After thousands of years of searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: The Qeng Ho, a culture of free, innovative 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 the alien planet to reawaken, as it does every two hundred and fifty years…
Amidst 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.
Peter F. Hamilton - Pandora's Star
In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across. When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them. For what if their disappearance indicates some kind of galactic conflict? Since a conventional wormhole cannot be used to reach these vanished stars, for the first time humans need to build a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance. But it arrives to find each 'vanished' star encased in a giant force field - and within one of them resides a massive alien civilisation.
Paul J. McAuley - Eternal Light
In the aftermath of an interstellar war an enigmatic star is discovered, travelling towards the Solar System from the galactic core. Its appearance adds a new and dangerous factor in the turbulent politics of the inhabited worlds as the rival factions - the power-holders of the ReUnited Nations, the rebels who secretly oppose their power, and the Religious Witnesses - all see advantages to be gained. But what awesome technology started the star on its journey half a million years ago - and why?
Peter F. Hamilton - Fallen Dragon
Born in a colony world in 2310, Lawrence Newton hankered after the golden era of starships exploring the galaxy. But the age of human starflight was drawing to a close, so this hot-heated teenager ran away from home in search of adventure. Twenty years later, he's the sergeant of a washed-out platoon taking part in the bungled invasion of another world. The giant corporations call such campaigns 'asset realization', but in practice it's simple piracy. While he's on the ground, being shot at and firebombed by local resistance forces, Lawrence hears stories about the Temple of the Fallen Dragon - and a sect devoted to the worship of a mythical creature that fell to the ground millennia ago. More importantly, its priests are said to guard a hoard of treasure large enough to buy lifelong happiness - which information prompts him to mount a private-enterprise operation of his own.
Dan Simmons - The Hyperion Omnibus
The Hyperion books are credited with single-handedly reinventing and reinvigorating SF in the 1990s. A broad canvased, hugely imaginative and exciting SF epic, the books draw on the works of Keats and provide a uniquely intelligent and literary approach with cutting edge science, compelling characterisation and edge-of-your-seat excitement. The story is continued in ENDYMION and THE RISE OF ENDYMION, which Gollancz will also be publishing in an omnibus volume.
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.
Iain M. Banks - Emlékezz Phlebasra
A háború maga alá gyűrte a galaxist. Milliók haltak meg, holdak, bolygók, egész csillagrendszerek pusztultak el. Az idiriek a hitükért harcoltak, a Kultúra pedig - ez az emberek és gépek szimbiózisából álló társadalom - saját létezése jogosságáért. A háború elvekről szólt. És mindenki győzni akart. Aztán egy ütközet eredményeként a Kultúra egyik szuperszámítógépe, egy Elme zuhan bele Schar Világának kietlen, fagyott felszínébe, és bújik meg a föld alatti alagútrendszerben. Az idiriek meg akarják találni, hogy a számukra ismeretlen technológia segítségéve előnyre tegyenek szert a háborúban. A Kultúra pedig mindenre képes, hogy visszaszerezze, mielőtt az Elme az ellenség kezébe kerül. Az idiriek szolgálatában álló Alakváltó, Bora Horza Gobuchul indul meg Schar Világa felé, hogy egy szedett-vedett zsoldoscsapat tagjaként megfordítsa a háború menetét. A galaxis jövője az ő kezében van, bár ezt egyelőre még ő maga sem sejti. Iain M. Banks legelső Kultúra-regénye egyszerre nagyszabású űropera, izgalmas kalandregény és felejthetetlen történet egy hősről, aki a saját helyét keresi a galaxisban.
China Miéville - Embassytown
Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts - who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.
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.
Peter F. Hamilton - Judas Unchained
After hundreds of years secretly manipulating the human race, the Starflyer alien has succeeded in engineering a war which should result in the destruction of the Intersolar Commonwealth. Now, thanks to Chief Investigator Paula Myo, the Commonwealth's political elite finally acknowledges the Starflyer's existence, and puts together an unlikely partnership to track down this enigmatic and terrifying alien. The invasion from Dyson Alpha continues with dozens of Commonwealth worlds falling to the enemy. The navy fights back with what it believes to be war-winning superweapons, only to find that the alien fleet has equally powerful weapons. How the aliens got them is the question which haunts Admiral Kime. Could it be that the Commonwealth's top-secret defence project has been compromised by the Starflyer's agents, or is the truth even worse?
Walter Jon Williams - Aristoi
Williams evokes a future reminiscent of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, in which the promises of science and technology are fulfilled. In the far-distant future, only a specially adapted group of people--the Aristoi--can operate the ultra-advanced computer system that controls their vast interstellar empire.
Poul Anderson - Tau Zero
Fifty men and women set out in the twenty-third century from Earth aboard an interstellar craft to travel to a planet some thirty light-years away. The ship will approach the speed of light and so (as Einstein predicted) subjective time on board will slow and so the journey of several decades will be of much shorter duration for the crew. But the ship's deceleration system is irreparably damaged when it hits a cloud of interstellar dust and acceleration continues toward light speed, tau zero. Soon the ship is speeding through galaxies and eons are passing on board the ship in the blink of an eye...
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.
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.
Ernest Cline - Ready Player One (angol)
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut - part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed. It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune - and remarkable power - to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved - that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt - among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life - and love - in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
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.
Karl Schroeder - Sun of Suns
It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity. Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He's come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden's nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden's spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn't bode well for Fanning's chances . . .
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.
John Scalzi - The Ghost Brigades
A traitor to humanity is helping a trio of alien races destroy humanity -- all of it. His motivations are unclear, his whereabouts unknown. But the traitor left something behind: a recording of his consciousness. That consciousness is poured into Jared Dirac, a warrior born as an adult to fight the battles no one else will take. As Jared fights, he learns more about the man whose personality has been placed in his head -- and learns why he turned traitor. But can Jared, bred to save humanity, be trusted not betray it instead?
Peter F. Hamilton - The Naked God
Hell just went quantum... The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal does not match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonbridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind that hasn't been seen by humankind for six hundred years. Then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction... Joshua Clavert and Syrinx now fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God - which an alien race believes holds the key to finally overthrowing the possessed.
Alastair Reynolds - Chasm City
The once-utopian Chasm City - a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet - has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted - from the people to the very buildings they inhabit - only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmares through which he searches for a low-life postmortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.