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Explorer

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

It has been nearly ten years since the starship Phoenix retuned to the abandoned station orbiting the world of the alien atevi. This station, called Alpha, had been deserted for centuries following a rift between a faction of the station's inhabitants and the spacers' autocratic Pilot's Guild. For two hundred years this splinter faction had shared a fragile coexistence with the atevi, living in isolation on the island of Mospheira, communicating with the brilliant but volatile atevi by the use of a single highly trained diplomat, the paidhi, and trading technological information for continued peace and safety.

The unexpected return of the Phoenix has forever changed the lives of both atevi and Mospheirans, for over the ensuing decade, the captains of the Phoenix have brought both the atevi and their human counterparts into space. Their motivation seemed simple: Reunion Station, a human station in another sector of space, had been destroyed by aliens.

But on his deathbed, the senior captain of the Phoenix admits that he lied to the crew - that Reunion was merely damaged, not destroyed, and many people, including family and friends of the Phoenix crew may have survived. At this disclosure, the crew rebels and forces the Phoenix to undertake a rescue mission to Reunion.

But the crew and captains do not go alone, for on board are Bren Cameron, brilliant human paidhi, now representing Tabini-aiji, the atevi ruler, and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, a fearsome, wily, and ambitious atevi leader with an agenda of her own.

Trapped in a distant star system with very little fuel left, facing a potentially bellicose alien ship, how can Bren help to avoid interspecies war when the notoriously secretive Pilot's Guild aboard Reunion Station won't even cooperate with their own ship, and may have kept the inhabitants of their own station ignorant of their true situation?

Ring

The Xeelee Sequence: Book 4

Stephen Baxter

Michael Poole's wormholes constructed in the orbit of Jupiter had opened the galaxy to humankind. Then Poole tried looping a wormhole back on itself, tying a knot in space and ripping a hole in time.

It worked. Too well.

Poole was never seen again. Then from far in the future, from a time so distant that the stars themselves were dying embers, came an urgent SOS--and a promise. The universe was doomed, but humankind was not. Poole had stumbled upon an immense artifact, light-years across, fabricated from the very string of the cosmos.

The universe had a door. And it was open...

A Deepness in the Sky

Zones of Thought: Book 2

Vernor Vinge

After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.

The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens' very doorstep for their strange star to relight and for their planet to reawaken, as it does every tow hundred and fifty years....

Then, following terrible treachery, the Qeng Ho must fight for their freedom and for the lives of the unsuspecting innocents on the planet below, while the aliens themselves play a role unsuspected by the Qeng Ho and Emergents alike.

More than just a great science fiction adventure, A Deepness in the Sky is a universal drama of courage, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of love.

Fiasco

Stanislaw Lem

The planet Quinta is pocked by ugly mounds and covered by a spiderweb-like network. It is a kingdom of phantoms and of a beauty afflicted by madness. In stark contrast, the crew of the spaceship Hermes represents a knowledge-seeking Earth. As they approach Quinta, a dark poetry takes over and leads them into a nightmare of misunderstanding.

Dragon's Egg

Dragon's Egg: Book 1

Robert L. Forward

In a moving story of sacrifice and triumph, human scientists establish a relationship with intelligent lifeforms--the cheela--living on Dragon's Egg, a neutron star where one Earth hour is equivalent to hundreds of their years. The cheela culturally evolve from savagery to the discovery of science, and for a brief time, men are their diligent teachers . . .

Blindsight

Blindsight: Book 1

Peter Watts

Two months since the stars fell...

Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown.

Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath.

Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune's orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route.

So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to meet the alien when the alien doesn't want to meet?

You send a linguist with multiple personalities, her brain surgically partitioned into separate, sentient processing cores. You send a biologist so radically interfaced with machinery that he sees x-rays and tastes ultrasound, so compromised by grafts and splices he no longer feels his own flesh. You send a pacifist warrior in the faint hope she won't be needed, and the fainter one she'll do any good if she is. You send a monster to command them all, an extinct hominid predator once called vampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send a synthesist-an informational topologist with half his mind gone-as an interface between here and there, a conduit through which the Dead Center might hope to understand the Bleeding Edge.

You send them all to the edge of interstellar space, praying you can trust such freaks and retrofits with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find.

But you'd give anything for that to be true, if you only knew what was waiting for them...

Inheritor

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - six months during which the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledling space program in a breakneck bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a frighteningly powerful third party to an already volatile situation, polarizing political factions in both human and atevi societies, and making the possibility of all-out planetary war an ever more likely threat.

On the atevi mainland, human ambassador Bren Cameron, in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace, has arranged for one human representative from the Phoenix to take up residence with him in his apartments, while another is stationed on Mospheira, humanity's island enclave. Bren himself is unable to return home for fear of being arrested or assassinated by the powerful arch conservative element who wish to bar the atevi from space.

Responsible for a terrified, overwhelmed young man, and desperately trying to keep abreast of the political maneuverings of the atevi associations, how can Bren Cameron possibly find a way to save two species from a three-sided conflict that no one can win?

Rendezvous with Rama

Rama Series: Book 1

Arthur C. Clarke

At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredible, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence. It will kindle their wildest dreams... and fan their darkest fears. For no one knows who the Ramans are or why they have come. And now the moment of rendezvous awaits -- just behind a Raman airlock door.

The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself

Apollo Quartet: Book 2

Ian Sales

For fifteen years, Earth has had a scientific station on an exoplanet orbiting Gliese 876, humanity's only presence outside the Solar System. But a new and powerful telescope at L5 can detect no evidence of Phaeton Base, even though it should be able to do so. So the US has sent Colonel Bradley Elliott, USAF, to investigate. Twenty years before, Elliott was the first, and to date only, man to land on the Martian surface. What he discovered there gave the US the stars, but it might also be responsible for the disappearance of Phaeton Base...

Then Will the Great Ocean Wash Deep Above

Apollo Quartet: Book 3

Ian Sales

It is April 1962. The Korean War has escalated and the US is struggling to keep the Russians and Chinese north of the 38th parallel. All the men are away fighting, but that doesn't mean the Space Race is lost. NASA decides to look elsewhere for its astronauts: the thirteen women pilots who passed the same tests as the original male candidates. These are the Mercury 13: Jerrie Cobb, Janey Hart, Myrtle Cagle, Jerri Sloan, Jan Dietrich, Marion Dietrich, Bernice Steadman, Wally Funk, Sarah Gorelick, Gene Nora Stumbough, Jean Hixson, Rhea Hurrle and Irene Leverton. One of these women will be the first American in space. Another will be the first American to spacewalk. Perhaps one will even be the first human being to walk on the Moon. Beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, deep in the Puerto Rico Trench north of San Juan, lies a film bucket from a KH-4 Corona spy satellite. It should have been caught in mid-air by a C-130 from the 6549th Test Group. That didn't happen. So the US Navy bathyscaphe Trieste II must descend twenty thousand feet to retrieve the bucket, down where light has never reached and the pressure is four tons per square inch. But there is more in the depths than anyone had expected, much more. This is not our world. But it very nearly was.

His Master's Voice

Stanislaw Lem

Scientists studying the phenomenon of neutrino radiation suddenly realize that the cosmic emissions are conveying a message for humanity, and the race is on to decode the alien transmission.

The Invincible

Ace SF Special, Series 2: Book 4

Stanislaw Lem

An interstellar 2nd-class cruiser called Invincible, lands on Regis III which seems bleakly uninhabited, to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor. The crew finds evidence of a form of quasilife, born thru evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines. The evolution was controlled by robot wars. The survivors are swarms of minuscule, insectoid machines. Individually or in small groups they're harmless & capable of only simple behavior. However, when bothered, they form huge swarms displaying complex behavior arising from self-organization & are able to defeat an intruder by a powerful surge of EMI. Some members of the crew suffer complete memory erasure as a consequence. Big clouds are also capable of high speed travel to the troposphere. The angered crew attempts to fight the enemy, but eventually recognize the meaninglessness of their efforts in the most direct sense of the word.

The novel turns into an analysis of the relationship between different life domains & their place in the cosmos. It's a thought experiment demonstrating that evolution may not necessarily lead to dominance by intellectually superior life forms. The plot also involves a Conrad-like dilemma, juxtaposing human values & the efficiency of mechanical insects.

The Dark Forest

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 2

Cixin Liu

Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion—in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

Translated by Joel Martinsen

Note: first published in China in 2008.

Gateway

The Heechee Saga: Book 1

Frederik Pohl

Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe... and on reaches of unimaginable horror. When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is... in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

Precursor

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

Over three years have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which two centuries left an isolated colony of humans to fend for themselves on the world of the volatile atevi.

Since that time, humans have lived in exile on the island of Mospheira, using a single diplomat, the paidhi, to trade advanced technology for the continued peace and safety of its people.

But the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered forever the fragile, carefully maintained political balance of these two nearly incompatible races. For the captains of the Phoenix offer the atevi something Mospheira never could - access to the stars.

For three breakneck years the atevi labor to build a space shuttle which will bear their representatives to the Phoenix, to strengthen connections with their new human and retain their bid for control of their world. But as soon as the shuttle proves spaceworthy, the captains of the Phoenix suddenly recall their planetary delegates, breaking diplomatic contact and initiating a vicious bid for political dominance.

But the powerful head of the atevi's Western Association is not to be outmaneuvered, and he sends his own paidhi, Bren Cameron, into space to negotiate.

Thrust into a political maelstrom with almost no preparation, Bren is empowered to use any means at his disposal to achieve the atevi's aim. But can Bren gain control of the station and political supremacy for the atevi without sparking a three-sided interspecies war?

Zima Blue and Other Stories

Alastair Reynolds

Reynolds' pursuit of truth is not limited to wide-angle star smashing - not that stars don't get pulverised when one character is gifted (or cursed) with an awful weapon by the legendary Merlin. Reynolds' protagonists find themselves in situations of betrayal, whether by a loved one's accidental death, as in 'Signal to Noise', or by a trusted wartime authority, in 'Spirey and the Queen'. His fertile imagination can resurrect Elton John on Mars in 'Understanding Space and Time' or make prophets of the human condition out of pool-cleaning robots in the title story. But overall, the stories in ZIMA BLUE represent a more optimistic take on humanity's future, a view that says there may be wars, there may be catastrophes and cosmic errors, but something human will still survive.

Table of Content:

  • Introduction - (2006) - essay by Paul J. McAuley
  • The Real Story - (2002) - novelette
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift - (2005) - novelette
  • Enola - (1991) - short story
  • Signal to Noise - (2006) - novelette
  • Cardiff Afterlife - (2008) - short story
  • Hideaway [Merlin] - (2000) - novelette
  • Minla's Flowers [Merlin] - (2007) - novella
  • Merlin's Gun [Merlin] - (2000) - novelette
  • Angels of Ashes - (1999) - novelette
  • Spirey and the Queen - (1996) - novelette
  • Understanding Space and Time - (2005) - novelette
  • Digital to Analogue - (1992) - short story
  • Everlasting - (2004) - short story
  • Zima Blue - (2005) - short story

The Word for World is Forest

Hainish Cycle: Book 6

Ursula K. Le Guin

The colonizing earthmen's persistent exploitation and abuse of the Athsheans' delicately balanced culture and ecology forebode extraterrestrial genocide or vengeful rebellion.

The Golden Apples of the Sun

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is a modern cultural treasure. His disarming simplicity of style underlies a towering body of work unmatched in metaphorical power by any other American storyteller. And here, presented in a new trade edition, are thirty-two of his most famous tales--prime examples of the poignant and mysterious poetry which Bradbury uniquely uncovers in the depths of the human soul, the otherwordly portraits of outré fascination which spring from the canvas of one of the century's great men of imagination.

From a lonely coastal lighthouse to a sixty-million-year-old safary, from the pouring rain of Venus to the ominous silence of a murder scene, Ray Bradbury is our sure-handed guide not only to surprising and outrageous manifestations of the future, but also to the wonders of the present that we could never have imagined on our own.

Table of Contents:

  • The Fog Horn - (1951)
  • The Pedestrian - (1951)
  • The April Witch - (1952)
  • The Wilderness - (1952)
  • The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl - (1948)
  • Invisible Boy - (1945)
  • The Flying Machine - (1953)
  • The Murderer - (1953)
  • The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind - (1953)
  • I See You Never - (1947)
  • Embroidery - (1951)
  • The Big Black and White Game - (1945)
  • A Sound of Thunder - (1952)
  • The Great Wide World Over There - (1952)
  • Powerhouse - (1948)
  • En la Noche - (1952)
  • Sun and Shadow - (1953)
  • The Meadow - (1953)
  • The Garbage Collector - (1953)
  • The Great Fire - (1949)
  • Hail and Farewell - (1953)
  • The Golden Apples of the Sun - (1953)

The Mote in God's Eye

The Moties: Book 1

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

In the year 3016, the Second Empire of Man spans hundreds of star systems, thanks to the faster-than-light Alderson Drive. No other intelligent beings have ever been encountered, not until a light sail probe enters a human system carrying a dead alien. The probe is traced to the Mote, an isolated star in a thick dust cloud, and an expedition is dispatched.

In the Mote the humans find an ancient civilization--at least one million years old--that has always been bottled up in their cloistered solar system for lack of a star drive. The Moties are welcoming and kind, yet rather evasive about certain aspects of their society. It seems the Moties have a dark problem, one they've been unable to solve in over a million years.

Solaris

Stanislaw Lem

Who's testing whom? When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. Scientists speculate that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, its purpose in doing so unknown.

The first of Lem's novels to be published in America and now considered a classic, SOLARIS raises a question: Can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?

Lem himself, who read English fluently, repeatedly voiced his disappointment about the Kilmartin-Cox translation of the French translation, and it has generally been considered second-rate. In 2011, the first direct Polish-to-English translation by Bill Johnston was released as an audiobook narrated by Alessandro Juliani, and then as an e-book.

Pushing Ice

Alastair Reynolds

Some centuries from now, the exploration and exploitation of the Solar System is in full swing. On the cold edge of the system, Bella Lind, captain of the huge commercial spacecraft Rockhopper IV, helps fuel this new gold rush by attaching mass-driver motors to organic-rich water-ice comets to move them back to the inner worlds. Her crew are tough, blue-collar miners, engineers and demolition experts. Around Saturn, something inexplicable happens: one of the moons leaves its orbit and accelerates out of the Solar System. The icy mantle peels away to reveal that it was never a moon in the first place, just a parked spacecraft, millions of years old, that has now decided to move on. Rockhopper IV, trapped in the pull, is hurled across time and space into the deep, distant future, arriving in a vast, alien-constructed chamber. And the crew are not alone, for each chamber contains an alien culture dragged into this cosmic menagerie at the end of time. The crew of the Rockhopper IV know a lot about blowing up comets, but not much about first contact with ultra-advanced aliens.

They have two things to worry about: can they (and their new alien allies) negotiate their way through each harrying contact? And can they assimilate the avalanche of knowledge about their own future - including all the glittering, dangerous technologies that are now theirs for the taking - without destroying themselves in the process?

Echo

Alex Benedict: Book 5

Jack McDevitt

A new novel of the fantastic unknown by the national bestselling author of Time Travelers Never Die.

Eccentric Sunset Tuttle spent his life searching in vain for forms of alien life. Thirty years after his death, a stone tablet inscribed with cryptic, indecipherable symbols is found in the possession of Tuttle's onetime lover, and antiquities dealer Alex Benedict is anxious to discover what secret the tablet holds. It could be proof that Tuttle had found what he was looking for. To find out, Benedict and his assistant embark on their own voyage of discovery-one that will lead them directly into the path of a very determined assassin who doesn't want those secrets revealed.

Remnant Population

Elizabeth Moon

For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia's home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days--until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community... but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one.

With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over--for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others. But when a reconnaissance ship returns to her idyllic domain, and its crew is mysteriously slaughtered, Ofelia realizes she is not the sole inhabitant of her paradise after all. And, when the inevitable time of first contact finally arrives, she will find her life changed yet again–in ways she could never have imagined....

Contact

Carl Sagan

It is December 1999, the dawn of the millennium, and a team of international scientists is poised for the most fantastic adventure in human history. After years of scanning the galaxy for signs of somebody or something else, this team believes they've found a message from an intelligent source--and they travel deep into space to meet it. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan injects Contact, his prophetic adventure story, with scientific details that make it utterly believable. It is a Cold War era novel that parlays the nuclear paranoia of the time into exquisitely wrought tension among the various countries involved. Sagan meditates on science, religion, and government--the elements that define society--and looks to their impact on and role in the future. His ability to pack an exciting read with such rich content is an unusual talent that makes Contact a modern sci-fi classic.

Schild's Ladder

Greg Egan

The Age of Death ended countless millennia ago. No longer burdened by limited lifespans, the immortal humans who populate inhabited space now have the luxury to travel vast distances effortlessly and to tinker with the intricate mechanics of spacetime. But one such experiment in quantum physics has had a catastrophic and unanticipated result, creating an enormous, rapidly expanding vacuum -- a region of new physics -- with the frightening potential to devour countless inhabited solar systems.

Tchicaya abandoned his homeworld four thousand years ago to travel the universe, freely choosing, as have others of his bent, to endure the hardships of distance and loneliness for the sake of knowledge and experience. Aboard the Rindler, a starship trawling the border of the allconsuming novo-vacuum, he feels his endless life has new purpose. For the Rindler is the center for the scientific study the phenomenon -- a common ground for Preservationists and Yielders alike, those working to halt and destroy the encroaching worlds-eater ... and those determinedto investigate its marvels while allowing its growth to continue unchecked. Tchicaya has allied himself firmly with the latter camp.

The passing decades -- and inevitable expansion of the void -- widen the great rift between the two factions, intensifying what was once simply ideological differences into something more angry, explosive, and dangerous. And the arrival of Tchicaya's fiery first love, Mariama, and her immediate embracing of the Preservationist cause, intensifies an inner turmoil he has been struggling with since his distant childhood.

But everything onboard the Rindler -- and, ultimately, in the inhabited universe itself-is on the cusp of further cataclysmic change, as the Yielders' explorations threaten to transform discord into violent action and potential xenocide. For new evidence suggests that something unthinkable is developing at an astounding rate deep within the mysterious, 600-light-years-wide void -- something neither Tchicaya and his compatriots nor Mariama and hers could ever have imagined possible: life.

Leviathan Wakes

The Expanse: Book 1

James S. A. Corey

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

James S. A. Corey is a collective pseudonym for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Century Rain

Alastair Reynolds

Three hundred years in the future, Verity Auger is a specialist in the archaeological exploration of Earth, rendered uninhabitable after the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust. After a field-trip to goes badly wrong, Verity is forced to redeem herself by participating in a dangerous mission, for which her expertise in invaluable.

Using a backdoor into an unstable alien transit system, Auger's faction has discovered something astonishing at the far end of a wormhole: mid twentieth-century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber. Is it a window into the past, a simulation, or something else entirely?

CENTURY RAIN is not just a time-travel story, nor a tale of alternate history. Part hard SF thriller, part interstellar adventure, part noir romance, CENTURY RAIN is something altogether stranger.

Vacuum Diagrams

The Xeelee Sequence: Book 5

Stephen Baxter

While the human race struggles against alien oppressors, an even greater epic battle rages between the deadly dark-matter photino birds and their implacable enemy, the Xeelee...

Invader

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

On the world of the atevi, humanity makes up one small enclave, on the island of Mospheira. After the disappearance of the starship Phoenix, only one human representative is allowed to interact with the atevi - the Paidhi, a mixture of ambassador, translator and salesman of advanced technology. In a society where assassination is a recognised form of negotiation, Bren Cameron had been performing his task as Paidhi well.

Then the Phoenix returns, almost two hundred years after its departure.

Recovering from surgery on Mospheira, Cameron must return immediately to the atevi, but he finds his government has already sent a successor, Deanna Hanks, without informing him. And she has managed to alienate major factions against humanity.

Battling against his strangely-silent masters, the deadly atevi and Hanks, Bren Cameron must take risks that could destroy the entire world - or save it for atevi and humanity alike.

The Long Cosmos

The Long Earth: Book 5

Stephen Baxter
Terry Pratchett

The thrilling conclusion to the internationally bestselling Long Earth series explores the greatest question of all: What is the meaning of life?

2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day, a new society continues to evolve in the Long Earth. Now, a message has been received: "Join us."

The Next--the hyper-intelligent post-humans--realize that the missive contains instructions for kick-starting the development of an immense artificial intelligence known as The Machine. But to build this computer the size of an Earth continent, they must obtain help from the more populous and still industrious worlds of mankind.

Meanwhile, on a trek in the High Meggers, Joshua Valienté, now nearing seventy, is saved from death when a troll band discovers him. Living among the trolls as he recovers, Joshua develops a deeper understanding of this collective-intelligence species and its society. He discovers that some older trolls, with capacious memories, act as communal libraries, and live on a very strange Long Earth world, in caverns under the root systems of trees as tall as mountains.

Valienté also learns something much more profound... about life and its purpose in the Long Earth: We cultivate the cosmos to maximize the opportunities for life and joy in this universe, and to prepare for new universes to come.

The Three-Body Problem

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 1

Cixin Liu

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

Translation by Ken Liu.

Eon

The Way Series: Book 1

Greg Bear

The 21st century was on the brink of nuclear confrontation when the 300 kilometer-long stone flashed out of nothingness and into Earth's orbit. NASA, NATO, and the UN sent explorers to the asteroid's surface...and discovered marvels and mysteries to drive researchers mad.

For the Stone was from space--but perhaps not our space; it came from the future--but perhaps not our future; and within the hollowed asteroid was Thistledown. The remains of a vanished civilization. A human--English, Russian, and Chinese-speaking--civilization. Seven vast chambers containing forests, lakes, rivers, hanging cities...

And museums describing the Death; the catastrophic war that was about to occur; the horror and the long winter that would follow. But while scientists and politicians bickered about how to use the information to stop the Death, the Stone yielded a secret that made even Earth's survival pale into insignificance.

The Forge of God

Forge of God: Book 1

Greg Bear

On September 28th, a geologist working in Death valley finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area.

On October 1st, the government of Australia announces the discovery of an enormous granite mountain. Like the cinder cone, it wasn't there six months ago....

Something is happening to Planet Earth, and the truth is too terrifying to consider....

Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

The Heechee Saga: Book 2

Frederik Pohl

In Book Two of the Heechee Saga, Robinette Broadhead is on his way to making a fortune by bankrolling an expedition to the Food Factory--a Heechee spaceship that can graze the cometary cloud and transfor the basic elements of the universe into untold quantities of food. But even as he gambles on the breakthrough technology, he is wracked with the guilt of losing his wife, poised forever at the "event horizon" of a black hole where Robin had abaondoned her. As more and more information comes back from the expedition, Robin grows ever hopeful that he can rescue his beloved Gelle-Klara Moynlin. After three and a years, the factory is discovered to work, and a human is found aboard. Robin's suffering may be just about over....

Jupiter

The Grand Tour: Book 5

Ben Bova

Grant Archer only wanted to study astrophysics. But the forces of the "New Morality," the coalition of censorious do-gooders who run 21st-century America, have other plans for him.

To his distress, Grant is torn from his young bride and sent to a research station in orbit around Jupiter, to spy on the scientists who work there. Their work may lead to the discovery of higher life forms in the Jovian system-with implications the New Morality doesn't like at all.

What Grant's would-be controllers don't know is that his loyalty to science may be greater than his desire for a quiet life. But that loyalty will be tested in a mission as dangerous as any ever undertaken-a mission to the middle reaches of Jupiter's endless atmosphere, a place where hydrogen flows as a liquid, and cyclones larger than planets rage for centuries at a time.

What lurks there is more than anyone has counted on...and stranger than anyone could possibly have imagined.

Yesterday's Kin

Yesterday's Kin

Nancy Kress

Nebula-nominated novella

Aliens have landed in New York. After several months of no explanations, they finally reveal the reason for their arrival.

The news is not good.

Geneticist Marianne Jenner is having a career breakthrough, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Her children Elizabeth and Ryan constantly bicker, agreeing only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Her youngest, Noah, is addicted to a drug that keeps temporarily changing his identity. The Jenner family could not be further apart. But between the four of them, the course of human history will be forever altered.

Earth's most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster--and not everyone is willing to wait.

Anthologized in Paula Guran's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015.

Mission of Gravity

Mesklin: Book 1

Hal Clement

For a profit -- and adventure -- Barlennan would sail thousands of miles across uncharted waters, into regions where gravity itself played strange tricks. He would dare the perils of strange tribes and stranger creatures -- even dicker with those strange aliens from beyond the skies, though the concept of another world was unknown to the inhabitants of the disk-shaped planet of Mesklin.

But in spite of the incredible technology of the strangers and without regard for their enormous size, Barlennan had the notion of turning the deal to an unsuspected advantage for himself . . . all in all a considerable enterprise for a being very much resembling a fifteen-inch caterpillar!

The Fountains of Paradise

Arthur C. Clarke

Vannemar Morgan's dream is to link Earth to the stars with the greatest engineering feat of all time;a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. For the only possible site on the planet for Morgan's Orbital Tower is the monastery atop the Sacred Mountain of Sri Kanda. And for two thousand years, the monks have protected Sri Kanda from all mortal quests for glory. Kings and princes who have sought to conquer the Sacred Mountain have all died.Now Vannemar Morgan may be next.

Protector

Known Space: Book 5

Larry Niven

Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission: save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before...

Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days -- Brennan figured to meet that ship first...

He was never seen again -- at least not by those alive at the time.

Superposition

Varcolac: Book 1

David Walton

A Mind-Bending, Near-Future, Science Fiction Technothriller.

Jacob Kelley's family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob's house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

A Meeting With Medusa

Arthur C. Clarke

Nebula winning and Hugo nominated novella.

In leading an expedition through the many-layered Jovian atmosphere in the hydrogen balloon craft Kon-Tiki, Captain Howard Falcon discovers a world where bioluminescent air plankton produce brilliant atmospheric sea-fire, predatory manta-ray creatures dominate the skies, and enormous jellyfish-like beings grow to be over a mile across.

This story was originally published in the December 1971 issue of Playboy and has been reprinted many times. It is incuded in the collections The Wind from the Sun (1972), The Sentinel (1983) and The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2000). It is half of the Tor Double A Meeting with Medusa / Green Mars (1988). It can be found in numerous anthologies. Among them Nebula Award Stories Eight (1973), edited by Isaac Asimov, Best SF: 1971 (1972) edited by Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss, The Best Science Fiction of the Year (1972) edited by Terry Carr, The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces (1983), edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg and The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 2 (2000), edited by Frederik Pohl.

Prador Moon

Polity: Book 1

Neal Asher

Neal Asher takes on first contact, Polity style.

This original novel recounts the first contact between the aggressive Prador aliens, and the Polity Collective as it is forced to retool its society to a war footing. The overwhelming brute force of the Prador dreadnaughts causes several worlds and space stations to be overrun. Prador Moon follows the initial Polity defeats, to the first draws, and culminates in what might be the first Polity victory, told from the point of view of two unlikely heroes.

A Darkling Sea

James L. Cambias

On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don't disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they're free to conduct their missions in peace.

But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to war.

Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives--and the future of human exploration--is anything but certain.

The Listeners

James E. Gunn

After fifty-one long years of patient waiting, the message has finally arrived. They have dedicated their lives to trying to decipher the eerie silence that resounds from space and now there is finally a sound after decades of quiet. In the beginning there is a hail of celebration, the Project has finally produced results, but then the questions begin. What does the message mean? Could it be 'we come in peace' or 'get ready for world domination'?

The message baffles Earth. Only one man has the power to make the decision and it could mean intergalactic warfare if he makes the wrong choice. Director MacDonald holds in his hands the fate of Earth, the universe and the Project, which is dedicated to answering questions that have plagued humanity for centuries. Will he make the correct choice?

Omega

The Academy: Book 4

Jack McDevitt

A civilization-destroying omega cloud has switched direction, heading straight for a previously unexplored planetary system -- and its alien society. And suddenly, a handful of brave humans must try to save an entire world -- without revealing their existence.

Be My Enemy

Everness: Book 2

Ian McDonald

Everett Singh has escaped with the Infundibulum from the clutches of Charlotte Villiers and the Order, but at a terrible price. His father is missing, banished to one of the billions of parallel universes of the Panoply of All Worlds, and Everett and the crew of the airship Everness have taken a wild Heisenberg jump to a random parallel plane. Everett is smart and resourceful, and from the refuge of a desolate frozen Earth far beyond the Plenitude, where he and his friends have gone into hiding, he makes plans to rescue his family. But the villainous Charlotte Villiers is one step ahead of him.

The action traverses three different parallel Earths: one is a frozen wasteland; one is just like ours, except that the alien Thryn Sentiency has occupied the Moon since 1964, sharing its technology with humankind; and one is the embargoed home of dead London, where the remnants of humanity battle a terrifying nanotechnology run wild. Across these parallel planes of existence, Everett faces terrible choices of morality and power. But he has the love and support of Sen, Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, and the rest of the crew of Everness as he learns that the deadliest enemy isn't the Order or the world-devouring nanotech Nahn - it's himself.

Starplex

Robert J. Sawyer

Twenty years after the discovery of artificial wormholes launches Earth space exploration to unforeseeable heights, Starplex Director Keith Lansing investigates a mysterious vessel that soon threatens the station with intergalactic war.

Heechee Rendezvous

The Heechee Saga: Book 3

Frederik Pohl

After millennia had passed, Mankind discovered the Heechee legacy (an alien culture that fled to the reative safety of a black hole) -- in particular an asteroid stocked with autonavigating spacecraft. Robinette Broadhead, who had led the expedition that unlocked the many secrets of Heechee technology, is now forced once more to make a perilous voyage into space -- where the Heechee are waiting. And this time the future of Man is at stake....

Starbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 2

Joe Haldeman

Carmen Dula and her husband have spent six years traveling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce.

By the time Carmen and her party return, fifty years have been consumed by relativity-and the Earthlings have not been idle, building a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against The Others. But The Others have their own plans.

The Gripping Hand

The Moties: Book 2

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published." Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award winning authors of such bestsellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler.

There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered-- a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function. Master, Mediator, Engineer. Warrior. Each supremely adapted to its task, yet doomed by millions of years of evolution to an inescapable fate. For the Moties must breed-- or die. And now the fragile wall separating them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble.

Infinity Beach

Jack McDevitt

We are alone. That is the verdict, after centuries of Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence missions and space exploration. The only living things in the Universe are found on the Nine Worlds settled from Earth, and the starships that knit them together. Or so it's believed, until Dr. Kimberly Brandywine sets out to find what happened to her clone-sister Emily, who, after the final, unsuccessful manned SETI expedition, disappeared along with the rest of her ship's crew.

Following a few ominous clues, Kim discovers the ship's log was faked. Something happened out there in the darkness between the stars, and she's prepared to go to any length to find answers. Even if it means giving up her career...stealing a starship...losing her lover. Kim is about to discover the truth about her sister -- and about more than she ever dared imagine.

The Hercules Text

Jack McDevitt

From a remote corner of the galaxy a message is being sent. The continuous beats of a pulsar have become odd, irregular... artificial. it can only be a code. Frantically, a research team struggles to decipher the alien communication. And what the scientists discover is destined to shake the foundations of empires around this world - from Wall Street to the Vatican.

Foreigner

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? ... The interests of a particular faction? ... Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

Midshipman's Hope

Seafort Saga: Book 1

David Feintuch

A hideous accident kills the senior officer of UNS Hibernia, leaving a terrified young officer with the daunting taskof saving 300 colonists and crew aboard a damaged ship, on a 17-month gauntlet to reach Hope Nation. With no chance of rescue, Nicholas Seafort must overcome despair and exhaution, malfunctions and mutiny, in the name of duty.

The Black Cloud

Fred Hoyle

Earth was dying...

One fourth of its population was dead. The rest had little time to live.

A mass of interstellar matter had invaded the solar system, fling planets out of orbit and blocking off the sun. In that titanic disaster, Man had one small chance to survive: Appeal to an alien intelligence that might exist and that might - or might not - care enough to help!

Ultima

Proxima: Book 2

Stephen Baxter

The astonishing new SF novel from multi-award winning author Stephen Baxter - a dizzying exploration of alternate universes and deep time.

Fresh from his latest collaboration with Terry Pratchett on the Long Earth sequence Stephen Baxter now returns to the mysteries and challanges first hinted at in his acclaimed novel PROXIMA.

In PROXIMA we discovered ancient alien artifacts on the planet of Per Ardua - hatches that allowed us to step across light years of space as if we were stepping into another room. The universe opened up to us. Now in ULTIMA the consequences of this new freedom make themselves felt. And we discover that there are minds in the universe that are billions of years old and they have a plan for us. For some of us. But as we learn the true nature of the universe we also discover that we have countless pasts all meeting in this present and that our future is terrifyingly finite. It's time for us to fight to take back control.

This is grand scale, big idea SF of the best possible sort. It is set to build on the massive success of PROXIMA and define Stephen Baxter's work going forward.

Humans

The Neanderthal Parallax: Book 2

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer, the award-winning and bestselling writer, hits the peak of his powers in Humans, the second book of The Neanderthal Parallax, his trilogy about our world and parallel one in which it was the Homo sapiens who died out and the Neanderthals who became the dominant intelligent species. This powerful idea allows Sawyer to examine some of the deeply rooted assumptions of contemporary human civilization dramatically, by confronting us with another civilization, just as morally valid, that has made other choices. In Humans, Neanderthal physicist Ponter Boddit, a character you will never forget, returns to our world and to his relationship with geneticist Mary Vaughan, as cultural exchanges between the two Earths begin.

As we see daily life in another present-day world, radically different from ours, in the course of Sawyer's fast-moving story, we experience the bursts of wonder and enlightenment that are the finest pleasures of science fiction. Humans is one of the best SF novels of the year, and The Neanderthal Parallax is an SF classic in the making.

Across the Sea of Suns

The Galactic Center Series: Book 2

Gregory Benford

Lancer, a spaceship built to specifications found in the computers of an alien derelict, journeys to the star, Ra, from which the Earth has received mysterious radio transmissions in English.

Saturn Run

John Sandford
Ctein

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope -- something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don't decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins -- an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond.

Rama II

Rama Series: Book 2

Gentry Lee
Arthur C. Clarke

Years ago, the enormous, enigmatic alien spacecraft called Rama sailed through our solar system as mind-boggling proof that life existed -- or had existed -- elsewhere in the universe. Now, at the dawn of the twenty-third century, another ship is discovered hurtling toward us. A crew of Earth's best and brightest minds is assembled to rendezvous with the massive vessel. They are armed with everything we know about Raman technology and culture. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to encounter on board Rama II: cosmic secrets that are startling, sensational -- and perhaps even deadly.

The Masks of Time

Robert Silverberg

Vornan-19 fell from the sky, naked, and landed on the Spanish steps in Rome on Christmas afternoon toward the end of the Millennium. And for Leo Garfield things would never be the same. For he is an acknowledged expert in the time reversal properties of sub-atomic particles... and Vornan-19 claims to come from far in the future. Whether or not he is telling the truth, a nervous and edgy world accepts the charming and magnetically charismatic Vornan as some kind of messiah. Even Garfield and his fellow scientists fall under Vornan's spell. But, has he really traveled across time -- or is he just a charlatan and a fraud?

Legacy

The Way Series: Book 3

Greg Bear

The Way is a tunnel through space and time. The entrance is through the hollow asteroid Thistledown and the space station Axis City that sits at the asteroid's center. From there the Flawships ride the center of the Way, traveling to other worlds and times.

Now the rulers of Axis City have discovered that a huge group of colonists has secretly entered one of the interdicted worlds along the Way. In some ways Lamarkia is very Earth-like--but its biology is extraordinary. A single genetic entity can take many forms, and span a continent. There are only a few of these "ecos" on Lamarkia, and the effect of human interaction on them is unknown.

Olmy Ap Sennon has been sent to secretly assess the extent of the damage. But he will find far more than an intriguing alien biology--for on their new world the secret colonists have returned to the old ways of human history: war, famine, and ecological disaster. On this mission, Olmy will learn about the basics: love, responsibility, and even failure...

Rogue Moon

Algis Budrys

During all recorded history, the Moon has hovered above our heads, a timeless symbol for lovers' ecstasy. Goddesses and Gibson Girls have tripped the light fantastic of her beams while sonneteers and scientists have scanned her changing phases.

Now man had actually reached the Moon, and on it the explorers found a structure, a formation so terrible and incomprehensible that it couldn't even be described in human terms. It was a thing that devoured men; that killed them again and again in torturous, unfathomable ways.

Earthbound are the only two men who could probe the thing: Al Barker, a homicidal maniac, whose loving mistress was death, and Dr. Edward Hawks, a scientific murderer, whose greatest mission was rebirth.

All Flesh Is Grass

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 38

Clifford D. Simak

The strange but beautiful purple blossoms now grew wild in his backyard. One day Brad Carter tripped and fell into an alternate world, a world peopled by these very flowers.

Sphere

Michael Crichton

In the middle of the South Pacific, a thousand feet below the surface of the water, a huge vessel is discovered resting on the ocean floor. It is a spaceship of phenomenal dimensions, apparently undamaged by its fall from the sky. And, most startling, it appears to be at least three hundred years old.

But even more fantastic—and frightening—is what waits inside . . .

World of Ptavvs

Known Space: Book 1

Larry Niven

A reflective statue is found at the bottom of one of Earth's oceans, having lain there for 1.5 billion years. Since humans have recently developed a time slowing field and found that one such field cannot function within another, it is suspected that the "Sea Statue" is actually a space traveler within one of these time fields. Larry Greenberg, a telepath, agrees to participate in an experiment: a time-slowing field is generated around both Greenberg and the statue, shutting off the stasis field and revealing Kzanol. Kzanol is a living Thrint a member of a telepathic race that once ruled the galaxy through mind control.

Needle

Needle Series: Book 1

Hal Clement

Two ships race in from outer space and crash in the Pacific Ocean. One contains a hunter, entrusted with a vital mission. The other, his quarry - corrupt, evil, a criminal from an unearthly civilisation light years away. Yet both these creatures had one thing in common - they were unable to exist alone. Each needed a host, a human body they could invade and control...

Rama Revealed

Rama Series: Book 4

Arthur C. Clarke
Gentry Lee

Years after the appearance in the solar system of the immense, deserted spaceship, Rama, a second craft arrived, destined to become home for a group of human colonists. But now the colony has become a brutal dictatorship, terrorizing its own inhabitants. Nicole Wakefield, condemned to death for treason, has escaped to New York. There she is reunited with her husband, but pursuit is not far behind and they are forced to flee to the subterranean corridors of New York inhabited by the menacing octospiders. So begins the greatest adventure of the Rama cycle, a story of massive scope and extraordinary revelations.

A Case of Conscience

James Blish

Father Ruiz-Sanchez is a dedicated man--a priest who is also a scientist, and a scientist who is also a human being. He has found no insoluble conflicts in his beliefs or his ethics... until he is sent to Lithia. There he comes upon a race of aliens who are admirable in every way except for their total reliance on cold reason; they are incapable of faith or belief.

Confronted with a profound scientific riddle and ethical quandary, Father Ruiz-Sanchez soon finds himself torn between the teachings of his faith, the teachings of his science, and the inner promptings of his humanity. There is only one solution: He must accept an ancient and unforgivable heresy--and risk the futures of both worlds...

Starfarers

Poul Anderson

When evidence of an advanced civilization is discovered by SETI astronomers, an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy is planned and an eclectic team of scientists is chosen to make the trip. But because the origin of the alien signals is thousands of light-years away, the crew will age only a few years while millennia pass on Earth. And though they are ready to face the ramifications of such a voyage, none of the starfarers are prepared for what awaits them at the outer edge of the cosmos--or back at the planet they once called home.

Close to Critical

Mesklin: Book 2

Hal Clement

The Tenebrans are intelligent, but primitive by human standards. Yet scientists from Earth have found ways to train and educate some of the Tenebrans. This training becomes crucial when two beings—a young girl from Earth and the son of an alien diplomat—are marooned in a bathyscape that is headed toward the surface of the planet, where neither can hope to survive.

The Gateway Trip

The Heechee Saga: Book 5

Frederik Pohl

The Heechee were perhaps the greatest and most tantalizing mystery the human race had ever known. The first Heechee artifacts were uncovered on Venus, and in the beginning they were treated as nothing more than costly souvenirs and curiosities for tourists from Earth and Mars. But when an asteroid stocked with autonavigating spacecraft was discovered, suddenly the Heechee universe was thrown wide open, giving birth to the Gateway Corporation and bringing untold riches to the adventurers who risked the unknown to see where those Heechee spacecraft would take them. Many of those brave souls never returned. The ones who did brought back technological wonders that transformed life on Earth -- but of the Heechee themselves there was no sign...

The Gateway Trip, lavishly illustrated by artist Frank Kelly Freas, presents the tales of those perilous journeys and marvelous discoveries, as those intrepid pioneers followed the trail of the elusive Heechee and changed the course of human history forever!

The Wanderer

Fritz Leiber

All eyes were watching the eclipse of the Moon when the Wanderer--a huge, garishly colored artificial world--emerged. Only a few scientists even suspected its presence, and then, suddenly and silently, it arrived, dwarfing and threatening the Moon and wreaking havoc on Earth's tides and weather. Though the Wanderer is stopping in the solar system only to refuel, its mere presence is catastrophic. A tense, thrilling, and towering achievement. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best SF Novel of the Year!

The Embedding

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 13

Ian Watson

Ian Watson's brilliant debut novel was one of the most significant publications in British SF in the 1970s. Intellectually bracing and grippingly written, it is the story of three experiments in linguistics, and is driven by a searching analysis of the nature of communication. Fiercely intelligent, energetic and challenging, it immediately established Watson as a writer of rare power and vision, and is now recognized as a modern classic.

The Last Theorem

Arthur C. Clarke
Frederik Pohl

The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork.

30 light years away, a race known simply as the One Point Fives are plotting a dangerous invasion plan, one that will wipe humankind off the face of the Earth...

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young astronomy student, Ranjit Subramanian, becomes obsessed with a three-hundred-year-old theorem that promises to unlock the secrets of the universe. While Ranjit studies the problem, tensions grow between the nations of the world and a UN taskforce headed up by China, America and Russia code-named Silent Thunder begins bombing volatile regimes into submission.

On the eve of the invasion of Earth a space elevator is completed, helped in part by Ranjit, which will herald a new type of Olympics to be held on the Moon. But when alien forces arrive Ranjit is forced to question his own actions, in a bid to save the lives of not just his own family but of all of humankind.

Co-written with fellow grand master Frederik Pohl, The Last Theorem not only provides a fitting end to the career one of the most famous names in science fiction but also sets a new benchmark in contemporary prescient science fiction. It tackles with ease epic themes as diverse as third world poverty, the atrocities of modern warfare in a post-nuclear age, space elevators, pure mathematics and mankind's first contact with extra-terrestrials.