ManyBooks.net has released a whole new slew of free science fiction stories. Here they are, with excerpts:
“The Day of the Boomer Dukes” by Frederik Pohl (1956)
First you must know how I am called. My “name” is Foraminifera 9-Hart Bailey’s Beam, and I am of adequate age and size. (If you doubt this, I am prepared to fight.) Once the–the tediety of life, as you might say, had made itself clear to me, there were, of course, only two alternatives. I do not like to die, so that possibility was out; and the remaining alternative was flight.
“The Worshippers” by Damon Knight (1953)
The star had planets. He noted their passage in the telescreen, marked their apparent courses, and blithely set himself to land on the one that seemed to be nearest. He was totally ignorant of orbits; he simply centered his planet on the screen as he had done with the star, found that it was receding from him, and began to run it down.
“The Burning Bridge” by Poul Anderson (1960)
The message was an electronic shout, the most powerful and tightly-beamed short-wave transmission which men could generate, directed with all the precision which mathematics and engineering could offer. Nevertheless that pencil must scrawl broadly over the sky, and for a long time, merely hoping to write on its target. For when distances are measured in light-weeks, the smallest errors grow monstrous.
“Spell of Catastrophe” by Mayer Alan Brenner (1989)
The stair shifted in the gloom and became a man dressed in loose dark clothes sprawled out on the floor, burbling pleasantly from somewhere in a comprehensive stupor. By the look of him, he might be burbling still when the caravan passed through the next time, heading south again at the end of its run. That probably meant the local rotgut was either very tasty or very dangerous. Max stepped across the man and proceeded across the room.
“Warning from the Stars” by Ron Cocking (1959)
There was no valid reason why he should have been self-conscious as he talked to the lab attendant in charge of the decompression tank. He used it a dozen times a month for tests and experiments, yet when he gave his instructions his voice was labored and strained.