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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

The Black Hole

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The Black Hole

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Author: Alan Dean Foster
Publisher: Del Rey / Ballantine, 1979

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Robots/Androids
Space Exploration
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Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the spacecraft USS Palomino is returning to Earth.

The Palomino crew discover a black hole in space with a spaceship nearby, somehow defying the hole's massive gravitational pull. The ship is identified as the long-lost USS Cygnus.

The Palomino crew cautiously boards the Cygnus and soon encounter the ship's commander, Dr. Hans Reinhardt, a brilliant scientist. Aided by a crew of faceless, black-robed android drones and his sinister-looking robot Maximilian, Reinhardt explains that he has lived all alone on the Cygnus for years.

The rest of the Palomino crew grow suspicious of the faceless drones' human-like behaviour: the crew had been lobotomized and "reprogrammed" by Reinhardt to serve him. When this is discovered, Reinhardt takes Kate prisoner, ordering his sentry robots to take her to the ship's hospital bay to be lobotomized.

Just as the process begins, Holland rescues Kate. Fearing the situation is escalating dangerously, Booth attempts to escape alone in the Palomino. Reinhardt orders the craft shot down. A meteor storm then destroys the starboard generator. Without its null-gravity bubble, the Cygnus starts to break apart under the black hole's huge gravitational forces.

Reinhardt and the Palomino survivors separately plan their escape aboard a small probe ship. The crew of the Palamino reach the probe ship, only to discover the controls locked onto a flightpath that takes them into the black hole, which takes them through a surreal hell back to Earth.


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