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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 1

Douglas Adams

Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You'll never read funnier science fiction; Adams is a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker's Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations and stands up to multiple reads. Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and British sitcoms.

Universe

Robert A. Heinlein

This novelette was combined with its sequel, "Common Sense", to form "Orphans of the Sky" in 1963.

The gigantic, cylindrical generation ship Vanguard, originally destined for "Far Centaurus", is cruising without guidance through the interstellar medium as a result of a long-ago mutiny that killed most of the officers. Over time, the descendants of the surviving loyal crew have forgotten the purpose and nature of their ship and lapsed into a pre-technological culture marked by superstition. They come to believe the "Ship" is the entire universe, so that "To move the ship" is considered an oxymoron, and references to the Ship's "voyage" are interpreted as religious metaphor. They are ruled by an oligarchy of "officers" and "scientists". Most crew members are simple illiterate farmers, seldom or never venturing to the "upper decks" where the "muties" (an abbreviation of "mutants" or "mutineers") dwell. Among the crew, all identifiable mutants are killed at birth.

It first appeared in the May, 1941 Issue of Astounding Science Fiction, available on Internet Archives.

Men, Martians and Machines

Eric Frank Russell

Contents:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 2

Douglas Adams

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability--and desperately in search of a place to eat.

Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.

Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker's Guide deleted the term "Future Perfect" from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!

Life, the Universe and Everything

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 3

Douglas Adams

The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads--so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vicepresident of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the Universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert "universal" Armageddon and save life as we know it--and don't know it!

Allamagoosa

Eric Frank Russell

Hugo Award nominated short story. It originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1955 and was reprinted on Sci Fiction, September 15, 2004. The story can also be found in the anthologies The Hugo Winners, Volume 1: (1955-61) (1963), edited by Isaac Asimov, Men of War (1984) edited by Jerry Pournelle, and The Great SF Stories 17 (1955) (1988), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. It is included in the collections Far Stars (1961), The Best of Eric Frank Russell (1978) and Major Ingredients: The Selected Short Stories of Eric Frank Russell (2000).

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 4

Douglas Adams

Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .

God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?

What Mad Universe

Fredric Brown

BUG-EYED MONSTERS ON BROADWAY Pulp SF magazine editor Keith Winton was answering a letter from a teenage fan when the first moon rocket fell back to Earth and blew him away. But where to? Greenville, New York, looked the same, but Bems (Bug-Eyed Monsters) just like the ones on the cover of Startling Stories walked the streets without attracting undue comment. And when he brought out a half-dollar coin in a drugstore, the cops wanted to shoot him on sight as an Arcturian spy. Wait a minute. Seven-foot purple moon-monsters? Earth at war with Arcturus? General Dwight D. Eisenhower in command of Venus Sector? What mad universe was this? One thing was for sure: Keith Winton had to find out fast - or he'd be good and dead, in this universe or any other.

Mostly Harmless

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 5

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams is back with the amazing, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Here is the epic story of Random, who sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors.

The Rolling Stones

Heinlein Juveniles: Book 6

Robert A. Heinlein

The rollicking adventures of the Stone Family on a tour of the Solar System. It all statred when the twins, Castor and Pollux Stone, decided that life on the Lunar colony was too dull and decided to buy their own spaceship and go into business for themselves. Their father thought that was a fine, idea, except that he and Grandma Hazel bought the spaceship and the whole Stone Family were on their way out into the far reaches of the Solar System, with stops on Mars(where the twins got a lesson in the interplanetary economics of bicycles and the adorable little critters called flatcats who, it turned out, bred like rabbits; or perhaps, Tribbles....), out to the asteroids, where Mrs. Stone, an M.D., was needed to treat a dangerous outbreak of disease, even further out, to Titan and beyond.

Unforgettable Heinlein characters on an unforgettable adventure.

The Best of Frederik Pohl

Ballantine's Classic Library of Science Fiction: Book 5

Frederik Pohl

Classic Science Fiction

Here in one superlative volume 17 Science-Fiction tales by a master storyteller.

"The Midas Plague" - They had committed the greatest crime: failure to consume enough! So their punishment was to consume more and more and more....

"The Day the Icicle Works Closed" - The world was facing total unemployment, and the people had only one thing left to hock, their bodies!

"Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus" - There was peace on Earth. But joy to all men? Well, that was another matter!

"The Martian in the Attic" - What's the value of a real, live Martian? Duniop was determined to find out - and he did!

"Tunnel Under the World" - Things are not always what they seem, in fact. Not even what they seem to seem!

And lots more!

Table of Contents:

  • A Variety of Excellence - (1975) - essay by Lester del Rey
  • The Tunnel Under the World - (1955)
  • Punch - (1961)
  • Three Portraits and a Prayer - (1962)
  • Day Million - (1966)
  • Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus - (1956)
  • We Never Mention Aunt Nora - (1958)
  • Father of the Stars - (1964)
  • The Day the Martians Came - (1967)
  • The Midas Plague - (1954)
  • The Snowmen - (1959)
  • How to Count on Your Fingers - (1956)
  • Grandy Devil - (1955)
  • Speed Trap - (1967)
  • The Richest Man in Levittown - (1959)
  • The Day the Icicle Works Closed - (1960)
  • The Hated - (1958)
  • The Martian in the Attic - (1960)
  • The Census Takers - (1956)
  • The Children of Night - (1964)
  • What the Author Has to Say About All This - (1975) - essay by Frederik Pohl

Space Opera

Catherynne M. Valente

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented -- something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for Galactivision -- part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny -- they must sing.

A one-hit-wonder band of human musicians, dancers and roadies from London - Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes -- have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

From the Earth to the Moon

Baltimore Gun Club: Book 1

Jules Verne

Written almost a century before the daring flights of the astronauts, Jules Verne's prophetic novel of man's race to the stars is a classic adventure tale enlivened by broad satire and scientific acumen.

When the members of the elite Baltimore Gun Club find themselves lacking any urgent assignments at the close of the Civil War, their president, Impey Barbicane, proposes that they build a gun big enough to launch a rocket to the moon. But when Barbicane's adversary places a huge wager that the project will fail and a daring volunteer elevates the mission to a "manned" flight, one man's dream turns into an international space race.

Cosmic Engineers

Clifford D. Simak

Two reporters looking for a story in the outer reaches of the Solar System come upon a derelict spaceship. Inside, they find the only inhabitant, a beautiful young woman who has been imprisoned for a thousand years in suspended animation, suspended but aware for the whole time. Together they set off on a grand adventure across the vastness of space and time in a search for a race known as the Cosmic Engineers on a mission to save the universe. Originally published as a short novel in Astounding Stories in 1939 and later expanded in this 1950 version, Cosmic Engineers shows the scope and imagination of one of science fictions true masters, Clifford Simak.

Originally serialized in Astounding Science Fiction in 1939.

The Stainless Steel Rat Returns

The Stainless Steel Rat: Book 11

Harry Harrison

After a ten-year absence, the return of one of the most enduring series characters in modern SF

James Bolivar "Slippery Jim" DiGriz, Special Corps agent, master con man, interstellar criminal (retired), is living high on the hog on the planet of Moolaplenty when a long-lost cousin and a shipful of swine arrive to drain his bank account and send him and his lovely wife, Angelina, wandering the stars on the wildest journey since Gulliver's Travels.

In this darkly satiric work, Harry Harrison bring his most famous character out of retirement for a grand tour of the galaxy. The Stainless Steel Rat rides again: a cocktail in his hand, a smile on his lips, and larceny in his heart, in search of adventure, gravitons, and a way to get rid of the pigs.

Rocket Ship Galileo

Heinlein Juveniles: Book 1

Robert A. Heinlein

They called themselves the Galileo Club -- not a bad name for a group of space-minded young men who had high hopes of putting one of their homemade rocket ships in orbit.

But it wasn't until they teamed up with Doc Cargraves that their impossible dream became an incredible reality. Suddenly the three Earthbound youths and their mentor were hurtling through space, heading for the barren wasteland of the Moon. Or so they thought.

They were totally unaware that the dark crater shadows concealed a threat beyond their wildest imaginings . . . a threat from which only a mircale could save them!

A Life for the Stars

Cities in Flight: Book 2

James Blish

A CITY LAUNCHES ITSELF INTO THE GALAXY!

The noise was horrifying. He had never heard anything even a fraction as loud, but there could be no doubt about what it was: the city's spindizzies were sounding the alert.

Then the whole city seemed to be rocking heavily, like a ship in a storm. At one instant, the street ended in nothing but sky; at the next, he was staring at a wall of sheared earth, its rim looming cliff-like, fifty feet or more above the new margin of the city; then the blank sky was back again...

The Book of Ptath

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 23

A. E. Van Vogt

The god Ptath is flung into the far future by a deadly rival and given the mind of a 20th century man. Stranded in this alien world, he must fight to regain his powers before the rival goddess sends the world spinning into chaos and darkness.

The Skylark of Space

Skylark Series: Book 1

E. E. "Doc" Smith

The Skylark of Space is one of the earliest novels of interstellar travel. Originally serialized in 1928 in the magazine Amazing Stories, it was first published in book form in 1946 by The Buffalo Book Co. The Skylark of Space is often categorized as the first literary space opera (in the complimentary sense), complete with protagonists perfect in mind, body, and spirit, who fight against villains of absolute evil.

The Skylark of Space is available to read free on-line from Project Gutenberg.

Star Trek 1

Star Trek: The Original Series: Episode Novelizations: Book 1

James Blish

Circling the solar sphere in search of new worlds and high adventure

Captain James Kirk - Assigned to the top position in Space Service - Starship Command - Kirk alone must make decisions in his contact with other worlds that can affect the future course of civilization throught the Universe.

Science Officer Spock - Inheriting a precise logical thinking pattern from his father, a native of the planet Vulcanis, Mr. Spock maintains a dangerours Earth trait... an intense curiousity about things of alien origin.

Yeoman Rand - Easily the most popular member of the crew, the truly "out-of-this-world" blonde has drawn the important assignment of secretary to the Captain on her fist mission in deep space.

With a crew of 400 skilled specialists, the mammoth spacs ship Enterprise blasts off for intergalactic intrigue in the unexplored realms of outer space.

Super Extra Grande

Yoss

With playfulness and ingenuity in the tradition of Douglas Adams, the Cuban science fiction master Yoss delivers a space opera of intergalactic proportions with Super Extra Grande, the winner of the 20th annual UPC Science Fiction Award in 2011.

Set in a distant future, after the invention of faster-than-light space travel has propelled a still-immature mankind into the far corners of the Milky Way, the novel features creatures of immense variety--amoebas that cover entire worlds, sensual females that feed on substances from their males' reproductive systems, talking reptiles, and other creations drawn from the classics of Cuban and international science fiction--all of which serve as colleagues, fellow adventurers, sex partners, teachers, or members of the military high command in the Galactic Community governing this part of the universe. Our protagonist, Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, has a special role in this otherworldly menagerie: He is a veterinarian who specializes in treating enormous animals across the galaxy. When a colonial conflict threatens the fragile peace between the Galaxy's seven intelligent species, Dr. Sangan must embark on a daring mission to enter a gigantic creature and find two swallowed ambassadors--who also happen to be his competing love interests.

Coupling his own extensive studies in (earthly) biology with his vast curiosity and wild imagination, Yoss brings us a rare specimen in the richly parodic tradition of Cuban science fiction.

Brain Twister

Psi-Power: Book 1

Mark Phillips

The fantastic story of a spy who could read minds!

Brain Twister - follows the adventures of FBI agent Kenneth J. Malone as he attempts to unravel the machinations of a telepathic spy. How do you find a telepath to catch the first telepath? A fun piece of sci fi that features claims of immortality, mind-reading, spies and insanity.

The Pirates of Zan

Murray Leinster

Because Bran Hoddan was a serious electronice engineer, he didn't want any part of his planet's heritage. For he was from Zan -- and Zan's only occupation was spaceship piracy!

Skylark of Valeron

Skylark Series: Book 3

E. E. "Doc" Smith

The incredible staship Skylark Three has fought the Fenachone Supermen to a standstill, and Richard Seaton has gone back to his first love - exploration. Roaming the galaxy, he discovers a world of disembodied intelligences; a world of four dimensions where time was insanely distorted and matter obeyed no terrestrial laws, where 3-dimensional intellects were barely sufficient to thwart invisible mentalities! Meanwhile, the villainous DuQuesne is allying himself with the remnants of the Fenachrone, and planning his next attack...

Skylark Three

Skylark Series: Book 2

E. E. "Doc" Smith

In this exhilarating sequel to The Skylark of Space, momentous danger again stalks genius inventor and interplanetary adventurer Dr. Richard Seaton. Seaton's allies on the planet Kondal are suffering devastating attacks by the forces of the Third Planet. Even worse, the menacing and contemptuous Fenachrones are threatening to conquer the galaxy and wipe out all who oppose them. And don't forget the dastardly machinations of Seaton's arch-nemesis, DuQuesne, who embarks on a nefarious mission of his own. Against such vile foes and impossible odds, how is victory possible?

Featuring even more technological wizardry, alien worlds, and all-out action than its predecessor, Skylark Three is hailed by many as the imaginative high point of the Skylark series.

A pioneer of the space opera, E. E. "Doc" Smith (1890–1965) profoundly influenced the development of American science fiction. Smith's books include the classic Lensman series. Jack Williamson is the author of numerous classic novels, including The Humanoids and Terraforming Earth. He has been inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.