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Reborn

The Anderson Project: Book 1

Ken Liu

One of three stories inspired by the same painting by Richard Anderson. Anthologized in The Anderson Project.

Ken Liu is among the most prominent new award-winning SF writers of the last decade, and this vision of a really uncanny alien invasion set in Boston, MA, is a stunner, with echoing reverberations, of love, identity, resistance and revolution.

This story can also be found in the anthology Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction (2018), edited by Irene Gallo, and Not One of Us: Stories of Aliens on Earth (2018), edited by Neil Clarke.


Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

Ender's Game

The Ender Wiggin Saga: Book 1

Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cutyoung Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Lilith's Brood

Xenogenesis

Octavia E. Butler

Butler’s acclaimed Xenogenesis trilogy about humanity’s struggle for survival after nuclear apocalypse, and the alien race that could save the world—or destroy it.

The newest stage in human evolution begins in outer space. Survivors of a cataclysmic nuclear war awake to find themselves being studied by the Oankali, tentacle-covered galactic travelers whose benevolent appearance hides their surprising plan for the future of mankind. The Oankali arrive not just to save humanity, but to bond with it—crossbreeding to form a hybrid species that can survive in the place of its human forebears, who were so intent on self-destruction. Some people resist, forming pocket communities of purebred rebellion, but many realize they have no choice. The human species inevitably expands into something stranger, stronger, and undeniably alien.

The Face

Demon Princes: Book 4

Jack Vance

Kirth Gersen carries in his pocket a slip of paper with a list of five names written upon it--the names of five Demon Princes. The Demon Princes are a race of beings who disguise themselves as humans and delight in power and destruction. however, to Kirth they are merely murderers who killed his family and destroyed his home planet--and who deserves to die for those misdeeds. Three have already fallen in Kirth's hands, but there are two more names on his list, two more Princes who will live only long enough to regret their evil ways.

The Speed of Dark

Elizabeth Moon

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.

But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"?

There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world... and the very essence of who he is.

Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.

Death's End

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 3

Cixin Liu

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

Ender's Shadow

Shadow Saga: Book 1

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card brings us back to the very beginning of his brilliant Ender Quartet, with a novel that allows us to reenter that world anew.

With all the power of his original creation, Card has created a parallel volume to Ender's Game, a book that expands and compliments the first, enhancing its power, illuminating its events and its powerful conclusion.

The human race is at War with the "Buggers", an insect-like alien race. The first battles went badly, and now as Earth prepares to defend itself against the imminent threat of total destruction at the hands of an inscrutable alien enemy, all focus is on the development and training of military geniuses who can fight such a war, and win.

The long distances of interstellar space have given hope to the defenders of Earth--they have time to train these future commanders up from childhood, forging then into an irresisible force in the high orbital facility called the Battle School.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School he was just the best of the best. In this new book, card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean--the one who became Ender's right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers.

Bean's past was a battle just to survive. He first appeared on the streets of Rotterdam, a tiny child with a mind leagues beyond anyone else's. He knew he could not survive through strength he used his tactical genius to gain acceptance into a children's gang, and then to help make that gang a template for success for all the others. He civilized them, and lived to grow older.

Bean's desperate struggle to live, and his success, brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender….

Dying Inside

Robert Silverberg

David Selig was born with an awesome power - the ability to look deep into the human heart, to probe the darkest truths hidden in the secret recesses of the soul. With reckless abandon, he used his talent in the pursuit of pleasure. Then, one day, his power began to die...

Dying Inside is a vivid, harrowing portrait of a man who squandered a remarkable gift, of a superman who had to learn what it was to be human.

Ring Around the Sun

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 28

Clifford D. Simak

This novel is set in a future world where the equipment of ordinary, everyday life has become indestructible; there are everlasting lightbulbs and infallible cars, but no-one knows where they have come from.

The Languages of Pao

Jack Vance

The Panarch of Pao is dead and Beran Panasper, his young son and heir, must flee the planet to live and avenge his father's death. It is at the secret fortress on the planet Breakness that Beran discovers the dreaded truth behind the assassination of his father-and much more. The people of Pao are a docile lot, content to live in harmony with the rest of the cosmos, but the scientists at Breakness seek to alter the psychology of the Paonese for their own purpose-and Beran holds the key to their audacious plan. Beran will return to Pao, transforming his home world beyond his teacher's wildest dreams. But though he has been fashioned into a man of Breakness, Beran's heart is of Pao. And he brings to his world the seeds of change that will save Pao...or destroy it.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with psi powers - telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, teleportation, pyrolysis, and the ability to take control of the minds of others - and complete innocence regarding the mores of man.

After his tutelage under a surrogate-father figure, Valentine begins his transformation into a messiah figure. His introduction into Earth society, together with his exceptional abilities, lead Valentine to become many things to many people: freak, scam artist, media commodity, searcher, free-love pioneer, neon evangelist, and martyr.

Heinlein won his third Hugo award for this novel, sometimes called Heinlein's earthly "divine comedy."

Rite of Passage

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 26

Alexei Panshin

After the destruction of Earth, humanity has established itself precariously among a hundred planets. Between them roam the vast Ships, doling out scientific knowledge in exchange for raw materials. On one of the Ships lives Mia Havero. Belligerent soccer player, intrepid explorer of ventilation shafts, Mia tests all the boundaries of her insulated world. She will soon be tested in turn. At the age of fourteen all Ship children must endure a month unaided in the wilds of a colony world, and although Mia has learned much through formal study, about philosophy, economics, and the business of survival, she will find that her most vital lessons are the ones she must teach herself.

Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

Xenocide

The Ender Wiggin Saga: Book 3

Orson Scott Card

The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright.

On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Startways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, a second xenocide seems inevitble.

Strangers

Dean Koontz

A surgeon, a writer, a motel-keeper, a priest and a thief; they have nothing in common - nothing but one hot summer night at the Tranquillity Motel. A night filled with unending terror, a night when an awesome power stripped them of their memories. Now the evil is creeping back into their minds. Slowly, tauntingly, maddeningly they are recalling the unspeakable events of that fateful moonlit evening. And as the vision of evil grows clearer, the guests of the Tranquillity Motel seek each other out. Some of them will not live to face the power head on. But some will - in a terror-packed climax unlike anything ever experienced before...

The Humanoids

Galaxy Science Fiction: Book 21

Jack Williamson

On the far planet Wing IV, a brilliant scientist creates the humanoids--sleek black androids programmed to serve humanity.

But are they perfect servants--or perfect masters?

Slowly the humanoids spread throughout the galaxy, threatening to stifle all human endeavor. Only a hidden group of rebels can stem the humanoid tide...if it's not already too late.

Fist published in Astounding Science Fiction during the magazine's heyday, The Humanoids--sceince fiction grand master Jack Williamson's finest novel--has endured for fifty years as a classic on the theme of natural versus artificial life.

Ender in Exile

The Ender Wiggin Saga: Book 7

Orson Scott Card

After twenty-three years, Orson Scott Card returns to his acclaimed best-selling series with the first true, direct sequel to the classic Ender's Game.

In Ender's Game, the world's most gifted children were taken from their families and sent to an elite training school. At Battle School, they learned combat, strategy, and secret intelligence to fight a dangerous war on behalf of those left on Earth. But they also learned some important and less definable lessons about life.

After the life-changing events of those years, these children-now teenagers-must leave the school and readapt to life in the outside world.

Having not seen their families or interacted with other people for years-where do they go now? What can they do?

Ender fought for humanity, but he is now reviled as a ruthless assassin. No longer allowed to live on Earth, he enters into exile. With his sister Valentine, he chooses to leave the only home he's ever known to begin a relativistic-and revelatory-journey beyond the stars.

What happened during the years between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead? What did Ender go through from the ages of 12 through 35? The story of those years has never been told. Taking place 3000 years before Ender finally receives his chance at redemption in Speaker for the Dead, this is the long-lost story of Ender.

For twenty-three years, millions of readers have wondered and now they will receive the answers. Ender in Exile is Orson Scott Card's moving return to all the action and the adventure, the profound exploration of war and society, and the characters one never forgot.

On one of these ships, there is a baby that just may share the same special gifts as Ender's old friend Bean....

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.

Of Men and Monsters

William Tenn

Giant, technologically superior aliens have conquered Earth, but humankind survives - even flourishes in a way. Men and women live, like mice, in burrows in the massive walls of the huge homes of the aliens, and scurry about under their feet, stealing from them. A complex social and religious order has evolved, with women preserving knowledge and working as healers, and men serving as warriors and thieves. For the aliens, men and women are just a nuisance, nothing more than vermin. Which, ironically, may just be humankind's strength and point the way forward.

Lagoon

Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria's most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself... from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together--and the things that make us human.

There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.

To Marry Medusa

Theodore Sturgeon

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Theodore Sturgeon reinvents the alien invasion novel with this heart-stopping story of a malevolent, galaxy-consuming hive mind and its surprising human host

Drunk, angry, abusive, and pathetic, Dan Gurlick exists at the very lowest level of human civilization, sleeping in junkyard cars and scrounging through garbage cans for his dinner. But his last rotting meal contains something unexpected: a spore that originated from a galaxy many light-years away. First, Dan eats the spore, then, the spore eats Dan; and the homeless alcoholic becomes a host for the Medusa. An insatiable alien hive mind, the Medusa has already consumed the life forms of a billion planets. Now, it hungers for the dominant species of Earth. But to do so, it must somehow unite the planet's intelligent creatures into a single shared consciousness: an assignment the miserable wretch Dan may prove surprisingly capable of carrying out.

To Marry Medusa is suspenseful, inventive, and surprisingly compassionate; a vibrant and unforgettable exploration of what it means to be more—or less—than human.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Theodore Sturgeon including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the University of Kansas's Kenneth Spencer Research Library and the author's estate, among other sources.

originally published in 1958 as The Cosmic Rape.

The Mount

Carol Emshwiller

Charley is an athlete. He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck. But Charley isn't a runner. He is a human mount, the property of one of the alien invaders called Hoots. Charley hasn't seen his mother in years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount-now he's going to have to learn how to be a human being.

This remarkable novel, winner of the 2002 Philip K. Dick Award, should be read by every fan of speculative fiction, teenagers and adults alike.

The Martian Way and Other Stories

Isaac Asimov

This collection of four famous science fiction tales masterfully exemplifies author Isaac Asimov's ability to create quickly a believable human milieu in the midst of alien circumstances. Each of the long stores also shows his considerable skill in fully fleshing out a speculative scientific or social possibility.

Table of Contents

  • The Martian Way - (1952) - novella by Isaac Asimov
  • Youth - (1952) - novelette by Isaac Asimov
  • The Deep - (1952) - novelette by Isaac Asimov
  • Sucker Bait - (1954) - novella by Isaac Asimov

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.

Miracle Visitors

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 15

Ian Watson

An unusually brilliant and mind-stretching metaphysical quest from one of the most exciting talents in science fiction.

John Deacon uses hypnosis to help his patients reach altered states of consciousness. One of his subjects, Michael Peacocke, is unusually susceptible and in their first session together, Michael recalls a "close encounter"--in both senses of the term--with an alien. Deacon, skeptical of the story, dismisses it as an adolescent sexual fantasy. But then strange things begin to happen and Deacon is forced to reconsider. Could UFOs be symbols projected from the collective unconscious? Are they messages from the biomatrix? Does the mind have the ability to project objects and people that are physically real...yet somehow illusory?

A wonderfully fascinating, mind-bending voyage.