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Monday, October 02, 2006

Never Visit a Bookstore Again: Hundreds of Free Science Fiction Books

There are literally hundreds of science fiction books that are available online for free. While not all are good reads, there's still plenty to occupy the next few decades of your reading life. Some sites I like are:

Collections

Baen Free Library: There are probably about 100 books published by Baen Books here. All DRM free. Authors include David Drake, Eric Flint, David Weber, and Larry Niven.

Baen CDs: These were distributed with select books and contain ebooks that aren't in the Free Library. You can view the CDs online or download them as ISO images. I think the complete Honor Harrington series is available in this CD.

Fictionwise: You'll find short stories and some audio books here. The selection changes periodically, and there's usually no DRM. Create an account to get the free stories. You don't need to give a credit card.

Maria Lectrix: For those who prefer audiobooks, Maria Lectrix has a nice selection.

Sci-Fi.com's Sci Fiction Archives: Sadly, no new stories will be published, but there are plenty of good reads in the archives by authors like Alfred Bester and Robert Silverberg.

Infinite Matrix: stories and columns from William Gibson, Howard Waldrop and others.

Author Sites

Rifters Trilogy by Peter Watts: There are only two of the three novels that have been published up right now released under a Creative Commons license. As Kirkus Reviews puts it, Watts writes "Utterly repellent ... horrific porn".

Accelerando by Charles Stross

Cory Doctorow's books: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town and others.

Public Domain

Project Gutenberg: Public domain books from Burroughs to Wells. Enter "science fiction" in the subject box.

Meta

James Patrick Kelly has a nice writeup on DRM and ebooks up on the Asimov's website, and he's not afraid to put his money where his mouth is. Check his site out for some free reads. He includes some nice links to CC-licensed work:

If you curious about the quality of Creative Commons works, here are just a few websites to check out. Common Content <http://www.commoncontent.org> should probably be your first stop; it’s a general catalog of works licensed under Creative Commons. Openphoto.net <http://openphoto.net> features hundreds of stock photos while MIT OpenCourseWare <http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html> offers seven hundred courses from thirty-three academic disciplines and all five of MIT’s schools and the Prelinger Archives <http://www.prelinger.com> is a collection of "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films.

Tip: Visit sites like Fictionwise a couple months before Hugo or Nebula Award time because you'll often find short story nominees available for free.

Am I missing a site? Post your favorites below.

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