Tuesday, January 10, 2006

5 Great free sf and fantasy Authors

David Wellingtons's Monster series.
When I first got my PDA I was really happy to read David Wellington's zombie novel Monster Island. It was a great read and managed to take the silly idea of the undead rising, hungry for braiinsss and turn it into a good, well thought out read. You root for the hero, an aid worker in Africa, who is sent back to post-apocalypse Manhattan to pick up AIDS drugs for a warlord. All the cliches and conventions of the genre are present, but well reasoned and sort of believable, once you get past the whole zombies-exist thing. And he doesn't muck about with that - you gotta believe the undead walk. Once you make that agreement with the author, the rest is good.

It was a great read and I loved it - he's got two sequels that I've been meaning to read but never gotten around to, Monster Nation and Monster Planet. The great news is that he's also coming out with a new novel that you can get in on the ground floor with - it's called Thirteen Bullets and it looks to be a modern vampire story. I've read the first chapter and immediately subscribed to the novel's rss feed.

Monster Island is copyrighted, the rest appears to be Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives which means you can give it away, but you can't do anything with it. This explains why there are so few versions of these works, which makes them more difficult to read. I had some problems reading Monster Island as a word doc, but it was the best on the pocketpc.

Roger Williams' Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

A buddy pointed this one out to me. It's farfuture, post-singularity stuff. Humanity has uploaded, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea. How do you amuse yourself when death is not the end and the world is out of danger?
Here's the "jacket copy":

Lawrence had ordained that Prime Intellect could not, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. But he had not realized how much harm his super-intelligent creation could perceive, or what kind of action might be necessary to prevent it.

Caroline has been pulled from her deathbed into a brave new immortal Paradise where she can have anything she wants, except the sense that her life has meaning.

Now these two souls are headed for a confrontation which will force them to weigh matters of life and death before a machine that can remake -- or destroy -- the entire Universe.

The real surprise is the end, where the author doesn't pussy out and follows the story all the way down into a great conclusion.
You can download the whole novel/site as a zip, or read it online.
The work is copyrighted, but with fairly liberal and specific terms. You can hand out copies, but you can't hand out derivative works.

Charlie Stross's Accelerando

This is another great look at the singularity. This book follows a family from this side of the singularity out to the other side. It's also a joyous flip to MOPI, as the main characters are in love with the very bleeding edge. Written and published serially as seperate short stories, the book totally hangs together as one work. I've never seen anything more persuasive that the person I am is not just defined by the meat in my cranium. Also, features sentient legal structures. How hot is that.
You can get this novel in a bewildering number of ways. People have apparently gone apeshit with the creative commons license and converted it into EVERYTHING. I downloaded the single Html file, as that was the easiest way to read in my pocketpc.

Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen
It's a dreamy collection of fantasy/fairytale themed short stories. Some sad, some funny. I mentioned it before, when I read it. I liked it enough that I made a conversion of it that's better for the pocket pc.
She's licensed it very liberally, so there's tons of formats.

And of course, there are the collected works of Cory Doctorow
. Click open new tab on that or you'll never reach the end of this post. There's an rss feed, but you are better off subscribing to boingboing.net, he always mentions new work there as well. I've been listening to his podcast, and it's really great for the subway. There is a ton of stuff here, and it is all incredible. All of it.

For future stuff, check out the bit of my blogroll called lit - it's a list of online updating ficiton that I'm reading.