Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar; for millennia its protective dome shutout the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rules the stars. But then, as legend had it, The invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man, A Unique to break through Diaspar’s stifling inertia, to smash the legend and discover the true nature of the Invaders.
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 . . .
Arthur C. Clarke - The Space Trilogy - Islands of the Sky / Earthlight / The Sands of Mars
Islands in the Sky, first published in 1954, sees Roy Malcolm winning a trip to the Inner Station, a space station rotating 500 miles from Earth. The Sands of Mars, set in the 21st century, has a group of pioneers struggling to change the face of this inhospitable planet. In Earthlight, two centuries hence, man has colonised the planets and the inhabitants of the Moon owe no allegiance to any nation on Earth - or to Earth itself . . . This omnibus edition of three of Arthur C. Clarke's early novels shows the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey exploring space and time in adventurous and thoughtful ways.
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.
Arthur C. Clarke - Rendezvous With Rama
Rama is a vast alien spacecraft that enters the Solar System. A perfect cylinder some fifty kilometres long, spinning rapidly, racing through space, Rama is a technological marvel, a mysterious and deeply enigmatic alien artifact. It is Mankind's first visitor from the stars and must be investigated...
Arthur C. Clarke - Gentry Lee - The Garden of Rama
By the twenty-third century Earth has already had two encounters with massive, mysterious robotic spacecraft from beyond our solar system - the incontestable proof of an alien technology that far exceeds our own. Now three human cosmonauts are trapped aboard a labyrinthine Raman vessel, where it will take all of their physical and mental resources to survive. Only twelve years into their journey do these intrepid travelers learn their destination and face their ultimate challenge: a rendezvous with a Raman base - and the unseen architechts of their galactic home. The cosmonauts have given up family friends, and possessions to live a new kind of life. But the answers that await them at the Raman Node will require an even greater sacrifice - if humanity is indeed ready to learn the awe-inspiring truth.
Arthur C. Clarke - The Songs of Distant Earth and Other Stories (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.
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...
Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles
Written in the age of the atom, when America and Europe optimistically viewed the discovery of life on Mars as inevitable, Bradbury's closely interwoven tales of a brutal, stark and unforgiving Martian landscape are both astonishing and insightful. The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity's repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. Thefirst men were few. Most succumbed to a disease called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. Those few who survived found no welcome on Mars. But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more. People brought their old prejudoces with them – and their desires and fantasies and tainted dreams.
Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.
Arthur C. Clarke - The Songs of Distant Earth
Just a few islands in a planetwide ocean, Thalassa was a veritable paradise-home to one of the small colonies founded centuries before by robot Mother Ships when the Sun had gone nova and mankind had fled Earth. Mesmerized by the beauty of Thalassa and overwhelmed by its vast resources, the colonists lived an idyllic existence, unaware of the monumental evolutionary event slowly taking place beneath their seas... Then the Magellan arrived in orbit carrying one million refugees from the last, mad days on Earth. And suddenly uncertainty and change had come to the placid paradise that was Thalassa.
Peter Watts - Blindsight
Two months since the stars fell... Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around the Earth like a luminous fist, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown. Two months of silence, while a world holds its breath. Now some half-derelict space probe, sparking fitfully past Neptune's orbit, hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer, something en route. So who do you send to force introductions on an intelligence with motives unknown, maybe unknowable? Who do you send to meet the alien when the alien doesn't want to meet? You send a linguist with multiple personalities, her brain surgically partitioned into separate, sentient processing cores. You send a biologist so radically interfaced with machinery that he sees x-rays and tastes ultrasound, so compromised by grafts and splices he no longer feels his own flesh. You send a pacifist warrior in the faint hope she won't be needed, and the fainter one she'll do any good if she is. You send a monster to command them all, an extinct hominid predator once called vampire, recalled from the grave with the voodoo of recombinant genetics and the blood of sociopaths. And you send a synthesistan informational topologist with half his mind gone - as an interface between here and there, a conduit through which the Dead Center might hope to understand the Bleeding Edge. You send them all to the edge of interstellar space, praying you can trust such freaks and retrofits with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find. But you'd give anything for that to be true, if you only knew what was waiting for them...
Joan D. Vinge - The Snow Queen
The imperious Winter colonists have ruled the planet Tiamat for 150 years, deriving wealth from the slaughter of the sea mers. But soon the galactic stargate will close, isolating Tiamat, and the 150-year reign of the Summer primitives will begin. All is not lost if Arienrhod, the ageless, corrupt Snow Queen, can destroy destiny with an act of genocide. Arienrhod is not without competition as Moon, a young Summer-tribe sibyl, and the nemesis of the Snow Queen, battles to break a conspiracy that spans space.
Alastair Reynolds - On the Steel Breeze
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…
Isaac Asimov - Robot Dreams
Robot Dreams collects 21 of Isaac Asimov's short stories spanning the body of his fiction from the 1940s to the 1980s----exploring not only the future of technology, but the future of humanity's maturity and growth.
Joe Haldeman - Forever Peace
Julian Class is a full-time professor and part-time combat veteran who spends a third of each month virtually wired to a robotic "soldierboy." The soldierboys, along with flyboys and other advanced constructs, allow the U.S. to wage a remotely controlled war against constant uprisings in the Third World. The conflicts are largely driven by the so-called First World countries' access to nanoforges--devices that can almost instantly manufacture any product imaginable, given the proper raw materials--and the Third World countries' lack of access to these devices. But even as Julian learns that the consensual reality shared by soldierboy operators can lead to universal peace, the nanoforges create a way for humanity to utterly destroy itself, and it will be a race against time to see which will happen first. Although Forever Peace bears a title similar to Joe Haldeman's classic novel The Forever War, he says it's not a sequel.
Philip K. Dick - A Maze of Death
Fourteen people arrive on the strange planet of Delmark-O; they have nothing in common other than a desire to make a fresh start. And they have no idea why they are there and no way of escaping. And then the first murder takes place...
Frank Herbert - Destination: Void
Soon after the start, they went mad, the three powerful, disembodied human brains that should have guided them for the 200-year journey to Tau Ceti. Could they manufacture a replacement before emerging from the Solar System into nothingness? Would the circuits reproduce the characteristics they needed, characteristics like conscience, love and guilt? Or would they end up with a zombie? a monster? a power-crazy fanatic? - or a genius? What they did build was fantastic, unguessable. Yet, looking back, it was always on the cards.
Greg Bear - Anvil of Stars
82 young people travel the enormity of space on a quest for war and vengence against The Planet Eaters: aliens who turned the Earth - and all but a fragment of humanity - into a smouldering cinder. But how do you conduct a war against aliens whose psychology is unknowable, whose technological brilliance means they can disguise whole planetary sytstems?
David Brin - Startide Rising
In its original paperback editon of 1983, this novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Brin's extensive revisions make this first hardcover edition an SF event. What remains most impressive is the complex background of political, cultural, linguistic and many other connections and missed connections among innumerable different species. Against the backdrop of an ancient spacefaring conglomerate, whose shared traditions have not halted their wars, the upstart Earthlings humans, dolphins, chimpanzees also stand divided. Brin raises questions not only of understanding but of ethics, for a "patron" race may genetically uplift another only to indenture them. His depiction of the dolphins' gains and losses now that they've become space pilots is particularly moving. Although Brin's characterization and storytelling are less adept here than in the work he has since written, this is one of the outstanding SF novels of recent years.
David Brin - Brightness Reef
David Brin's Uplift novels - Sundiver, Hugo award winner The Uplift War, and Hugo and Nebula winner Startide Rising - are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction tales ever written. Now David Brin returns to this future universe for a new Uplift trilogy, packed with adventure, passion and wit. The planet Jijo is forbidden to settlers, its ecology protected by guardians of the Five Galaxies. But over the centuries it has been resettled, populated by refugees of six intelligent races. Together they have woven a new society in the wilderness, drawn together by their fear of Judgment Day, when the Five Galaxies will discover their illegal colony. Then a strange starship arrives on Jijo. Does it bring the long-dreaded judgment, or worse - a band of criminals willing to destroy the six races of Jijo in order to cover their own crimes?