We have found a distant planet. It carries sign of an alien civilisation.
And on a fleet of holoships, vast asteroids hollowed out and turned into miniature worlds, millions of us are heading there. With engines designed to exploit a physics we barely understand we are on a one way journey, travelling at one sixth the speed of light, to a new home. And an encounter with the unknown.
And we take with us hopes and lies, secrets and betrayals. And another, quite alien intelligence.
The Akinya family have not finished with space. Their destiny still lies with the stars, however they get there, whichever of them make it.
And the Mechanism has not finished with the Akinyas…
Arthur C. Clarke - The Ghost from the Grand Banks
It is 2010. In just two years' time it will be the centennial of an event that has haunted the world: the sinking of the Titanic. The remains of what was once the world's greatest ocean liner lie four kilometres down on the Grand Banks of the Atlantic Ocean, an endless reminder of the frailty of man's technology in the face of natural perils. But, a hundred years on, the urge to raise the wreck is irresistible. From the West comes one solution; from the East another. Both are marvels of technological imagination; both can succeed. But there are other powers at work, and the wreck on the Grand Banks may still hold a surprice or two for those who would return her to the eyes of the world...
Philip K. Dick - Martian Time-Slip
Mars is a desolate world. Largely forgotten by Earth, the planet remains helpless in the stranglehold of Arnie Kott, who as boss of the plumber's union has a monopoly over the vital water supply. Arnie Kott is obsessed by the past; the native Bleekmen, poverty-stricken wanderers, can see into the future; while to Manfred, an autistic boy, time apparently stops. When one of the colonists, Norbert Steiner, commits suicide, the repercussions are startling and bizarre.
Philip K. Dick - A Scanner Darkly
Substance D - otherwise known as Death - is the most dangerous drug ever to find its way onto the black market. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, leading first to disorentation and then to complete and irreversible brain damage. Bob Arctor, undercover narcotics agent, is trying to find a lead to the source of supply, but to pass as an addict he must become a user, and soon, without knowing what is happening to him, he is as dependent as any of the addicts he is monitoring.
Philip K. Dick - Ray Faraday Nelson - The Ganymede Takeover
First published, in paperback, in 1967, this is one of two novels Dick wrote in collaboration. Stylistically, it is typical Dick, but it lacks the gravity and conviction of most of his other novels. It's set in the 21st century when the Earth has been conquered by a race of alien, telepathic, wormlike creatures, one of whom, Mekkis, is attracted to the theories of the psychologist Rudolph Balkani. Although ostensibly a ``wik'' or worm-kisser (i.e., one who freely serves the Ganymedians), Balkani is a complex man whose allegiances and motives are not easily discerned; indeed, Mekkis's attraction to his ideas leads to the worms' undoing. Other characters include the musicologist Joan Hiashi, whom Balkani unsuccessfully pursues, and Percy X, the black revolutionary who represents the ony overt resistance to the worms. Characterizations are unusually weak for Dick, and the ultimate instrument of the alien downfall--Dr. Balkani's ``hell-machine,'' which distorts reality--cannot summon up in the reader the ontological confusion and terror that drives Dick's best work.
David Brin - Existence (angol)
Bestselling, award-winning futurist David Brin returns to globe-spanning, high concept SF with Existence. Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an “alien artifact.” Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.
Philip K. Dick - Our Friends from Frolix 8
For all the strange worlds borne of his vast and vivid imagination, Philip K. Dick was largely concerned with humanity’s most achingly familiar heartaches and struggles. In Our Friends From Frolix 8, he clashes private dreams against public battles in a fast-paced and provocative tale that ultimately addresses our salvation both as individuals and a whole. Nick Appleton is a menial laborer whose life is a series of endless frustrations. Willis Gram is the despotic oligarch of a planet ruled by big-brained elites. When they both fall in love with Charlotte Boyer, a feisty black marketer of revolutionary propaganda, Nick seems destined for doom. But everything takes a decidedly unpredictable turn when the revolution’s leader, Thors Provoni, returns from ten years of intergalactic hiding with a ninety-ton protoplasmic slime that is bent on creating a new world order. Winner of both the Hugo and John W. Campbell awards for best novel, widely regarded as the premiere science fiction writer of his day, and the object of cult-like adoration from his legions of fans, Philip K. Dick has come to be seen in a literary light that defies classification in much the same way as Borges and Calvino. With breathtaking insight, he utilizes vividly unfamiliar worlds to evoke the hauntingly and hilariously familiar in our society and ourselves.
Arthur C. Clarke - The Songs of Distant Earth (Oxford Bookworms)
'High above them, Lora and Clyde heard a sound their world had not heard for centuries - the thin scream of a starship coming in from outer space, leaving a long white tail like smoke across the clear blue sky. They looked at each other in wonder. After three hundred years of silence, Earth had reached out once more to touch Thalassa ...' And with the starship comes knowledge, and love, and pain. In these five science-fiction stories Arthur C. Clarke takes us travelling through the universe into the unknown, but always possible future."
Philip K. Dick - Ubik (angol)
Glen Runciter is dead. Or is he? Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out. If it hasn't already.
David Brin - Infinity's Shore
Nebula and Hugo award-winning author David Brin continues his bestselling Uplift series in this second novel of a bold new trilogy. Imaginative, inventive, and filled with Brin's trademark mix of adventure, passion, and wit, Infinity's Shore carries us further than ever before into the heart of the most beloved and extraordinary science fiction sagas ever written. For the fugitive settlers of Jijo, it is truly the beginning of the end. As starships fill the skies, the threat of genocide hangs over the planet that once peacefully sheltered six bands of sapient beings. Now the human settlers of Jijo and their alien neighbors must make heroic, and terrifying, choices. A scientist must rally believers for a cause he never shared. And four youngsters find that what started as a simple adventure - imitating exploits in Earthling books by Verne and Twain - leads them to the dark abyss of mystery. Meanwhile, the Streaker, with her fugitive dolphin crew, arrives at last on Jijo in a desperate search for refuge. Yet what the crew finds instead is a secret hidden since the galaxies first spawned intelligence - a secret that could mean salvation for the planet and its inhabitants... or their ultimate annihilation.
Philip K. Dick - Minority Report
“The three gibbering, fumbling creatures, with their enlarged heads and wasted bodies, were contemplating the future. The analytical machinery was recording prophecies, and as the three precog idiots talked, the machinery carefully listened.” Many of Philip K. Dick’s stories deal with the nature of reality, of personality and self as well as drugs and the future. The stories here are among his best work and will resonate long after you’ve read them.
Fritz Leiber - The Big Time
Have you ever worried about your memory, because it doesn't seem to recall exactly the same past from one day to the next? Have you ever thought that the whole universe might be a crazy, mixed-up dream? If you have, then you've had hints of the Change War. It's been going on for a billion years and it will last another billion or so. Up and down the timeline, the two sides--"Spiders" and "Snakes"--battle endlessly to change the future and the past. Our lives, our memories, are their battleground. And in the midst of the war is the Place, outside space and time, where Greta Forzane and the other Entertainers provide solace and r-&-r for tired time warriors.
Douglas Adams - Mostly Harmless
Arthur Dent hasn't had a day as bad as this since the Earth was blown up. Depressed and alone, Arthur settles on the small planet Lamuella and becomes a sandwich maker. Looking forward to a quiet life, his plans are thrown awry by the unexpected arrival of his daughter.
Iain M. Banks - Matter
In a world renowned within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else’s war is never a simple matter.
Iain M. Banks - The Hydrogen Sonata
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
Nancy Kress - Steal Across the Sky
Aliens appeared one day, built a base on the moon, and put an ad on the internet. The Atoners claim to have wronged humanity ten thousand years before, and request 21 volunteers to visit seven planets and Witness for us. At first, everyone thought it was a joke. Three of those volunteers tell what they found on Kular A and Kular B.
David Brin - Heaven's Reach
Winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards, David Brin brings his bestselling Uplift series to a magnificent conclusion with his most imaginative and powerful novel to date - the shattering epic of a universe poised on the brink of revelation...or annihilation. The brutal enemy that has relentlessly pursued them for centuries has arrived. Now the fugitive settlers of Jijo - both human and alien - brace for a final confrontation. The Jijoans' only hope is the Earthship Streaker, crewed by uplifted dolphins and commanded by an untested human. Yet more than just the fate of Jijo hangs in the balance. For Streaker carries a cargo of ancient artifacts that may unlock the secret of those who first brought intelligent life to the Galaxies. Many believe a dire prophecy has come to pass: an age of terrifying changes that could end Galactic civilization. As dozens of white dwarf stars stand ready to explode, the survival of sentient life in the universe rests on the most improbable dream of all - that age-old antagonists of different races can at last recognize the unity of all consciousness.
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 (angol)
The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwells 1984 and Huxleys Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilizations enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradburys powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
Clifford D. Simak - Way Station
Neighbors saw Enoch Wallace as an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he had done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. They must never know that inside his unchanging house, he met and conversed with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars. More than a hundred years before, an alien being named Ulysses had recruited Enoch as the keeper of Earth's only galactic transfer station. Now Enoch studied the progress of Earth as he tended the tanks where the aliens appeared, and the charts he made indicated that his world was doomed to destruction. His alien friends could only offer help that seemed worse than the dreaded disaster. Then he discovered the horror that lived across the galaxy . . .
Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon
Charlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper, and the gentle butt of everyone's jokes, until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius. But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental tranformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.