Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith, a pseudonym for the late Paul Linebarger, is his vintage classic science fiction novel, 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 in parts as two novels, the Hugo Award-finalist The Planet Buyer in 1964, followed by The Underpeople in 1968, before being reunited in the author’s original one-volume form in 1975 from Ballantine Books, which won Japan’s 1988 Seiun Award for Best Translated Long Story and has placed twice on Locus Magazine’s All-Time Best SF Novel lists.
The story takes place in the author’s “Instrumentality of Mankind” future history setting where a vigorous central government arising from a post-apocalyptic Earth has expanded into space and then stagnated, setting up the conditions for the revival of humanity from its increasingly sterile dysfunction. This adventure is heavily influenced by the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West, starring the misfit scion of an ancient family on the only planet where a precious immortality drug is cultivated, who runs afoul of enemies whose machinations force him to flee to Earth for safety, where his wealth quickly makes him a target for the potentially more dangerous schemes of assorted crooks and revolutionaries.
Offered through October 5th (the monthly freebie rotates on the first Tuesday), available DRM-free worldwide directly from the publisher.