his titles. Brian Aldiss called it his “most enjoyable novel.”
Whether it is the simplicity of a lively tale, the complexity of the situation, or the depth of characterization, the book has developed a loyal following. It also won Heinlein his first Hugo.

The story revolves around Lawrence Smith—also known as “Lorenzo the Great”—a down-and-out actor wasting the remainder of his life in bars.

When he encounters a space-pilot who offers him a drink, before he knows what is going on, he is on Mars involved in a deep conspiracy with global consequences. He is given a mission where failure would not only mean his own death, it would almost certainly mean an all-out planetary war.

“Heinlein’s novels of the 1940s and 50s shaped every single science fiction writer of my generation and everyone currently writing science fiction. Or making science fiction movies … and Double Star is an excellent example of all the reasons why.”—Connie Willis

Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke

This “marvelous lunar espionage thriller” by the science fiction grandmaster and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey “packs plenty of punch” (SFReviews.net).

Two hundred years after landing on the Moon, mankind has moved further out into the solar system. With permanent settlements now established on the Moon, Venus, and Mars, the inhabitants of these colonies have formed a political alliance called the Federation.

On the Moon, a government agent from Earth is tracking a suspected spy at a prominent observatory. His mission is complicated by the rise in tensions between Earth’s government and the Federation over access to rare heavy metals. As the agent finds himself locked in a battle for life and death on the eerie, lunar landscape, the larger conflict explodes across space, leaving mankind’s future in doubt.

First published in 1955, this suspense-filled space opera by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inductee was a significant forerunner of television hits like Star Trek and The Expanse.

The End of Eternity

The End of Eternity
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A spellbinding novel set in the universe of Isaac Asimov’s classic Galactic Empire series and Foundation series

Due to circumstances within our control . . . tomorrow will be canceled.

The Eternals, the ruling class of the Future, had the power of life and death not only over every human being but over the very centuries into which they were born. Past, Present, and Future could be created or destroyed at will.

You had to be special to become an Eternal. Andrew Harlan was special. Until he committed the one unforgivable sin—falling in love.

Eternals weren’t supposed to have feelings. But Andrew could not deny the sensations that were struggling within him. He knew he could not keep this secret forever. And so he began to plan his escape, a plan that changed his own past . . . and threatened Eternity itself.

The Caves of Steel (The Robot Series by Isaac Asimov)

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A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.  

Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer.

The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw.  Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot—and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire) by Isaac Asimov

The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire) by Isaac Asimov
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The first book in the Galactic Empire series, the spectacular precursor to the classic Foundation series, by one of history’s most influential writers of science fiction, Isaac Asimov

His name was Biron Farrill and he was a student at the University of Earth. A native of one of the helpless Nebular Kingdoms, he saw his home world conquered and controlled by the planet Tyrann—a ruthless, barbaric Empire that was building a dynasty of cruelty and domination among the stars.

Farrill’s own father had been executed for trying to resist the Tyrann dictatorship and now someone was trying to kill Biron. But why?

His only hope for survival lay in fleeing Earth and joining the rebellion that was rumored to be forming somewhere in the Kingdoms. But once he cast his lot with the freedom fighters, he would find himself guarding against treachery on every side and facing the most difficult choice of all: to betray either the woman he loved or the revolution that was the last hope for the future.

Against the Fall of Night/The City and the Stars +Sequel

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Against the Fall of Night was first published in the magazine Startling Stories in 1948 before being revised and expanded as a novel in 1953 and later completely rewrite by Clarke as  The City and the Stars however Against the Fall of Night remained popular enough to stay in print after that.

In 1990 Gregory Benford published with Clarke’s approval Beyond the Fall of Night a sequel to Against the Fall of Night

The renowned science fiction author’s landmark novel of the last human born on a far future world—and his quest for the truth about existence.

Living in the ten-billion-year-old city of Diaspar, Alvin is the last child born of humanity, and he is intensely curious about the outside world. But according to the oldest histories kept by the city fathers, there is no outside world—it was destroyed by the Invaders millions of years ago.

One day, Alvin finds a rock with an inscription seemingly meant for him: “There is a better way. Give my greetings to the Keeper of the Records. Alaine of Lyndar.” This cryptic message takes Alvin on a quest to discover humanity’s true past—and its future.

Against the Fall of Night

The City and the Stars

Beyond the Fall of Night

 

Simulacron-3

Published in 1964 Simulacron-3 is one of the earliest novel of a simulated reality.

A virtual-reality novel from a time before virtual reality, Simulacron-3 is a prophetic tale of a future where nothing is as it appears to be.

Douglas Hall is part of a team that builds an artificial environment to simulate reality. This enables them to get public opinion polls without waiting for the opinions of people around them. But then something goes terribly wrong and his partners on the program start disappearing.

But is it a simulated disappearance, or is someone out to get them all? And what is the true nature of reality?

Stories based on Simulacron-3 have been adapted for both television and movies, and the book is considered a favorite of many of the masters of science fiction.

World of Ptavvs

World of Ptavvs
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Larry Niven first published novel

Kzanol was a thrint from a distant galaxy. He had been trapped on Earth in a time-stasis field for two billion years. Now he was on the loose, and telepath Larry Greenberg knew everything he was thinking. Thrints lived to plunder and enslave lesser planets . . . and the planet Kzanol had in mind was Earth!

“His tales have grit, authenticity, colorful characters and pulse-pounding narrative drive. Niven is a true master!”
– Frederik Pohl

“Larry Niven is one of the giants of modern science fiction.”
– Mike Resnick