Note: This article was last updated on 4/1/20. Check back soon for more free books!
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.
Every month, we’re bringing you a selection of must-read, sci-fi and fantasy classics that you can download for free. In addition to these classics, we’ll update this article with other free sci-fi and fantasy books by up-and-coming authors throughout the month. You can also check back next month for a new list of out-of-this-world free ebooks.
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A gifted gambler fights to survive on a hostile planet in this classic novel from the creator of science fiction antihero the Stainless Steel Rat.
The gravity is twice that of Earth. The weather is an unpredictable maelstrom. All species of life, both plant and animal, monstrous and microscopic, are lethal. And the environment is drenched with radioactivity.
This is planet Pyrrus, where telepathically gifted gambler Jason dinAlt has ended up after scamming a government casino out of a fortune. A small, fortified town stands against the nonstop natural onslaught, and its people are the descendants of hardened survivors. But there are some who exist outside the city—the “grubbers,” humans living in harmony with the nightmarish surroundings who share a mutual hatred with the technologically superior city dwellers.
These people fascinate Jason because they share his psionic abilities. And with their help he soon realizes that Pyrrus is more than just a planet. It’s alive. It’s intelligent. And it’s angry.
From the legendary author whose novel Make Room! Make Room! was the basis for the film Soylent Green, Deathworld is “an action story with a built-in mystery” (Analog).
The Big Time
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Fritz Leiber (1910–1992) may be best known as a fantasy writer, but he published widely and successfully in the horror and science fiction fields. One of his major SF creations is the Change War, a series of stories and short novels about rival time-traveling forces locked in a bitter, ages-long struggle for control of the human universe where battles alter history and then change it again until there is no certainty about what might once have happened.
The most notable work of the series is the Hugo Award–winning novel The Big Time, in which doctors, entertainers, and wounded soldiers find themselves treacherously trapped with an activated atomic bomb inside the Place, a room existing outside of space-time. Leiber creates a tense, claustrophobic SF mystery, and a brilliant, unique locked-room whodunit.
In addition to the Hugo, Nebula, Derleth, Lovecraft, and World Fantasy Awards, Fritz Leiber received the Grand Master of Fantasy (Gandalf) Award, the Life Achievement Lovecraft Award, and the Grand Master Nebula Award.
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.
The Worm Ouroboros is an undisputed classic of fantasy literature, and has been an avowed influence on the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Entirely immersive and written in near-Elizabethan tongue, the novel takes readers on an unforgettable ride across the plane of Mercury, flanked by soaring hippogriffs, with an unforgettable finish that impresses as much now as it did nearly a century ago.
The Battle of Dorking
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Britain is under attack, and winning at Dorking is the only way the empire can be saved
It is the late nineteenth century, and a country much like Germany is on the move in Europe. It has already beaten its rivals on the continent and mobilized to the Netherlands, provoking the fear of British citizens. Then the nation strikes. Its powerful weapons destroy the Royal Navy, and invasion cannot be far behind.
Written as a hypothetical exercise to raise awareness among average British citizens about the potential danger that a resurgent Germany could pose, The Battle of Dorking earned its place in literary history as the forerunner to the invasion-novel genre, predating The War of the Worlds by almost twenty years. The novel’s drama, which culminates in a fight that will change the course of history forever, thrilled audiences when it was originally released as a serial, and it maintains its power today.
The Defiant Agents
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A battle for survival begins and ends in the human mind in the thrilling novel from the Time Traders series.
The latest gambit by the Western powers to outmaneuver the Russians was Operation Cochise—which launched Travis Fox and his crew on a ship bound for the planet Topaz. At least that’s what Fox thinks . . .
All he knows for sure is that something went wrong and they crash landed. Everything else is a fog of warped memories. When they come across a band of Russians who have also had their memories obliterated, Fox begins to suspect they are all pawns in a much larger game. And his speculations are right.
Someone is manipulating them. Observing them. And if Fox and his newfound allies cannot find a way to break free from their mental bonds, their captors may never be stopped.