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Understand

Ted Chiang

Hugo Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, August 1991. The story can also be found in the anthologies Supermen: Tales of the Posthuman Future (2002), edited by Gardner Dozois and The Hard SF Renaissance (2002), edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. It is included in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others (2002).

Halfway Human

Twenty Planets Universe

Carolyn Ives Gilman

Tedla is a 'bland,' an asexual class of people that exist only to serve their fellow beings.

Val is an expert on alien cultures but has never seen a bland before. They come together after Tedla is found light-years away from its home planet-alone, isolated and suicidal. Val's mission is to help Tedla recover. But the more she learns about the beautiful alien being, the more she discovers about the torment Tedla and its kind suffer on their planet.

Little does the rest of the universe know of the hidden world of the blands, a world that hides shocking secrets and unspeakable crimes.

Halfway Human is a mesmerizing look at an intricately created alien world which is strange and distant, yet hauntingly familiar.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Book 1

Arthur C. Clarke

On the moon, an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications of the discovery that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

Rosewater

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 1

Tade Thompson

Between meeting a boy who bursts into flames, alien floaters that want to devour him, and a butterfly woman who he has sex with when he enters the xenosphere, Kaaro's life is far from the simple one he wants. But he left simple behind a long time ago when he was caught stealing and nearly killed by an angry mob. Now he works for a government agency called Section 45, and they want him to find a women known as Bicycle Girl. And that's just the beginning.

An alien entity lives beneath the ground, forming a biodome around which the city of Rosewater thrives. The cities of Rosewater are enamored by the dome, hoping for a chance to meet the beings within or possibly be invited to come in themselves. But Kaaro isn't so enamored. He was in the biodome at one point and decided to leave it behind. When something begins killing off other sensitives like himself, Kaaro defies Section 45 to search for an answer, facing his past and comes to a realization about a horrifying future.

The Demolished Man

Alfred Bester

In the year 2301, guns are only museum pieces and benign telepaths sweep the minds of the populace to detect crimes before they happen. In 2301 murder is virtually impossible, but one man is about to change that...

Ben Reich, a psychopathic business magnate, has devised the ultimate scheme to eliminate the competition and destroy the order of his society. The Demolished Man is a masterpiece of imaginative suspense, set in a superbly imagined world in which everything has changed except the ancient instinct for murder.

Chocky

John Wyndham

At first they thought that Matthew was just goining through a phase of talking to himself. And like many parents, they waited for him to grow out of it. But as time passed it became worse, not better. Matthew's conversations with himself grew more and more intense. It was like listening to one end of a telephone conversation while someone argued, cajoled and reasoned with another person you couldn't hear or see. Then Matthew began doing things he couldn't do before. Like counting in binary code mathematics. So he told them about Chocky, the person who lived in his head. Whoever or whatever Chocky was, it wasn't childish imagination. It was far too intelligent and frightening for that.

More Than Human

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 29

Theodore Sturgeon

First published in 1953, this most celebrated of Sturgeon's works won the International Fantasy Award, as has been touted as "a masterpiece of provocative storytelling" (The Herald Tribune).

A group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover their combined powers renders them superhuman.

The Glamour

Christopher Priest

Cameraman Richard Grey's memory has blanked out the few weeks before he was injured in a car bomb explosion. When he is visited by a girl who seems to have been his lover, his attempts to recall the forgotten period produce an odyssey through France and conflicting accounts of what happened. When Susan Kewley speaks to him of that time, he finds himself glimpsing a terrible twilight world - the world of "the glamour".

Tides of Light

The Galactic Center Series: Book 4

Gregory Benford

The sequel to "Great Sky River", this book continues the author's chronicle of life at the galaxy's centre, many centuries in the future. A band of humans flee aboard a regenerated starship to another planet where the mechs are in retreat but an even greater threat of alien cyborgs exists.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The Best of All Possible Worlds: Book 1

Karen Lord

Karen Lord's debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent-a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company-yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.

Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race-and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team-one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive-just may find in each other their own destinies... and a force that transcends all.

Falling Free

Quaddies (The Vorkosigan Saga): Book 1

Lois McMaster Bujold

Leo Graf was just your average highly efficient engineer: min your own business, fix what's wrong and move on to the next job. Everything neat and according to spec, just the way he liked it. But all that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat. Could you just stand there and allow the exploitation of hundreds of helpless children merely to enhance the bottom line of a heartless mega-corporation?

Leo Graf adopted a thousand quaddies -- now all he had to do was teach them to be free.

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.

The Quiet War

The Quiet War: Book 1

Paul J. McAuley

Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems.

On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth's repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition. The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions.

On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it's too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards. Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war...

The Ship Who Sang

The Ship Who…: Book 1

Anne McCaffrey

Helva had been born human, but only her brain had been saved and implanted into the titanium body of an intergalactic scout ship. But first she had to choose a human partner, to soar with her through the daring adventures and exhilarating escapades in space.

Methuselah's Children

Robert A. Heinlein

Lazarus Long, member of a select group bred for generations to live far beyond normal human lifespans, helps his kind escape persecution after word leaks out and angry crowds accuse them of withholding the "secret" of longevity. Lazarus and his companions set out on an interstellar journey and face many trials and strange cultures, like a futuristic Odysseus and his crew, before returning to Earth.

The Underpeople

The Instrumentality of Mankind: Rod McBan

Cordwainer Smith

The Underpeople were mutated from animal stock to serve mankind. They lived Deepdown in the forgotten corridors and caverns of Old Earth, servants to the men who bred them in their own image.

But even the Underpeople dream - and often have strange powers. And now they have a strange ally in the richest man who ever lived: the man who owned the whole planet.

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

Furious Gulf

The Galactic Center Series: Book 5

Gregory Benford

The passengers on the spaceship Argo, pursued by hostile ""mechs,"" must face their doubts about their captain's obsession with finding the galaxy's True Center, an obsession that even troubles the captain's son.

Mercury

The Grand Tour: Book 9

Ben Bova

The planet closest to our Sun, Mercury is a rocky, barren, heat-scorched world. But there are those who hope to find wealth in its desolation.

Saito Yamagata thinks Mercury's position makes it an ideal place to generate power to propel starships into deep space. Astrobiologist Victor Molina thinks the water at Mercury's poles may harbor evidence of life. Bishop Elliot Danvers has been sent by the Earth-based "New Morality" to keep close tabs on Molina.

But all three of these men are blissfully unaware of their shared history, and of how it connects to the collapse of Mance Bracknell's geosynchronous space elevator a generation ago. Now they're about to find out, because Mance is determined to have his revenge...

Beggars and Choosers

The Sleepless: Book 2

Nancy Kress

In Beggars and Choosers, Kress returns to the same future world created in her earlier work, an America strangely altered by genetic modifications...

Most of the world is on the verge of collapse, overburdened by a population of jobless drones and racked by the results of irresponsible genetic research and nanotechnology. Will the world be saved? And for whom?

Deathworld 1

Deathworld: Book 1

Harry Harrison

The planet was called Pyrrus...a strange place where all the beasts, plants and natural elements were designed for one specific purpose: to destroy man.

The settlers there were supermen...twice as strong as ordinary men and with milli-second reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder...

It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man's brief habitation...

Man Plus

Man Plus: Book 1

Frederik Pohl

Ill luck made Roger Torraway the subject of the Man Plus Programe, but it was deliberate biological engineering which turned him into a monster -- a machine perfectly adapted to survive on Mars. For according to computer predictions, Mars is humankind's only alternative to extinction. But beneath his monstrous exterior, Torraway still carries a man's capacity for suffering.

Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest

Galaxy Science Fiction: Book 8

Olaf Stapledon

John Wainwright is a freak, a human mutation with an extraordinary intelligence which is both awesome and frightening to behold. Ordinary humans are mere playthings to him. And Odd John has a plan - to create a new order on Earth, a new supernormal species. But the world is not ready for such a change.

Shadows in Flight

Ender's Universe: Ender's Shadow: Book 5

Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Shadow explores the stars in this all-new novel...

At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children--the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten--a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.

For there in space before them lies a derelict Formic colony ship. Aboard it, they will find both death and wonders--the life support that is failing on their own ship, room to grow, and labs in which to explore their own genetic anomaly and the mysterious disease that killed the ship’s colony.

Time for the Stars

Heinlein Juveniles: Book 10

Robert A. Heinlein

Travel to other planets is a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity to find habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. With no time to wait years for communication between slower-than-light spaceships and home, the Long Range Foundation explores an unlikely solution--human telepathy.

Identical twins Tom and Pat are enlisted to be the human radios that will keep the ships in contact with Earth, but one of them has to stay behind while the other explores the depths of space.This is one of Heinlein's triumphs.

Children of the Mind

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin: Book 4

Orson Scott Card

With Children of the Mind, Card returns to the story of Ender Wiggin: hero of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Enders Game, the original Speaker for the Dead, and the hated Xenocide who murdered an entire planet. Now his adopted world, Lusitania, is threatened by the same planet-destroying weapon that he himself used so many thousands of years before.

Enders oldest friend, Jane, the computer intelligence that has evolved with him over 3000 years, is about to be killed by the Starways Congress, which has finally discovered her existence and fears her control of the galaxy-wide interlocked network of computers and ansibles.Jane can save the three sentient races of Lusitaniathe Pequeninos, the Hive Queens daughters, and the human colony. She has learned how to move ships outside the universe, and then instantly back to a different world, abolishing the light-speed limit. But it takes all the processing power available to her, and the Starways Congress is shutting down the Net world by world.

In the Ocean of Night

The Galactic Center Series: Book 1

Gregory Benford

Set in a world of lunar colonies, cybernetic miracles, fanatic cults, deadly pollution and famine, the first story in the Galactic Center Series. This world of social decay is facing hardship, but not far beyond the shores of space comes a mystery, which one man, astronaut Nigel Walmsley is about to touch.

The Whole Man

John Brunner

Gerald Howson was born in the gutter, with the body of a cripple... he was raised in harsh poverty and ridicule... and he would grow up with a mind of transcendant power.... What kind of man would he be?

A daring and fascinating exploration into the possibilities that include the marvel of internal creation---or the threat of lingering death!

Published in the UK as: The Telepathist

No Enemy But Time

Michael Bishop

Joshua Kampa, the illegitimate son of a mute Spanish whore and a black serviceman, has always dreamed of Africa. But his dreams are of an Africa far in the past and are so vivid and in such hallucinatory detail that he is able to question the understanding of eminent palaeontologists. As a result, Joshua is invited to join a most unusual time travel project and is transported millions of years into the past of his dreams.

In early Pleistocene Africa, living among the prehuman species Homo habilis, experiencing the same hardships and the same intense pleasures, Joshua finds, for the first time in his troubled life, not only contentment but real love - a love that transcends almost everything. Intelligent, thoughtful and deeply moving, No Enemy But Time brilliantly evokes the remote past and, at the same time, presents a powerful and convincing portrayal of a relationship surmounting even the most daunting barriers. It is a challenging and highly original novel exploring the nature and origins of humankind.

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

Star Trek: The New Voyages

Bantam Star Trek Original Novels: The New Voyages: Book 1

Sondra Marshak
Myrna Culbreath

Star Trek: The New Voyages was an anthology of novellas released by Bantam Books, edited by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. It included a foreword by Gene Roddenberry and introductions to the stories by members of the original series cast.

Although published professionally under copyright, the stories contained in the anthology were all written by fans. The Acknowledgments also contained an address for manuscripts and feedback to be sent, with the intention of further volumes being produced.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword (Star Trek: The New Voyages) - (1976) - essay by Gene Roddenberry
  • Introduction: The Once and Future Voyages - (1976) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Introduction to Ni Var - (1976) - essay by Leonard Nimoy
  • Ni Var - (1976) - shortfiction by Claire Gabriel
  • Introduction to Intersection Point - (1976) - essay by James Doohan
  • Intersection Point - (1976) - shortfiction by Juanita Coulson
  • Introduction to The Enchanted Pool - (1976) - essay by Nichelle Nichols
  • The Enchanted Pool - (1976) - shortfiction by Marcia Ericson
  • Introduction to Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited - (1976) - essay by Majel Barrett Roddenberry
  • Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited - (1976) - shortfiction by Ruth Berman
  • Introduction to The Face on the Barroom Floor - (1976) - essay by George Takei
  • The Face on the Barroom Floor - (1976) - shortfiction by Eleanor Arnason and Ruth Berman
  • Introduction to The Hunting - (1976) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • The Hunting - (1976) - shortfiction by Doris Beetem
  • Introduction to The Winged Dreamers - (1976) - essay by DeForest Kelley
  • The Winged Dreamers - (1976) - shortfiction by Jennifer Guttridge
  • Introduction to Mind-Sifter - (1976) - essay by William Shatner
  • Mind-Sifter - (1976) - shortfiction by Shirley S. Maiewski
  • Sonnet from the Vulcan: Omicron Ceti Three - (1976) - poem by Shirley Meech

Across a Billion Years

Robert Silverberg

Scattered throughout the globe of human-occupied space is evidence of a civilisation that bestrode the galaxy before humanity was born. Now, a strange device has been discovered that shows the details of that great civilisation. The details include a star map and hints that the High Ones are not extinct after all. The map beckons, and humans, being what they are, will follow. To the next great step in human destiny - or ultimate disaster.

Star Trek: The New Voyages 2

Bantam Star Trek Original Novels: The New Voyages: Book 2

Sondra Marshak
Myrna Culbreath

The men and women of the Starship Enterprise return in this dazzling volume of ten electrifying adventures set in deep space. Featuring the unforgettable characters created by Gene Roddenberry, each one of these extraordinary tales captures the beauty and courage of the fearless quest into uncharted realms - where others venture only in their boldest dreams.

Based on the blockbuster films and the legendary television show, these ten original Star Trek stories boldly go where no one has gone before.

Table of Contents:

  • Editors' Preface: The Once and Future Voyages 2 - The Camelot Connection - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Introduction (Star Trek: The New Voyages 2) - (1978) - essay by Jesco von Puttkamer
  • Editors' Introduction to "Surprise!" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Surprise! - (1978) - novelette by Nichelle Nichols and Myrna Culbreath and Sondra Marshak
  • Editors' Introduction to "Snake Pit!" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Snake Pit! - (1978) - shortstory by Connie Faddis
  • Editors' Introduction to "The Patient Parasites" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • The Patient Parasites - (1978) - novelette by Russell Bates
  • Editors' Introduction to "In the Maze" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • In the Maze - (1978) - novelette by Jennifer Guttridge
  • Editors' Introduction to "Cave-in" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Cave-in - (1978) - poem by Jane Peyton
  • Editors' Introduction to "Marginal Existence" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Marginal Existence - (1978) - shortstory by Connie Faddis
  • Editors' Introduction to "The Procrustean Petard" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • The Procrustean Petard - (1978) - novelette by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Editors' Introduction to "The Sleeping God" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • The Sleeping God - (1978) - novelette by Jesco von Puttkamer
  • Editors' Introduction to "Elegy for Charlie" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Elegy for Charlie - (1978) - poem by Antonia Vallario
  • Editors' Introduction to "Soliloquy" - (1978) - essay by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
  • Postscript: "Gentlepersons" - The Vulcan Connection - (1978) - essay by Marguerite B. Thompson
  • Soliloquy - (1978) - poem by Marguerite B. Thompson
  • Epilogue (Star Trek: The New Voyages 2) - (1978) - essay by Nichelle Nichols

The Galaxy Game

The Best of All Possible Worlds: Book 2

Karen Lord

Karen Lord is one of today's most brilliant young talents. Her science fiction, like that of predecessors Ursula K. Le Guin and China Miéville, combines star-spanning plots, deeply felt characters, and incisive social commentary. With The Galaxy Game, Lord presents a gripping adventure that showcases her dazzling imagination as never before.

On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi possesses mental abilities that might benefit people... or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Rafi's only freedom at the Lyceum is Wallrunning: a game of speed and agility played on vast vertical surfaces riddled with variable gravity fields.

Serendipity and Ntenman are also students at the Lyceum, but unlike Rafi they come from communities where such abilities are valued. Serendipity finds the Lyceum as much a prison as a school, and she yearns for a meaningful life beyond its gates. Ntenman, with his quick tongue, quicker mind, and a willingness to bend if not break the rules, has no problem fitting in. But he too has his reasons for wanting to escape.

Now the three friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head. For Serendipity, it will challenge her ideas of community and self. For Ntenman, it will open new opportunities and new dangers. And for Rafi, given a chance to train with some of the best Wallrunners in the galaxy, it will lead to the discovery that there is more to Wallrunning than he ever suspected... and more to himself than he ever dreamed.

Beyond This Horizon

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 227

Robert A. Heinlein

Hamilton Felix, the result of generations of genetic selection, finds his life as the ultimate man boring, until a gang of revolutionaries tries to enlist him in their cause.