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Free Reads: An Online Library's Journal
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Free Reads: An Online Library's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
10:11 am
Free short story by Matt Ruff
Free short story by Matt Ruff is up over at Hugo House.

Safe Negro Travel Guide

Mr. Ruff describes the story in his own lj here.

A while ago I was invited to come up with some ideas for possible TV series. One of the treatments I wrote was for an X-Files/Supernatural-style show called Lovecraft Country, about a black travel writer and pulp-fiction geek named Atticus Turner who drives around Jim Crow-era America doing research for a magazine called the Safe Negro Travel Guide. I knew it was a real longshot to get produced -- it's a period piece with a largely non-white cast -- but it seemed like a cool idea and I figured I could always turn it into a book.

For the Hugo House series, whose theme was "Road Trip," I decided to write a short-story prequel to this as-yet nonexistent TV show/novel. At the reading I described it as a "kind of" prequel, since the supernatural elements are metaphorical rather than literal, but you can get an idea from this how the longer story would work.

Although the latest Hugo House newsletter calls the story "chillingly relevant," I wasn't thinking of current events when I wrote it. It just seemed like an interesting character and setting with a different set of dramatic challenges than I'd worked with before.
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
1:35 pm
Fantasy Web Serial - Free Chapter Each Week

by Cheryl Dyson & Xina Marie Uhl

A Free Web Serial
New Chapters Every Tuesday

We've just published Chapter 5 - join us for more!

Brydon's quest was simple. Borrow the fabled Gauntlet of Ven-Kerrick, bring it home to prove his worth, marry the princess, and ascend the throne.

He had planned for the dangerous terrain and Redolian assassins, but he did not count on slavers and werewolves.  He did not expect the Gauntlet to be missing, nor to find the Kerrick royal family murdered, and he definitely did not anticipate the distractions of a sultry thief and a rescued slave girl.  

Luckily, his worst enemy was there to help him out.

To receive free chapters of the entire novel - one per week -  friend us or  join our newsletter here
Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
3:20 pm
Free novel!
I just finished my first book, which is called Noisome Beasts. It's heavily inspired by the older books of Daniel Manus Pinkwater. It's a short novel that tells the compelling story of Todd, a young rapper who is determined to seek out Reginald Vel Johnson, the man who played Carl Winslow in the hit TV show Family Matters. Aided by several bags of cheese puffs and his mathematician-historian friend Edgar, Todd travels to Wichita in hopes that he can discover his true father and, in doing so, compose a rap song that will haunt history for all of eternity.

It's been posted here:

Monday, June 16th, 2008
1:38 pm
Free Fantasy Web Serial

by Cheryl Dyson & Xina Marie Uhl

A Free Web Serial Beginning July 1, 2008

Brydon's quest was simple. Borrow the fabled Gauntlet of Ven-Kerrick, bring it home to prove his worth, marry the princess, and ascend the throne.

He had planned for the dangerous terrain and Redolian assassins, but he did not count on slavers and werewolves.  He did not expect the Gauntlet to be missing, nor to find the Kerrick royal family murdered, and he definitely did not anticipate the distractions of a sultry thief and a rescued slave girl.  

Luckily, his worst enemy was there to help him out.

To receive free chapters of the entire novel - one per week -  friend us or  join our newsletter here
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
11:49 am
Rudy Rucker - Postsingular
Rudy Rucker just released his latest book, Postsingular under a Creative Commons license. I love singularity fiction.

Postsingular and its sequels represent Rucker's return to the cyperpunk style of his classic Ware tetralogy. But this is 21st Century cyberpunk; Rucker calls it psipunk.

Postsingular takes on the question of what will happen after the Singularity—what will happen after computers become as smart as humans and nanotechnology takes on the power of magic?

A mad scientist decides it might be a good idea to create a giant virtual reality simulation that is running a copy of Earth and of most of the people in it. Fine, but in order to create this simulation, the mad scientist plans to grind our planet into a zillion supercomputing nanomachines called nants.

Ultrageek Ond Lutter and his autistic son Chu find a way to block the nants—but then Ond can’t resist infesting Earth with a congenial breed of quantum-computing nanomachines called orphids.

The orphids coat the planet, one or two per square millimeter, and now everyone is on-line all the time, and everything is visible in the orphidnet. Artificial life forms emerge in the orphidnet, these are helpful agents called beezies, and they pyramid together into a superhuman planetary mind called the Big Pig. People can mentally access the Big Pig and feel like geniuses—with the catch that when they come down they can’t really remember what they saw. Those addicted to this new kind of high are called pigheads.

The lovers Jayjay and Thuy begin as pigheads, but Thuy manages to kick the habit to work on a vast orphidnet-based narrative called a metanovel. Jayjay continues his sessions with the Big Pig in hopes of learning more about science—and this puts a damper on their love affair. But the mad scientist is still machinating to bring back the nants and destroy Earth, and Thuy and Jayjay reunite to save the world.

It helps that Jayjay has figured out how to do teleportation via the orphidnet. And that Thuy has made friends with a giant, ethereal man from a parallel world called the Hibrane. Jayjay helps Thuy teleport to the Hibrane for help. The Hibraners do have a fix for Earth’s problems, but it’s going to be a bigger change than anyone ever imagined. Earth is on the verge of a postdigital age, more postsingular than anyone ever imagined.

Nature will come alive.

11:44 am
Charles Schroeder - Ventus
I finished this the other day. Loved it. Here's a glowing review not by me. Snippet:
Ventus is Karl Schroeder's first solo novel, and seldom have I read such a self-assured, polished, and visionary debut. Schroeder's work evokes comparisons to Joan Slonczewski and Vernor Vinge at their best, astonishing considering that both of those writers evolved to their current status over the course of several books. Ventus is that rarity, a science fiction book that pleases the specialized tastes of almost everyone in the genre, and so we have lots for fans of hard science fiction, but also some glossy prose, action but also ideas. The book explores two ideas in depth, embodiedness in the context of technological progress and the anthropocentrism of science, but Schroeder lavishes other details on the audience, like nanotechnology, terraforming, machine intelligence, and a whole host more. The book is also very carefully structured, starting from a simple ground level for both number of characters and amount of technological speculation, and steadily building from there, never losing the audience amidst the increasing complexity. Ventus is a treat of the highest order; in fact, it's become an instant favourite of mine, and a book that I recommend without reservation.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
2:18 pm
slightly off topic: fictionpress broke everything!
Why, why, oh why? I've been going through the community archives, only to discover that fictionpress has, for reasons unknown, decided to change the link format, and leave no redirect or anything. How can we fix all these links and/or find all the old stuff we had linked? I will be sending fictionpress a strongly worded, angry note. Breaking links without notice is *bad* and should *not* be done by any responsible website unless they've had a disc crash or something (and they haven't). I would suggest you all do the same; please ask them to either bring back the old link format, or have it redirect to wherever all the old stories have been moved. The stuff still exists, but they have decided to arbitrarily change the link format. Can we take these people to court for the damage that has been done to our bookmark folders or something? If you can't tell, I am _extremely_ pissed off. Unless we all go through rewriting links, over half of this communities archives have been rendered useless at one stroke. If you're an author, please get the heck off fictionpress! This kind of treatment of the community (and thus your readers) is unacceptable. I will not be linking to any further fictionpress publications until they demonstrate that they are a responsible hosting website by bringing back the old links and/or creating redirects.

Current Mood: angry
Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
7:18 pm
freeebooks on ma.gnolia
As we've probably all noticed, this community hardly gets any updates. I suspect the reason for this is that, well, updates in livejournal are...not hard, but not all that easy, either. When we see a new ebook, we've got to log in, think of something to write about the link, format the link in html, and post it. That's a bunch of work; I'll even admit to not posting links to this community because of it. In order to try and get an active ebook community, I've just created freeebooks on ma.gnolia (ma.gnolia is a bookmark manager like del.icio.us). To participate, you don't even need to create an account! Just enter your livejournal (like http://you.livejournal.com) where it says "sign in with openid". Get yourself set up, and then join the community! Now, whenever you see an ebook, all you need to do is use the ma.gnolia bookmarklet to post it to the group. If you do read something, though, and have a lot to say about it (like a review), freereads is still handy. You can even get updates from the freeebooks group on your lj friends page; just friend lj user freeebooksfeed. I hope this will result in a once more active community of free reading fans; we're missing a lot of good stuff as a community. I will be adding the links from this communities archives over the next few days.
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
4:42 pm
Alice Sebold books
Hi i've recently read "Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold as well as her memoir "Lucky"
I really fell in love with her style of writing!!

I read both books in one sitting!!

can anyone recc me any books and/or authors that have the same writing style
as hers
I really like the way she tells a story
it just grabs me by the first sentence that i read in the book

thank you!
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
1:11 pm

Alexander Shoaler and Kaffia Lang grow up in the years following a second civil war in America. The nation still rumbles with political turbulence as the restored government tries to uproot what the prior regime planted.

This book is creative commons licensed, and was featured on boingboing yesterday.
Monday, April 24th, 2006
11:20 am
starship troopers/sargent preston fanfic
this is...interesting. Not as well written as a Heinlein, but okay for a short story.
Thursday, April 20th, 2006
9:45 pm
I'd love to hear what you think of it- i think it's a darn good read :)
Because being nice isn't always a good thing...

Mr Nice Guy
is the story of Dan Fisher, aspiring stand-up comedian and
all-round good guy, who is dumped by his girlfriend Claudia for being 'too

Dan is forced to reassess his life, and his long-held belief that being
'nice' was generally considered a good thing. His eccentric flatmate Giles
and flamboyant boss Darren help Dan understand that what women really want
is someone a bit dangerous. Someone James Dean-esque.

But when Dan meets Rachel, and her arrogant, possessive boyfriend Warren,
Dan starts to realise that maybe he was right all along, and there's nothing
wrong with being a nice guy.

Absorbing, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny, Mr Nice Guy is a romantic
comedy about chivalry, friendship and love in the twenty-first century.

The website is www.mrniceguy-novel.com 

Current Mood: contemplative
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006
1:31 pm
non-fiction again
I forget where I found these, but they need posting just the same. First, The Assayer, a directory of over 1000 free non-fiction books in all sorts of subjects. Second, Unbounding the Future, a book on the future of nanotechnology. Enjoy!
Sunday, February 26th, 2006
1:34 am
does anybody have willa cather's "neighbor rosicky" that they could send me - or point me to a site where I could find it? thanks
Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
7:17 pm
Agent to the Stars
This one is, yet again, the fault of the indirect and yet terrible, all-inclusive and inescapable influence of BoingBoing. Forget some American corporation running the internet, BoingBoing is secretly behind it all, in some huge and well planned publicity stunt. It seems to be working for them, I guess. I for one would like to welcome our new EFF member Creative Commons wielding authorial overlords.

Anyway, a few days ago, an entry was posted by one of our overlords discussing _the ghost brigades_. This lead, in no short order, to me picking up _old man's war_. This then lead me to John Scalzi's website, seeing as how he was the author of both books. That lead me to his free online book, Agent to the stars. Well, not free, shareware. You can read the entire thing online and pay if you like it. Anyway, I haven't read it yet, but if it's anywhere near as scrumptious and absolutely wonderful as is _Old Man's War_, then you should go read it right now.
Monday, February 20th, 2006
2:54 pm
free online novels
Real spacific, huh? Sorry, but it's the best I could do; I just discovered this huge list of free online novels. Most of the stuff in this list hasn't been linked here at all. I haven't read any of it, just done some random link checking to make sure the website delivers what it promises.

Oh, and because vaguely off topic links are so much fun, have a link to atiz, makers of the BookDrive, an automatic page turning book scanner. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) it's priced way out of reach of your general warez scanner; if you want one of these, get ready to make your pocketbook thinner by the amount of $35000. This is, like, the ultimate USB gizmo. (link via gizmodo, via i4u.

While I'm at it, you know what would be wonderful? I really, really wish we could de-spam the word ebook. I do not want to know about marketing opportunities that allow me to work from my home making money on ebay by selling three free reports to all my friends and family with no money down just $50 free! In fact, if you continue to tell me about them, I will eat your babies.
Saturday, February 18th, 2006
7:22 pm
The National Academies Press
For those of you who didn't know, The National Academies Press offers over 3000 books free online for browsing. You're going to have to use OCR on the page images if you need text, though. But if you need to know, you need to know. I guess. Assuming anyone really reads books like Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century. I've always wondered. Then again, I tend to read things like Applied Ado.net: Building Data-driven Solutions, so I can't talk. Do what you do.
Friday, February 17th, 2006
6:12 pm
not free (subscription): Baen's Universe
I realize that what I'm about to link to isn't free, and is somewhat off topic, but I believe it's important; hear me out.

When Science Fiction began, it was all about the short stories. Analog and F&SF were institutions, and the short story was the cutting edge. Consider any author of the day, those authors who are now considered the top of the field (or classics): Piers Anthony, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Spider Robinson, etc, etc; they all started off with many short stories. Recently, though, the SF magazine has been in a serious decline. This makes it difficult for a new author to enter the field with a short story, and it means young readers (arguably the life blood of this sort of literature) have to start off with full length novels, a daunting prospect when you're a teenager; looked at the price of books lately?

Fortunately, Jim Baen (remember the Baen free library?) is trying to bring the days of the SF magazine back, with a new online magazine called Baen's Universe. It will cost about $30 for a six month subscription, and each issue will be twice the size of the average paper magazine. He's already got many of the largest names in modern science fiction backing him, as well as plans to feature short stories from new authors. The magazine will, of course, be distributed without any drm. I've never subscribed to any online content of any sort, but this might be a first. As much as we can track down all kinds of free reading, not everything can remain free forever.
(link thanks to kuro5hin.)
Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
11:37 pm
ad supported books
this article from arstechnica talks about how ad supported books may soon become a reality. It links to a nonfiction book that Harper released in that format as a test. For nonfiction, maybe, but I don't think this is going to work. I admit I am biased by the fact that I have a total, utterly consuming, passionate hatred for ads and advertisers. However, I think also that readers see enough ads. We don't want them distracting from our reading. The point of a regular fiction book is to read it cover to cover; a reader is hardly likely to click some unrelated link. A reader is also not likely to read the book somewhere (like a browser) where ads can be easily shown. But, who knows. If it means publishers trying new online publishing ideas, I won't bash it too hard.
Monday, February 13th, 2006
7:44 pm
my job book 1
This is a complete rip off of confessions of an adult video clerk, or what ever that thing was called that was posted a couple months back. Look it up yourself, I'm not your friendly BN employee. But the author of this is...well, she works at Barnes & Noble anyway. The crap anyone in retail gets is just staggering. I always find these accounts both funny, and extremely depressing at the same time. A quote from a Robert Heinlein book comes to mind:

Jubal Harshaw also pointed out to me a symptom that, so he says, invariably precedes the collapse of a culture; a decline in good manners, in common courtesy, in a decent respect for the rights of other people.

"Political philosophers from Confucius to the present day have repeatedly pointed this out. But the first signs of this fatal symptom may be hard to spot. Does it really matter when a honorific is omitted? Or when a junior calls a senior by his first name, uninvited? Such loosening of protocol may be hard to evaluate. But there is one unmistakable sign of the collapse of good manners: dirty public washrooms."

Cool points if you can guess the book. (quote reprinted under fair use)
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