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Worlds Without End Blog

Where to Find DRM-Free eBooks, and Why It’s Worth the Effort Posted at 11:24 PM by Scott Lazerus

Scott Laz

A couple of weeks back, Rico penned a post saying goodbye to eBook DRM (digital rights management), following Tor Books’ announcement that it had extended its new no-DRM policy worldwide. The common sense arguments against DRM are laid out in that post, but, despite Tor’s decision, the brave new world of DRM-free eBooks isn’t quite here yet. Many authors and smaller publishers are embracing DRM-free books, but the big publishers and the major eBook retailers are still resistant.

This is not surprising, since an important profit-making strategy for large corporations is to restrict competition, and that is exactly what DRM does. It’s well known by this point that DRM does not prevent digital piracy—the argument usually made for it. What it does is prevent book buyers from moving their files across reading platforms. From a publisher perspective, this could increase profits by increasing the chance that some readers will end up re-buying books in the future, if they ever want to switch to a different reader, or somehow lose access to the account their books are attached to. It makes even more sense from the perspective of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the major book retailers and producers of the two top e-readers. If you’ve already bought a hundred eBooks from Amazon, and you can’t read them on a Nook or a Sony Reader, you will feel locked into continuing to use the Kindle, even if a competing e-reader comes along that you’d like to switch to. And if you stick with the Kindle, you won’t be buying books from Barnes and Noble or any other DRM-restricted e-bookstore.

Cyanide_and_Happiness_DRMThere are advantages to staying with a particular eBook “ecosystem.” Amazon makes a great e-reader, can sell you just about any eBook that’s available, and is very easy to use. Barnes and Noble can make similar claims. But whichever you choose, you’re pretty much stuck with that company (or whoever buys it out in the future) forever. And, for the moment, the big publishers are determined to “double down” on DRM, as Cory Doctorow describes here. Hatchette Book Group is trying to force its authors to sign contracts requiring them to make sure that any books they publish, even when published through other publishers, contain DRM. An author who has published with Hatchette and Tor, according to Doctorow, has received a letter pressuring the author to ensure that Tor does not remove the DRM from the author’s Tor books. It seems clear that these companies are not going to give up easily.

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Three WWEnd Listed Authors Go Cheap! Posted at 8:29 PM by Rico Simpkins


The God Engines    Counterfeit Magic    The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox
John Scalzi just announced on his blog that The God Engines is now on sale for only $2.99. The sale also includes his nonfiction book, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop Into a Coffee Shop.  Two other WWEnd authors also made the sale.  It includes Counterfeit Magic and Hidden by Kelley Armstrong, as well as The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry HughartOne thing these eBooks have in common is impressive cover art.  Too bad I do all my eBook reading on a black and white Kindle!  These covers really make me want to rethink that new Kindle Fire HD.

Kurt Vonnegut Rises Posted at 12:48 PM by Rico Simpkins


Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.Members of Ball State University’s Immersive Learning  Group have digitized his life:

The group’s completed projects include a digitization of Vonnegut’s physical manuscripts; creation of a film archive and oral history of the author, a traveling exhibit and new products for its gift shop; and development of a marketing plan to help KVML become self-sustaining.

What is immersive learning?  Ball State explains the reason for the new pedagogical philosophy:

The end product of immersive learning is that our graduates move into careers with skills beyond textbook learning. Not only do they have a strong intellectual knowledge base, they know how to work with others and how to drive projects to completion. They’ve been engaged in real-world problems with real budgets and deadlines. They know how to develop priorities in a team, how to lead a team, and how to collaborate as a team member.

Hey, if it means I get to read the original manuscript of Slaughterhouse-Five, I’m all for it.

Read Total Recall for 99¢ on Kindle Posted at 10:05 PM by Rico Simpkins


Yes, we know.  This remake is slap in the face to the Ahnold.  Even director Len Wiseman seems a little sheepish about it in his latest interview.  Just remember, even the “original” Schwarzenegger engine wasn’t an original, either.  It was an adaptation, of course, of Philip K. Dick‘s classic short story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.  Before you see the movie, read it!  To commemorate the release of the new film, Amazon has released the story under the latter day title, Total Recall.

Octavia E. Butler Comes to eBooks for the First Time Posted at 10:25 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Open Road Integrated MediaOctavia E. Butler (1947–2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. Among her many awards she recieved the 1985 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "Bloodchild" and the 1999 Nebula Award for Parable of the Talents.

Open Road Integrated Media has created the above video to celebrate their newly launched ebook series of the works of Octavia E. Butler. (More scenes from the documentary are forthcoming.) The 12 volume series covers the bulk of Butler’s books including her Xenogenesis and Patternist series which you can read singly or in their omnibus editions Lilith’s Brood and Seed to Harvest respectively.

Bloocdhild and Other Stories Lilith's Brood Parable of the Talents Seed to Harvest Wild Seed

From the Open Road site: "Butler was the first African-American woman to come to prominence as a science fiction writer. Published early in her career in small print runs and without much attention, she evolved into a major force in both science fiction and mainstream literature as audiences came to appreciate how her work dealt boldly with such topics as race, religion, gender and social structure."

This is the first time her works have been made available in ebook format and each includes an illustrated biography featuring never before seen photos.

Kurt Vonnegut on the Cheap Posted at 8:26 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Cat's CradleAmazon is offering 18 Kindle edition Kurt Vonnegut titles for $3.99 each through the end of September. The regular list price for these books is up to $15 a piece so you can get three for the price of one. Seems a great time to stock up on some Vonnegut so get ’em while they’re hot!

This is also perfect timing for Banned Books Week starting on the 24th. Three of Vonnegut’s books are on our Banned Science Fiction & Fantasy Books list: Cat’s Cradle, Welcome to the Monkey House and Slaughter-House Five. You may remember back in July how Slaughter-House Five was banned yet again.



Stephen King Goes Treeless Posted at 11:18 PM by Rico Simpkins


Mile 81Stephen King is the third most nominated author in the WWEnd database. Like a lot of authors, he has embraced the new digital book industry with gusto. Now we find that his latest short story, Mile 81, will only be available with ebook retailers. Is this a trend? Are book anthologies and industry magazines, like Analog, Asimov’s and Clarkesworld, facing new competition from individual authors? With the recent announcement of Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine now offering a free bi-monthly digest, I’d guess yes.

The brief description that Scribner released evokes memories of Christine: "Mile 81 is the chilling story of an insatiable car and a heroic kid whose worlds collide at an abandoned rest stop on the Maine Turnpike."



Gollancz releases every book… ever. Posted at 1:23 AM by Rico Simpkins


You may have noticed on the novel page that a new button sometimes appears underneath the cover image. Worlds Without End has started including "Add to Amazon Kindle" buttons for those titles that are available on Amazon electronically. You will see this button more and more as we update our database. Once this project is completed, we’ll look at adding Nook, ePub, and mobi editions (where available)

This is our second push for ebook support. The first came a few years ago, when we added the public domain ebook list, where you can download dozens – destined to be hundreds – of public domain books to your ebook reader or computer.

SF Gateway

Just as we begin to get serious about adding these links to our site, we hear that Gollancz, the second winningest publisher in our database, is taking many of their out-of-print classic books and making them available as ebooks. The SF Gateway website is going to be "the world’s largest digital SFF library." We couldn’t be more thrilled, since several of our (especially Hugo) winning titles have been out of print for some time.

Now, for your perusing pleasure, here is a list of authors, or their estates, who have already decided to release their corpus for digital reading:

Poul Anderson • Barrington J. Bayley • Gregory Benford • Michael Bishop • James P. Blaylock • James Blish • Marion Zimmer Bradley • John Brosnan • Fredric Brown • John Brunner • Algis Budrys • Kenneth Bulmer • Edgar Rice Burroughs • Pat Cadigan • John W. Campbell Jr • Terry Carr • Arthur C. Clarke • Hal Clement • D.G. Compton • Michael G. Coney • Edmund Cooper • Richard Cowper • John Crowley • L. Sprague de Camp • Samuel R. Delany • Philip K. Dick • Gordon R. Dickson • Christopher Evans • Philip Jose Farmer • John Russell Fearn • Alan Dean Foster • Mary Gentle • Mark S. Geston • Joseph L. Green • Colin Greenland • Nicola Griffith • Joe Haldeman • Harry Harrison • Frank Herbert • Philip E. High • Robert Holdstock • Cecelia Holland • Robert E. Howard • Raymond F. Jones • Leigh Kennedy • Garry Kilworth • Damon Knight • Henry Kuttner • Tanith Lee • Murray Leinster • H.P. Lovecraft • Katherine MacLean • Barry N. Malzberg • Phillip Mann • David I. Masson • C.L. Moore • Ward Moore • Edgar Pangborn • Frederik Pohl • Rachel Pollack • Tim Powers • Mack Reynolds • Keith Roberts • Eric Frank Russell • Josephine Saxton • Bob Shaw • Robert Silverberg • Clifford D. Simak • Dan Simmons • John Sladek • Cordwainer Smith • E.E. "Doc" Smith • Norman Spinrad • Olaf Stapledon • Theodore Sturgeon • William Tenn • Sheri S. Tepper • James Tiptree Jr • E.C. Tubb • George Turner • Harry Turtledove • Jack Vance • Ian Watson • Ted White • Kate Wilhelm • Connie Willis • Robert Charles Wilson • Gene Wolfe

Bright of the Sky Free on Kindle Posted at 12:22 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Bright of the SkyOver on the Pyr-o-mania blog Lou Anders has posted that Pyr is offering a FREE Kindle edition of Bright of the Sky, book 1 of Kay Kenyon’s The Entire and the Rose series.

Kay Kenyon’s brilliant sci-fantasy epic quartet, The Entire and the Rose, is now available in its entirety in hardcover, trade paperback, and Kindle-format ebook. And to celebrate, the first book in the series, Bright of the Sky, is now FREE on Kindle.

"[Bright of the Sky] knocked my socks off with its brilliant evocation of a quest through a parallel universe that has a strange river running through it. Unique in conception, like Larry Niven’s Ringworld, this is the beginning to what should be an amazing SF-Fantasy series.”   – Locus Online, Best of 2007

“Bright Of The Sky effortlessly blends science fiction concepts and world-building with fantasy story telling to create a unique and intriguing whole….Kay Kenyon has created a standout novel….I’m looking forward to the rest of series. 4 out of 5 stars.”

There does not appear to be a time limit on this but I suggest you get it now just in case.  Thanks Pyr.

The Dark Prince of American Letters Posted at 3:52 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Harlan EllisonA couple weeks back I posted 20 Harlan Ellison books to WWEnd but I never got around to mentioning them in the blog.  Real life can be such a hassle.  Anyway, they’re here now so we’ve fixed that gaping hole in our coverage at last.  Mr. Ellison is famous for his short fiction (and his short temper ; ) and we’re starting to get into shorts via collections and anthologies aroud here so Ellison was a great place to start.

I’m a relative novice when it comes to Ellison but what I’ve read so far in his collections have me wanting to read more.  His stories leave me just a tad creeped out and that feeling stays with me for days.  That’s not a complaint, mind you.  Ellison makes you think.  The titular short, I Have No Mouth & I must Scream, is a prime example of his disturbing genius as is A Boy and His Dog found in Vic and Blood.   In case you missed it, Paul wrote a fun review of the film version that you should check out.

All 20 books are part of a complete set from publisher using the same cover art but with variations on the title colors.  They look better in person but they tend to run a little bland after a dozen or so.  Jynnantonnyx has added a bunch of the more colorful older cover art to some of the pages that fit the weird nature of the contents better than the cookie cutter covers in the new series.  Check out the arternate images for Ellison Wonderland for some examples.  Trippy.

Harlan Ellison seriesOne thing that I really like about Ellison is his flair for story titles.  I Have No Mouth & I must Scream, The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, The City on the Edge of Forever and The Whimper of Whipped Dogs are just a few examples.

Of course, not all 20 of the new books are Ellison’s story collections.  We’ve also got two short story anthologies that he edited:  Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions.  From all accounts these are two of the best anthologies ever produced.  Says, James Blish: “There has never been a collection like this before… it will entertain, infuriate, and reward you for years.”  Take a look at the list of contributors and tell me you don’t want to read these.

If you’ve not tried Ellison before, now is a good time to start.  Ask Pete Hamil: “Harlan Ellison is the dark prince of American letters, cutting through our corrupted midnight fog with a switchblade prose. He simply must be read.”

Happy reading.