There are increasing numbers of quality books available online at no cost. So many, in fact, that it is a mistake to go looking for them, since if you try to read them all before doing your homework, your homework will never get done.
Here are a few online books that I have read in recent weeks instead of being productive:
* Monster Island by David Wellington – This excellent zombie novel features several unusual twists on the genre. The main antagonist is a man who figured out that pre-zombies get their brains damaged when they die, and that’s why zombies are retarded when they’re re-animated. The solution? Hook yourself up to some medical equipment to ensure constant blood flow to the brain throughout the dying process, and re-animate as a smart zombie!
* Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi – The aliens in this book are a bit too omnipotent for me… I think they have a bit of the Superman problem, i.e. “How do you make overpowered heroes interesting?” There are no real bad guys in this story, and a somewhat disappointing lack of conflict. Nevertheless, the premise is fascinating, the storytelling is excellent, and there is enough character development and plot twistiness to make the book worth reading.
* God’s Debris by Scott Adams – Another case of “Philosophy 101” syndrome, which Waking Life also suffers from, but Waking Life is my favorite movie of all time, so that doesn’t immediately prevent me from enjoying God’s Debris. I think the lack of character development annoys me. Waking Life, the Socratic Dialogues, and many other excellent cases of philosophy masquerading as fiction have well developed characters with personalities and souls. The way I see it, if Scott Adams is just going to produce cardboard cutouts, he might as well have written it as non-fiction and dropped the narrative style. That said, I liked the ideas in the book, and I’m interested in reading the sequel.
* Continuity – A comic book about a girl who can’t sleep because horrible things happen when she does. I’m just unclear on why she doesn’t have any good dreams that produce good things (except possibly at the end?).
* Transmetropolitan #8 by Warren Ellis – I’ve read this and several other Transmet comics… Warren Ellis was enlightened enough to let this fan-posted comic remain online. I recommend anything Warren Ellis has ever written.