"The Nostalgist" Is a Posthuman Pinocchio Tragedy

If you need some free, online fiction to distract you on your lunch break, look no farther than Daniel "How to Stop a Robot Uprising" Wilson's first work of science fiction, a short story called "The Nostalgist." » 7/30/09 8:40am 7/30/09 8:40am

Baen's Free Library Offers Fast Elves, Squatting Ladies

Baen's Free Library gives you scads of lunchtime reading with their collection of free novels online. But sometimes the cheesetastic 1980s covers and titles are the best part. » 3/13/09 8:30am 3/13/09 8:30am

Read The Prize-Winning Story That Sparked A Debate About Science Fiction

You can read the short story that's sparking a new debate about the future of African science fiction for free online. "Poison" by Henrietta Rose-Innes won the 2008 Caine Prize for African writing. It's a harrowing story of a woman fleeing a disaster in Cape Town, pursued by the threat of destructive chemical rain,… » 8/18/08 8:00am 8/18/08 8:00am

Vernor Vinge's Latest Ideas About the Singularity in IEEE Spectrum

The latest issue of IEEE Spectrum, a journal for speculative engineering geeks, is devoted to "the singularity," that moment when our society changes so dramatically that it becomes incomprehensible to people who lived in the past. The issue is packed with free online essays by singularity thinkers like science… » 6/03/08 11:28am 6/03/08 11:28am

Flying Mutants With A Compulsion To Go To France

The latest issue of Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's zine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet is available now, and it's full of mystifying and bizarre tales that remind me of Link's own unsettling fiction. Maureen McHugh has a weird story about flying mutants who feel a compulsion to go to France, and infect others with… » 6/02/08 12:10pm 6/02/08 12:10pm

A Perfect Parody of Space Opera Romance in "Moons of Riadorf" — Free…

If you have ever semi-guiltily read Laurel Hamilton's trashy elf sex novels, or managed the feat of reading John Norman's Gor books while simultaneously rolling your eyes, then today's lunchtime reading, "Under the Moons of Riadorf," will be the perfect diversion for you. Writing under the pen names Claire Rasmussen… » 5/28/08 10:00am 5/28/08 10:00am

Star Trek Turns Out To Be A Bad "First Contact" Guide

A couple of Scottish boys find an actual crashed alien spaceship — and they assume that science fiction is a totally accurate guide to extraterrestrial encounters. That's just the set-up in Alan Campbell's hilarious and sick story "The Gadgey," which went up last week at venerable science fiction webzine Strange… » 5/14/08 12:03pm 5/14/08 12:03pm

Eternal Youth For Baby Boomers Spawns A Horrendous Disease

The coolest near-future story I've read recently is now available online, as a free download. Maureen McHugh's story "Interview: On Any Given Day" wraps genetic engineering and future youth subcultures into a story that's alternately funny and super-disturbing. The story's faux-interview format and weird little… » 4/23/08 10:08am 4/23/08 10:08am

Mash Up Some Genres For Lunch

Gwyneth Jones, author of the fantasty-scifi-pop-music Bold As Love series, has put some of her short fiction online for free recently — plus some great essays, including the thought-provoking "Aliens In The Fourth Dimension." But my favorite story she's put online is the weird, gritty and unpredictable "Fulcrum,"… » 4/15/08 10:00am 4/15/08 10:00am

The Most Disturbing Alternate History You'll Ever Read

If Philip K. Dick's "Axis won the war" novel Man in the High Castle made you squirm, then the 1980s novels about Lord Horror and his Nazi England will make your brain explode. The Lord Horror novels — Lord Horror, followed by Motherfuckers: The Auschwitz of Oz — are vicious, psychedelic satire about a Nazi DJ (Lord… » 4/08/08 11:08am 4/08/08 11:08am

War Tourism In A Flying Bus

The latest issue of Helix Speculative Fiction just went online, and it includes a few great science fiction stories, including the alternate-universe romance "The Einstein-Rosen Hunter-Gatherer Society" by George S. Walker. But probably the best piece this time around is Clifford W. Dunbar's "Holiday In Hot Zone 16,"… » 4/04/08 10:15am 4/04/08 10:15am

Disarming a Landmined World in Eliot Fintushel Story, Free Online

In a war-ravaged future where most urban areas are riddled with mines, a de-miner's only friends are New York street kids and his bomb dog Uxo (short for unexploded ordnance). In the short story "Uxo, Bomb Dog," available from excellent scifi blog Futurismic, author Eliot Fintushel creates a wry, sad portrait of a man… » 3/28/08 8:40am 3/28/08 8:40am