Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, is a botanical and agricultural-focused social history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.
This is their featured Free Book of the Month for October.
The book is an accessibly-written combined social, scientific, and food industry history which spotlights selected fruits and vegetables both common and uncommon, as they go from global luxuries to local staples or vice versa over the centuries—gaining or losing popularity with changing tastes, becoming hybridized for convenient selling qualities for the mass market or preserved in “heirloom” forms for upscale consumption and otherwise evolving in physical form and cultural meaning—interwoven with the author’s observations of the associations the foods evoke in people from the hobby gardeners and professional farmers who grow them, to the end consumer who eats them, to the national identities they may be tied to (as in the case of the US and apple pie).
Offered worldwide through October, available directly from the university’s website.
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New Under the Sun by Nancy Kress, the recipient of multiple Nebula Awards, & Therese Pieczynski, is the 5th mini-collection in the Stellar Guild multi-author series of science fiction & fantasy, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Phoenix Pick Press.
The series, styled after the old Ace Books “Ace Doubles” flip books, pairs a newer author writing a story based on an established author’s work.
This volume contains Kress’ novella Annabel Lee (which ended up being a 2014 Nebula Award nominee), set in a near future dominated by religious extremism which uses science to enforce its social agenda via genetic engineering, starring a person infected by an alien parasite which may be the key to the world’s freedom, a prequel companion novelette by Pieczynski, and introductory essays by Kress and series editor Mike Resnick.
Offered DRM-free worldwide through October, available directly from the publisher.
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The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by [Aaron Mahnke] is a standalone tie-in companion in the Lore series of supernatural-themed true crime and horror podcasts, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Penguin Random House Audio.
This is their featured Free Book of the Month offer for October and is narrated by the author himself. The Lore (now adapted to a TV series) features scary non-fiction, presenting true crime in a dramatic horror story fashion, themed around historical cases which often have links to superstitious and supernatural elements, as well as investigating spooky local folklore beliefs in their own right.
This tie-in companion spotlights the dark side of human nature and beliefs, exploring incidents such as the 19th century Mercy Brown case of alleged vampirism rooted in panic over tuberculosis in Rhode Island, a supposedly enchanted doll which was the inspiration behind the Child’s Play franchise of horror films, accounts of both real-life and folkloric cannibalism, séances, and other intersections of crime and superstition featured in the podcast, adding bonus materials.
Offered worldwide until noon Eastern Time on October 31st, available as a DRM-free MP4 download directly from the publisher and in their app.
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Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by the late English author Mary Shelley is is a standalone classic science fiction horror novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Tantor Audio.
This is their featured Free Book of the Month selection for October, and is narrated by Simon Vance. NB: This is a different reading than the Penguin Random House audio version offered last month.
The novel was originally published in 1818 and was later heavily revised by the author in the 1831 edition best known today as one of the first modern science fiction/horror tales, and an enduring favourite adapted into many media as well as the source of the iconic monster. The story is centred around an ambitious scientist and the new creature he creates via an unorthodox experiment, exploring themes of discovery, tragedy, and humanity.
Offered worldwide throughout October, available as DRM-free MP3s from the retailer’s website.
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Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann is the 1st novel in the The Sun Child Chronicles series of young adult portal fantasy, free for a limited time courtesy of LGBT specialty publisher Dreamspinner Press’ Harmony Ink imprint for teen readers.
This is being made free to help promote the newly-released 3rd novel, Ciarrah’s Light.
The series is a portal fantasy, starring a homeless gay teen from our world who winds up stepping through a wizard’s door into a magical fantasy realm at war. This installment sees him discovering the world’s existence and learning of his obligatory destiny and the unsuspected ties which led him there as he begins to come to terms with his new role and powers.
Offered worldwide through October 30th until midnight Eastern Time, available DRM-free directly from the publisher’s webstore and also other major ebook retailers.
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Colors by Russell J. Sanders is a standalone YA LGBT coming of age teen social drama novel with strong m/m romantic elements, free for a limited time courtesy of LGBT specialty publisher Dreamspinner Press’ Harmony Ink imprint for teen readers.
This is apparently being made free to help promote the author’s newest novel, You Can’t Tell By Looking, a standalone m/m multicultural interfaith YA contemporary romance.
The story is both a coming of age and a coming out tale, starring a high school senior who seemingly has a perfect life as a budding musical theatre star with a prestigious scholarship and a beautiful girlfriend, which is marred by a dark secret in his past, as well as upended by the arrival of a new student with whom he might become more than just friends. NB: apparently this deals with themes of abuse and intolerance.
Offered worldwide through October 16th until midnight Eastern Time, available DRM-free directly from the publisher as well as selected other retailers.
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The English Bible and the Seventeenth Century Revolution by the late British author Christopher Hill, an historian specializing in 17th century England and a former Master of Oxford University’s Balliol College, is a 1sociocultural and political history, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.
This was originally published in 1993 by Penguin Books.
The book provides an in-depth historical overview of the social, cultural, and political impact of the ready availability of English-language translations of the Bible to the commoner masses in the 17th century in Britain (a then-radical change from the Latin and Greek versions only readable by the educated upper classes and clergy), in the form of topical chapters covering the differing versions printed, and then addressing its revolutionary influence on everyday society, literature, conflicts with assorted religious movements and the ensuing English Civil War, philosophical arguments and approaches towards poverty and liberty, and other aspects of post-Reformation British life.
Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.
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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle is a standalone historical horror remix novella, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Macmillan’s Tor Books imprint.
This is their featured free eBook of the Month Club offer for October and won the 2016 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novella, and was also a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards, and is apparently in development for an AMC television series. I read it for Hugo Voting last year, and rather liked it; enough so that I bought some of the author’s unrelated sfnal novels when they went on sale.
The story is a subversive riff on H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 tale The Horror at Red Hook about the dark occult underbelly of a Brooklyn neighbourhood, retelling its events from the perspective of a young black street musician from Harlem who becomes involved with the plans of an eccentric white millionaire seeking to raise the Great Old Ones.
Offered through October 12th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time, available DRM-free to Canada & US only directly from the publisher.
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Only For A Night by Naima Simone is the 1st novella in the The Lick series of f/m contemporary erotic romance, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Macmillan’s Entangled: Scorched imprint.
The series is centred around three friends who grow up working for the Irish mob in Boston, and who are now co-owners of a fashionable aphrodisiac club, which turns out to be the perfect place to explore various fantasies.
This story is a second chance reunion romance between one of the owners and the “good girl” from his past, now a widow ready to move on from a repressive marriage and ready to experiment with an old flame, who makes her a time-limited offer she can’t refuse. NB: According to a reader review, apparently this contains a few m/f/m scenes.
Offered worldwide, available at multiple retailers.
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Half a Loaf by the late James Holding, one of the authors behind the “Ellery Queen” shared pseudonym, is a self-contained short story in the The Photographer series of pulp mystery/crime thrillers, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Wildside Press. as one of their sporadic weekly giveaways to help promote their Black Cat Mystery Community for vintage pulp mystery/crime thriller reprints.
This was originally published in 1980 in the May issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine magazine. The series is set in Brazil, starring Manuel Andradas, a hitman who disguises himself as a photographer.
This story sees him struggling with a conflict of interest when his next assigned target, a kindly doctor, treats his injuries after a seeming accident.
Offered worldwide through October 15th (probably), available DRM-free directly from the publisher.
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