As I mentioned in my last monthly review, I signed up for Coursera’s Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World MOOC. This is an eleven week course offered by the university of Michigan, and more specifically by Prof. Eric Rabkin, whom I don’t know but thank heartily anyway!

We will read no less than twelve authors through this course, sometimes multiple books per author. That’s a lot of books, so you might want to rush to the public library, really. Though, if you have an eReader or if you are comfortable reading on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you could get a free version of most of these books online, since the majority of them are in the public domain.

In this article you will find links to the relevant eBooks and some information as to how to read these eBooks on your device.

Disclaimer: I’m in no way part of Coursera’s or the University of Michigan’s staff, so this is not official content for the course. Also, you should check if the following eBooks are in the public domain in your country before you download them.

Where to find these eBooks?

W1. Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm

Translated by Lucy Crane and illustrated by Walter Crane. This is the edition suggested by Prof. Rabkin.
Download Household Stories on Gutenberg.


W2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Caroll

If you can, avoid reading a text-only version of Alice; especially a bare text file. The original edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was superbly illustrated by John Tenniel and in some parts of the book, Lewis Caroll plays around with the text formatting. Some jokes in the dialogs can only be understood if the formatting is as Lewis Caroll intended it.
I recommend the ePub or Kindle versions of the University of Adelaide:


W3. Dracula by Bram Stoker

You can get Dracula on Gutenberg.


W4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Once again, Gutenberg is your best friend: get Frankeinstein; Or, The Modern Promotheus (interesting title, isn’t it?)


W5. Works of Hawthorne & Poe

On week 5, we’ll have a variety of works by Hawthrone and Poe to read. They can be found in the following books:

Nathaniel Hawthorne:

Edgar Allan Poe:


W6. Works of H.G. Wells

Week 6 will also be busy, with two novels and two short-stories by H.G. Wells. They are all available on Gutenberg:


W7. A Princess of Mars and Herland


W8 / W9. The Martian Chronicles and The Left Hand of Darkness

These two books are not in the public domain, so there are no legal free eBooks available. However, they are classics and your public library probably carries them. Otherwise, you should be able to find an affordable copy (you could try second-hand on eBay, for instance).


W10. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is… a great guy. Amongst other things, he shares all his novels for free on his website. You can read his reasons here. You might want to know that Little Brother has a sequel, called Homeland, which is free too on his website, so don’t hesitate to enjoy!

Get Little Brother on Cory Doctorow’s website (scroll down the page for more eBook formats, including ePub and Kindle)


How to say thank you?

Lots of links above are from Gutenberg. The website has existed for years and remained – so far – entirely free, including free of advertising. If you download many books from their website, you might want to donate a little something. No donation is too small, so don’t hesitate to donate the equivalent of a cup of coffee and help keep this website up and running!
By the way, I have no kind of affiliation to Gutenberg either. I’m just a (very) early fan.

How to read ePubs on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone

I’m not going to explain how to read an eBook on an eReader. If you have one, I assume you know how to use it 🙂

On other devices, I would recommend to use one of these two popular applications:

  • If you have a PC (Windows) or a Mac, get Adobe Digital Editions.
  • If you’re using an iPhone, an iPad, or an Android phone or Android tablet, you can use BlueFire.

Once you have one of those installed on your device, you’ll be able to open and read ePub files.

Enjoy and Good luck for the course!