His Last Bow


His Last Bow

Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

1. The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles

I find it recorded in my notebook that it was a bleak and windy day towards the end of March in the year 1892. Holmes had received a telegram while we sat at our lunch, and he had scribbled a reply. He made no remark, but the matter remained in his thoughts, for he stood in front of the fire afterwards with a thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an occasional glance at the message. Suddenly he turned upon me with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters," said he. "How do you define the word ‘grotesque’?"

"Strange – remarkable," I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

"There is surely something more than that," said he; "some underlying suggestion of the tragic and the terrible. If you cast…

Beyond The City


Arthur Conan Doyle

Beyond The City

Chapter 1 – The New-Comers

"If you please, mum," said the voice of a domestic from somewhere round the angle of the door, "number three is moving in.

Two little old ladies, who were sitting at either side of a table, sprang to their feet with ejaculations of interest, and rushed to the window of the sitting-room.

"Take care, Monica dear," said one, shrouding herself in the lace curtain; "don’t let them see us.

"No, no, Bertha. We must not give them reason to say that their neighbors are inquisitive. But I think that we are safe if we stand like this."

The open window looked out upon a sloping lawn, well trimmed and pleasant, with fuzzy rosebushes and a star-shaped bed of sweet-william. It was bounded by a low wooden fence, which screened it off from a broad, modern, new metaled road. At the other side of this road were three large detached deep-bo…

Eastern Standard Tribe


Cory Doctorow

Eastern Standard Tribe

Blurbs:

"Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar-a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)."

— William Gibson. Author of Neuromancer

"Cory Doctorow knocks me out. In a good way."

— Pat Cadigan. Author of Synners

"Cory Doctorow is just far enough ahead of the game to give you that authentic chill of the future, and close enough to home for us to know that he’s talking about where we live as well as where we’re going to live; a connected world full of disconnected people. One of whom is about to lobotomise himself through the nostril with a pencil. Funny as hell and sharp as steel."

— Warren Ellis. Author of Transmetropolitan

A note about this book:

Last year, in January 2003, my first novel (http://craphound.com/down) came out. I was 31 years old, and I’d been calling myself a novelist since the age of 12….

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom


Blurbs:

He sparkles! He fizzes! He does backflips and breaks the furniture! Science fiction needs Cory Doctorow!

Bruce Sterling . Author, The Hacker Crackdown and Distraction

In the true spirit of Walt Disney, Doctorow has ripped a part of our common culture, mixed it with a brilliant story, and burned into our culture a new set of memes that will be with us for a generation at least.

Lawrence Lessig . Author, The Future of Ideas

Cory Doctorow doesn’t just write about the futur … think he lives there. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom isn’t just a really good read, it’s also, like the best kind of fiction, a kind of guide book. See the Tomorrowland of Tomorrow today, and while you’re there, why not drop by Frontierland, and the Haunted Mansion as well? (It’s the Mansion that’s the haunted heart of this book.) Cory makes me feel nostalgic for the futur … dizzying, yet rather pleasant sensation, as if I’m spirali…

Oliver Twist


Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist or the parish boy’s progress

CHAPTER I

TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORN AND OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH

Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have …

Great Expectations


Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

Chapter I

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister,-Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably derived from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father’s, gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From the character and turn of the inscription, "Also Georgiana Wife of the Above," I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly.

To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a h…

Dombey and Son


Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son

CHAPTER 1

Dombey and Son

Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great arm-chair by the bedside, and Son lay tucked up warm in a little basket bedstead, carefully disposed on a low settee immediately in front of the fire and close to it, as if his constitution were analogous to that of a muffin, and it was essential to toast him brown while he was very new.

Dombey was about eight-and-forty years of age. Son about eight-and-forty minutes. Dombey was rather bald, rather red, and though a handsome well-made man, too stern and pompous in appearance, to be prepossessing. Son was very bald, and very red, and though (of course) an undeniably fine infant, somewhat crushed and spotty in his general effect, as yet. On the brow of Dombey, Time and his brother Care had set some marks, as on a tree that was to come down in good time — remorseless twins they are for striding through their human forests, notching as they go …

David Copperfield


Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

THE PERSONAL HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE OF DAVID COPPERFIELD THE YOUNGER

PREFACE TO 1850 EDITION

I do not find it easy to get sufficiently far away from this Book, in the first sensations of having finished it, to refer to it with the composure which this formal heading would seem to require. My interest in it, is so recent and strong; and my mind is so divided between pleasure and regret — pleasure in the achievement of a long design, regret in the separation from many companions — that I am in danger of wearying the reader whom I love, with personal confidences, and private emotions.

Besides which, all that I could say of the Story, to any purpose, I have endeavoured to say in it.

It would concern the reader little, perhaps, to know, how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of a two-years’ imaginative task; or how an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world…

Bleak House


Charles Dickens

Bleak House

PREFACE

A Chancery judge once had the kindness to inform me, as one of a company of some hundred and fifty men and women not labouring under any suspicions of lunacy, that the Court of Chancery, though the shining subject of much popular prejudice (at which point I thought the judge’s eye had a cast in my direction), was almost immaculate.

There had been, he admitted, a trivial blemish or so in its rate of progress, but this was exaggerated and had been entirely owing to the "parsimony of the public," which guilty public, it appeared, had been until lately bent in the most determined manner on by no means enlarging the number of Chancery judges appointed-I believe by Richard the Second, but any other king will do as well.

This seemed to me too profound a joke to be inserted in the body of this book or I should have restored it to Conversation Kenge or to Mr. Vholes, with one or other of whom I think it must have ori…

A Scanner Darkly


Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly

Acknowledgments

Excerpt from “The Other Side of the Brain: An Appositional Mind” by Joseph E. Bogen, M.D., which appeared in Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Societies, Vol. 34, No. 3, July 1969. Used by permission. Excerpt from “The Split Brain in Man” by Michael S. Gazzaniga which appeared in Scientific American, August 1967, Vol. 217. Used by permission. Untitled poem reprinted from Heinrich Heine: Lyric Poems and Ballads, translated by Ernst Feise. Copyright 1961 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. Other German quotes from Goethe’s Faust, Part one, and from Beethoven’s opera Fidelio.

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Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no bugs in his hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out …