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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

Cory Doctorow

Have you ever wondered what it's like to get bitten by a zombie? To live through a bioweapon attack? To have every aspect of your life governed by invisible ants? In Cory Doctorow's collection of novellas, he wields his formidable experience in technology and computing to give us mindbending sci-fi tales that explore the possibilities of information technology -- and its various uses -- run amok. "Anda's Game" is a spin on the bizarre new phenomenon of "cyber sweatshops," in which people are paid very low wages to play online games all day in order to generate in-game wealth, which can be converted into actual money. Another tale tells of the heroic exploits of "sysadmins" -- systems administrators -- as they defend the cyber-world, and hence the world at large, from worms and bioweapons. And yes, there is a story about zombies, too.

Table of Contents:

Download this book for free from the author's website.

In 2016, a revised ediition of this collection entitled Overclocked: More Stories of the Future Present was released by Blackstone Publishing, with the following additional stories:

Blocked

Geoff Ryman

This short story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October-November 2009, and was reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2012. It can also be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Four (2010), edited by Jonathan Strahan, Year's Best SF 15 (2010), edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection (2010), edited by Gardner Dozois. The story is included in the collection Paradise Tales (2011).

Read the full story for free at Apex.

Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14: Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind

Erica L. Satifka

This short story originally appeared in Lightspeed, June 2015. It can also be found in the anthology Year's Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction 2015, edited by Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein.

Read the full story for free at Lightspeed.

Up Against It

M. J. Locke

Jane Navio is the resource manager of Phoecea, an asteroid colony poised on the knife-edge of hard vacuum and unforgiving space. A mishap has dumped megatons of water and methane out the colony's air lock, putting the entire human population at risk.

Jane discovers that the crisis may have been engineered by the Martian crime syndicate, as a means of executing a coup that will turn Phocaea into a client-state. And if that wasn't bad enough, an AI that spawned during the emergency has gone rogue…and there's a giant x-factor in the form of the transhumanist Viridian cult that lives in Phocaea's bowels.

Jane's in the prime of her career—she's only a bit over a century old—but the conflict between politics and life-support is tearing her apart. To save her colony and her career, she's going to have to solve several mysteries at once—a challenge that will put her up against all the difficulties, contradictions, and awkward compromises entailed in the human colonization of outer space.

The Moon Hoax

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 12

Richard Adams Locke

The Moon Hoax: or, A Discovery that the Moon Has a Vast Population of Human Beings.

"The Great Moon Hoax" refers to a series of six articles that were published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. They were later collected into the book The Moon Hoax. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the best-known astronomers of his time.

The story was advertised on August 21, 1835, as an upcoming feature allegedly reprinted from The Edinburgh Courant. The first in a series of six was published four days later on August 25.

The articles described fantastic animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers and bat-like winged humanoids ("Vespertilio-homo") who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches. These discoveries were supposedly made with "an immense telescope of an entirely new principle."

The author of the narrative was ostensibly Dr. Andrew Grant, the travelling companion and amanuensis of Sir John Herschel, but Grant was fictitious.

Eventually, the authors announced that the observations had been terminated by the destruction of the telescope, by means of the Sun causing the lens to act as a "burning glass," setting fire to the observatory.

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome

Lock In

John Scalzi

A new near-future science fiction novella by John Scalzi, one of the most popular authors in modern SF. Unlocked traces the medical history behind a virus that will sweep the globe and affect the majority of the world's population, setting the stage for Lock In, the next major novel by John Scalzi.

Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

Welcome to Lovecraft

Locke & Key: Book 1

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez

Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder: Locke and Key. Written by Hill and featuring astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke and Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all...

Head Games

Locke & Key: Book 2

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez

New York Times bestselling writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, the creators behind the acclaimed Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, return with the next chapter in the ongoing tale, Head Games. Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father's murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack's dark secret. Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face. Open your mind - the head games are just getting started!

Crown of Shadows

Locke & Key: Book 3

Gabriel Rodriguez
Joe Hill

The dead plot against the living, the darkness closes in on Keyhouse, and a woman is shattered beyond repair, in the third storyline of the Eisner-winning series. Dodge continues his relentless quest to find the key to the black door, and raises an army of shadows to wipe out anyone who might get in his way. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Locke children find themselves fighting a desperate battle, all alone, in a world where the night itself has become their enemy.

Keys to the Kingdom

Locke & Key: Book 4

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Locke and Key unwinds into it's fourth volume in Keys to the Kingdom! With more keys making themselves known, and the depths of the Locke's family's mystery ever-expanding, Dodge's desperation to end his shadowy quest drives the habitants of Keyhouse ever closer to a revealing conclusion.

Clockworks

Locke & Key: Book 5

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez

The sprawling tale of the Locke family and their mastery of the whispering iron thunders to new heights as the true history of the family is revealed to Tyler and Kinsey. Zack Wells assumes a new form, Tyler and Kinsey travel through time, and surprises beyond imagination will be revealed.

Alpha & Omega

Locke & Key: Book 6

Joe Hill
Gabriel Rodriguez

The shadows have never been darker and the end has never been closer. Turn the key and open the last door; it's time to say goodbye. Omega and Alpha, the final two storylines of the New York Times bestselling series, are collected together to offer a thunderous and compelling conclusion to Locke & Key. An event not to be missed!

The Warlock Unlocked

Rod Gallowglass: Book 4

Christopher Stasheff

In Gramarye, where everyone who is anyone is a witch, and where Rod Gallowglass has only just begun to learn of the awesome powers he possesses, a battle between worlds has begun. In the fight to preserve freedom, Rod is about to learn if his strength will be enough to save his precious world--and all democracy--from destruction.

Lustlocked: A Sin du Jour Affair

Sin du Jour: Book 2

Matt Wallace

The staff of New York's premier supernatural catering company, has their work cut out for them in this outrageous follow-up to Envy of Angels.

Love is in the air at Sin du Jour.

The Goblin King (yes, that one) and his Queen are celebrating the marriage of their son to his human bride. Naturally the celebrations will be legendary.

But when desire and magic mix, the results can be unpredictable.

Our heroes are going to need more than passion for the job to survive the catering event of the decade!

Deadlocked

Sookie Stackhouse: Book 12

Charlaine Harris

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it's the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman's front yard--especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it's up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl's fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who's out to make Sookie's world come crashing down.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Book 1

Scott Lynch

An orphan's life is harsh -- and often short -- in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans -- a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly-knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful -- and more ambitious -- than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men -- and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game -- or die trying....

God Save the Queen

The Immortal Empire: Book 1

Kate Locke

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist. The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

The Queen Is Dead

The Immortal Empire: Book 2

Kate Locke

When her brother Val gets in over his head in an investigation of Half-Blood disappearances and goes missing himself, it's up to Xandra, newly crowned Goblin Queen, to get him back and bring the atrocities to light. Xandra must frequent the seediest parts of London, while also coping with what she is, the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who wants her head. Add this to a being a suspect in a murder investigation, a werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy, and Xandra barely knows which way is up. One thing she does know is that she's already lost one sibling, she's not about to lose another.

Xandra Varden is the newly crowned Goblin Queen of England. But her complicated life is by no means over. There are the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who for some reason wants her head. Not to mention her werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy. Now she's the suspect in a murder investigation --- and Xandra barely knows which way is up.

What she does know is that nothing lasts forever---and immortality isn't all its cracked up to be.

Long Live the Queen

The Immortal Empire: Book 3

Kate Locke

The fantastic conclusion to the Immortal Empire series that started with the spectacular God Save the Queen.

Xandra Vardan thought life would be simpler when she accepted the goblin crown and became their queen, but life has only become more complicated. Everyone -- vampires, werewolves, and humans -- wants the goblins on their side, because whoever has the goblins --wins.

With human zealots intent on ridding the world of anyone with plagued blood and supernatural politics taking Britain to the verge of civil war, Xandra's finding out that being queen isn't all it's cracked up to be, and if she doesn't do something fast, hers will be the shortest reign in history.

Gideon the Ninth

The Locked Tomb: Book 1

Tamsyn Muir

The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Harrow the Ninth

The Locked Tomb: Book 2

Tamsyn Muir

She answered the Emperor's call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath -- but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor's Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?