Re-Kindle (sorry…) your literary flame with this selection of the best free science fiction eBooks!
As many thrifty readers may know, Amazon is a treasure trove of free or very cheap e-books available to read on your phone, Kindle, or online. However, due to the ease of self-publication, the treasure trove doubles as a garbage barge, piled high with bad alien porn and Twilight fan-fiction disguised as real books. It’s taken me years of being a poor college student to set my dignity aside and search desperately for free e-books that don’t suck, because sometimes as a book-addict, you gotta choose between another value-pack of Top Ramen or a full-priced Kindle book.
Luckily for you, I’ve done the heavy lifting (aka digging through massive piles of written %$#@) and found the diamonds in the rough, nay the best free science fiction eBooks. Curiously, it seems as though time travel and the 80’s as a theme is making a comeback in a big way. Maybe so readers can escape our present and the horrors it brings (anyone catch the debate? I’m still scared…). Regardless of the hows and whys, here’s what’s good with the latest free sci-fi eBooks, with a minimum of 4 or more stars:
First Contact (In Her Name, Book 1) (2009) Michael R. Hicks
This epic space adventure should indeed be called, First and Last Contact, because the aliens they met are crazy. Far physically and technologically superior, these blue-skinned fanged zealots prove they’re the best in the galaxy by slaughtering every member of other races in the name of their ancient religion. The novel follows the crew of the Aurora as they attempt to make first contact with an alien race. As you may guess from my previous statements regarding these aliens, it did not go well. The aliens ship the last survivor of the Aurora back to Earth with a high tech egg timer counting down to a global attack. Will humanity survive, or go the way of countless planets before them? You’ll have to read it to see, but because this is the first of a long series, I think there’s a good chance humanity survives another day! The space battles within these pages are fantastic, some of the best literary battles of all time.
In Times like These: A Time Travel Adventure (2013) Nathan Van Coops
What one Goodreads reviewer calls “perhaps the best time travel book” he’s ever read is packed full with very realistic time-travel advice and messed up, relatable characters. In Times like These follows Ben Travers and his friends as they attempt to survive being zapped back to 1985 during a lightning storm. Luckily for them, they find other time travelers, but unluckily, they keep turning up dead.
Ben and his friends eventually stumble across brilliant scientist and his time-traveling daughter, and that seems to be the end of that… until they realize that time isn’t as stable as it seems to be. Their presence in the past may create unimaginable dangers in their present, so the group of unwitting time-travelers must learn to master the flow of space time to return to the present, before destroying it.
Hard Vacuum (2013) Simon Cantan
Though technically a novella, this hilariously over-the-top sci-fi action story packs all the punch of a full-length 80’s blockbuster. The heroine, Kyra Sarin is so kick-ass it’s nigh unbelievable. If you can make it through all 70 pages without playing 80’s rock and visualizing B-movie reimagining’s of these totally rad fight scenes, you may want to go to the doctors, because your funny bone may be in need of replacement. The plot is simple: Kyra Sarin just finished her 5 year tour fighting aliens and stopped by a space station on her way home, which is a mistake. But after the aliens invade the station and get their butts handed to them by this smack-talking sassy badass, the reader realizes that the mistake was the aliens’, by daring to mess with Kyra Sarin.
The Tinkerer’s Daughter (2011) Jamie Sedgwick
Don’t let the cheesy 3D-rendered steampunk girl on the cover fool you: this novel shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. Sedgwick manages to retell a common story in a fresh, original way. A child of two-worlds trapped between a violent war as the only person who can hope to unite the two sides and bring peace to the galaxy. Breeze is that person, a young girl who is left in the care of a reclusive eccentric inventor, called a Tinkerer. With her ingenuity and the Tinkerer’s workshop, Breeze may be the last hope to stop the ceaseless slaughter of these two cultures.
The Last Survivors: A Dystopian Society in a Post Apocalyptic World (2014) Bobby Adair, T.W. Piperbrook
Long after the end of the world, the remaining survivors are struggling to survive the haunted wasteland populated by monsters. The forests are uninhabitable, technology is so far out of reach, people doubt it ever existed, and the air-borne disease transforming humans into twisted beasts is spreading. The Last Survivors is a gripping novel that explores the psychology of sacrifice, a mothers love, and how, in the face of monsters, human beings treat each other monstrously. It also examines the blooming of inequality in the wake of world-shattering disasters. Not to mention it’s a zombie/dystopic novel, so it’s going to be bad-ass as well.
The In-Betweener (2015) Ann Christy
This book offers a fresh take on the whole zombie trend- think 28 Days Later mixed with Michael Crichton’s Prey and then make it not scary at all. It follows Emily, one of the last (if not the last) humans on earth after nanotechnology went awry and turned people into zombies, called deaders, or “in-betweeners” which are basically alive zombies that crave human flesh. Strange and intriguing concept! Life for Emily is turned upside down when one day she’s exterminating the deaders trying to break through her gate when she realizes one of them isn’t a deader after all; it’s an in-betweener different than any she has ever seen, and it has a message for her.
A Question of Will (2014) Alex Albrinck
Distant cousin of Tony Stark, this novel tells the story of time-travelling Iron Man…Just kidding. Totally unrelated to Iron Man, this gripping story follows Will Stark, a self-made billionaire with a lovely family and a great life. But not for long. He returns home one day to find his family murdered and his house burnt to the ground. Condemned to death himself, Will is rescued by a mysterious trio, members of a “splinter faction of a centuries-old secret society that has developed incredible technological advances, and unlocked the method to release humanity’s innate potential and skills long thought [to be] the realm of magic.” Luckily for sci-fi addicts, it is science, not magic, that releases these innate powers. Will was targeted because the attackers thought he was a rebel fighting against the primary group in power, but unfortunately for them, they got the wrong man. Now, with nothing to lose, Will decides to embrace the power within and hunt down the people that ruined his life- and become engulfed in ancient war drama along the way.
The Synchronicity War (2013) Dietmar Wehr
The first of a four-part series, The Synchronicity War chronicles humanities run in with a highly aggressive and technologically advanced alien race who refuses all attempts to make peace in lieu of exterminating the United Earth Space Force, our protagonists. All seems lost when all of a sudden an officer of the United Earth Space Force begins to experience visions that allow him to predict and fight off the attacks of the xenophobic alien race… sometimes. The visions are sporadic and unpredictable. With the fate of humanity on the line, the high ranking officers begin to give our prophetic officer more and more responsibility in battles. This military-focused series features amazing space battles, and an in-depth exploration of how the stress of war warps the minds of the men, women, and artificial intelligence’s fighting for their lives.
Zombie Fallout (2014) Mark Tufo
Anti-Vaxxer’s will love the premise of this story, and survivalists will love the ending. In an alternate present, the H1N1 virus got a lot more serious and eventually a vaccine was found. However, because of the fatal and fast-spreading nature of the virus, the vaccine was rushed through human trials and put onto the market. Everyone who could bought the vaccine, and shortly after injecting it they died an awful death to be reborn as flesh-eating zombies. This hilarious survival book follows Michael Talbot, a doomsday prepper who’s snarky, self-deprecating humor brings life into these undead pages. He attempts to retain some form of civilization while protecting his friends and family from the zombies, and the ravenous zombie queen.
Sink: Old Mans Tale (2016) Perrin Briar
Once reviews compare you to Michael Crichton and Conan Doyle, you’ve made it to the big leagues. Perrin Briar, one of the best new sci-fi writers on the scene today, is giving the greats a run for their money. Graham Turner, our shady anti-hero, is sucked into a sinkhole into a whole new underground world. Alongside the old man he was attempting to steal from in the process. (Awkward…) The forgotten realm lying in wait far below the surface was anything but a stroll in the park. So now, the subterranean world that swallowed our main characters will force them to work together to survive, and escape, this strange and frightening situation. And the best part? They’re not alone.
Hopefully, this list will help prove that free science fiction eBooks aren’t always garbage; sometimes they’re an author’s first stepping stone on the path to greatness. Or maybe the author is just really nice and wants to share their work with everyone for free!
Probably not, but you never know. This list of the best free science fiction eBooks isn’t arranged in any particular order, and if you think I missed some gems, let me know in the comments!