Three for Free

A few months back I made a post about how, in my opinion, the price of ebooks was far too high given the low cost of distribution. So since I’m a cheapskate, I’ve been scouring the internet for ebooks I could read for free. I’ve sifted through quite a bit of junk, but there are definitely some rare and beautiful gems to be found in amongst all the garbage. So far this year I’ve found three of them that have rocked my world. In fact I’d say these three books are among the best I’ve read all year. So I present them here with a short summary of each and the strong recommendation that you get them and read them too.

The Beasts of New York
By Jon Evans
This is a book about squirrels. But don’t let that put you off. The subtitle “a children’s book for adults” should give you a general feel for the tone of the book. It’s written in a purposefully simplistic way that at times greatly contrasts the darkness of the events which transpire. In broader terms the book is an epic of massive proportions which brings to mind the Odyssey. It is the story of one squirrel’s journey home to Central Park through the deadly wasteland of New York City. There are colorful characters of all shapes and sizes (my favourite where the pigeons and the Queen of All Cats), and battles of epic proportions between the forces of good and evil. Don’t miss this wonderful work of art.

Blindsight
By Peter Watts
Okay this one is a little more difficult to describe in a way that will do it justice. It’s a high concept, hard SF novel which just so happens to feature…
Alright before I say this you have to promise to keep reading all right? It’s really not as bad as it sounds …vampires.
Supposedly they’re some extinct branch of the human race that went extinct with the rise of civilization due to something called the crucifix glitch which which is a brain disorder that causes them to seize whenever they see any set of intersecting perpendicular lines. The main character is a human who has had half his brain removed and who has been chosen for a task force to meet an alien race. As the book progresses the theme of pretending to be human dominates as the main character struggles with his own detachment from emotion. It’s good over all, but the ending… Wow. Just wow. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’ve ever enjoyed science fiction literature at all, this is the book for you. I swear it’ll change the way you look at the world. And I’m not just being colorful when I say that.

When Graveyards Yawn
By G. Wells Taylor
I don’t think I can do this book justice really, but I’m going to try. In this book the world really did come to an end for Y2K. I’m not just talking about computers. Everything changed. People stopped aging, stopped dying, and if they did die they would come back, sort of like zombies only just as smart as they were in life. Our protagonist is a detective named Wildclown who wears clown makeup and is being possessed by the spirit of-
Hey, okay seriously, come back. It’s better than it sounds. Or maybe it’s exactly as awesome as it sounds?
Anyway to boil down to a nutshell, a dead man comes to Wildclown and asks him to help find his murderer. What follows is a glorious tribute to the hardboiled detective novel set in a world that has literally gone to hell. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

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