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An NPR Books Great Read: Two never-before-published stories from the archives of one of science fiction’s all-time masters.

The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone.

The second story in this volume, “Childfinder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions™. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price.

The award-winning author of science fiction classics Parable of the Sower and Kindred bestows these compelling, long lost gems “like the miraculous discovery that the beloved book you’ve read a dozen times has an extra chapter” (Los Angeles Review of Books).
Harlan Ellison and Dangerous Visions are registered trademarks of the Kilimanjaro Corporation. All rights reserved.
The New York Times–bestselling author of Rose Daughter reimagines the classic French fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . . 

By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me. 

The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”

This “splendid story” by the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Hero and the Crown has been named an ALA Notable Book and a Phoenix Award Honor Book (Publishers Weekly).
 
Six misfits, one powerful entity. An award-winning novel about belonging by “one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy who ever lived” (Stephen King).

Individually, they are a seemingly simpleminded young man living in the woods who can read the thoughts of others, a runaway girl with telekinetic powers, twin girls who can barely speak but can teleport across great distances, and an infant with a mind like a supercomputer. Together, they are the Gestalt—a single extraordinary being comprised of remarkable parts—although an essential piece may be missing . . .
 
But are they the next stage in human development or harbingers of the end of civilization? The answer may come when they are joined by Gerry. Powerfully telepathic, he lacks a moral compass—and his hatred of the world that has rejected him could prove catastrophic.
 
 Winner of the International Fantasy Award and considered Theodore Sturgeon’s masterpiece, More Than Human is a genre-bending wonder that explores themes of responsibility and morality, individuality, and belonging. Moving and suspenseful, lyrical and provocative, the novel was one of the first to elevate science fiction into the realm of literature, and inspired musicians and artists, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
 
From the Nebula Award–winning author of Godbody, The Dreaming Jewels, and other great works of science fiction, this is an unforgettable reading experience and a must for anyone who enjoys Ramsey Campbell, Robert Silverberg, or Philip José Farmer.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Theodore Sturgeon including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library and the author’s estate, among other sources.
“A well-written and worthy sequel to one of SF’s enduring classics”—the Nebula Award winner The Forever War—now with a bonus story, “A Separate War” (Publishers Weekly).

On virtually every list of the greatest military science fiction adventures ever written, Joe Haldeman’s Hugo and Nebula Award–winning classic, The Forever War, is ranked at the very top. In Forever Free, the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master and author of the acclaimed Worlds series returns to that same volatile universe where human space marines once engaged the alien Taurans in never-ending battle.
 
While loyal soldier William Mandella was fighting for the survival of the human race in a distant galaxy, thousands of years were passing on his home planet, Earth. Then, with the end of the hostilities came the shocking realization that humanity had evolved into something he did not recognize.
 
Offered the choice of retaining his individuality or becoming part of the genetically modified shared Human hive-mind, Mandella chose exile, joining other veterans of the Forever War seeking a new life on a wasteland world they called Middle Finger.
 
Making a home for themselves in this half-frozen hell, Mandella and his life partner, Marygay, have survived into middle age, raising a son and a daughter in the process. Now, the dark truth about the colonists’ ultimate role in the continuation of the Human group mind will force Mandella and Marygay to take desperate action as they hijack an interstellar vessel and set off on a frantic escape across space and time.
 
But what awaits them upon their return is a mystery far beyond all human—or Human—comprehension . . .
 
In Forever Free, Joe Haldeman’s stunning vision of humankind’s far future reaches its enthralling conclusion in a masterwork of speculation from the mind and heart of one of the undisputed champions of hard science fiction.

And in the bonus story included in this volume, “A Separate War,” Marygay, reassigned and separated from her lover, Mandella, continues fighting in military engagements across the stars—all the while planning how she and Mandella can reunite despite the time and space between them.
New York Times Bestseller: The “fascinating” true story of John Dale Cavaness, a much-admired Illinois doctor—and the cold-blooded killer of his own son (The Washington Post).

 Fusing the narrative power of an award-winning novelist and the detailed research of an experienced investigator, author Darcy O’Brien unfolds the story of Dr. John Dale Cavaness, the southern Illinois physician and surgeon charged with the murder of his son Sean in December 1984. Outraged by the arrest of the skilled medical practitioner who selflessly attended to their needs, the people of Little Egypt, as the natives call their region, rose to his defense.
But during the subsequent trial, a radically different, disquieting portrait of Dr. Cavaness would emerge. Throughout the three decades that he enjoyed the admiration and respect of his community, Cavaness was privately terrorizing his family, abusing his employees, and making disastrous financial investments. As more and more grisly details of the Cavaness case come to stark Midwestern light in O’Brien’s chilling account, so too does the hidden gothic underside of rural America and its heritage of violence and blood.
 
“A meticulous account . . . An implicit indictment of a culture that condones and encourages violent behavior in men.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“A fascinating story, and Darcy O’Brien does a great job of structuring it for suspense.” —The Washington Post
 
“Riveting.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“A terrifying story of family violence and the community that honored the perpetrator.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Stunning material . . . Handled with justice and fastidiousness by a natural storyteller.” —Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize
A “stimulating” account of the capitalists who changed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the stage for the 1929 crash and Great Depression (Kirkus Reviews).

In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the “lords of creation” who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and greed, America’s giants of industry remolded the US economy in their own image. They established their power and authority, ensuring that they—and they alone—would control the means of production, transportation, energy, and commerce—creating the conditions for the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

As modern society continues to be affected by wealth inequality and cycles of boom and bust, it’s as important as ever to understand the origins of financial disaster, and the policies, practices, and people who bring them on. The Lords of Creation, first published when the catastrophe of the 1930s was still painfully fresh, is a fascinating story of bankers, railroad tycoons, steel magnates, speculators, scoundrels, and robber barons. It is a tale of innovation and shocking exploitation—and a sobering reminder that history can indeed repeat itself.
 
The “raunchy, hilarious, and thrilling” true story of the incomparable Norma Wallace, proprietor of a notorious 1920s New Orleans brothel (NPR).

Norma Wallace grew up fast. In 1916, at fifteen years old, she went to work as a streetwalker in New Orleans’ French Quarter. By the 1920s, she was a “landlady”—or, more precisely, the madam of what became one of the city’s most lavish brothels. It was frequented by politicians, movie stars, gangsters, and even the notoriously corrupt police force. But Wallace acquired more than just repeat customers. There were friends, lovers . . . and also enemies.
 
Wallace’s romantic interests ran the gamut from a bootlegger who shot her during a fight to a famed bandleader to the boy next door, thirty-nine years her junior, who became her fifth husband. She knew all of the Crescent City’s dirty little secrets, and used them to protect her own interests—she never got so much as a traffic ticket, until the early 1960s, when District Attorney Jim Garrison decided to clean up vice and corruption. After a jail stay, Wallace went legitimate as successfully as she had gone criminal, with a lucrative restaurant business—but it was love that would undo her in the end.
 
The Last Madam combines original research with Wallace’s personal memoirs, bringing to life an era in New Orleans history rife with charm and decadence, resurrecting “a secret world, like those uncovered by Luc Sante and James Ellroy” (Publishers Weekly). It reveals the colorful, unforgettable woman who reigned as an underworld queen and “capture[s] perfectly the essential, earthy complexity of the most fascinating city on this continent” (Robert Olen Butler).
 
The riveting true account of a grisly crime and the unprecedented three murder trials faced by Fort Bragg soldier Tim Hennis.

On Mother’s Day, 1985, the bodies of Kathryn Eastburn and her two young daughters were found in their Fayetteville, North Carolina, home. Katie, an air force captain’s wife, had been raped and stabbed to death. Kara and Erin’s throats had been slit. Their toddler sister, Jana, was the only survivor of a bloody killing spree that terrified a community still reeling from the conviction, six years prior, of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald for the savage slayings of his pregnant wife and two daughters.
 
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department soon focused its investigation on US Army soldier Tim Hennis. Detectives and local prosecutors built their case on circumstantial evidence and a jury convicted Hennis and sentenced him to death. But his defense team refused to give up. Piece by piece, they discredited the state’s case, exposing false testimony, concealed evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct. At a second trial, Hennis was found not guilty and released from death row.
 
But an even more stunning turn of events was yet to come. Twenty-five years after the murders, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation tested a crucial piece of DNA evidence from the crime scene. The shocking results led to an unprecedented third trial to determine Tim Hennis’s guilt or innocence.
 
From the initial discovery of the horrifying scene at 367 Summer Hill Road to the controversial change of jurisdiction that allowed Hennis to be prosecuted for an astonishing third time, author Scott Whisnant chronicles every development in this intricate, disturbing, and still-evolving case. Has the mystery of who killed Katie, Kara, and Erin Eastburn been solved beyond a reasonable doubt? Read Innocent Victims and decide for yourself.
 
The astonishing true story of America’s most accomplished art forger: a kid from New Jersey who became a master, fooling experts and eluding the FBI for thirty years. Ten years ago, an FBI investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York was about to expose a scandal in the art world that would have been front-page news in New York and London. After a trail of fake paintings of astonishing quality led federal agents to art dealers, renowned experts, and the major auction houses, the investigation inexplicably ended, despite an abundance of evidence collected. The case was closed and the FBI file was marked “exempt from public disclosure.” Now that the statute of limitations on these crimes has expired and the case appears hermetically sealed shut by the FBI, this book, Caveat Emptor, is Ken Perenyi’s confession. It is the story, in detail, of how he pulled it all off. Glamorous stories of art-world scandal have always captured the public imagination. However, not since Clifford Irving’s 1969 bestselling Fake has there been a story at all like this one. Caveat Emptor is unique in that it is the first and only book by and about America’s first and only great art forger. And unlike other forgers, Perenyi produced no paper trail, no fake provenance whatsoever; he let the paintings speak for themselves. And that they did, routinely mesmerizing the experts in mere seconds. In the tradition of Frank Abagnale’s Catch Me If You Can, and certain to be a bombshell for the major international auction houses and galleries, here is the story of America’s greatest art forger.
A secret agent aboard a galactic railroad must derail a sinister conspiracy in this “rip-roaring” thriller by the author of Star Wars: Thrawn (Publishers Weekly).

The universe is a dangerous place, a fact violently brought home to Frank Compton for perhaps the thousandth time when a stranger delivering a message dies right in front of him. An operative for Western Alliance Intelligence until his whistle-blowing activities got him fired, Compton is now being sought out by the Spiders, the robotic alien beings responsible for the upkeep and operation of the Quadrail transportation system, which connects the galaxy’s twelve inhabited empires. The discovery of a sinister plot to use the Quadrail for ill has brought the Spiders to Compton—for only someone possessing the former agent’s unique skills can stop the scheme for good.
 
But when Compton leaves Earth behind—joining forces with Bayta, the Spiders’ beautiful, half-human representative aboard the Quadrail—the terrifying scope of a vast, galaxy-wide conspiracy begins to reveal itself. Targeted on all sides by alien assassins of every shape and species, Compton and his enigmatic new partner are suddenly in a race against a clock ticking down to an irreversible doomsday, one in which the galactic night train will derail, carrying all members of humanity screaming to their deaths.

The first in the Quadrail series from the Hugo Award–winning author of Blackcollar and many New York Times–bestselling Star Wars novels, Night Train to Rigel is an action-packed “great read” (Booklist).

 
A psychopathic female fugitive provokes a mother’s vengeance in this terrifying thriller by the New York Times–bestselling author of Gone South and Boy’s Life.
 
Back in the 1960s, Mary Terrell shot and killed a man. A former member of the fanatical Storm Front Brigade—a splinter group of the notorious Weathermen—Terrell has stayed one step ahead of the FBI for decades. Living with numerous identities and menial jobs, Terrell’s only constants in life have been LSD, psychotic delusions of motherhood, and murderous rage.

The sixties are long gone, but Mary is still out there. Now, provoked by a message she reads in Rolling Stone, she’s convinced that the surviving leader of her old band of radicals wants to build a life with her. So one night, Mary sneaks into the maternity ward of an Atlanta hospital.

Laura Clayborne has a successful career and now, a newborn baby. She’s the type of person who is sensitive to suffering and injustice. But the kidnapping of her infant son has brought out a white-hot fury. She’s not going to sit and wait while the FBI investigates. She’s going after Mary herself—headlong and relentless—on a twisting and violent cross-country pursuit to get her child back. But to track a madwoman, Laura will have to think like one . . .

A Bram Stoker Award winner, this “expertly constructed novel of suspense and horror” (Publishers Weekly) from the author of Swan Song, Speaks the Nightbird, and other acclaimed works is “feverishly exciting . . . a page-whipping thriller” (Kirkus Reviews).
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