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Humour is the weapon of unarmed people


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The Diamond Age
by Neal Stephenson (1995)


Nanotech engineer John Percival Hackworth steals a copy of a computer-interactive book he designed for his wealthy employer. Neo-Victorian society is never the same again when an underprivileged girl gets a hold of it and radically reprograms the future. It is a world in which there is nowhere to hide from nanotechnology. Stephenson adeptly turns serious themes into fun.





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Connie Willis To Say Nothing of the Dog
by Connie Willis (1998)


The hero jumps back and forth between the 21st century and the 1940s on a mission to find the missing piece to restoring Coventry Cathedral. When too many jumps leave him exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But a fellow time traveller has thrown a spanner in the works, and love at first sight makes his holiday anything but restful.





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The Atrocity Archives [S1]
by Charles Stross (2004)


Bob Howard is a low-level techie working for a super-secret government agency. While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob's under a desk restoring lost data. His world was dull and safe, but then he went and got Noticed. Now, Bob is up to his neck in spycraft, parallel universes, dimension-hopping terrorists, monstrous elder gods and the end of the world.





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How to Live Safely in a Sci-Fi Universe
by Charles Yu (2010)


A story of a son searching for his father through quantum spacetime. Minor Universe 31 is a vast story-space on the outskirts of fiction, where paradox fluctuates like the stock market, lonely sexbots beckon failed protagonists, and time travel is serious business. Every day, people get into time machines and try to do the one thing they should never do... change the past.





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Redshirts
by John Scalzi (2012)


Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. He begins to pick up on the fact that senior officers always survive Away Missions, while at least one low-ranked crew member (a Redshirt) is, sadly, always killed. Fans of the original Star Trek series will recognise pretty quickly where this idea came from.





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Just One Damned Thing After Another [S1]
by Jodi Taylor (2013)


Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do time-travel... they investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power, especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.





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The Humans
by Matt Haig (2013)


The hero is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man - as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that his host had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and 'the humans' than he ever expected. Pure body-snatching fun.





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We Are Legion (We Are Bob) [S1]
by Dennis E. Taylor (2016)


Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure, but gets himself killed crossing the street. He wakes up a century later to find that he has been uploaded into computer hardware and, if he declines a dangerous assignment, he'll be switched off. The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks.





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Space Opera
by Catherynne M. Valente (2018)


Basically, this is the Eurovision Song Contest in galactic style... which is pretty cool. In the aftermath of the Sentience Wars, the civilisations gather for the high stakes Metagalactic Grand Prix. But when humankind has discovers the enormous universe, they find glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. humankind will not get to fight for its destiny - they must sing.


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