When today’s top science fiction and fantasy authors were looking for inspiration, they turned to the classics. And we continue reading those same books (year after year) because they stand the test of time.
These 5 free books to read in July 2020 are perfect for sci-fi and fantasy fans.
The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything and Target: Berlin!
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These two short stories serve as a wonderful glimpse into the mind of multiple Hugo and Nebula Award nominee George Alec Effinger, a singular talent in the world of SF.
In The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything, benevolent aliens have arrived on Earth, sharing their knowledge but also their annoying, overbearing opinions about every little thing. Target: Berlin! offers an absurdist ride through an alternate version of World War II, in which Effinger has reshaped the aerial campaigns into battles by car.
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Mr. Vane spots the mysterious old man while reading in his family’s expansive library. His interest piqued, he follows the man up to the attic, where he finds a tall and dusty mirror. In its rather unremarkable glass, the reflection of the world behind him slowly melts away to reveal a sweeping country of moors and hills framed by the tops of faraway mountains. Enchanted by the sight, Vane steps through the mirror and is transported to a dreamlike land where myriad perils and adventures await.
With the old man, Mr. Raven, as his guide, Vane travels through the Evil Wood, where innocent children frolic in the day and dead men battle at night. He visits the ominous city Bulika, whose people live in silent fear of a menace roaming the streets. Each chapter building on the last, Lilith follows Vane to a final and universal truth in a stunning allegory of life, death, and redemption.
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The War of the Worlds
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The science fiction masterpiece of man versus alien that inspired generations, from Orson Welles’s classic radio play to the film starring Tom Cruise.
At the turn of the twentieth century, few would believe that mankind is being watched from above. But millions of miles from Earth, the lords of the Red Planet prepare their armies for invasion, waiting for the moment to strike. When they land in the English countryside, baffled humans approach, waving white flags, and the Martians burn them to a crisp. The war has begun, and mankind doesn’t stand a chance. As Martian armies roll across England, one man fights to keep his family safe, risking his life—and his sanity—on the front lines of the greatest war in galactic history.
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In Flatland, the more sides a man has, the more powerful he is. Triangles are laborers and soldiers. Squares and pentagons are middle-class doctors and lawyers. Hexagons are nobility. Women, however, are straight lines, incapable of advancement in a two-dimensional world. Everything in Flatland is clear-cut and orderly, until the day an average citizen—a Square—dreams of a land of three dimensions. If three dimensions are possible, why not four? Or one? Soon, the Square’s provocative imagination and corresponding adventures threaten to turn the whole of Flatland against him.
The Worm Ouroboros
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Demonland and Witchland wage war in this massively influential fantasy classic!
With the arrival of a Witchland envoy making demands of Demonland’s chief lords, peace between the two lands is irrevocably shattered. The chief lords Juss and Spitfire send their brother Goldry to defeat the witch king. Though he is initially victorious, Goldry ultimately gets captured, leaving it up to his brothers to rescue him. So begins a fantasy adventure whose influence has endured for nearly a century.
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