Book picks similar to
Imaginary Magnitude by Stanisław Lem


science-fiction
fiction
short-stories
philosophy

Flatterland: Like Flatland Only More So


Ian Stewart - 2002
    Abbott's remarkable Flatland, published in 1884, and one of the all-time classics of popular mathematics. Now, from mathematician and accomplished science writer Ian Stewart, comes what Nature calls "a superb sequel." Through larger-than-life characters and an inspired story line, Flatterland explores our present understanding of the shape and origins of the universe, the nature of space, time, and matter, as well as modern geometries and their applications. The journey begins when our heroine, Victoria Line, comes upon her great-great-grandfather A. Square's diary, hidden in the attic. The writings help her to contact the Space Hopper, who tempts her away from her home and family in Flatland and becomes her guide and mentor through ten dimensions. In the tradition of Alice in Wonderland and The Phantom Toll Booth, this magnificent investigation into the nature of reality is destined to become a modern classic.

Times Without Number


John Brunner - 1962
    Even the most insignificant nudging of the past could entirely alter the present! And he suspected that a maniacal genius crazed with a desire for nationalist vindication had plotted to alter the victorious outcome of the Spanish Armada of 1588 - thus changing recorded history and perhaps even imperiling the Imperial Spanish Empire of 1988!If Don Miguel did not successfully intercede, when he came back to the present he might find a different world...a different time...a time in which he probably didn't even exist!Although termed a novel it is really a group of three novelettes previously published under the titles:Spoil of Yesterday (1969 revised/expanded edition)The Word Not Written (1969 revised/expanded edition)The Fullness of Time (1969 revised/expanded edition)

A Martian Odyssey and Other Science Fiction Tales


Stanley G. Weinbaum - 1974
    Weinbaum/Studies in Science Fiction ('59) Sam Moskowitz essay Flight on Titan ('35) Weinbaum novelette Graph ('36) Weinbaum storyParasite Planet/Ham Hammond ('35) Weinbaum novelette Proteus Island ('36) Weinbaum novelette Pygmalion's Spectacles ('35) Weinbaum story Redemption Cairn ('36) Weinbaum noveletteRevolution of 1950 ('38) Ralph Milne Farley & Weinbaum novellaShifting Seas ('37) Weinbaum novelette Smothered Seas ('36) Ralph Milne Farley & Weinbaum novelette The Adaptive Ultimate ('35) Weinbaum noveletteThe Brink of Infinity ('36) Weinbaum storyThe Circle of Zero ('36) Weinbaum story The Ideal/Manderpootz ('35) Weinbaum storyThe Last Martian Weinbaum poem The Lotus Eaters/Ham Hammond ('35) Weinbaum novelette The Mad Moon ('35) Weinbaum novelette The Planet of Doubt/Ham Hammond ('35) Weinbaum novelette The Point of View/Manderpootz ('36) Weinbaum storyThe Red Peri ('35) Weinbaum novella The Worlds of If/Manderpootz ('35) Weinbaum story Valley of Dreams/Tweel ('34) Weinbaum story

The Bridge to Lucy Dunne


Exurb1a - 2016
    A playwright conjures her perfect lover into existence. Three time travellers appear to a motorbike mechanic, drink a little tea, and ruin his life. Mankind discovers the secrets of travelling to the stars, and promptly forgets them again.Exurb1a has collected 18 of his best received short stories into a book. Some of them made it into magazines - others he wrote for friends - but always for fun and never on time. The Bridge to Lucy Dunne tries its hardest to convince you that in a universe this strange, an existential meltdown is a perfectly appropriate response to being alive. In any case, he hopes you enjoy reading it.

334


Thomas M. Disch - 1999
    Disch's visionary portrait of the underbelly of 21st-century New York City. The residents of the public housing project at 334 East 11th Street live in a world of rationed babies and sanctioned drug addiction. Real food is displayed in museums and hospital attendants moonlight as body-snatchers. Nimbly hopscotching backward and forward in time, Disch charts the shifting relationships between this world's inheritors: an aging matriarch who falls in love with her young social worker; a widow seeking comfort from the spirit of her dead husband; a privileged preteen choreographing the perfectly gratuitous murder. Poisonously funny, piercingly authentic, 334 is a masterpiece of social realism disguised as science fiction.

Pixel Juice


Jeff Noon - 1998
    A selection of fifty stories from Jeff Noon's head, each one strange, telling, disturbing, or sometimes just plain wierd.From the breakdown zones of the mediasphere and the margins of music culture, Jeff Noon samples the image mix. Product recalls, adverts for mad gadjets, dubcut prose remixes, urban fairytales, instructions for lost machines, almost-true tales, dreamy one-pagers, word-dizzy roller coasters. With new stories from the Vurt cycle and other revelations, including the discovery of an 'off' switch for the human body this newly revised edition marks the first time that Pixel Juice has been made available digitally.

Futures from Nature


Henry Gee - 2007
    The authors include scientists, journalists, and many of the most famous SF writers in the world. Futures from Nature includes everything from satires and vignettes to compressed stories and fictional book reviews, science articles, and journalism, in eight-hundred word modules. All of them are entertaining and as a group they are a startling repository of ideas and attitudes about the future.   Appearing in book form fo the first time, these one hundred pieces were originally published in the great science journal, Nature, between 1999 and 2006, as one-page features. That proved very popular with the readers of the journal. This is a unique book, by scientists and writers, of interest to any reader who might like to speculate about the future.   With stories from: Arthur C. Clarke; Bruce Sterling; Charles Stross; Cory Doctorow; Greg Bear; Gregory Benford; Oliver Morton; Ian Macleod; Rudy Rucker; Greg Egan; Stephan Baxter; Barrington J. Bayley; Brian Stableford; Frederik Pohl; Vernor Vinge; Nancy Kress, Michael Moorcock, Vonda N. McIntyr; Kim Stanley Robinson; John M. Ford; and eighty more.

The Life of Insects


Victor Pelevin - 1993
    With consummate literary skill Pelevin creates a satirical bestiary which is as realistic as it is delirious - a bitter parable of contemporary Russia, full of the probing, disenchanted comedy that makes Pelevin a vital and altogether surprising writer.

Hall of Small Mammals: Stories


Thomas Pierce - 2015
    The stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals take place at the confluence of the commonplace and the cosmic, the intimate and the infinite. A fossil-hunter, a comedian, a hot- air balloon pilot, parents and children, believers and nonbelievers, the people in these stories are struggling to understand the absurdity and the magnitude of what it means to exist in a family, to exist in the world. In “Shirley Temple Three,” a mother must shoulder her son’s burden—a cloned and resurrected wooly mammoth who wreaks havoc on her house, sanity, and faith. In “The Real Alan Gass,” a physicist in search of a mysterious particle called the “daisy” spends her days with her boyfriend, Walker, and her nights with the husband who only exists in the world of her dreams, Alan Gass.  Like the daisy particle itself—“forever locked in a curious state of existence and nonexistence, sliding back and forth between the two”—the stories in Thomas Pierce’s Hall of Small Mammals are exquisite, mysterious, and inextricably connected. From this enchanting primordial soup, Pierce’s voice emerges—a distinct and charming testament of the New South, melding contemporary concerns with their prehistoric roots to create a hilarious, deeply moving symphony of stories.

The Four Fingers of Death


Rick Moody - 2010
    Luckily, he swindles himself a job churning out a novelization of the 2025 remake of a 1963 horror classic, "The Crawling Hand." Crandall tells therein of the United States, in a bid to regain global eminence, launching at last its doomed manned mission to the desolation of Mars. Three space pods with nine Americans on board travel three months, expecting to spend three years as the planet's first colonists. When a secret mission to retrieve a flesh-eating bacterium for use in bio-warfare is uncovered, mayhem ensues.Only a lonely human arm (missing its middle finger) returns to earth, crash-landing in the vast Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The arm may hold the secret to reanimation or it may simply be an infectious killing machine. In the ensuing days, it crawls through the heartbroken wasteland of a civilization at its breaking point, economically and culturally--a dystopia of lowlife, emigration from America, and laughable lifestyle alternatives. The Four Fingers of Death is a stunningly inventive, sometimes hilarious, monumental novel. It will delight admirers of comic masterpieces like Slaughterhouse-Five, The Crying of Lot 49, and Catch-22.

Canary in a Cat House


Kurt Vonnegut - 1961
    Except for Hal Irwin's magic lamp, eleven of them reappear in the later collection Welcome to the Monkey House.Contents:- Report on the barnhouse effect- All the king's horses- D.P.- The manned missiles- The Euphio question- More stately mansions- The Foster portfolio- Deer in the works- Hal Irwin's magic lamp- Tom Edison's shaggy dog- Unready to wear- Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair


Graydon Carter - 2014
    G. Wodehouse, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sherwood Anderson, Robert Benchley, Langston Hughes—and many others. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter introduces these fabulous pieces written between 1913 and 1936, when the magazine published a murderers’ row of the world’s leading literary lights.   Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells features great writers on great topics, including F. Scott Fitzgerald on what a magazine should be, Clarence Darrow on equality, D. H. Lawrence on women, e.e. cummings on Calvin Coolidge, John Maynard Keynes on the collapse in money value, Thomas Mann on how films move the human heart, Alexander Woollcott on Harpo Marx, Carl Sandburg on Charlie Chaplin, Djuna Barnes on James Joyce, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., on Joan Crawford, and Dorothy Parker on a host of topics ranging from why she hates actresses to why she hasn’t married. These essays reflect the rich period of their creation while simultaneously addressing topics that would be recognizable in the magazine today, such as how women should navigate work and home life; our destructive fascination with the entertainment industry and with professional sports; the collapse of public faith in the financial industry; and, as Aldous Huxley asks herein, “What, Exactly, Is Modern?” Offering readers an inebriating swig from that great cocktail shaker of the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, the age of Gatsby, Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells showcases unforgettable writers in search of how to live well in a changing era.

On the Damned Human Race


Mark Twain - 1962
    Magnificent collection of Mark Twain's topical writings, mainly and most eloquently concerned with the themes of social justice, the American Civilization

The Martians


Kim Stanley Robinson - 2000
    A modern-day classic of the genre, this epic saga deftly portrays the human stories behind Earth's most ambitious project yet: the terraforming of Mars.Now, following the publication of his acclaimed adventure novel, Antarctica, Robinson returns to the realm he has made his own, in a work that brilliantly weaves together a futuristic setting with a poetic vision of the human spirit engaged in a drama as ancient as mankind itself.From a training mission in Antarctica to blistering sandstorms sweeping through labyrinths of barren canyons, the interwoven stories of The Martians set in motion a sprawling cast of characters upon the surface of Mars. As the planet is transformed from an unexplored and forbidding terrain to a troubled image of a re-created Earth, we meet men and women who are bound together by their experiences on Mars and with each other.Among them are Michel, a French psychologist dazzled by the beauty around him; Maya, a woman whose ill-fated love affairs lead to her first voyage to Mars; and Roger, a tall Martian-born guide who lacks social skills but has the courage to survive on the planet's dangerous yet strangely compelling surface.Beginning with the First Hundred explorers, generations of friends, enemies, and lovers are swept up in the drama that is Earth's tenuous toehold on Mars. International exploration turns into world building; world building degenerates into political conflict, revolution, and war.Following the strands of these lives and events, in an age when human life has been extended for decades, The Martians becomes the story of generations lived on the edge of the ultimate frontier, in a landscape of constant man-made and natural transformation.This new masterpiece by Kim Stanley Robinson is a story of hope and disappointment, of fierce physical and psychological struggles. Both deeply human and scientifically cutting edge, The Martians is the epic chronicle of a planet that represents one of humanity's most glorious possibilities.A Letter from Kim Stanley Robinson: "When I finished Blue Mars, I realized I wasn't done with Mars yet. There were things I still wanted to say about the place, and about my characters from the trilogy, and there were a number of sidebar stories and characters that had found no place in the trilogy's structure. I also had a couple of precursor Mars stories that did not fit the trilogy's history--'Exploring Fossil Canyon' and 'Green Mars'--and I had held these out of my earlier story collections thinking they belonged with the Mars group."So all this material was there, and as I wrote Antarctica, I found myself drawn back into the matter of Mars repeatedly, by the discovery of possible life in meteorite AHL8004 and by the Pathfinder landing. I decided to make a collection of Martian tales, and as I put them in roughly chronological order, I saw that they seemed to be adding up to their own larger story, functioning as the trilogy's 'unconscious' or 'secret history'. Using all kinds of modes, from folk tales to scientific articles, from personal accounts to the full text of a constitution, I arranged things so that the book altogether tells the story of an underground and hard-to-see resistance to the terraforming described in the trilogy proper. I had a great time doing these stories, and hope they add up to my own version of a Martian Chronicles."

Stories of Your Life and Others


Ted Chiang - 2010
    Subsequent stories have won the Asimov's SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer's stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven's other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.