Category Archives: free Kindle books

Free SF ebook “Creatures of the Abyss” by Murray Leinster is abysmal


Oh hey, let me tell you: CREATURES OF THE ABYSS by MURRARY LEINSTER is truly some putrid pulp. This novel by one of science fiction’s greatest masters is not as bad as it gets – it’s worse than “as bad as it gets.”

Even in a genre where high quality was not often a prerequisite, here is a piece of work that provides abundant ammunition for all those bookish snobs who relegate science fiction to “the urinal of literature.”

Leinster has been dead for almost 40 years, but I feel like I should conduct a séance so that I can demand back from his soul the hours I spent dragging my eyes across this work of fiction, which not so much qualifies as writing, but as a bizarre waste container for writing.

What I mean is: This book stinks. It’s depressing that a man who spent his entire life writing as much as he could and selling everything he produced to dozens of top-line publishers should have such bland contempt for his own craft, and his readers.

Pulp fiction writers were famous for cranking out “one-run-only-through-the-typewriter” schlock, but in this case, Leinster evinces an “I’m-on-automatic-pilot-cranking-out-crap” sense of entitlement that displays scorn for his readers, and who knows, perhaps a dollop of self-loathing thrown in.

Life is strange. There is great beauty in our world, blissful works of art, soaring achievements in literature, but sometimes, when you least expect it, you step in a pile of shit.

Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

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Machines of Easy Virtue is a throwback to 1940s-style detective novels with a science fiction spin that reads fast and satisfies even faster


So here is a writer who trims the fat from his prose; it’s all lean. The dialogue is snappy, the sentences crisp, the observations pithy, the action scenes crackle up, explode then dissipate rapidly leaving no aftertaste — just good clean fun.

Well, maybe not so clean when you consider the robot orgies.

When the author dubbed his yarn MACHINES OF EASY VIRTUE he meant really easy. Believe me, these anatomically correct androids come out of the factory generously equipped. The technicians didn’t scrimp on the screwdrivers, if you know what I mean. The robots in the world of JACK PRICE give a whole new meaning to the term “tool” and “package” — their software may be soft, but these machines are hardwired for maximum pleasure.

It’s one thing when a high society millionaire starts getting a little on the side from the maid; but it’s quite another when the maid is a robot. And when the robot maid and robot butler get a hankering for each other and start a mechanical shag-a-thon on the kitchen floor — and then the flesh-and-blood master walks in on it – well, you know, life gets complicated.

Somebody could get killed.

That’s where Red Bourbon, gumshoe, private dick, man for hire, comes in.


You see, Bourbon is down on his luck. He’s almost out on his ass. His apartment rent is unpaid so he sleeps in his sleazy inner-city office – but he’s behind on the rent there, too.

That means when a classy dame with sexy long legs straight up to her business section strolls in with a crazy-dangerous job and a pile of cash, you jump on it – and you try to jump her, too, at the first opportunity.

Yeah, there’ll be cash, there’ll be some pleasure along the way. But getting’ up to your neck in the lusty affairs of the rich and powerful get can you clipped – and fast. You never know who your friends are. Your old buddy on the Chicago P.D.’s got your back – except when he doesn’t. The dame who’s payin’ you might be settin’ you up – you just never know.

When you’re Red Bourbon, private eye, you’re on your own. Sometimes the only thing between you and another meal is how fast you can draw your Glock, or kick some thug in the jewels and then knee-up his ugly face.

That’s right. The future has arrived. Cars drive themselves, robots do all the scut work and the Artificial Intelligence ap on your smartphone is your only true friend. Sometimes making a living is more like making a dying — but, hey, you signed up for it.

Ken Korczak is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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Free ebook gem: “The Mosstrooper: A Legend of the Scottish Border” by Robert Scott Fittis is a marvelous, authentic document that entertains


Mining the hoary ebook files of Project Gutenberg is like panning for gold. Every once and a while you wash up a shiny nugget. Such is the case with THE MOSSTROOPER: A LEGEND OF THE SCOTTISH BORDER by Robert Scott Fittis.

Fittis was a writer’s writer and a Scotsman’s Scott. Born in 1824 in Perth, Fittis took to his pen early in life; he completed Mosstrooper at the age of just 17. That’s astonishing considering the shimmering quality of this short novel. It should be noted, however, that Fittis revised this work years later after many decades of writing and publishing volumes for local “penny papers.”

The Mosstrooper was originally published in serial fashion, as were just about all of Fittis’ works that eventually became books. Fittis was a master of keeping his audience of fellow Scotts enthralled. I have been unable to find significant ancillary information about Fittis, so I’m uncertain if he achieved recognition beyond his regional popularity. He died in 1903. What’s beyond doubt is that he ascended to the status of legend within his realm – and was widely considered a favorite son of Scotland.

The Mosstrooper is a rather simple tale of tragedy and triumph, knights and damsels, set in late 1400s Scotland. The background scene is what was then the somewhat murky region of what was then the borderlands between England and Scotland. It was a time of powerful lords and barons who were virtual kings in their own right. Although nominally under the sway of the English Crown, they commanded private armies. Disputes among them were a constant source of power games, political maneuvering and war.

This border region produced a mercenary class of soldier called a “Borderer.” They were part outlaw, part Scottish nationalist, opportunistic plunderers, and as Fittis describes them: “ … rough-living, law-defying, rarely out of “sturt and strife.”

The border was also often in dispute not just between England and Scotland, but perhaps even more so among local barons, whether it be Scott against Scott or Anglo against Anglo, and any combination thereof.

What makes Mosstroopers a marvelous book is a deep authenticity engendered by a writer who was a dedicated historian obsessed with researching ancient genealogies, and poring over dusty, yellowed archives, cracking with age. Equally as important: Fittis was an ardent student of the language as expressed in poetry and verse.

Fittis gives us heady doses of the local Scottish brogue, and expertly tunes our ears to the regional enunciations in passages like this:

“Frae sunset to sunset has this hand been feckless as a withered rush,” he said. “In darkness as in licht I ha’e been weak as water. I micht ha’e flung the brat, like a stane, frae the brow o’ a fathomless precipice, never mair to be seen but by the ravens.”

Or here’s another, quoting a “gaberlunzie” which was a kind of itinerant vagabond or hobo of the Scottish countryside:

“It’s a braw and bonnie nicht,” said the begger … “a braw May nicht indeed. Look to the lift – look to the earth – there’s beauty owre a’. See – the parting beams o’ sun linger on the bald, rocky brow o’ yon hill, like a crown o’ glory, while a’ the dell aneath is losing itself in the shadow.”

It’s wonderful. Reading the Mosstroopers is as close as I’ll probably ever get to climbing into an actual time machine and traveling back to the untamed wilds of the English-Scotch borderlands – to a time of knights and barons, bravery and treachery, Scottish heroes and the beautiful maidens who held their hearts.

Ken Korczak is the facilitator of: THE DR. 58 MATERIAL

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‘Chupacabra’ is a Free Science Fiction eBook That Reads Like A Script For A Made-For-TV B Horror Movie


You know the way sometimes you’re flipping channels and you get to the Science Fiction station and notice they’re running some obviously super low-budget made-for-TV movie with some ludicrous premise – and you settle in to enjoy watching an extremely bad movie?

It’s that well-known “it’s-so-bad-it’s-good” phenomenon. A couple of years ago I happened upon a Sci-Fi Channel offering about a guy who turned into a giant mosquito! Ha, ha! Did you see that one? Boy, it was so screamingly dumb! But it’s fun to watch goofy crap like that occasionally because – well, I’ll just leave it to some psychologist to score a government grant to explain to all of us the why-we-like-bad-entertainment phenomenon.

But I mention this because I have just finished reading the short novel, CHUPACABRA, by DALLAS TANNER. I’ll come right out with a theory I have about this offering: I’m thinking that Mr. Tanner may have first attempted to write a script for a made-for-TV B movie, shopped it around, got no bites, and so decided to turn his script into a short novel.

As the title suggests, this is a yarn with the legendary CHUPACABRA– the goatsucker – of mostly Latin American legend, at the center of the premise. Chupacabra is a crypto-zoological beast with vampire-like tendencies that preys on farm animals. It sucks its victim dry of blood – but leaves the meat.

Unfortunately, reading a bad science fiction novel does not deliver the same pleasure as watching a bad movie. I think it’s because you have to work harder – you know, with the reading, and all. When you watch a terrible TV movie, you just sit back with a beer and a bag of Cheetos and let the dreck come to you. When you read a B-novel, there’s all that effort with the squinting at words and turning of pages, and such.

As fiction, Chupacabra makes every conceivable literary mistake a writer can make to ensure that this will be a truly terrible piece of writing – cliché-cardboard characters, blocks of exposition without action, absolutely no original concepts, and supremely poor editing.

Consider: One of the characters is a lovely Caribbean-born scientist who is something of an expert on the Chupacabra. She is alternately identified as: “an astronomer,” “an astrologer,” “an astronomist,” and “a technician.” I take pains to point this out to show you that I am not merely being purposefully mean and snarky in my review, but that I am only applying the unfortunate credit to where the unfortunate credit it due.

You might be surprised that I am going to say now that this author is almost certainly a far, far better writer than this novella suggests. I’ve been making my sole living as a freelance writer and editor for almost 30 years, and one develops an instinct for those who have “got it” and those who never will. Dallas Tanner has what it takes to be a genuinely fine writer, believe me — I can just tell – but no one will be able to tell from reading this book.

Note: You can get Chupacabra free ebook here: FREE SCIENCE FICTION EBOOK

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Free Kindle Science Fiction, Free Nook Science Fiction: Clifford Simak, Hellhounds of the Cosmos


I’ve always had a soft spot for CLIFFORD SIMAK, and not just because he is one of the greats of the Golden Era of Science Fiction, and because he was the third person to achieve “Grand Master” status from the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

He’s special to me because he spent much of his life working as a hard-core, nose-to-the-grindstone newspaper reporter in Minnesota – and I also spent several years doing the same.

I also went to college at Winona State University, which is just across the Mississippi River from Wisconsin and fairly near Simak’s birthplace of Millville, Wisconsin. Many of his works are set in this rural, pastoral Wisconsin environment, which is a land of graceful bluffs, rolling hills, deciduous greenery and granite outcroppings.

What’s astounding about this free ebook selection, HELLHOUNDS OF THE COSMOS, is that it was published in 1932. Once you read it you’ll see why I select the word astounding. It’s the story of an inter-dimensional invasion by an alien species – but the “hellhounds” turn out not to be extraterrestrials – but rather, earth creatures from an unimaginably distant past — and another plain of existence!

I mean, how many other writers from small towns in Wisconsin were envisioning scenarios like that, much less finding the talent and moxie to pull off a story that was accessible to a mass audience? At the time Simak published this piece, he was working at at the Brainerd Dispatch, a newspaper in central Minnesota lakes country.

Reading this story gives one that fun feeling of watching an old black-and-white science fiction movie of the 1950s, except it’s more intelligent and demands that the reader expand his or her mind to grasp the concept —and the entertainment – of the plot and premise.

One of the things I really like about this piece is the vividly accurate picture Simak creates of a hustling-bustling olf-fashioned newsroom environment with editors and reporters working in a state sleep-deprived frenzy to deliver that big stop-the-presses! story to their readers.

Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a free ebook download from a variety of location, such as and here: HELLHOUNDS

For More Inter-Dimensional Adventures Of The Real-Life And True Kind, Go To: THE STRANGE UNIVERSE OF DR. 58

Free Science Fiction Nook, Kindle Gems: Planet of the Damned


The prolific SF writer Gordon Dickson was called the “Book Doctor” because he was so good at advising other writers on how to make their books riveting page turners. His advice was that a great SF book should have the sound of a metaphoric ticking bomb that could go off at any time, and that the reader should start hearing that ticking on the first page.

In HARRY HARRISON’S pulp offering “Planet of the Damned” the bombs are not metaphors, but literally part of the plot — in this case, a cache of nuclear cobalt bombs in the hands of a planet occupied by the worst kind of violent, savage “cave men” you can imagine. How did such a bunch of primitive grunts get their hands on nuclear weapons, and how do they have the ability to drop them on the neighboring planet in their solar system? Well, like all clever SF writers — and Harrison is among the most clever — he finds a way to make this scenario at least plausible

The savages on the planet Dis want to drop their bombs on the planet Nyjord, populated by a gentle race of passivist philosophers. Only one man stands in the way of this nefarious plot — the incredible Brion Brandd — a super Olympian-style athlete — who finds himself an unlikely draftee to lead the effort to avert the nuclear annihilation of Nyjord. Brandd is not just a jock — he’s incredibly smart, and an empath to boot.

Anyone judging this short novel today must do so keeping in mind that it does not pretend to be anything which it is not — it’s a classic pulp fiction offering, first appearing in Analog SF magazine in 1962. Fast books with a hot premise like this were the bread and butter of pulp-era writers such as Harrison, and he was among the best in delivering genre fiction of this sort, and doing a credible job.

So it’s not great literature, it may not even be stellar science fiction, but it is what it is: A fast-paced, intelligent thrill-novel set in the far future and outer space. Harrison knows his science well, and gives the reader a lesson in exobiology that is interesting and educating, without stalling the plot. That’s no easy task!

Download this free science fiction ebook here: PLANET OF THE DAMNED

Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

Free Science Fiction Kindle Book: No Turning Back


After I read the prologue to this science fiction novel by SHARON T. ROSE, I was sufficiently impressed by the writing skill of the author to want to continue reading, and the first chapter did not disappoint either. I was treated to skillfully handled action scenes, enough strangeness to make me want to know more, and interesting characters – in short, this promised to be an above-average science fiction yarn. And for the most part it is, but perhaps only for a younger audience.

The story involves a titanic interplanetary war that has been raging for centuries. The good guys and the bad guys have basically reached a stalemate. Since neither side can defeat the other, what we are left with is a low-grade state of war that flares up occasionally, or settles back into cold-war tension. The central heroes are the “Descendants” who are seemingly ordinary people, but who have the ability to transform themselves into giant “suited” warriors with extraordinary powers and weaponry. They are fighting an ancient evil enemy called the Sukkers.

To be honest, the “Descendants” remind me a lot of the “Power Rangers” of kid television fame. The similarities are many. Both are young people who say or think of some kind of “magic word” which causes them to transform into powerful, suited fighting warriors. One might also compare the Descendants to a half a dozen other super hero groups, such as the X-Men who, again, are seemingly ordinary people but who have extraordinary powers, and who wear “suits” when they fight bad guys. So on this score, the author does not get high points for originality.

My view is that “No Turning Back” will appeal to a younger audience than a guy like me. I’m a jaded 52-year-old crank who has been reading science fiction for more than 40 years. I’ve read it all, the good, the bad and the ugly – and so I’m hard to impress. For me, this novel for me was “right in there” – not a ground-breaking work destined to be a classic, but an entertaining enough read for a teenage or young adult audience.

I also expect great things in the future from this writer, who has marvelous skill with words.

This book is a free Kindle downland:CLICK HERE

Ken Korczak is the author of MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

Free Kindle, Nook eBook Gems: Science Fiction’s Master Of Wit


So here is a short story by one of the all-time masters of science fiction, ROBERT SHECKLEY. Warrior Race is about a 15-20 minute read, but the impact of the story will stay with you a lot longer. Don’t be surprised if you’re driving in your car some day, or maybe walking your dog, and suddenly you find yourself thinking about this clever gem, and having yourself a private chuckle.

In brief: The story involves two unlucky space travelers who find themselves “way out there” and running short on fuel. They identify a remote planet where a cache of starship fuel has been squirreled away – it’s an isolated world that has not had other visitors from space for many years.

When our two space men land, they encounter a primitive, but fierce population whose lives revolve around their identities as “warriors.” The problem is, the place where the fuel is kept has long since come to be viewed as a sacred shrine, and the astronauts must find some way to get around, beyond or through tens of thousands of heavily armed natives to get the fuel they need.

At the heart of the story is an extremely clever twist – the highly peculiar fighting tactics of the Warrior Race. I can say no more, or I would spoil it. But take it from me, this is typical Sheckley cleverness at its best! It’s no accident that Sheckley is often called “the Voltaire” of science fiction. His wit is sharp, still fresh today, and very much on display in this little masterpiece of the genre.

Click WARRIOR RACE to get your free Nook or Kindle copy!

Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA

Free eBook Gems: William the Conqueror by Jacob Abbott


Enter a courtroom in the United States today, especially New England states, and you will hear the balif proclaim: “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” That’s Norman French for: “Hearken! Hearken! Hearken!”

And so the titanic influence of one man, William the Conqueror, ripples across the centuries and an ocean to display its effect today. In the year 1066, William, the Duke of Normandy, set sail across the English channel with a mighty force, marched ashore and throttled the army of King Harold, thus taking the English crown and changing western world forever.

Originally published in 1877, educator Jacob Abbott writes like a kindly history teacher speaking to class of high school seniors. His style is lucid and no nonsense. He gives you the facts, but manages to flesh out enough anecdotal and incidental information to make this a bright and interesting read — still fresh more than 125 years after it was written.

This book, and all of Abbott’s MAKERS OF HISTORY series, are short treatments of famous historical figures. They are must reads for those who want a deeper understanding of the incredible people who changed the world in their day, and colored all of history. About the length of short novels, I love Abbott’s short history treatments because they inform an educate, and give you a rich perspective on history, without having to wade through a lot of dry, acedemic textbook-like tomes.

Do youself a favor. Brush up on your history, maybe starting with this fine little book, WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR by Jacob Abbott. It’s a 100% free ebook download for any format, be it Kindle, Nook, PDF of whatever you prefer.

Ken Korczak is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

Free Kindle, Nook eBooks: Maybe the Only Jack Vance You Will Find Free Online

Ken Korczak:

This is the only free Jack Vance work I have found online as a free ebook download. Maybe it’s not great literature, but on the other hand, one must keep in mind that there simply is no bad Jack Vance. This short story, Sjambak, is a run-of-the-mill sf short story of the kind that appeared in pulp magazines through the 40s, 50s and 60s. Writer’s like Vance cranked out slightly interesting and amusing yarns like this by the dozen to put coin in their pocket.

But Vance is most likely the greatest sf writer of them all, though far less known than the “big guns” such as Asimov, Heinlein and Bradbury. But Vance is a far, far superior writer to all of the above, (yes, even Bradbury) and the primary reason for that is his extremely unique and elegant style.

Sjambak merely hints at the brilliant potential of Vance. Readers who have read only this story should not make a judgment on Vance until they have read his novels, such as “The Demon Princes” or the sublime “The Planet of Adventure” series. Some of Vance’s shorter novels, such as The Dragon Masters and The Last Castle (the latter actually a long short story) are nothing less than literary work of art. There is no true joy like reading a Jack Vance book.

Downloand this short story free for Kindle, Nook and other formats here: SJAMBAK