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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.

Abaddon's Gate

The Expanse: Book 3

James S. A. Corey

For generations, the solar system -- Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt -- was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark.Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

Speaker for the Dead

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening... again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery... and the truth.

The Midwich Cuckoos

John Wyndham

In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed – except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant. The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside . . .

The Midwich Cuckoos is the classic tale of aliens in our midst, exploring how we respond when confronted by those who are innately superior to us in every conceivable way.

The Midwich Cuckoos was made into a feature film title The Village of the Damned.

Dawn

Xenogenesis: Book 1

Octavia E. Butler

Rescued from Earth's destruction, one woman is called upon to revive mankind.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth-the last stage of the planet's final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali-who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations-whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet's untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.

Rosewater

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 1

Tade Thompson

Between meeting a boy who bursts into flames, alien floaters that want to devour him, and a butterfly woman who he has sex with when he enters the xenosphere, Kaaro's life is far from the simple one he wants. But he left simple behind a long time ago when he was caught stealing and nearly killed by an angry mob. Now he works for a government agency called Section 45, and they want him to find a women known as Bicycle Girl. And that's just the beginning.

An alien entity lives beneath the ground, forming a biodome around which the city of Rosewater thrives. The cities of Rosewater are enamored by the dome, hoping for a chance to meet the beings within or possibly be invited to come in themselves. But Kaaro isn't so enamored. He was in the biodome at one point and decided to leave it behind. When something begins killing off other sensitives like himself, Kaaro defies Section 45 to search for an answer, facing his past and comes to a realization about a horrifying future.

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.

The Rosewater Redemption

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 3

Tade Thompson

Life in the newly independent city state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting...

Mayor Jacques finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And among the city's alien inhabitants, a group has emerged who murder humans to provide bodies for their takeover.

Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extraterrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro and his old handler Femi, may be humanity's last line of defence.

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells

Famous for the mistaken panic that ensued from Orson Welles’s 1938 radio dramatization, The War of the Worlds remains one of the most influential of all science fiction works.

The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. Naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag—only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge.

Soon the whole of human civilization is under threat as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroying all life in their path with black gas and burning ray. The forces of Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they appear.

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.

Imago

Xenogenesis: Book 3

Octavia E. Butler

Child of two species, but part of neither, a new being must find his way.

Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race.

Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi-the first ever born to a human mother. As his body changes, Jodahs develops the ability to shapeshift, manipulate matter, and cure or create disease at will. If this frightened young man is able to master his new identity, Jodahs could prove the savior of what's left of mankind. Or, if he is not careful, he could become a plague that will destroy this new race once and for all.

The Rosewater Insurrection

Wormwood Trilogy: Book 2

Tade Thompson

The year is 2067. The city of Rosewater is chaotic, vibrant and full of life - some of it extra-terrestrial.

The charismatic mayor, Jack Jacques, has declared Rosewater a free state, independent to Nigeria. But the city's alien dome is dying. Government forces await its demise, ready to destroy Rosewater's independence before it has even begun.

And in the city's quiet suburbs, a woman wakes with no memory of who she is - with memories belonging to something much older and much more alien.

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.

Who Goes There?

John W. Campbell, Jr.

"Who Goes There?": The novella that formed the basis of "The Thing" is the John W. Campbell classic about an antarctic research camp that discovers and thaws the ancient body of a crash-landed alien. The creature revives with terrifying consequences, shape-shifting to assume the exact form of animal and man, alike.

Paranoia ensues as a band of frightened men work to discern friend from foe, and destroy the menace before it challenges all of humanity!

The story, hailed as "one of the finest science fiction novellas ever written" by the SF Writers of America, is best known to fans as THE THING - it was the basis of Howard Hawks' The Thing From Another World in 1951, and John Carpenter's The Thing in 1982.

The Puppet Masters

Robert A. Heinlein

First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed.

Except that two agents of the most secret intelligence agency in the U.S. government were on the scene and disappeared without reporting in. And four more agents who were sent in also disappeared. So the head of the agency and his two top agents went in and managed to get out with their discovery: an invasion is underway by slug-like aliens who can touch a human and completely control his or her mind. What the humans know, they know. What the slugs want, no matter what, the human will do. And most of Iowa is already under their control.

Sam Cavanaugh was one of the agents who discovered the truth. Unfortunately, that was just before he was taken over by one of the aliens and began working for the invaders, with no will of his own. And he has just learned that a high official in the Treasury Department is now under control of the aliens. Since the Treasury Department includes the Secret Service, which safeguards the President of the United States, control of the entire nation is near at hand . . .

The First Men in the Moon

H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells' 1901 science fiction novel, "The First Men in the Moon", is the story of an impoverished businessman, Mr. Bedford, who retreats to the countryside for some rest from the weary of modern life and to try his hand at authoring a play. While there he meets an eccentric scientist, Dr. Cavor, who is developing a new material, 'cavorite', which is designed to shield off gravity. When it is discovered that the material works and can be practically fashioned into a spaceship, the two undertake a mission to the moon. There they discover that the moon is inhabited by a sinister alien civilization, whom the call "the Selenites".

Fashioned as a criticism against imperialism, "The First Men in the Moon" draws upon a theme common to Wells' work, that of the impact of technology on society and the challenges that humans face in the modern world.

Camouflage

Joe Haldeman

Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it.

Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home--but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.

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.

Voyager in Night

Alliance-Union: Age of Exploration: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

[] has been zipping through the cosmos in its asteroid-size ship for 100,000 years when it comes near to the newly constructed starstation, Endeavor. Curious about the new life forms it discovers inside the many primitive ships that dot the area, [] zeroes in on one such craft, a miner held together virtually with spit and hope, called Lindy. It is owned and operated by three humans, Rafe and Jillian Murray and Paul Gaines, who watch in terror the C-speed approach of the huge alien ship. When the Lindy is destroyed by [] and taken aboard its ship, Lindy's crew learns of an existence far other than that of true flesh and blood.

War Dogs

War Dogs: Book 1

Greg Bear

The Gurus came in peace, bearing gifts.

They were a highly advanced, interstellar species who brought amazingly useful and sophisticated technology to the human race. There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who have hounded the Gurus from sun to sun, planet to planet, across the cosmos. Pundits have taken to calling them the Antagonists - or Antags - and they have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they've done for us, the Gurus would now like our help.

Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Skyrine (a Marine who is specially trained for off-world combat) who is dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.

But from the moment they're dropped through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. From a group of female special ops Skyrines with secret orders, to mysterious humans who've settled on Mars, to the overwhelming and highly-reinforced Antags themselves, Venn and his brothers will face impossible odds just to survive - let alone make it home alive.

All the Colors of Darkness

Jan Darzek: Book 1

Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

Someone is sabotaging the Universal Transmitting Company's new technology--instantaneous transport of objects and people around the world. When Detective Jan Darzek investigates, the mystery seems inexplicable--out of this world.

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.

Lagoon

Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria's most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself... from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together--and the things that make us human.

There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.

Earthbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 3

Joe Haldeman

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

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 . . .

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave: Book 1

Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Armada

Ernest Cline

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he's spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there's nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don't get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he's staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada--in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn't lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he's seeing is all too real. And his skills--as well as those of millions of gamers across the world--are going to be needed to save the earth from what's about to befall it.

It's Zack's chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can't help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn't something about this scenario seem a little... familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you've ever read before--one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Killing Titan

War Dogs: Book 2

Greg Bear

After barely surviving his last tour on Mars, Master Sergeant Michael Venn finds himself back on earth in enforced isolation. Through a dangerous series of operations he returns to Mars to further his investigation into the Drifters - ancient artifacts suddenly reawakened on the red planet.

But another front in the war leads his team to make the difficult journey to Saturn's moon, Titan. Here, in the cauldron of war, hides new truths about the Drifters, the origin of life in our solar system and the plans of the supposedly benevolent Gurus, who have been "sponsoring" and supporting humanity in their fight against outside invaders.

Killing Titan is the second book in the epic interstellar War Dogs trilogy from master of science fiction, Greg Bear.

White Queen

The Aleutian Trilogy: Book 1

Gwyneth Jones

In the year 2038, the earth has been ravaged by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Retroviruses run rampant through humanity. Economic disaster has destabilised the world, the US has undergone a socialist revolution, and the balance of power has changed.

Then the aliens arrive.

With no clear understanding of the visitors' intent, factions form, including the anti-alien group White Queen, working to turn humans against these extra-terrestrial tourists. Caught in the middle is Johnny Guglio, an American exile whose only fault was living near the landing site, and Braemar Wilson, a cutthroat reporter who will do whatever she needs to get ahead of the story. And for better or for worse, it seems being caught in the middle is the best place for them to uncover the truth.

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.