Note: This article was last updated on 8/1/19. 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.
The First Men in the Moon
A pair of unlikely explorers journey to the moon in this imaginative tale of science and adventure from the author of The War of the Worlds
Hounded by creditors, Mr. Bedford retreats to a remote English village, where he meets the eccentric Mr. Cavor. Though he may not look it, Cavor is a genius and one of the world’s greatest inventors. His breakthrough is cavorite, an astonishing new substance manufactured from helium that is not bound by the laws of gravity. Bedford immediately sees the business potential of Cavor’s creation, reckoning a ship made of cavorite could take him the moon—the first step on a path to riches beyond his wildest dreams.
When Bedford and Cavor set out for the moon in a cavorite sphere, they find the Earth’s satellite to be more wonderful than either of them ever imagined. But they soon discover they are not alone on the lush lunar surface—and the natives are not exactly friendly.
A fascinating forerunner of modern science fiction: The mind-bending story of a prodigy in Edwardian England
Born to a famous cricket player, Victor Stott is a giant-headed, awkward boy who never cries or says a word. At first, he is branded an idiot, but as he grows up it becomes apparent that Victor possesses a superior intelligence. He can master any language, memorize entire libraries—perhaps even control people with his mind. As word of his otherworldly gifts spreads, so too do fears of what he might be capable of.
First published in 1911 and considered to be the first novel about a superman, The Wonder is a masterpiece of speculative fiction and a compelling portrait of what it means to be extraordinary.
A Crystal Age
After a landslide, Smith awakens groggy and confused. The landscape around him has changed dramatically. He wanders through the countryside, searching for any semblance of civilization, until a family takes him in. As he recounts what happened to him and where he came from, it dawns on Smith that he has somehow left his own world behind and awoken somewhere entirely new.
What Smith finds is a gorgeous utopian vision of a peaceful world made real. Humans live in accordance with nature, respectful of the land and animals, untethered by technology. The cause of this new order is an alternate hierarchy of humanity that Smith must learn to adhere to—or face the consequences.
As he integrates into this foreign society, Smith finds himself falling for the daughter of the house. But when he tries to tell her, he realizes the most important difference between his former world and his new one: Romantic love no longer exists.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Mark Twain’s classic satirical tale of time travel and Arthurian legend
Hank Morgan is a supervisor at a firearms factory in Hartford, Connecticut. Following a violent argument with a man named Hercules, Hank is surprised to find himself under an oak tree, staring up at a man on horseback in full armor. The year is 528, and Hank has somehow landed in King Arthur’s Court in Camelot. Worse still, Hank is ridiculed by the boorish knights, brought in front of the Round Table, and sentenced to burn at the stake. Will Hank die at the hands of the Knights of the Round Table, or can his Yankee ingenuity save his hide?
Mark Twain’s seminal satire sends up the South’s ridiculous preoccupation with chivalry, the Catholic Church, fear of science and progress, and dozens of other behaviors and beliefs. Credited as a foundational work of the time travel subgenre of science fiction, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is also a timeless comic classic.
Five Children and It
Be careful what you wish for.
After two years cooped up in London, Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother, “the Lamb,” are thrilled to be living in the country. The best thing about their new home is that there are no rules, no places that are off limits. One day while playing in a gravel pit, they uncover a fat, furry creature that has been asleep for thousands of years. The Sand-fairy, also known as It, grants them one wish a day, to be shared among them. At sunset, the wish will turn to stone.
But every wish brings a disastrous result. When the children wish to be beautiful, no one recognizes them. When they wish to be rich, their gold doesn’t buy them anything. When they wish to be able to fly, they end up stuck on top of a church tower with no way to get down. Other wishes lead to a confrontation with Indians, a scuffle with kidnappers, and accusations of thievery. When the children beg the Sand-fairy for more wishes to set things right, It agrees—on the condition that they never ask for another wish again.
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