Cards of Grief is usually $7.99. On sale through 3/31
The year is 2132 when members of the Anthropologist’s Guild set down on the planet Henderson’s IV, or L’Lal’lor as it is known to the native population. Charged with the nonintrusive study of alien cultures, the crew discovers a society containing no love or laughter. It is, instead, centered around death—a world of aristocratic and common folk in which grieving is an art and the cornerstone of life. But the alien civilization stands on the brink of astonishing change, heralded by the discovery of Linni, the Gray Wanderer, a young woman from the countryside whose arrival has been foretold for centuries. And for Anthropologist First Class Aaron Spenser, L’Lal’lor is a place of destructive temptations, seducing him with its mysterious, sad beauty, and leading him into an unthinkable criminal act.
The Dispossessed is usually $7.99. Grab it quick at $1.99
Centuries ago, the moon Anarres was settled by utopian anarchists who left the Earthlike planet Urras in search of a better world, a new beginning. Now a brilliant physicist, Shevek, determines to reunite the two civilizations that have been separated by hatred since long before he was born.
It’s not often that a genre book is a Nation Book Award finalist, but Station Eleven managed it.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic and is usually $15.00. If you don’t already have it, now is a great time to snag it. No idea how long this sale is going, so don’t dawdle.
Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions.
In Bellona, reality has come unglued, and a mad civilization takes root
A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound.
So begins Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s masterwork, which in 1975 opened a new door for what science fiction could mean. A labyrinth of a novel, it raises questions about race, sexuality, identity, and art, but gives no easy answers, in a city that reshapes itself with each step you take.
Futureland is a collection of 9 short stories.
In “Whispers in the Dark,” an ex-con sells his organs to ensure his brilliant nephew’s future. The boy will grow up to have the highest IQ ever recorded, but the uncle, who sold his eyes, won’t be able to see it. In “Voices,” a history professor becomes addicted to a drug called pulse, which gives him access to a world of vivid fantasy while tearing his brain to shreds. By the time the professor qualifies for a brain transplant, he’s no longer sure what’s real and what’s imagined. And in “Angel’s Island,” a convict in the world’s largest private prison reveals the facility’s chilling secrets.
Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. Substance D doesn’t just alter the mind, it splits it in two, and neither side knows what the other is doing or that it even exists. Now, both sides are growing increasingly paranoid as Bob tries to evade Fred while Fred tries to evade his suspicious bosses.
Chicken Little is quick reading novella.
A story with a product designer, jetpacks and an immortal quadrillionaire living in a vat.
Second Lieutenant Jonah Forrest is finding out that having infinite lives doesn’t make war any easier. Sure, downloading into a cloned body when you die is better than the alternative, but that doesn’t make a Hell-Spider’s claws hurt any less. Or his General’s orders for suicide missions any more sane.
But when his First Lieutenant gets killed in action, really killed, and when a captured Hell-Spider offers a way to get ‘kills’ without taking on the enemy, Forrest and his Infinity Squad will have to decide how hard they are willing to work to take the easy way out. Especially when the General starts catching on to their schemes. And when their Hell-Spider prisoner starts suggesting more and more dangerous alternative missions. And when they start suspecting that not ALL of their consciousness is transferring into their new cloned bodies.
Stones of Significance is a great little short story for a Monday morning.
Heard of the “singularity”? A time of transition that some perceive just ahead of us, when our skill and knowledge and immense computing power transform us into… well… godlike beings? An immense topic! But from a writer’s perspective, it presents a problem. One can write stories leading up to the singularity, about all the problems. (Little things like rebellious AI.) But how do you write a tale set AFTER the singularity has happened?