Vonda McIntyre, author of Dreamsnake, has been a major force in the science fiction book world since the 1970s. Now you can rediscover McIntyre's classics, like her tale of posthuman FTL pilots in Superluminal, for free online.
Book View Cafe is serializing Superluminal, releasing a new chapter every week, as well as selling the e-book version. The novel is a great example of science fiction that sits between contemporary posthuman SF, and the old-school SF swashbucklers of the mid-twentieth century, when nobody worried about whether faster-than-light travel was more or less realistic than teleportation gates. McIntyre is a major science geek, and the book is packed with intriguing speculation on biotech. It also boasts memorable characters whose relationships are pleasingly realistic.
Here's how the book begins:
She gave up her heart quite willingly.
After the operation, Laenea Trevelyan lived through what seemed an immense time of semiconsciousness, drugged so she would not feel the pain, kept almost insensible while drugs sped her healing. Those who watched her did not know she would have preferred consciousness and an end to her uncertainty. So she slept, shallowly, drifting toward awareness, driven back, existing in a world of nightmare. Her dulled mind suspected danger but could do nothing to protect her. She had been forced too often to sleep through danger. She would have preferred the pain.
Getting your heart removed is just one stage in the biohacking required to become a pilot in Superluminal.
You can read the serialized novel at Book View Cafe (buy the ebook here) - also, check out a new interview that author Sue Lange did with McIntyre about her work.