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Time Is the Fire: The Best of Connie Willis

Connie Willis

This new collection by the author of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog contains stories which have all won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, or both - and are compulsory reading for the serious science fiction fan.

Table of Contents:

Story of Your Life

Ted Chiang

This novella originally appeared in the anthology Starlight 2, (1998), edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and was reprinted in Lightspeed, December 2012. It can also be found in the anthologies:

The story is included in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others.

Adapted into the movie The Arrival in 2016.

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission - and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Pump Six and Other Stories

Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi's debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Paolo's work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning, and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.

The eleven stories in Pump Six represent the best Paolo's work, including the Hugo nominee "Yellow Card Man," the nebula and Hugo nominated story "The People of Sand and Slag," and the Sturgeon Award-winning story "The Calorie Man."

Table of Contents:

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell

From David Mitchell, the Booker Prize nominee, award-winning writer and one of the featured authors in Granta's "Best of Young British Novelists 2003" issue, comes his highly anticipated third novel, a work of mind-bending imagination and scope.

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation -- the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

The Sparrow

Sparrow Series: Book 1

Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow is a novel about a remarkable man, a living saint, a life-long celibate and Jesuit priest, who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience--the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life--begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

The Past Is Red

Garbagetown

Catherynne M. Valente

The future is blue. Endless blue... except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.

Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she's the only one who knows it. She's the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it's full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.

But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.

The first quarter of this book was published as the novelette The Past Is Red and it can be read for free at Clarkesworld.

Akira, Vol 1

Akira: Book 1

Katsuhiro Otomo

Welcome to Neo-Tokyo, built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by a blast of unknown origin that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, making him a target for a shadowy agency that will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like the one that leveled Tokyo. At the core of the agency's motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear of an unthinkable, monstrous power known only as Akira.

The Road

Cormac McCarthy

The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Spin

The Spin Sequence: Book 1

Robert Charles Wilson

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk--a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside--more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.

Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.

Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun--and report back on what they find.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.

Parable of the Sower

The Parable Series: Book 1

Octavia E. Butler

In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren's father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren's family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

Becoming Alien

Becoming Alien: Book 1

Rebecca Ore

Living on a chicken farm in backwater America, forced to help his older brother run an illegal drug operation, Tom was going nowhere fast. Then an extraterrestial ship crashed on his farm, and he managed to save one alien from the wreck - Mica, a cadet of the multi-species Federation.

Communicating largely through pictures, the two form an odd friendship and Tom decides to become a Federation cadet -- a test case to see if humans could ever be considered for membership. As the lone human among the alien race, Tom's survival was not assured. And if he fell prey to fear and prejudice, Earth would be condemned to eternal quarantine.

World of Trouble

Hank Palace: Book 3

Ben H. Winters

Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series.

With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank's safety is only relative, and his only relative--his sister Nico--isn't safe. Soon, it's clear that there's more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it's up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out... for everyone.

Inconstant Moon

Larry Niven

Hugo Award winning short story. It originally appeared in the collection All the Myriad Ways (1971). The story can also be found in the anthologies:

It is included in the collections Inconstant Moon (1973), N-Space (1990) and The Best of Larry Niven (2010).

Malevil

Robert Merle

Malevil is a powerful, provocative story of a new world after a nuculear holocaust.

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel

An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

The Martian Obelisk

Linda Nagata

A powerful science fiction story about an architect on Earth commissioned to create (via long distance) a masterwork with materials from the last abandoned Martian colony, a monument that will last thousands of years longer than Earth, which is dying.

This story can be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve (2018), edited by Jonathan Strahan, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018), edited by Gardner Dozois, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018), edited by Neil Clarke, and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Alas, Babylon

Pat Frank

Hailed by critics, this classic disaster novel about a nuclear holocaust in the United States--now available in a limited Olive Edition--continues to resonate with readers as strongly today as when it was first published in 1959 at the height of the Cold War.

"Alas, Babylon..."

Those fateful words heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away.

But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness.

Equations of Life

Samuil Petrovitch: Book 1

Simon Morden

Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor.

He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic.

For example, getting involved = a bad idea.

But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London.

And clearly saving the girl = getting involved.

Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex.

Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch.

But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one.

Countdown City

Hank Palace: Book 2

Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original--along with plenty of glowing reviews.

Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over... until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone "bucket list" or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off "impact zone" refugees.

Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse--and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

Dawn

Xenogenesis: Book 1

Octavia E. Butler

Rescued from Earth's destruction, one woman is called upon to revive mankind.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth-the last stage of the planet's final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali-who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations-whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet's untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

Existence

David Brin

For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and Gerald Livingston has to clean up the mess. Only... there's something spinning a little bit higher than he expects. It isn't on the orbital maps. An hour after he grabs the Object and brings it in, rumors fill Earth's infomesh about an "alien artifact." Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, this is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

The Gone-Away World

Nick Harkaway

There couldn't be a fire along the Jorgmund Pipe. It was the last thing the world needed. But there it was, burning bright on national television. The Pipe was what kept the Livable Zone safe from the bandits, monsters and nightmares the Go Away War had left in its wake. The fire was a very big problem.

Enter Gonzo Lubitsch and his friends, the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company, a team of master troubleshooters who roll into action when things get particularly hot. They helped build the Pipe. Now they have to preserve it—and save humanity yet again. But this job is not all it seems. It will touch more closely on Gonzo's life, and that of his best friend, than either of them can imagine. And it will decide the fate of the Gone-Away World.

The Windup Girl

The Windup Universe

Paolo Bacigalupi

What Happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits? And what happens when said bio-terrorism forces humanity to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of "The Calorie Man" (Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and "Yellow Card Man" (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these questions.

After the Apocalypse: Stories

Maureen F. McHugh

In her new collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.

Contents:

Blueprints of the Afterlife

Ryan Boudinot

From the "wickedly talented" (Boston Globe) and "darkly funny" (New York Times Book Review) Ryan Boudinot, Blueprints of the Afterlife is a tour de force.

It is the Afterlife. The end of the world is a distant, distorted memory called "the Age of F***ed Up Shit." A sentient glacier has wiped out most of North America. Medical care is supplied by open-source nanotechnology, and human nervous systems can be hacked.

Abby Fogg is a film archivist with a niggling feeling that her life is not really her own. She may be right. Al Skinner is a former mercenary for the Boeing Army, who's been dragging his war baggage behind him for nearly a century. Woo-jin Kan is a virtuoso dishwasher with the Hotel and Restaurant Management Olympics medals to prove it. Over them all hovers a mysterious man named Dirk Bickle, who sends all these characters to a full-scale replica of Manhattan under construction in Puget Sound. An ambitious novel that writes large the hopes and anxieties of our time—climate change, social strife, the depersonalization of the digital age—Blueprints of the Afterlife will establish Ryan Boudinot as an exceptional novelist of great daring.

Hard to Be a God

Noon Universe: Book 4

Arkady Strugatsky
Boris Strugatsky

Anton is an undercover operative from future Earth, who travels to an alien world whose culture has not progressed beyond the Middle Ages. Although in possession of far more advanced knowledge than the society around him, he is forbidden to interfere with the natural progress of history. His place is to observe rather than interfere - but can he remain aloof in the face of so much cruelty and injustice...?

The Long Tomorrow

Leigh Brackett

One of the original novels of post-nuclear holocaust America, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. The story has inspired generations of new writers and is still as mesmerizing today as when it was originally written.

Len and Esau are young cousins living decades after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization as we know. The rulers of the post-war community have forbidden the existence of large towns and consider technology evil.

However Len and Esau long for more than their simple agrarian existence. Rumors of mythical Bartorstown, perhaps the last city in existence, encourage the boys to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure that will call into question not only firmly held beliefs, but the boys' own personal convictions.

The Drowned Cities

Ship Breaker: Book 2

Paolo Bacigalupi

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

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.

Planetfall

Planetfall: Book 1

Emma Newman

From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity's future might be its undoing...

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi's vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart...

Good Morning, Midnight

Lily Brooks-Dalton

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton's captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

Tomorrow's Kin

Yesterday's Kin: Book 1

Nancy Kress

The aliens have arrived... they've landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth's most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster--and not everyone is willing to wait.

The Forge of God

Forge of God: Book 1

Greg Bear

On September 28th, a geologist working in Death valley finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area.

On October 1st, the government of Australia announces the discovery of an enormous granite mountain. Like the cinder cone, it wasn't there six months ago....

Something is happening to Planet Earth, and the truth is too terrifying to consider....

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Harlan Ellison

First published in 1967 and re-issued in 1983, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream contains seven stories with copyrights ranging from 1958 through 1967. This edition contains the original introduction by Theodore Sturgeon and the original foreword by Harlan Ellison, along with a brief update comment by Ellison that was added in the 1983 edition.

Among Ellison's more famous stories, two consistently noted as among his very best ever are the title story and the volume's concluding one, "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes". Since Ellison himself strongly resists categorization of his work, we won't call them science fiction, or SF, or speculative fiction or horror or anything else except compelling reading experiences that are sui generis. They could only have been written by Harlan Ellison and they are incomparably original.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: The Mover, the Shaker - (1967) - essay by Theodore Sturgeon
  • Foreword: How Science Fiction Saved Me from a Life of Crime - (1967) - essay by Harlan Ellison
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream - (1967) - shortstory
  • Big Sam Was My Friend - (1958) - shortstory
  • Eyes of Dust - (1959) - shortstory
  • World of the Myth - (1964) - novelette
  • Lonelyache - (1964) - shortstory
  • Delusion for a Dragon Slayer - (1966) - shortstory
  • Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes - (1967) - novelette

The End Is Nigh

The Apocalypse Triptych: Book 1

John Joseph Adams
Hugh Howey

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

The Apocalypse Triptych will tell their stories.

Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, The Apocalypse Triptych is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. The End Is Nigh focuses on life before the apocalypse. The End Is Now turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And The End Has Come explores life after the apocalypse.

Volume one of The Apocalypse Triptych, The End Is Nigh, features all-new, never-before-published works by Hugh Howey, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jamie Ford, Seanan McGuire, Tananarive Due, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Robin Wasserman, Nancy Kress, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, and many others.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. The End Is Nigh is about the match.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction (The End is Nigh) - essay by John Joseph Adams
  • The Balm and the Wound - short story by Robin Wasserman
  • Heaven is a Place on Planet X - short story by Desirina Boskovich
  • Break! Break! Break! - short story by Charlie Jane Anders (2014)
  • The Gods Will Not Be Chained - short story by Ken Liu
  • Wedding Day - short story by Jake Kerr
  • Removal Order - short story by Tananarive Due
  • System Reset - short story by Tobias S. Buckell
  • This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces - short story by Jamie Ford
  • BRING HER TO ME - short story by Ben H. Winters
  • In the Air - short story by Hugh Howey
  • Goodnight Moon - short story by Annie Bellet
  • Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod - novelette by Will McIntosh
  • Houses Without Air - short story by Megan Arkenberg
  • The Fifth Day of Deer Camp - novelette by Scott Sigler
  • Enjoy the Moment - short story by Jack McDevitt
  • Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through - short story by Nancy Kress
  • Spores - novelette by Seanan McGuire [as by Mira Grant]
  • She's Got a Ticket to Ride - short story by Jonathan Maberry
  • Agent Unknown - short story by David Wellington
  • Enlightenment - short story by Matthew Mather
  • Shooting the Apocalypse - novelette by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Love Perverts - short story by Sarah Langan

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker: Book 1

Paolo Bacigalupi

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games: Book 1

Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated.

As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Earth

David Brin

It's fifty years from tomorrow, and a black hole has accidentally fallen into the Earth's core. A team of scientists frantically searches for a way to prevent the mishap from causing harm, only to discover another black hole already feeding relentlessly at the core - one that could destroy the entire planet within two years.

But some even argue that the only way to save the Earth is to let its human inhabitants become extinct: to let the million-year evolutionary clock rewind and start all over again.

From an underground lab in New Zealand to a space station in Low Earth Orbit, from an endangered species conservation ark in Africa to a home in New Orleans, EARTH is a gripping novel peopled with extraordinary characters and abundant with challenging new ideas. Above all, it is an impassioned testament about our own responsibility to our endangered planet.

Emergence

David R. Palmer

This is the saga of Candy Smith-Foster, a brilliant, witty girl on the verge of womanhood, survivor of a bionuclear war that destroyed most of humanity, first of a new stage in human evolution--homo post hominem. EMERGENCE is the story of her turbulent odyssey across a scarred America seeking others of her kind and a new future for the people of Earth.

The Postman

David Brin

This is the story of a lie that became the most powerful kind of truth. A timeless novel as urgently compelling as War Day or Alas, Babylon, David Brin's The Postman is the dramatically moving saga of a man who rekindled the spirit of America through the power of a dream, from a modern master of science fiction.

He was a survivor--a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war. Fate touches him one chill winter's day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold. The old, worn uniform still has power as a symbol of hope, and with it he begins to weave his greatest tale, of a nation on the road to recovery.

Blind Lake

Robert Charles Wilson

At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch.

Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why.

The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma.

Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers.

But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Walter Tevis

T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.

Europe in Autumn

The Fractured Europe Sequence: Book 1

Dave Hutchinson

Rudi is a cook in a Kraków restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he's trapped in, a new career - part spy, part people-smuggler - begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested and beaten, and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him. With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws itself, Europe in Autumn is a science fiction thriller like no other.

The Water Knife

Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi, New York Times-Bestselling author and National Book Award Finalist, dives once again onto our uncertain future with his first thriller for adults since his multi-award winning debut phenomenon The Windup Girl.

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg-breaker, assassin and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel "cuts" water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet, while the poor get nothing but dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with no love for Vegas and every reason to hate Angel, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything that she represents.

With bodies piling up, bullets flying, and Phoenix teetering on collapse, it seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of a river. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other's hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

The Best We Can

Carrie Vaughn

First contact was supposed to change the course of human history. But it turns out, you still have to go to work the next morning.

This story is included in the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection (2014), edited by Gardner Dozois, and 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.

Footfall

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star.

The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender--or death for all humans.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Road to Nowhere: Book 1

Meg Elison

The apocalypse will be asymmetrical.

In the aftermath of a plague that has decimated the world population, the unnamed midwife confronts a new reality in which there may be no place for her. Indeed, there may be no place for any woman except at the end of a chain. A radical rearrangement is underway. With one woman left for every ten men, the landscape that the midwife travels is fraught with danger. She must reach safety -- but is it safer to go it alone or take a chance on humanity? The friends she makes along the way will force her to choose what's more important. Civilization stirs from the ruins, taking new and experimental forms. The midwife must help a new world come into being, but birth is always dangerous... and what comes of it is beyond anyone's control.

In the Country of Last Things

Paul Auster

Here is the story of Anna Blume, a woman who has come to an unnamed city in search of her brother. Her notebook recounts her quest in this cruel modern landscape, and through her anguished narrative, Auster presents a frightening vision of the future.

The Fountains of Paradise

Arthur C. Clarke

Vannemar Morgan's dream is to link Earth to the stars with the greatest engineering feat of all time;a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. For the only possible site on the planet for Morgan's Orbital Tower is the monastery atop the Sacred Mountain of Sri Kanda. And for two thousand years, the monks have protected Sri Kanda from all mortal quests for glory. Kings and princes who have sought to conquer the Sacred Mountain have all died.Now Vannemar Morgan may be next.

Calculating God

Robert J. Sawyer

Calculating God is the new near-future SF thriller from the popular and award-winning Robert J. Sawyer. An alien shuttle craft lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. A six-legged, two-armed alien emerges, who says, in perfect English, "Take me to a paleontologist."

It seems that Earth, and the alien's home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling on the alien mother ship, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at about the same time (one example of these "cataclysmic events" would be the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). Both alien races believe this proves the existence of God: i.e. he's obviously been playing with the evolution of life on each of these planets.

From this provocative launch point, Sawyer tells a fast-paced, and morally and intellectually challenging, SF story that just grows larger and larger in scope. The evidence of God's universal existence is not universally well received on Earth, nor even immediately believed. And it reveals nothing of God's nature. In fact. it poses more questions than it answers.

When a supernova explodes out in the galaxy but close enough to wipe out life on all three home-worlds, the big question is, Will God intervene or is this the sixth cataclysm?

Calculating God is SF on the grand scale.

The Swarm

Frank Schätzing

For more than two years, one book has taken over Germany's hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, reaching number one in Der Spiegel and setting off a frenzy in bookstores: The Swarm.

Whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabi-tants begin a violent revolution against mankind. In this riveting novel, full of twists, turns, and cliffhangers, a team of scientists discovers a strange, intelligent life force called the Yrr that takes form in marine animals, using them to wreak havoc on humanity for our ecological abuses. Soon a struggle between good and evil is in full swing, with both human and suboceanic forces battling for control of the waters. At stake is the survival of the Earth's fragile ecology -- and ultimately, the survival of the human race itself.

The apocalyptic catastrophes of The Day After Tomorrow meet the watery menace of The Abyss in this gripping, scientifically realistic, and utterly imaginative thriller. With 1.5 million copies sold in Germany -- where it has been on the bestseller list without fail since its debut -- and the author's skillfully executed blend of compelling story, vivid characters, and eerie locales, Frank Schatzing's The Swarm will keep you in tense anticipation until the last suspenseful page is turned.

The Rosewater Insurrection

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 2

Tade Thompson

The year is 2067. The city of Rosewater is chaotic, vibrant and full of life - some of it extra-terrestrial.

The charismatic mayor, Jack Jacques, has declared Rosewater a free state, independent to Nigeria. But the city's alien dome is dying. Government forces await its demise, ready to destroy Rosewater's independence before it has even begun.

And in the city's quiet suburbs, a woman wakes with no memory of who she is - with memories belonging to something much older and much more alien.

Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Book 2

Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Imago

Xenogenesis: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way.

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race.

Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi-the first ever born to a human mother. As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what's left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all.

The Year of the Flood

MaddAddam Sequence: Book 2

Margaret Atwood

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners--a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life--has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

Have others survived? Ren's bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers...

Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo'hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can't stay locked away...

Octavia Gone

Alex Benedict: Book 8

Jack McDevitt

After being lost in space for eleven years, Gabe finally makes his triumphant return to reunite with Alex and Chase and retrieve a possibly alien artifact--which may lead them to solve the greatest archaeological mystery of their careers, in the eighth installment of the Alex Benedict series.

After his return from space, Gabe is trying to find a new life for himself after being presumed dead--just as Alex and Chase are trying to relearn how to live and work without him. But when a seemingly alien artifact goes missing from Gabe's old collection, it grants the group a chance to dive into solving the mystery of its origins as a team, once again.

When a lead on the artifact is tied to a dead pilot's sole unrecorded trip, another clue seems to lead to one of the greatest lingering mysteries of the age: the infamous disappearance of a team of scientists aboard a space station orbiting a black hole--the Amelia Earhart of their time. With any luck, Alex, Chase, and Gabe may be on the trail of the greatest archaeological discovery of their careers...

The Scarlet Plague

Jack London

Outside the ruins of San Francisco, a former UC Berkeley professor recounts the chilling sequence of events -- a gruesome pandemic which killed nearly every living soul on the planet, in a matter of days -- which led to his current lowly state. Modern civilization has fallen, and a new race of barbarians, descended from the world's brutalized workers, has assumed power. Over the space of a few decades, all learning has been lost.

The catastrophe happens in 2013; 2012 marks the centennial of the novel's first publication as a serial in London Magazine.

Memory of Water

Emmi Itäranta

Global warming has changed the world's geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria's father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father's death the army starts watching their town--and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

Greybeard

Brian W. Aldiss

The sombre story of a group of people in their fifties who face the fact that there is no younger generation coming to replace them; instead nature is rushing back to obliterate the disaster they have brought on theselves.

The Last Policeman

Hank Palace: Book 1

Ben H. Winters

What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There's no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace's investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we're confronted by hard questions way beyond "whodunit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

Dr. Bloodmoney: or, How We Got Along After the Bomb

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 53

Philip K. Dick

Dr. Bloodmoney is a post-nuclear-holocaust masterpiece filled with a host of Dick's most memorable characters: Hoppy Harrington, a deformed mutant with telekinetic powers; Walt Dangerfield, a selfless disc jockey stranded in a satellite circling the globe; Dr. Bluthgeld, the megalomaniac physicist largely responsible for the decimated state of the world; and Stuart McConchie and Bonnie Keller, two unremarkable people bent the survival of goodness in a world devastated by evil. Epic and alluring, this brilliant novel is a mesmerizing depiction of Dick's undying hope in humanity.

Song of Time

Ian R. MacLeod

A man lies half-drowned on a Cornish beach at dawn in the furthest days of this century. The old woman who discovers him, once a famous concert violinist, is close to death herself... or a new kind of life she can barely contemplate.

Does death still exist at all, or has it finally been obliterated? And who is this strange man she's found? Is he a figure returned from her past, a new messiah, or an empty vessel? Is he God, or the Devil?

The Crystal World

The Elemental Apocalypse Quartet: Book 4

J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard's fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa. Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified forest whose area expands daily, affecting not only the physical environment but also its inhabitants.

Factoring Humanity

Robert J. Sawyer

In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle's discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration -- or the end of the human race -- appears close at hand.

Sawyer has created a gripping thriller, a pulse-pounding tour of the farthest reaches of technology.

The Wild Shore

Three Californias: Book 1

Kim Stanley Robinson

2047: For the small Pacific Coast community of San Onofre, life in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear attack is a matter of survival, a day-to-day struggle to stay alive. But young Hank Fletcher dreams of the world that might have been, and might yet be--and dreams of playing a crucial role in America's rebirth.

The Children of Men

P. D. James

In 2021, with the human race becoming extinct because of the infertility of all males, Oxford historian Theodore Faron is drawn into the schemes of an unlikely group of revolutionaries out to save society.

Helliconia Winter

Helliconia: Book 3

Brian W. Aldiss

A planet orbiting binary suns, Helliconia has a Great Year spanning three millennia of Earth time: cultures are born in spring, flourish in summer, then die with the onset of the generations-long winter.

The centuries-long winter of the Great Year on Helliconia is upon us, and the Oligarch is taking harsh measures to ensure the survival of the people of the bleak Northern continent of Sibornal. Behind the battle with which the novel opens lies an act of unparalleled treachery. But the plague is coming on the wings of winter and the Oligarch's will is set against it-and against the phagors, humanity's ancient enemies, who carry the plague with them.

This is the concluding volume of the Helliconia Trilogy-a monumental saga that goes beyond anything yet created by this master among today's imaginative writers.

Camouflage

Joe Haldeman

Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it.

Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home--but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.

Sleeping Giants

The Themis Files: Book 1

Sylvain Neuvel

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved--its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand's code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history's most perplexing discovery--and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Forty Signs of Rain

The Capital Code: Book 1

Kim Stanley Robinson

The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt returns with a riveting new trilogy of cutting-edge science, international politics, and the real-life ramifications of global warming as they are played out in our nation’s capital—and in the daily lives of those at the center of the action. Hauntingly realistic, here is a novel of the near future that is inspired by scientific facts already making headlines.

When the Arctic ice pack was first measured in the 1950s, it averaged thirty feet thick in midwinter. By the end of the century it was down to fifteen. One August the ice broke. The next year the breakup started in July. The third year it began in May. That was last year.

It’s an increasingly steamy summer in the nation’s capital as Senate environmental staffer Charlie Quibler cares for his young son and deals with the frustrating politics of global warming. Charlie must find a way to get a skeptical administration to act before it’s too late—and his progeny find themselves living in Swamp World. But the political climate poses almost as great a challenge as the environmental crisis when it comes to putting the public good ahead of private gain.

While Charlie struggles to play politics, his wife, Anna, takes a more rational approach to the looming crisis in her work at the National Science Foundation. There a proposal has come in for a revolutionary process that could solve the problem of global warming—if it can be recognized in time. But when a race to control the budding technology begins, the stakes only get higher. As these everyday heroes fight to align the awesome forces of nature with the extraordinary march of modern science, they are unaware that fate is about to put an unusual twist on their work—one that will place them at the heart of an unavoidable storm.

With style, wit, and rare insight into our past, present, and possible future, this captivating novel propels us into a world on the verge of unprecedented change—in a time quite like our own. Here is Kim Stanley Robinson at his visionary best, offering a gripping cautionary tale of progress—and its price—as only he can tell it.

The Dog Stars

Peter Heller

A riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss—and what he is willing to risk to rediscover, against all odds, connection, love, and grace.

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return—not enough fuel to get him home—following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face—in the people he meets, and in himself—is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.

Narrated by a man who is part warrior and part dreamer, a hunter with a great shot and a heart that refuses to harden, The Dog Stars is both savagely funny and achingly sad, a breathtaking story about what it means to be human.

The Black Cloud

Fred Hoyle

Earth was dying...

One fourth of its population was dead. The rest had little time to live.

A mass of interstellar matter had invaded the solar system, fling planets out of orbit and blocking off the sun. In that titanic disaster, Man had one small chance to survive: Appeal to an alien intelligence that might exist and that might - or might not - care enough to help!

The White Plague

Frank Herbert

What if women were an endangered species?

It begins in Ireland, but soon spreads throughout the entire world: a virulent new disease expressly designed to target only women. As fully half of the human race dies off at a frightening pace and life on Earth faces extinction, panicked people and governments struggle to cope with the global crisis. Infected areas are quarantined or burned to the ground. The few surviving women are locked away in hidden reserves, while frantic doctors and scientists race to find a cure. Anarchy and violence consume the planet.

The plague is the work of a solitary individual who calls himself the Madman. As government security forces feverishly hunt for the renegade scientist, he wanders incognito through a world that will never be the same. Society, religion, and morality are all irrevocably transformed by the White Plague.

Marsbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 1

Joe Haldeman

Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime - they're going to Mars.

Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against. And when she ventures out into the bleak Mars landscape alone one night, a simple accident leads her to the edge of death until she is saved by an angel—an angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad, and a message for the newly arrived human inhabitants of Mars:

We were here first.

Metatropolis

John Scalzi

Five original tales set in a shared urban future-from some of the hottest young writers in modern SF

A strange man comes to an even stranger encampment... a bouncer becomes the linchpin of an unexpected urban movement... a courier on the run has to decide who to trust in a dangerous city... a slacker in a "zero-footprint" town gets a most unusual new job...and a weapons investigator uses his skills to discover a metropolis hidden right in front of his eyes.

Welcome to the future of cities. Welcome to Metatropolis.

More than an anthology, Metatropolis is the brainchild of five of science fiction's hottest writers-Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder, and project editor John Scalzi--who combined their talents to build a new urban future, and then wrote their own stories in this collectively-constructed world. The results are individual glimpses of a shared vision, and a reading experience unlike any you've had before.

The Star Fraction

The Fall Revolution: Book 1

Ken MacLeod

Britain in the 21st century is a Balkanized mess. Moh Kohn is a security mercenary unaware that he holds the key to information which could change the world. Janis Taine is a scientist who needs Mohs help. And a rogue computer program is guiding events to a breathtaking conclusion.

The Drowned World

The Elemental Apocalypse Quartet: Book 2

J. G. Ballard

In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ide-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age.

This early novel by the author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN is at once a fast paced narrative, a stunning evocation of a flooded, tropical London of the near future and a speculative foray into the workings of the unconscious mind.

The Year of the Quiet Sun

Wilson Tucker

It was a top secret government project, its funds coming quietly from the Bureau of Standards, its orders directly from the President. The project's goal was to survey the future.

The survey would be made in person, by use of the newly-developed Time Displacement Vehicle. Three specially trained men would be sent to the year 2000, and they would return with invaluable data about the problems to be faced by the government in decades to come.

It seemed almost routine at first. But when the survey team reached their target they found a savage land... an awesome world they may have made, and they had to wonder if any would return to tell about it.

The Hercules Text

Jack McDevitt

From a remote corner of the galaxy a message is being sent. The continuous beats of a pulsar have become odd, irregular... artificial. it can only be a code. Frantically, a research team struggles to decipher the alien communication. And what the scientists discover is destined to shake the foundations of empires around this world - from Wall Street to the Vatican.

Starbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 2

Joe Haldeman

Carmen Dula and her husband have spent six years traveling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce.

By the time Carmen and her party return, fifty years have been consumed by relativity-and the Earthlings have not been idle, building a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against The Others. But The Others have their own plans.

Rollback

Robert J. Sawyer

Dr. Sarah Halifax decoded the first-ever radio transmission received from aliens. Thirty-eight years later, a second message is received and Sarah, now 87, may hold the key to deciphering this one, too... if she lives long enough.

A wealthy industrialist offers to pay for Sarah to have a rollback-a hugely expensive experimental rejuvenation procedure. She accepts on condition that Don, her husband of sixty years, gets a rollback, too. The process works for Don, making him physically twenty-five again. But in a tragic twist, the rollback fails for Sarah, leaving her in her eighties.

While Don tries to deal with his newfound youth and the suddenly vast age gap between him and his wife, Sarah struggles to do again what shed done once before: figure out what a signal from the stars contains.

The Immortals

James E. Gunn

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF IMMORTALITY?

For nomad Marshall Cartwright, the price is knowing that he will never grow old. That he will never contract a disease, an infection, or even a cold. That because he will never die, he must surrender the right to live.

For Dr. Russell Pearce, the price is eternal suspicion. He appreciates what synthesizing the elixir vitae from the Immortal's genetic makeup could mean for humankind. He also fears what will happen should Cartwright's miraculous blood fall into the wrong hands.

For the wealthy and powerful, no price is too great. Immortality is now a fact rather than a dream. But the only way to achieve it is to own it exclusively. And that means hunting down and caging the elusive Cartwright, or one of his offspring.

The Immortals, James Gunn's masterpiece about a human fountain of youth, collects the author's classic short stories that ran in elite science-fiction magazines throughout the 1950s. All-new material accompanies this updated edition, including an introduction from renowned science-fiction writer Greg Bear, a preface from Gunn himself, and "Elixir," Gunn's new short story that introduced Dr. Pearce to another Immortal in the May 2004 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Factmagazine.

Saturn Run

John Sandford
Ctein

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope -- something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don't decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins -- an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond.

Life As We Knew It

Last Survivors: Book 1

Susan Beth Pfeffer

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, the way "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintry in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year's worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

The Masks of Time

Robert Silverberg

Vornan-19 fell from the sky, naked, and landed on the Spanish steps in Rome on Christmas afternoon toward the end of the Millennium. And for Leo Garfield things would never be the same. For he is an acknowledged expert in the time reversal properties of sub-atomic particles... and Vornan-19 claims to come from far in the future. Whether or not he is telling the truth, a nervous and edgy world accepts the charming and magnetically charismatic Vornan as some kind of messiah. Even Garfield and his fellow scientists fall under Vornan's spell. But, has he really traveled across time -- or is he just a charlatan and a fraud?

Symbiont

Parasitology: Book 2

Mira Grant

THE ENEMY IS INSIDE US.

The SymboGen-designed parasites were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts, turning them into a ravenous horde.

Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the parasites are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is and how they can be stopped.

Earthbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 3

Joe Haldeman

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

Moonfall

Jack McDevitt

It's the 21st century, and all is right with the world. Or so it seems.

Vice President Charlie Haskell, who will travel anywhere for a photo op, is about to cut the ribbon for the just-completed American Moonbase. The first Mars voyage is about to leave high orbit, with a woman at the helm. Below, the world is marveling at a rare solar eclipse.

But all that is right is about to go disastrously wrong when an amateur astronomer discovers a new comet. Named for its discover, Tomikois a "sun-grazer,"an interstellar wanderer with a hundred times the mass and ten times the speed of other comets. And it is headed straight for our moon.

In less than five days, if scientists' predictions are right, Tomiko will crash into the moon, shattering it into a cloud of superheated gas, dust, and huge chunks of rock that will rain down on the earth, causing chaos and killer storms, possibly tidal waves inundating entire cities... or worse: a single apocalyptic worldwide "extinction event."

In the meantime, the population of Moonbase must be evacuated by a hastily assembled fleet of shuttle rockets. There isn't room, or time enough, for everyone. And the vice president, who rashly promised to be last off ("I will lock the door and turn off the lights"), is trying to figure out how to get away without eating his words.

Chimera

Parasitology: Book 3

Mira Grant

The final book in Mira Grant's terrifying Parasitology trilogy.

The outbreak has spread, tearing apart the foundations of society, as implanted tapeworms have turned their human hosts into a seemingly mindless mob.

Sal and her family are trapped between bad and worse, and must find a way to compromise between the two sides of their nature before the battle becomes large enough to destroy humanity, and everything that humanity has built... including the chimera.

The broken doors are closing. Can Sal make it home?

2061: Odyssey Three

Space Odyssey: Book 3

Arthur C. Clarke

Fifty years after meeting the spirit of Dave Bowman aboard the abandoned Discovery and witnessing the fiery transformation of Jupiter into Earths second sun, 103-year-old Dr. Heywood Floyd boards the luxury spaceship Universe for the historic first landing on the surface of Halley's Comet.

At the same time, the Galaxy expedition sets out to probe the evolutionary upheaval on Jupiter's former moon Europa haunted by the fate of a doomed Chinese mission and by the ominous message from space: "All these worlds are yours *except Europa. Attempt no landings there. "

As the stranded Galaxy awaits rescue on the dangerous and forbidden surface of Europa and Universe races to her aid, the omniscient force that is Dave Bowman watches *and waits to reveal the extraordinary secrets of the monoliths, of the masters he now serves, and of mankind's ultimate role in the course of cosmic history . . .

The Stars are Ours!

Pax / Astra: Book 1

Andre Norton

The Stars are Ours! describes the first interstellar voyage, undertaken to escape the tyranny that rules the Earth.

Dies the Fire

Emberverse: Emberverse I: Book 1

S. M. Stirling

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave: Book 1

Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Dhalgren

Samuel R. Delany

In Dhalgren, perhaps one of the most profound and bestselling science fiction novels of all time, Samuel R. Delany has produced a novel "to stand with the best American fiction of the 1970s" (Jonathan Lethem).

Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. Something has happened there.... The population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. And into this disaster zone comes a young man-poet, lover, and adventurer-known only as the Kid. Tackling questions of race, gender, and sexuality, Dhalgren is a literary marvel and groundbreaking work of American magical realism.

The New Mother

Eugene Fischer

Tiptree Award winning and Nebula-nominated Novella

This story follows a pregnant reporter writing an article about the social implications of a sexually transmitted infection that renders men sterile and women parthenogenetic.

Read this story online for free at Medium.com.

Cosmonaut Keep

The Engines of Light Trilogy: Book 1

Ken MacLeod

Matt Cairns is a 21st-century outlaw Programmer who takes on the shady jobs no one else will touch. Against his better judgment, he accepts an assignment to crack the Marshall Titov, a top-secret orbital station operated by the European Space Agency. But what Matt will discover there will propel him on an extraordinary and quite unexpected journey.

Gregor Cairns is an exobiology student and descendant of one of Terra Nova's first families. Hopelessly infatuated with a lovely young trader's daughter, he is unaware that his research partner, Elizabeth, has fallen in love with him. Together, Gregor and Elizabeth confront the great work his family began three centuries earlier-to rediscover the secret of interstellar travel.

Ranging from a gritty near-future Earth to a distant alien world, Cosmonaut Keep is contemporary science fiction at its highest level, a visionary epic filled with daring individuals seeking a place for themselves in a vast, complex, and enigmatic universe.

Clay's Ark

The Patternist: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

In a frightening near future, an alien disease is poised to become a devastating global epidemic - unless someone can stop it.

Blake Maslin and his two daughters are driving to Flagstaff when bandits swarm their car. At gunpoint, the marauders kidnap one of Blake's children, promising to keep her safe in return for medical care. Warily, the doctor goes with them, not realizing that he has just taken the first step down a terrifying path that will consume his life.

The gunmen take him deep into the desert, to a colony of people infected with a gruesome alien disease. It causes weakness, sallow skin, and birth defects so horrible that the children who suffer them cannot rightly be called human. The victims have quarantined themselves in the desert lest their illness spread and doom mankind. But as their willingness to accept isolation falters, Blake becomes the last hope for the survival of an uncontaminated Earth.

Fugue for a Darkening Island

Christopher Priest

Fugue - a glimpse into the future of Britain.

At a time when the country is caught by civil conflict between a right-wing government and the liberal element, a third group arrives – refugee Africans from a continent devastated by nuclear attack. The country is ripe for a three-way civil war. Total breakdown in communications quickly follows and a nightmare situation grips the community.

Alan Whitman, the central character of this frightening story, represents the view of the man-in-the-street. How will he cope with this situation when he has opted out all his life, from political, personal and moral decisisons?

Michaelmas

Laurent Michaelmas

Algis Budrys

Domino is not just a computer; he is all the world's electronic data secretly linked, and through him TV personality Laurent Michaelmas controls the news he is famous for reporting. Until the day he and Domino discover that they are not the only ones ruling the world!

Grainne

Keith Roberts

Grainne, quite simply, is unique; a moving and magical tour de force that ranks with Keith Robert's best works.

Ostensibly, the novel charts the career of one Alistair Bevan, writer and adman, from his beginnings in a post-war Midland town. Here though any parallels with our world cease. Through Bevan's vivid memories we meet Grainne; blue-stocking seductress, darling of the media. Painfully human yet as mysterious as her great namesake, the girl-goddess doomed by her own proud nature who plunged all Ireland into war and shadow.

But there's very much more. Grainne proposes new and startling answers for the origins of the Celts themselves, answers that irrevocably link the fate of East and West; though the wide-ranging narrative wears its erudition lightly. We glimpse Oxford in the sixties, Ireland and Wessex, a London that has yet to be; through and between them, like the spirallings of Celtic thought itself, runs a strange graffito. How does it relate to the tenets of the Buddha, the heady eroticism of Hindu art? One by one the answers are made; by Grainne, human and divine, a proto-myth for the new millennium.

The Wall

Marlen Haushofer

First published to acclaim in Germany, The Wall chronicles the life of the last surviving human on earth, an ordinary middle-aged woman who awakens one morning to find that everyone else has vanished. Assuming her isolation to be the result of a military experiment gone awry, she begins the terrifying work of survival and self-renewal. This novel is at once a simple and moving tale and a disturbing meditation on humanity.

The Wanderers

Meg Howrey

In an age of space exploration, we search to find ourselves.

In four years, aerospace giant Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they're the crew for the historic voyage by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Constantly observed by Prime Space's team of "Obbers," Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei must appear ever in control. But as their surreal pantomime progresses, each soon realizes that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The borders between what is real and unreal begin to blur, and each astronaut is forced to confront demons past and present, even as they struggle to navigate their increasingly claustrophobic quarters--and each other.

Astonishingly imaginative, tenderly comedic, and unerringly wise, The Wanderers explores the differences between those who go and those who stay, telling a story about the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart.

Something Coming Through

Jackaroo: Book 1

Paul J. McAuley

The aliens are here. And they want to help. The extraordinary new project from one of the country's most acclaimed and consistently brilliant SF novelists of the last 30 years.

The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients.

Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could for ever alter humanity - or even destroy it.

Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.

And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.

Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence...

Parasite

Parasitology: Book 1

Mira Grant

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives... and will do anything to get them.

Allegiant

Divergent Trilogy: Book 3

Veronica Roth

What if your whole world was a lie?

What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

Spaceman of Bohemia

Jaroslav Kalfar

Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country's first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he's dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father's sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions.

Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?

The Wanderer

Fritz Leiber

All eyes were watching the eclipse of the Moon when the Wanderer--a huge, garishly colored artificial world--emerged. Only a few scientists even suspected its presence, and then, suddenly and silently, it arrived, dwarfing and threatening the Moon and wreaking havoc on Earth's tides and weather. Though the Wanderer is stopping in the solar system only to refuel, its mere presence is catastrophic. A tense, thrilling, and towering achievement. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best SF Novel of the Year!

One Second After

One Second After: Book 1

William R. Forstchen

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real... a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages... A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future... and our end.

White Queen

The Aleutian Trilogy: Book 1

Gwyneth Jones

In the year 2038, the earth has been ravaged by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Retroviruses run rampant through humanity. Economic disaster has destabilised the world, the US has undergone a socialist revolution, and the balance of power has changed.

Then the aliens arrive.

With no clear understanding of the visitors' intent, factions form, including the anti-alien group White Queen, working to turn humans against these extra-terrestrial tourists. Caught in the middle is Johnny Guglio, an American exile whose only fault was living near the landing site, and Braemar Wilson, a cutthroat reporter who will do whatever she needs to get ahead of the story. And for better or for worse, it seems being caught in the middle is the best place for them to uncover the truth.

State of Fear

Michael Crichton

In Paris, a physicist dies after performing a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to understand what it all means.

Thus begins Michael Crichton's exciting and provocative techno-thriller State of Fear. Only Crichton's unique ability to blend scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction could bring such disparate elements to such a heart-stopping conclusion.

Gold Fame Citrus

Claire Vaye Watkins

In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins's story collection, Battleborn, swept nearly every award for short fiction. Now this young writer, widely heralded as a once-in-a-generation talent, returns with a first novel that harnesses the sweeping vision and deep heart that made her debut so arresting to a love story set in a devastatingly imagined near future:

Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most "Mojavs," prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs--Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the "forever war" turned surfer--squat in a starlet's abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

The couple's fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowser--a diviner for water--and his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of a mysterious sea of dunes.