The Island and Other Stories by Peter Watts

A collection of creative-commons licensed stories by Peter Watts, compiled by Paweł Dembowski, with the author’s permission. I love Watts’ writing–dark, sharp, hard science fiction–and his short work is a great place to start.

Pawel wrote:

Here’s a collection of science fiction short stories and novellas by Peter Watts (including the Hugo-winning “The Island” and Hugo-nominated “The Things”) that I compiled based on PDFs found on his website.

I made it for my own use to be able to read them on my Kindle, but since he released all of them under a Creative Commons license (non-commercial, share-alike), I figured I might just as well upload them somewhere for others to download, in mobi and epub formats.

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Shotgun Gravy by Chuck Wendig [Time-limited]

A novella of a reluctant high-school crusader for justice. Intended to be the first of several installments. I’d love this one to do well–I actually paid for this back when it wasn’t free, since I was intrigued by the premise, sample, and blurbs. Available free on Kindle for five days.

Blurbs on the novella from other authors:

“SHOTGUN GRAVY is like VERONICA MARS on Adderall. Atlanta Burns is a troubled teenage girl who’s scared, angry, and not taking s**t from anybody. Chuck Wendig knocks this one out of the park as he so often does.” – Stephen Blackmoore, author of CITY OF THE LOST and DEAD THINGS

“Give Nancy Drew a shotgun and a kick-butt attitude and you get Atlanta Burns. Packed with action and fascinating characters, SHOTGUN GRAVY is a story that will captivate both teens and adults and have them clamoring for the next installment.” – Joelle Charbonneau, author of SKATING OVER THE LINE

[Chuck Wendig’s site]

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Osama by Lavie Tidhar [Time-limited]

Looks really interesting, and certainly worth checking out.

PS Publishing says:

In a world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante…

Joe’s quest to find the man takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European Capitals of Paris and London, and as the mystery deepens around him there is one question he is trying hard not to ask: who is he, really, and how much of the books is fiction? Chased by unknown assailants, Joe’s identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? And what do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but even he is not ready for the truths he’ll find in New York and, finally, on top a quiet hill above Kabul—nor for the choice he will at last have to make…

In Osama, Lavie Tidhar brilliantly delves into the post-9/11 global subconscious, mixing together elements of film noir, non-fiction, alternative history and international thriller to create an unsettling—yet utterly compelling—portrayal of our times.

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Sasha by Joel Shepherd

Apparently not time-limited! Epic fantasy from wonderful publisher Pyr, free on Kindle.

Book description:


Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classes and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit the Synnich who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully.

When the Udalyn people — the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage — are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?

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The Great Frustration by Seth Fried [Time-limited]

I’d been meaning to check out this collection of stories by Fried, since it’s been very well-reviewed and recommended, and Fried comes across as smart and funny in social media and interviews. And now it’s free! Presumably for a limited time.

Publisher Soft Skull says:

Channeling Steven Millhauser by way of George Saunders, The Great Frustration is a sparkling debut, equal parts fable and wry satire. Seth Fried balances the dark—a town besieged, a yearly massacre, the harem of a pathological king—with moments of sweet optimism—researchers unexpectedly inspired by discovery, the triumph of a doomed monkey, the big implications found in a series of tiny creatures.
In “Loeka Discovered,” a buzz flows throughout a lab when scientists unearth a perfectly preserved prehistoric man who suggests to them the hopefulness of life, but the more they learn, the more the realities of ancient survival invade their buoyant projections. “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre” meditates on why an entire town enthusiastically rushes out to the annual picnic that ends, year after year, in a massacre of astonishing creativity and casualty. The title story illuminates the desires and even the violence that surges beneath the tenuous peace among the animals in the Garden of Eden.

Fried’s stories suggest that we are at our most compelling and human when wrestling with the most frustrating aspects of both the world around us and of our very own natures—and in the process shows why he is a talent to be watched.

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The Breach by Patrick Lee [Time-Limited]

Not free, but close to it: $0.99 for the next few weeks. I picked this one up after reading this “Big Idea” essay by the author, Patrick Lee. Totally enjoyed the book – not perfect, but a blast to read.

Patrick Lee’s website says:

Travis Chase, a man putting his life back together after fifteen years in prison, takes a solo hike into the Alaskan Rockies. He’s just looking for a quiet place to think about his future, but what he finds is trouble: a 747, downed in remote wilderness, the wreck impossibly undiscovered by authorities. Those aboard are dead, though not because of the crash. They’ve been shot.

This aircraft, along with the terrifying object it was transporting, is only the beginning for Travis. Within hours he finds himself at the center of a violent conflict that spans the globe, and a secret war that dates back three decades. A war for possession of radically advanced technology—that wasn’t created by human hands.

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Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

A book I remember enjoying immensely. says:

W. P. Kinsella plays with both myth and fantasy in his lyrical novel, which was adapted into the enormously popular movie, Field of Dreams. It begins with the magic of a godlike voice in a cornfield, and ends with the magic of a son playing catch with the ghost of his father. In Kinsella’s hands, it’s all about as simple, and complex, as the object of baseball itself: coming home. Like Ring Lardner and Bernard Malamud before him, Kinsella spins baseball as backdrop and metaphor, and, like his predecessors, uses the game to tell us a little something more about who we are and what we need.

This book was published in 1982, so the deal may be time-limited, but I can’t tell for sure. Better pick it up now just to be safe.

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