Monday, 16 February 2009

Project Gutenberg and free e-books...

Well, the digital revolution is definitely with us...

One of the forums that I'm a member of, discusses various aspects of Science Fiction (you'll recall that I'm a bit of a SciFi nut). Recently, in a thread discussing slow-rotation worlds, someone popped up with a reference to H. Beam Piper's "Four Day Planet".

Piper's works could well be described as seminal; in many ways, he helped define the latter stages of the "Golden Age of Science Fiction" with his works such as "Little Fuzzy" and others, laid benchmarks in how such tales might be told and were, frankly, stonking good reads as well.

Sadly, Piper never learned of this. Believing himself to be a failure and in financial crisis, he committed suicide in 1964, only a few months following his 60th birthday.

It now appears that the copyrights to his works were never renewed, and that, as lapsed works, they could be re-printed at will. The Gutenberg Project, a project devoted to republishing expired works of all genres, has added Pipers available works to it's database. You can read them right off the database in a choice of formats, the main ones being HTML, Text, and something called "Plucker", which allows you to read e-books on your PDA, Palmtop, or Pocket PC.

So, grab a few books, and stick 'em onto your PPC for the next time you get stuck somewhere in the middle of no-where - you'll be glad you did, and may even find a book you like!

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