One of the economic and cultural developments I’m more pleased to see happening is that of artists putting some or all of their work online, with the plan or hope of attracting followers and being able to capitalize on them in the future in one way or another. It’s not like giving away free samples is a revolutionary idea, but in an era of adamant (and, IMHO, misguided) defense of “intellectual property” by some sectors it’s certainly refreshing to see some people embracing the wave rather than fighting it.
I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, so in this post I’ll list some great stuff that I’ve found around in the past:
- Accelerando: by Charles Stross. Follows the story of a dysfunctional family through the coming of a sort of Singularity. I downloaded it in my N810 and read it in a couple of days, and although the pace seems a bit uneven in some places it’s for sure a great journey full of interesting ideas (Matryoshka brains! Turing oracles!). If you like it make sure to buy Glasshouse, a delightful novel by the same author where the action happens in the same universe.
- The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect: by Roger Williams. A post-Singularity novel (by now it might seem I’m kind of obsessed with the topic. Not really. Or rather, I’m obsessed with many other things) that deals masterfully with a classic thought experiment: what does it mean to be human in a world where all your wishes can be fulfilled without pain or struggle? A real page-turner, and it seems a sequel might be published some day. We can only hope.
- Greg Egan: the left-side of the brain companion to Philip K. Dick. Some of his novels will bend your brain, and some of the ideas he elaborates have literally changed the way I see the world. His homepage is full of technical notes for his work and a collection of free stories, which are a perfect way to get hooked and decide to buy his books (if you want suggestions, my personal favorites are Permutation City and Diaspora).
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, …: Cory Doctorow might be the most famous science fiction writer publishing some of his works under free licenses, but I must admit I haven’t yet read any of them. Rumour has it they are pretty good, but if you don’t like them you can have your money back.
Well, that’s it. There’s probably more, but I can’t think of any more off the top of my head. If you know of other great stuff published online by its authors please tell us in a comment!