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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 1

Douglas Adams

Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You'll never read funnier science fiction; Adams is a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker's Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations and stands up to multiple reads. Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and British sitcoms.

Halfway Human

Twenty Planets Universe: Book 1

Carolyn Ives Gilman

Tedla is a 'bland,' an asexual class of people that exist only to serve their fellow beings.

Val is an expert on alien cultures but has never seen a bland before. They come together after Tedla is found light-years away from its home planet-alone, isolated and suicidal. Val's mission is to help Tedla recover. But the more she learns about the beautiful alien being, the more she discovers about the torment Tedla and its kind suffer on their planet.

Little does the rest of the universe know of the hidden world of the blands, a world that hides shocking secrets and unspeakable crimes.

Halfway Human is a mesmerizing look at an intricately created alien world which is strange and distant, yet hauntingly familiar.

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 . . .

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.

Becoming Alien

Becoming Alien: Book 1

Rebecca Ore

Living on a chicken farm in backwater America, forced to help his older brother run an illegal drug operation, Tom was going nowhere fast. Then an extraterrestial ship crashed on his farm, and he managed to save one alien from the wreck - Mica, a cadet of the multi-species Federation.

Communicating largely through pictures, the two form an odd friendship and Tom decides to become a Federation cadet -- a test case to see if humans could ever be considered for membership. As the lone human among the alien race, Tom's survival was not assured. And if he fell prey to fear and prejudice, Earth would be condemned to eternal quarantine.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Book 1

Arthur C. Clarke

On the moon, an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications of the discovery that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury

Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars?and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars?the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury.

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!

Mindbridge

Joe Haldeman

In the space of a few years, Joe Haldeman has come to be recognized as one of the best writers of science fiction of our time. Mindbridge, a novel at once traditional in ist plot and a daring new departure in its structure, is certain to add to this reputation.

Jacque LeFavre live in the formidable world of the future. A pioneer in interstellar colonization, he is the co-discoverer of a creature that acts as a psychic link... allowing one person to sense directly the thoughts and emotions of another. But he learns the terrible price fo this power when his partner suddenly dies.

Older, disillusioned, he is one of a team that confronts the L'vrai, a race of angelic beauty but with a callous disregard for life. They are expanding through the universe and view humankind as a removable obstacle. LeFavre's assignment: establsih a telepathic link with a L'vrai leader and find an alternative to the interstellar war that threatens the extinction of one of the two races.

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.

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?

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.

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...

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.

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.

Tides of Light

The Galactic Center Series: Book 4

Gregory Benford

The sequel to "Great Sky River", this book continues the author's chronicle of life at the galaxy's centre, many centuries in the future. A band of humans flee aboard a regenerated starship to another planet where the mechs are in retreat but an even greater threat of alien cyborgs exists.

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!

Orbitsville

Orbitsville: Book 1

Bob Shaw

Fleeing Elizabeth Lindstrom's anger at the death of her son, Vance Garamond, a flickerwing commander, leaves the solar system far behind. Pursued by Earth's space fleet, Garamond finds a vast, alien-built spherical structure which might just change the destiny of the human race.

2010: Odyssey Two

Space Odyssey: Book 2

Arthur C. Clarke

Nine years after the disastrous Discovery mission to Jupiter in 2001, a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition sets out to rendezvous with the derelict spacecraft *to search the memory banks of the mutinous computer HAL 9000 for clues to what went wrong... and what became of Commander Dave Bowman.

Without warning, a Chinese expedition targets the same objective, turning the recovery mission into a frenzied race for the precious information Discovery may hold about the enigmatic monolith that orbits Jupiter.

Meanwhile, the being that was once Dave Bowman *the only human to unlock the mystery of the monolith *streaks toward Earth on a vital mission of its own...

Chindi

The Academy: Book 3

Jack McDevitt

Something-or somebody-has left a series of satellites in orbit around various planets in the galaxy. Now a crew sets off to discover the origin of the satellites-and learn if mankind is no longer alone among the stars.

Children of God

Sparrow Series: Book 2

Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow, took us on a journey to a distant planet and into the center of the human soul. A critically acclaimed bestseller, The Sparrow was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year, a finalist for the Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Prize and the winner of the James M. Tiptree Memorial Award. Now, in Children of God, Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.

The only member of the original mission to the planet Rakhat to return to Earth, Father Emilio Sandoz has barely begun to recover from his ordeal when the Society of Jesus calls upon him for help in preparing for another mission to Alpha Centauri. Despite his objections and fear, he cannot escape his past or the future.

Old friends, new discoveries and difficult questions await Emilio as he struggles for inner peace and understanding in a moral universe whose boundaries now extend beyond the solar system and whose future lies with children born in a faraway place.

Strikingly original, richly plotted, replete with memorable characters and filled with humanity and humor, Children of God is an unforgettable and uplifting novel that is a potent successor to The Sparrow and a startlingly imaginative adventure for newcomers to Mary Doria Russell's special literary magic.

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.

Memoirs of a Spacewoman

Naomi Mitchison

Never make a date with a martian - the end result might surprise you.

The strangest of all worlds. Worlds where gigantic centipedes and grotesque parasites abound. Worlds where Martians transmit their messages by touch. Worlds where the first spacewoman breaks down the barriers and produces the first truly inter=planetary child.

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.

Probability Moon

The Probability Trilogy: Book 1

Nancy Kress

Humanity has expanded out into other solar systems using the remnants of an ancient technology of star gates. But now an alien race has also discovered the gates. In this situation, a new planet is discovered inhabited by a human-like race, and a team of scientists is sent to contact and study them. It isnt long before the killer aliens arrive and the whole powerkeg explodes.

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.

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....

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.

Jem: The Making of a Utopia

Frederik Pohl

The discovery of another habitable world might spell salvation to the three bitterly competing power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but when their representatives arrive on Jem, with its multiple intelligent species, they discover instead the perfect situation into which to export their rivalries. Subtitled, with savage irony, 'The Making of a Utopia', Jem is one of Frederik Pohl's most powerful novels.

Eden

Stanislaw Lem

A six-man crew crash-lands on Eden, fourth planet from another sun. The men find a strange world that grows ever stranger, and everywhere there are images of death. The crew's attempt to communicate with this civilization leads to violence and to a cruel truth-cruel precisely because it is so human.

Out of the Silent Planet

The Cosmic Trilogy: Book 1

C. S. Lewis

The first book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill.

Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity.

First published in 1938, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

Demon

The Gaean Trilogy: Book 3

John Varley

The satellite-sized alien Gaea has gone completely insane. She has transformed her love of old movies into monstrous realities. She is Marilyn Monroe. She is King Kong. And now she must be destroyed.

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.

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.

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...

The Stars are Ours!

Pax / Astra: Book 1

Andre Norton

The Stars are Ours! describes the first interstellar voyage, undertaken to escape the tyranny that rules the Earth.

Perelandra

The Cosmic Trilogy: Book 2

C. S. Lewis

The second book in C. S. Lewis's acclaimed Space Trilogy, which also includes Out of the Silent Planet and That Hideous Strength, Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom.

Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on a new planet -- Perelandra -- when it is invaded by a dark force.

Will Perelandra succumb to this malevolent being, who strives to create a new world order and who must destroy an old and beautiful civilization to do so? Or will it throw off the yoke of corruption and achieve a spiritual perfection as yet unknown to man?

The outcome of Dr. Ransom's mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet.

In the Ocean of Night

The Galactic Center Series: Book 1

Gregory Benford

Set in a world of lunar colonies, cybernetic miracles, fanatic cults, deadly pollution and famine, the first story in the Galactic Center Series. This world of social decay is facing hardship, but not far beyond the shores of space comes a mystery, which one man, astronaut Nigel Walmsley is about to touch.

Juniper Time

Kate Wilhelm

Kate Wilhelm is at the top of her form in Juniper Time, her first science fiction novel since she won the Hugo Award for Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang.

Juniper Time is a panoramic and hauntingly beautiful novel of the survival of hunamkind and nature. Drought has devastated the western United States and the people migrate eastward to settle in squalid concentration camps called "Newtowns." One woman, Jean Brighton, flees in the opposite direction. A linguist who can decode secret messages and make sense of alien languages, Jean has found governmental pressure on her university work untenable, and she heads for the only place she knows she will be safe - her grandfather's new-deserted house in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet her survival does not come from her own devices alone, for she receives the help of Indians who have stayed to reclaim the land that was once theirs. Through them and the mysteries of their world, Jean masters the art of survival, not only in the desolate Northwest but also in the white man's world she must return to someday.

Rich in feeling and insight, Juniper Time ranks among Kate Wilhelm's most compelling novels.

2061: Odyssey Three

Space Odyssey: Book 3

Arthur C. Clarke

Fifty years after meeting the spirit of Dave Bowman aboard the abandoned Discovery and witnessing the fiery transformation of Jupiter into Earths second sun, 103-year-old Dr. Heywood Floyd boards the luxury spaceship Universe for the historic first landing on the surface of Halley's Comet.

At the same time, the Galaxy expedition sets out to probe the evolutionary upheaval on Jupiter's former moon Europa haunted by the fate of a doomed Chinese mission and by the ominous message from space: "All these worlds are yours *except Europa. Attempt no landings there. "

As the stranded Galaxy awaits rescue on the dangerous and forbidden surface of Europa and Universe races to her aid, the omniscient force that is Dave Bowman watches *and waits to reveal the extraordinary secrets of the monoliths, of the masters he now serves, and of mankind's ultimate role in the course of cosmic history . . .

Nemesis

Isaac Asimov

In the twenty-third century pioneers have escaped the crowded earth for life in self-sustaining orbital colonies. One of the colonies, Rotor, has broken away from the solar system to create its own renegade utopia around an unknown red star two light-years from Earth: a star named Nemesis. Now a fifteen-year-old Rotorian girl has learned of the dire threat that nemesis poses to Earth's people--but she is prevented from warning them. Soon she will realize that Nemesis endangers Rotor as well. And so it will be up to her alone to save both Earth and Rotor as--drawn inexorably by Nemesis, the death star--they hurtle toward certain disaster.

The Deepest Rift

Ruthanna Emrys

In the deepest canyon in the inhabited worlds, giant mantas soar through the air and leave patterned structures behind. A team of sapiologists seek to prove that these delicate filaments are true language, not just bee's dance. But time has run out, and their reckoning is upon them. Will they prove that their research is valid, or will they be scattered to the corners of the galaxy?

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

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 Lovers

The Sturch: Book 1

Philip José Farmer

A linguist, studying languages on a previously unknown alien planet, begins to suspect that humans may have visited the planet at some time in the past.

Fluency

Confluence: Book 1

Jennifer Foehner Wells

NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.

The ship itself remained silent, drifting.

Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse.

The ship isn't vacant, as they presumed.

A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane's head, "You are home."

Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien's help 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!

World Without End

Bantam Star Trek Original Novels: Book 7

Joe Haldeman

Chatalia... a fantastic artificial world, inhabited by furry winged creatures with awesome powers. Here Kirk, Spock and their Enterprise mates, trapped, face terrifying death. And if by some miracle they escape, they will confront the roving killers of the Klingon Empire!

As Captain Kirk and members of his landing party are held prisoner aboard the alien planetoid, the Enterprise - ensnared in a trap - loses power and begins to descend on a collision course with the planetoid.

Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise face a foe of incredible power and intelligence - a nightmare image from humanity's past.

Captain's log, stardate 7505.6. This is being recorded by Science Officer Spock, temporarily in command.

The Enterprise is currently in orbit around an alien "starship" (actually an artificial planetoid approximately 217.352 kilometers in diameter) of unknown origin, aboard which Captain Kirk and a landing party of four are stranded. They are currently detained in a prison cell, awaiting interrogation.

Far more immediate is the condition of the Enterprise. The ship has been 'snared' by wires apparently composed of the same material as the alien craft (a substance harder than any known to Federation science) -- wires which are draining off our power reserves at an alarming rate. We appear to have the choice of remaining on board the Enterprise (and crashing to the surface of the planetoid once our power is gone), or joining the Captain inside the alien spacecraft. A fascinating dilemma.

Spaceman of Bohemia

Jaroslav Kalfar

Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country's first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he's dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father's sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions.

Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?

Marooned on Mars

Winston Science Fiction: Book 5

Lester del Rey

Determined to be on the first rocket flight form the moon to Mars, stowaway Chuck Svensen endangers the experiment by hiding on board the Eros. His worst fears are realized when he discovers that his presence means less food and fuel for the rest of the crew. And when the Eros crash-lands on the strange Red Planet, Chuck takes it upon himself to bring the ship safely back to the moon. From his first encounter with the menacing rodent-like Marian creatures, to the startling climax in the weird catacombs of a ruined civilization, here is science-fiction at its bizarre best.

Conquerors' Pride

Conquerors' Trilogy: Book 1

Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn, Hugo Award-winning author of The New York Times best-selling Star Wars trilogy, blazes a spectacular new path across the sky in an epic original novel of star-spanning action adventure, mystery and intrigue.

A long era of peace and prosperity in the interstellar Commonwealth has suddenly come to an end. Four alien starships of unknown origin have attacked, without provocation, an eight-ship Peacemaker task force, utterly destroying it in six savage minutes. The authorities claim there were no survivors. But Lord Stewart Cavanaugh, a former member of Parliament, has learned through back channels that one man may have survived to be captured by the aliens: his son, Commander Pheylan Cavanaugh.

A large-scale invasion appears imminent, and the strictest security measures are in effect . . . measures that Lord Cavanaugh has no choice but to defy. He recruits Adam Quinn, who once flew with the elite Copperheads--fighter pilots whose minds are literally one with their machines--to rescue his son. Quinn assembles a crack force of Copperheads to steal out of the Commonwealth security zone and snatch Pheylan Cavanaugh from the conquerors. Depending on the outcome, Quinn and his men will retum home as heroes or as the galaxy's most despised traitors--if they come home at all.