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Tales of the Dying Earth

Dying Earth

Jack Vance

One of Jack Vances enduring classics is his 1964 novel, The Dying Earth, and its sequelsa fascinating tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever. This volume comprises all four books in the series, The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugels Saga and Rialto the Magnificent.

The Scar

New Crobuzon: Book 2

China Miéville

Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passageand escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.

For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remades live as equals to humans, Cactae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.

Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada's agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the watersterrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission....

Perdido Street Station

New Crobuzon: Book 1

China Miéville

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to nonenot even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.

Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.

While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows largerand more consumingby the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes...

A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.

Feed

M. T. Anderson

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

Cugel's Saga

Dying Earth: Book 3

Jack Vance

The roguish Cugel the Clever is stranded on a shore on the other side of the world by the Laughing Magic and must fight, bluff, and connive his way back to Almery to take vengeance on the wizard.

Alternate title: Cugel: The Skybreak Spatterlight

Grass

The Arbai Trilogy: Book 1

Sheri S. Tepper

What could be more commonplace than grass, or a world covered over all its surface with a wind-whipped ocean of grass? But the planet Grass conceals horrifying secrets within its endless pastures. And as an incurable plague attacks all inhabited planets but this one, the prairie-like Grass begins to reveal these secrets -- and nothing will ever be the same again...

The White Mountains

The Tripods: Book 1

John Christopher

Long ago, the Tripods--huge, three-legged machines--descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person's life--in childhood--he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end--unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. The prequel, When the Tripods Came, explains how the Tripods first invaded and gained control of the planet.

The Death of Grass

John Christopher

At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns out, the governments have been lying to their people. When the deadly disease hits Britain they are left alone, and society starts to descend into barbarism. As John and his family try to make it across country to the safety of his brotherÂ’s farm in a hidden valley, their humanity is tested to its very limits.

Published in the USA as: No Blade of Grass.

Sand

Hugh Howey

Contains:

Part One: The Belt of the Buried Gods

The wind blows from east to west. It brings with it the sand, deposited in dunes, to bury and torment the unfortunate souls who live here. Life on the sand is miserable. Life below it is even worse.

Part Two: Out of No Man's Land

For every bucket of sand a man hauls, the wind brings another.
For every life that wanders out of sight, one more is born.
On the anniversary of a father lost, two brothers whisper stories in a tent.
They camp on the border of No Man's Land.
And one of them has a secret.

Part Three: Return to Danvar

An eldest daughter is a father's curse. Vic knows this. She knows she was never supposed to be the one. But her father taught her to breathe beneath the sand, taught her how to dive deep and find the treasures of the buried past. He taught her brother as well. When she hears of Danvar's discovery, it feels as though fate has slipped her by. If the rumors are to believed, that is. And while she has her doubts, her missing brother sends her on a hunt of her own. Cities are not the only things that get buried and forgotten. There are families, too.

Part Four: Thunder Due East

A family long scattered reunites as danger approaches Springston. Brother and sister rush to sound a warning, but that warning will come too late. Bombs will thunder like the pulse of a terrible god. The great dune will flow as the sea. And when a people find themselves buried beneath the sands, who in the heavens will hear their muffled pleas?

Part Five: A Rap Upon Heaven's Gate

Every generation thinks that it is special, that the great fall will occur before their time is up. Every generation is wrong. Until now.

----------------------

We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.

The Eyes of the Overworld

Dying Earth: Book 2

Jack Vance

The Eyes of the Overworld is the first of Vance's picaresque novels about the scoundrel Cugel. Here he is sent by a magician he has wronged to a distant unknown country to retrieve magical lenses that reveal the Overworld. Conniving to steal the lenses, he escapes and, goaded by a homesick monster magically attached to his liver, starts to find his way home to Almery. The journey takes him across trackless mountains, wastelands, and seas. Through cunning and dumb luck, the relentless Cugel survives one catastrophe after another, fighting off bandits, ghosts, and ghouls-stealing, lying, and cheating without insight or remorse leaving only wreckage behind.

Betrayed and betraying, he joins a cult group on a pilgrimage, crosses the Silver Desert as his comrades die one by one and, escaping the Rat People, obtains a spell that returns him home. There, thanks to incompetence and arrogance he misspeaks the words of a purloined spell and transports himself back to the same dismal place he began his journey.

Alternate title: Cugel the Clever

Iron Council

New Crobuzon: Book 3

China Miéville

Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Miéville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and fantastical band of characters, he carries us back to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon-this time, decades later.

It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places.

In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope.

In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon's most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the iron council....

The bold originality that broke Miéville out as a new force of the genre is here once more in Iron Council: the voluminous, lyrical novel that is destined to seal his reputation as perhaps the edgiest mythmaker of the day.

Rhialto the Marvellous

Dying Earth: Book 4

Jack Vance

Jack Vance is one of the most remarkable talents to ever grace the world of science fiction. His unique, stylish voice has been beloved by generations of readers. One of his enduring classics is hisThe Dying Earth series, fascinating, baroque tales set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.

Rhialto the Marvellous contains three linked novellas about the adventures of the wizard Rhialto across the decadent landscape of the Dying Earth, under its swollen red sun.

The Iron Heel

Jack London

Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack London's The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as the state oligarchy, known as "the Iron Heel," moves to crush all opposition to its power.

God's War

Bel Dame Apocrypha: Book 1

Kameron Hurley

Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn t make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.

La beauté sans vertu

Genevieve Valentine

La beauté sans vertu by Genevieve Valentine is a vicious little swipe at the fashion industry as certain disturbing trends are amplified in the future and a famous fashion House prepares for an important show.

This short story can also be found in the anthology Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction (2018), edited by Irene Gallo.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Triton

Samuel R. Delany

Triton, the outermost moon of Neptune, was a world of absolute freedom, where every wish could be fulfilled. But for Bron Helstrom, one of Triton's elite, life had lost its meaning. There, in a world of endless possibilities, Bron began a searing odyssey to find the object of his desires.

Winterlong

Winterlong: Book 1

Elizabeth Hand

Amid the ruins of a once great city, a girl and her beautiful long-lost twin brother are drawn to the seductive voice of a green-eyed boy whose name is Death. Together they must journey through a poisoned garden filled with children who kill and beasts that speak--all the while resisting the evil that compels them to join in a nightmare ritual of blood that will unleash the power of the ancients and signal the end of humanity.

Swastika Night

Murray Constantine

Published in 1937, twelve years before Orwell's 1984, this novel projects a totally male-controlled fascist world that has eliminated women as we know them. They are breeders, kept as cattle, while men in this post-Hitlerian world are embittered automatons, fearful of all feelings, having abolished all history, education, creativity, books, and art. The plot centers on a "misfit" who asks, "How could this have happened?"

The Sleeper Awakes

Frontiers of Imagination: Book 6

H. G. Wells

The Sleeper Awakes is H. G. Wells's wildly imaginative story of London in the twenty-second century and the man who by accident becomes owner and master of the world. In 1897 a Victorian gentleman falls into a sleep from which he cannot be waked. During his two centuries of slumber he becomes the Sleeper, the most well known and powerful person in the world. All property is bequeathed to the Sleeper to be administered by a Council on his behalf. The common people, increasingly oppressed, view the Sleeper as a mythical liberator whose awakening will free them from misery.

The Sleeper awakes in 2100 to a futuristic London adorned with wondrous technological trappings yet staggering under social injustice and escalating unrest. His awakening sends shock waves throughout London, from the highest meetings of the Council to the workers laboring in factories in the bowels of the city. Daring rescues and villainous treachery abound as workers and capitalists fight desperately for control of the Sleeper.