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Rip-Off!

An Anthology by 13 of Today’s Best Speculative Fiction Writers

Thirteen of today’s best and most-honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story. Find out more on the stories that have been 'ripped off' here.

 
More Books by the Authors of Rip-Off!
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  • Shadowrise: Shadowmarch: Volume III

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (138)

    Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, the king’s children Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives. Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land.

    Joshua A. says: "Good, not great, Tad Williams"
  • Shadowheart: Shadowmarch: Volume IV

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (129)

    Thousands of years ago the gods fought and fell in the deeps beneath what is now Southmarch Castle, then were banished into eternal sleep. Now at least one of them is stirring again, dreaming of vengeance against humankind....

    Laura says: "Just Ok"
  • Magic Time: Ghostlands

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Marc Scott Zicree, Robert Charles Wilson
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    The epic climax of the Magic Time saga finds former lawyer turned visionary leader Cal Griffin continuing his quest across the changed face of America, where machines no longer run and magic holds sway. Accompanied by his loyal band of followers, fierce warrior Colleen Brooks, expatriate Russian physician Doc Lysenko, and bipolar street wizard Herman "Goldie" Goldman, Cal follows a trail of clues he hopes will lead him to the Source of the Change that overthrew the world.

    Charles says: "Ghostlands"
  • Dust

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Bear
    • Narrated By Alma Cuervo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Hugo Award winner Elizabeth Bear has been called one of the best science fiction authors of her generation. In Dust she skillfully spins a classic science fiction trope - the lost generation ship - into a complex and compelling tale of fallen angels, secretive family politics, and sexual taboo.

    Philip says: "A new twist"
  • Chill

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Elizabeth Bear
    • Narrated By Alma Cuervo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Hugo Award winner Elizabeth Bear has won high praise for her thought-provoking science fiction. The second in Bear’s powerful Jacob’s Ladder series, Chill finds the generation starship Jacob’s Ladder with a new captain—Perceval. As Perceval struggles with the ship’s recent damage, remnants of the rebellion still linger and a threat to the crew grows.

    Jennifer says: "Sequel to "Dust""
  • Grail: Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Bear
    • Narrated By Alma Cuervo
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Booklist calls the world of Hugo Award winner Elizabeth Bear’s spellbinding Jacob’s Ladder series “magnificently populated, well worth visiting.” Here the trilogy that began with Dust and Chill draws to its stunning conclusion. The passengers of the generation spaceship Jacob’s Ladder have found a new home at last. But the planet Grail is already inhabited - and its population of genetically engineered humans has no intention of sharing the world.

    AndreaOwens says: "Could not get into this series at all."
  • Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2530)
    Performance
    (1980)
    Story
    (1985)

    The first book of best-selling sci-fi author Jack Campbell’s new series Beyond the Frontier returns to find Captain John “Black Jack" Geary, the hero of the Lost Fleet series, awoken from cryogenic sleep to take command of the fleet. Geary’s legendary exploits have earned him the adoration of the people—and the enmity of politicians convinced that a living hero can be a very inconvenient thing.

    Michael says: "More Please!"
  • Aliens Rule

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Nancy Kress, Carolyn Gilman, James Van Pelt
    • Narrated By Vanessa Hart, Tom Dheere
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    This collection of unabridged readings chronicles the lives of people striving to survive as aliens rule Earth. In James Van Pelt's "How Music Begins", a junior-high school band director struggles to keep the band members' spirits up after they've been shanghaied, by unknown and unseen aliens, and confined to a dormitory and practice auditorium.

  • The Widowmaker

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Jefferson Nighthawk--known and feared by many as the Widowmaker, the consummate bounty hunter--has been frozen for a century in order to defeat a deadly disease. Only now the cost of his care has risen, so the Widowmaker is called out of retirement for one special commission, and a very large chunk of cash. A notorious assassin has been wrecking havoc on the Frontier; who better but the Widowmaker to defeat him?

    charles says: "enjoyable not up to past works"
  • The Widowmaker Reborn

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Jefferson Nighthawk, once the galaxy's most feared killer, is cloned again and given a new mission. This time he is not only armed with the Widowmaker's killing skills, but also with his lifetime of knowledge. Nighthawk's new mission involves the rescue of a corrupt politician's daughter, and the assassination of the rebel leader who holds her captive. But the daughter puts a wrinkle in the plan when she offers her father's fortune if Nighthawk kills her father instead.

  • The Widowmaker Unleashed

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    He was the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, the consummate killing machine, a man known only as the Widowmaker. Now, after a century of being cryogenically frozen, Jefferson Nighthawk has a new lease on life--and new enemies who want him dead....Jefferson Nighthawk has been awakened from his frozen sleep, his deadly disease cured. But although he still has the experience and instincts of the legendary Widowmaker, Nighthawk is now biologically in his 60s.

    Raymond says: "Futuristic Western Plot"
  • A Gathering of Widowmakers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    There is only one thing that Jefferson Nighthawk, the original Widowmaker, really wanted to do and that was retire on a far away planet and raise a garden. There were still two clones of him to keep the peace and carry on his legend. Unfortunately for him, his two clones have come to a disagreement. When a widowmaker takes on a widowmaker everyone runs for cover. There is only one man who can stand up to the clones of the Widowmaker... the Widowmaker himself.

    G.Monie says: "Great FAST read!"
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2793)
    Performance
    (2383)
    Story
    (2387)

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1753)
    Performance
    (1494)
    Story
    (1496)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
  • A Bridge of Years

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Robert Charles Wilson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (42)

    A secluded Pacific Northwest cottage becomes a door to the past for Tom Winter, who travels back to the New York City of 1962, followed by a human killing machine that he alone must stop.

    Shellbin says: "absorbing, excellent narration"
  • Stark's War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Eric Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (660)
    Performance
    (416)
    Story
    (418)

    To seize the moon from foreign powers--and keep his men alive - Sergeant Ethan Stark must choose which orders to obey - and which to ignore.

    Greg says: "Heavy-handed"
  • Stark's Command: Stark's War, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer, Jack Campbell
    Overall
    (446)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (281)

    A mutiny on the moon places Sgt. Ethan Stark in command of the U.S. military forces there - and turns a dream for independence into a reality.

    Jean says: "An interesting military Sci Fi"
  • Stark's Crusade: Stark's War, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (410)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (254)

    He was sent into space to protect the U.S. Lunar Colony. Instead, when faced with orders that would do nothing but get his soldiers killed, Sergeant Stark lead a rebellion. Now he and his soldiers must fend off deadly aggression from their own country without igniting a full-scale civil war.

    Andy says: "A fine conclusion"
  • Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Mike Resnick
    Overall
    (182)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (87)

    Thousands of years after mankind has become extinct, a party of alien archaeologists try to learn the mysteries of mankind as they excavate in a gorge on Earth. This Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella by Mike Resnick is a gripping exploration of human origins and motivations.

    Eric says: "Birthright"
  • Bwana & Bully!

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Mike Resnick
    • Narrated By Hakeem Kae Kazim
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Ex-US-President Theodore Roosevelt is is approached by John Boyes with the idea of raising the natives of the Belgian Congo and gaining independence for the African colony. Through some quite shrewd manipulations and a fine awareness of the situation he manages to easily oust the Belgian colonists and establish an independent African country. However, what he now has to do is bring democracy to the Congo and unite a country made up of semi-nomadic tribes still rooted in traditions, and used to a society controlled by tribal leaders and witch doctors.

    amar says: "Liked It."
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