[Free eBook] Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir [Award-Winning LGBT Gothic Sci-Fantasy]

Gideon the Ninth by New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir is the 1st novel in the Locked Tomb series of hybrid science fiction/fantasy/horror space adventures, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Macmillan’s Tor Books imprint.

This is their featured Free eBook of the Month offer for October, won the 2020 Locus for Best First Novel and the Crawford Award, as well as being a Hugo and World Fantasy Award finalist, and is being offered to help promote the 2nd novel, Harrow the Ninth, now available in paperback and the upcoming 3rd novel, Nona the Ninth, due next year.

The series is inspired by gothic horror as well as mixing high-tech science fiction with magical fantasy, and set in a galactic space empire with nine planets which are host to great Houses which each specialize in a particular form of necromancy, ruled over by an immortal Emperor worshipped as a god. This story stars a young woman raised in indentured servitude by one of the Houses, who plans to escape, but is pressed back into one last service as the Emperor sets a competition between the heirs of the Houses with immortality as the stakes and a mandate to explore a decaying planetary mansion to uncover its secrets.

Offered DRM-free through Friday, September 8th (until just before midnight Eastern Time) in Canada & the US only due to rights geo-restrictions, available directly from the publisher.


Currently available @ the publisher’s dedicated promo page (DRM-free ePub & Mobi officially available to Canada & US only, requires newsletter signup with valid email) and you can read more about the offer at the official blogpost announcement.

Description (from the bookclub page)
This part is usually where we sing the accolades of the current book selection but really author Charles Stross summed it up best:

“Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!”

It is time.

Description (from the regular blurb) The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

[Free eBooks] 5 nonfiction from Verso Books [History, Philosophy, Politics, Science Fiction Media Studies, Essays]

To accompany their annual September “Student Reading” sale for 50% off selected titles, quasi-academic publisher Verso Books are once again offering a generous selection of promotional freebies, for a limited time.

Until just before midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, September 30th, the following 5 nonfiction titles in assorted subject matters are available free:

  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by the late Guyanese intellectual and activist Walter Rodney, a reprint of his influential classic 1972 text on colonialism which you can read more about on its Wikipedia entry.
  • The Politics of Friendship by the late French philosopher Jacques Derrida, a translation of his 1994 book exploring the idea of friendship and its political consequences.
  • Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis by philosophy professor Nancy Fraser, a collection of essays written from 1985 to 2010, charting the history, development, and proposals for the future of feminism
  • Breaking Things at Work: The Luddites Are Right About Why You Hate Your Job by Gavin Muller, reflecting upon the 19th century anti-technological workers’ protest movement and its relevance to resisting the rise in intrusiveness of overly controlling global employment conditions today
  • Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions by philosopher and literary critic Fredric Jameson, essays exploring the relationship between utopia and science fiction, studying the classic works of Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Brian Aldiss, Kim Stanley Robinson, and more

To claim the ebooks, use the links on their dedicated blog promo page for “Student Reading: Free eBooks!” (DRM-free ePub & Mobi format watermarked with your info but otherwise transferrable to any device of your choice; requires account signup with billing address but no payment info; before adding to cart, switch the tabs from Paperback to Ebook, where the price should say FREE 100% off).

Offered worldwide through Thursday, September 30th (until just before midnight Eastern Time), directly from the publisher.

[Free eBook] Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success by Andrew Balmford [Science & Nature Travelogue]

Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success by Andrew Balmford, a professor of conservation science in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, is a topical science travelogue, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for September, and is an accessibly written travelogue cum introduction and overview to the issues involved and challenges faced in conserving nature around the world, as the author makes a global tour to visit and learn from people involved in the efforts to bring rhinos back from extinction, protect rare woodpeckers in pine forest plantations, deal with invasive alien plants drinking up the water supply of dry areas, etc.

Offered worldwide throughout the month of September, available directly from the publisher.


Currently available @ the publisher’s promo page (Adobe Digital Editions-DRM ePub, requires newsletter signup with valid email) and you can read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.

Description Tropical deforestation. The collapse of fisheries. Unprecedented levels of species extinction. Faced with the plethora of gloom-and-doom headlines about the natural world, we might think that environmental disaster is inevitable. But is there any good news about the environment? Yes, there is, answers Andrew Balmford in Wild Hope, and he offers several powerful stories of successful conservation to prove it. This tragedy is still avoidable, and there are many reasons for hope if we find inspiration in stories of effective environmental recovery.

Wild Hope is organized geographically, with each chapter taking readers to extraordinary places to meet conservation’s heroes and foot soldiers—and to discover the new ideas they are generating about how to make conservation work on our hungry and crowded planet. The journey starts in the floodplains of Assam, where dedicated rangers and exceptionally tolerant villagers have together helped bring Indian rhinos back from the brink of extinction. In the pine forests of the Carolinas, we learn why plantation owners came to resent rare woodpeckers—and what persuaded them to change their minds. In South Africa, Balmford investigates how invading alien plants have been drinking the country dry, and how the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest conservation program is now simultaneously restoring the rivers, saving species, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The conservation problems Balmford encounters are as diverse as the people and their actions, but together they offer common themes and specific lessons on how to win the battle of conservation—and the one essential ingredient, Balmford shows, is most definitely hope.

Wild Hope, though optimistic, is a clear-eyed view of the difficulties and challenges of conservation. Balmford is fully aware of failed conservation efforts and systematic flaws that make conservation difficult, but he offers here innovative solutions and powerful stories of citizens, governments, and corporations coming together to implement them. A global tour of people and programs working for the planet, Wild Hope is an emboldening green journey.

[Free eBook] The Cyborg from Earth by Charles Sheffield [YA Science Fiction]

The Cyborg from Earth by the late Charles Sheffield, a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novelist as well as a physicist, is the 4th novel in the Jupiter series of young adult science fiction, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Phoenix Pick Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for September, and was originally published by Tor Books in 1998. The series, which was partially co-authored with the late Jerry Pournelle, is set in a dystopian galactic future where assorted youths find ways to better themselves through self-education and adventure, and there’s a bonus tie-in sale offer on other Sheffield books in and out of the series.

This story stars a misfit young man from a prominent military and industrialist family which requires its members to have served in the navy, only to find himself foisted off on a makeshift border assignment when he fails the entrance exams, into a situation that becomes more complicated than it seems.

Offered DRM-free worldwide through the end of September and probably through Monday, October 3rd (the freebie typically rotates on the first Tuesday of every month), available directly from the publisher.


Currently free @ the publisher’s dedicated promo page (DRM-free ePub & Mobi bundle; requires valid email address but no payment info; follow the instructions on the page to reset the suggested price to $0.00 in the cart)

The tie in sale offer is for assorted Sheffield collections and novels for just $1.99 each, or in a bundle of all 6 plus freebie for just $9.99. There are 2 short story collections on offer (including one with the double Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novella “Georgia on My Mind”), and 4 other novels originally published during the 1990s, including two more Jupiter series books, The Billion Dollar Boy and Putting Up Roots, and two standalones.

Called "the new Arthur C. Clarke" by The Washington Post Book World and "a scientist with a fine literary sense" by The Denver Post, Charles Sheffield has crafted an exciting adventure about a frustrated teen who just can’t seem to do anything right.

Jeff Kopal is heir to a powerful military family. He’s got everything going for him. Except one thing: Jeff is a total screw-up. His family has had it. So when Jeff blows off his naval entrance exams he figures his future is basically kaput. Instead, he is being sent by the navy into deep space to deal with rebellious cyborgs. How did that happen?

Jeff will have to find out before it’s too late. Otherwise, he may become the pawn in someone else’s dangerous–and very deadly–game.

[Free eBook] Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw [Award-Nominated Occult Detective Fantasy/Horror]

Hammers on Bone by Malaysian author Cassandra Khaw is the 1st novella in the Persons Non Grata series of hard-boiled supernatural fantasy/horror mystery, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Macmillan’s Tor Books imprint.

This is their featured Free eBook of the Month Club selection for September, is being offered to help promote her upcoming standalone novel, Nothing But Black Teeth due in October, and was nominated for the Locus and British Fantasy Awards.

The series is hard boiled noir-styled contemporary fantasy/horror with Lovecraftian influences, starring a globe-trotting private investigator with an ancient and disturbing background, looking into occult happenings. This first case is set in London, where a young client’s attempt to get rid of an abusive stepfather uncovers the obligatory deeper and darker mystery to solve.

Offered DRM-free through Friday, September 17th (until just before midnight Eastern Time), available to Canada & the US directly from the publisher.


Currently free @ the publisher’s dedicated promo page (DRM-free ePub & Mobi officially available in Canada & US-only due to rights geo-restrictions, requires newsletter signup with valid email address), and you can read the official announcement over at the Tor.com blogpost.

John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable.

He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.

As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker. He’s infected with an alien presence, and he’s spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential.

The summer wanes, the darkness is growing longer, and our pick for the Tor.com Ebook Club’s September offer is HAMMERS ON BONE, a novella by Cassandra Khaw.

[Free eBook] 3 novels + 7 shorts + 1 nonfic in Black Cat Weekly #1 magazine [Science Fiction, Mystery, True Crime]

As a special treat to celebrate the relaunch of their Black Cat community for reprints of vintage mystery/crime & science fiction/fantasy/horror pulp fiction as well as newer works by featured authors, publisher Wildside Press is offering the #1 issue of the new Black Cat Weekly magazine, free for a limited time.

The contents compile what would have been the individual weekly offerings under the old subscription service in one convenient place, and include 3 full novels (1 mystery + 2 science fiction), 7 short stories, and 1 true crime piece, with a mix of mystery and science fiction (even a mix of the two with a telepathic detective short). These were originally published from 1908 up to 2018, including works by the late Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of classic lawyer sleuth Perry Mason) and World Fantasy & Shirley Jackson Award-winning author Brian Evenson, and the 1962 1st in series novel for the late Keith Laumer‘s alternate history-jumping Imperium sequence.

To get your free copy, simply add the 1st issue to your cart, and use the coupon FREECAT during checkout.

Offered DRM-free worldwide through either Saturday, September 18th or Sunday, September 19th (the newsletter said ends on Sunday, but I don’t know if that’s an “until” or “through”), available directly from the publisher.


Currently free @ the publisher’s catalogue page (DRM-free ePub/Mobi bundle available worldwide, requires account signup with billing address but no payment info, use coupon code FREECAT during checkout).

Also, the annual subscription price currently has a discount coupon available for 3OFF which will deduct $3 from the usual $19.99 for 52 issues, if you like what you read and wish to see more. Don’t forget to check out their Free Ebooks sampler page, which has a few introductory shorts by selected authors in various genres.

The Black Cat web site has been around for almost four years now, serving up a weekly buffet of new and classic mysteries—and more recently science fiction—to thousands of readers each week. Rather than continue to release all these novels and stories as individual ebooks, we have decided to bundle them up into a convenient weekly e-magazine…which is a lot more fun to work on (and we hope read)!

So here is Black Cat Weekly #1, the September 5, 2021 issue, for your enjoyment pleasure.

To make the first issue memoriable, we are including a lot more content than usual—double the usual word count, in fact. This time we have no less than three complete novels and 7 short stories—and even a “true crime” feature by Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason! There’s something here for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re a fan of traditional mysteries, psychic detectives (in the case of Frank Lovell Nelson’s story, a telepathic detective, the first of 12 stories featuring Carlton Clarke from 1908, all of which will run in the Black Cat’s pages). Looking for modern detection? We have that, too. And if your taste runs to the fantastic, we also have adventures across parallel worlds and well into the future. (And monsters. Did I mention monsters?)

Included are:

  • REMISSION, by Michael Bracken [Barb Goffman Presents – mystery short story]
  • A KEY FOR REBECCA, by Hal Charles [Solve it yourself mystery!]
  • AUROVIA’S FAMOUS LODGE CASE, by Frank Lowell Nelson [Serial story – first of 12]
  • THE CASE OF THE KNOCKOUT BULLET, by Erle Stanley Gardner [True crime]
  • HAND IN GLOVE, by James Holding [mystery short story]
  • THE SKULL OF THE WALZING CLOWN, by Harry Stephen Keeler [mystery novel]
  • HAVER, by Brian Evenson [Paul Di Filippo Presents – sci-fi short story]
  • A ZLOOR FOR YOUR TROUBLE, by Mack Reynolds [sci-fi short story]
  • VALLISNERIA MADNESS, by Ralph Milne Farley [sci-fi short story]
  • LAST CALL FOR DOOMSDAY! by S. M. Tenneshaw [sci-fi novel]
  • WORLDS OF THE IMPERIUM, by Keith Laumer [sci-fi novel]

[Free eBook] Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North [Social History & Philosophy]

Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North, a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a social history of ideas, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher The University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free eBook of the Month for August and is an accessibly-written historical and philosophical tour of the desire for novelty and originality in ideas and innovations in science and art and thinking, as experienced and expressed by various Western cultures throughout the millenia.

Offered worldwide through Tuesday, August 31st, available directly from the publisher’s website.


Currently free @ the university’s dedicated promo page (Adobe Digital Editions DRM ePub, requires newsletter signup with valid email address), and you can read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.

If art and science have one thing in common, it’s a hunger for the new—new ideas and innovations, new ways of seeing and depicting the world. But that desire for novelty carries with it a fundamental philosophical problem: If everything has to come from something, how can anything truly new emerge? Is novelty even possible?

In Novelty, Michael North takes us on a dazzling tour of more than two millennia of thinking about the problem of the new, from the puzzles of the pre-Socratics all the way up to the art world of the 1960s and ’70s. The terms of the debate, North shows, were established before Plato, and have changed very little since: novelty, philosophers argued, could only arise from either recurrence or recombination. The former, found in nature’s cycles of renewal, and the latter, seen most clearly in the workings of language, between them have accounted for nearly all the ways in which novelty has been conceived in Western history, taking in reformation, renaissance, invention, revolution, and even evolution. As he pursues this idea through centuries and across disciplines, North exhibits astonishing range, drawing on figures as diverse as Charles Darwin and Robert Smithson, Thomas Kuhn and Ezra Pound, Norbert Wiener and Andy Warhol, all of whom offer different ways of grappling with the idea of originality.

Novelty, North demonstrates, remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature—an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern. A heady, ambitious intellectual feast, Novelty is rich with insight, a masterpiece of perceptive synthesis.

[Free eBook] Beyond the Doors of Death by Robert Silverberg & Damien Broderick [Award-Winning Science Fiction]

Beyond the Doors of Death by Robert Silverberg, a much-awarded SFWA Grandmaster, and Australian author Damien Broderick, is a science fiction double feature, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Phoenix Pick Press.

This is their featured Free eBook of the Month offer for August, and is a double feature pairing Silverberg’s 1974 novella “Born with the Dead” originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was a recipient of the Nebula and Locus Awards, with a follow-up story written by Broderick which further explores the concept, and a new introductory essay by Silverberg. There’s also a tie-in sale offer for several of his backlist novels.

These stories are set in a future world with a form of afterlife with the potential of the revived dead, known as the “re-kindled”, altering their new lives as they revisit their memories with a different perspective.

Offered DRM-free worldwide through Tuesday, August 31st, available directly from the publisher’s website.


Currently free directly @ the publisher’s dedicated promo page (DRM-free ePub & Mobi bundle available worldwide; follow instructions on the page to reset the suggested cart price to $0.00)

There’s also a tie-in discount offer for 7 more reprint books authored or co-authored by Silverberg across various genres and decades for just $5 for the entire bundle of: The Last Song of Orpheus, The Mutant Season, Starborne, When the Blue Shift Comes, The Masks of Time (a 1969 Nebula Award nominee), Thebes of the Hundred Gates, and also a non-Silverberg science fiction co-authored by Damien Broderick & John Brunner, Threshold of Eternity.

“Born With the Dead” (the novella) was nominated for every major science fiction award when it was originally published in 1974, winning the Nebula and Locus awards.

The story describes a future in which the dead can be "re-kindled" back to a new form of life. While they remember their pasts thought, their personalities are subtly shifted and the ordinary concerns and feelings of their original life no longer concern them.

The author now revisits the classic story with Australian author Damien Broderick. Broderick uses Robert Silverberg’s original novella as a starting point for a brilliant leap into the far future, widening the scope and tenor of the original story by revisiting some of the subtler implications of the original story.

[Free eBook] The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann [Award-Nominated Contemporary Comedy]

The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann is her standalone contempory comedy novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher HarperCollins’ One More Chapter imprint.

This is the featured Free eBook of the Week in the iTunes UK store, and was the shortlisted runner-up for the 2019 Comedy Women in Print Prize.

The story is a feel-good tale of unexpected friendship across generations, set in London and starring a young woman experiencing a quarter-life crisis, who gets the chance to live rent-free for a time with a prickly pensioner, if she can impress her more than the previous twenty-two candidates…

Offered free in the UK (and possibly other selected regions worldwide), probably just through Monday August 30th, available at multiple retailers.


Currently free @ Amazon UK, Kobo UK, iTunes UK, & Google Play UK (change the country code in the URL or run a search in your local store to check if it may also be free in your region)

If you liked The Flatshare, you will LOVE this book…

It’s Elissa’s birthday, and she’s accidentally booked a cervical smear instead of a celebration… Great. The icing on the cake? Her boyfriend is kicking her out of their houseshare.

So when she’s offered the chance to live with a pensioner rent-free, Elissa knows she needs to impress Annie, who turned down the last twenty-two applicants. Somehow, even after Elissa goes on about ‘definitely not being an axe-murderer’, Annie chooses her.

And just like Elissa, prickly, sweary, big-hearted Annie could use a friend. Elissa may have nowhere else to go, but is she just where she needs to be?

A book you’ll want to share with all your friends. The perfect uplifting read for fans of Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary – and if you love The Lonely Fajita, don’t miss Abigail’s next book The Sister Surprise!

[Free eBook] Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood [1940s PI Murder Mystery]

Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood is the 1st novel in the Pentecost & Parker historical mystery series, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Hachette’s Headline division’s Wildfire imprint.

The series is set in New York City in the post-war 1940s, starring a duo of hard-boiled women sleuths: the most successful private detective in the city, whose encroaching multiple sclerosis led her to take on an assistant, a street-smart former runaway turned circus performer. This was a Radio 2 Book Club Pick, and is being offered to help promote the upcoming 2nd novel, Under Her Skin, due this December.

The story is apparently a locked room mystery featuring a seemingly impossible crime, when a wealthy young widow is found murdered in her late husband’s locked home office at their mansion during a Halloween costume party.

Offered free in the UK (and possibly other regions worldwide excluding North America where a different publisher holds the rights), available at multiple retailers.


Currently free @ Amazon UK, Kobo UK, iTunes UK, Google Play UK (change the country code in the URL or run a search in your local store to check if it may also be free in your region)

Description The ‘razor-sharp’ first book in the charming, fast-paced Pentecost and Parker mystery series. Book Two, Murder Under Her Skin, coming December 2021!

Meet your new favourite duo, audacious and iconic, and perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, Agatha Christie and M. C. Beaton.

It’s 1945 and Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in New York City, but she needs help. Enter Willowjean Parker, a circus runaway – and the perfect assistant. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set. She can pick locks blindfolded, wrestle men twice her size, and throw knives with deadly precision – all of which come in handy working for Ms P.

When wealthy young widow Abigail Collins is murdered Pentecost and Parker are hired by the family to track down the culprit. On Halloween night, there was a costume party at the Collins’ mansion, where a fortune teller performed a séance which greatly disturbed Abigail. Several hours later her body was discovered bludgeoned to death in her late husband’s office. Problem is, the door to the office was locked from the inside. There was no-one else in the room, and the murder weapon was beside the victim; the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

It looks like an impossible crime, but Pentecost and Parker know there is no such thing…