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The Dark Forest

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 2

Cixin Liu

Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion—in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

Translated by Joel Martinsen

Note: first published in China in 2008.

Abaddon's Gate

The Expanse: Book 3

James S. A. Corey

For generations, the solar system -- Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt -- was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark.Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

Speaker for the Dead

The Ender Wiggin Saga: Book 2

Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening... again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery... and the truth.

The Midwich Cuckoos

John Wyndham

In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed – except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant. The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside . . .

The Midwich Cuckoos is the classic tale of aliens in our midst, exploring how we respond when confronted by those who are innately superior to us in every conceivable way.

The Midwich Cuckoos was made into a feature film title The Village of the Damned.

The Three-Body Problem

Remembrance of Earth's Past: Book 1

Cixin Liu

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

Translation by Ken Liu.

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells

Famous for the mistaken panic that ensued from Orson Welles’s 1938 radio dramatization, The War of the Worlds remains one of the most influential of all science fiction works.

The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. Naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag—only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge.

Soon the whole of human civilization is under threat as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroying all life in their path with black gas and burning ray. The forces of Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they appear.

Yesterday's Kin

Yesterday's Kin

Nancy Kress

Nebula-nominated novella

Aliens have landed in New York. After several months of no explanations, they finally reveal the reason for their arrival.

The news is not good.

Geneticist Marianne Jenner is having a career breakthrough, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Her children Elizabeth and Ryan constantly bicker, agreeing only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Her youngest, Noah, is addicted to a drug that keeps temporarily changing his identity. The Jenner family could not be further apart. But between the four of them, the course of human history will be forever altered.

Earth's most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster--and not everyone is willing to wait.

Anthologized in Paula Guran's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015.

Binti

Binti: Book 1

Nnedi Okorafor

Hugo and Nebula-winning and BSFA, BFA, and Locus-nominated Novella

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

The story can also be found in the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2016, edited by Paula Guran, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, and Infinite Stars (2017), edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Protector

Known Space: Book 5

Larry Niven

Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission: save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before...

Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days -- Brennan figured to meet that ship first...

He was never seen again -- at least not by those alive at the time.

Alien

Aliens Universe: Alien Quartet: Book 1

Alan Dean Foster

A crew of spaceship Nostromo is suddenly woken up from a cryogenic sleep because of mysterious signals coming from an unknown planet and received by a ship computer. The astronauts land on the planet surface and go to investigate an alien spaceship where one of them is attacked by an alien which fasten itself on his face. When the crew returns to their ship and abandon the planet, nobody forefeels that the real horror will begin very soon...

Camouflage

Joe Haldeman

Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it.

Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home--but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.

The Gripping Hand

The Moties: Book 2

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published." Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award winning authors of such bestsellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler.

There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered-- a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function. Master, Mediator, Engineer. Warrior. Each supremely adapted to its task, yet doomed by millions of years of evolution to an inescapable fate. For the Moties must breed-- or die. And now the fragile wall separating them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble.

Earthbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 3

Joe Haldeman

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave: Book 1

Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Authority

Southern Reach Trilogy: Book 2

Jeff VanderMeer

In the second volume of the Southern Reach Trilogy, questions are answered, stakes are raised, and mysteries are deepened...

Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in 'Annihilation', the second book of the Southern Reach trilogy introduces John Rodriguez, the new head of the government agency responsible for the safeguarding of Area X. His first day is spent grappling with the fall-out from the last expedition. Area X itself remains a mystery. But, as instructed by a higher authority known only as The Voice, the self-styled Control must battle to 'put his house in order'.

From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the mysteries of Area X begin to reveal themselves--and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve.

Undermined and under pressure to make sense of everything, Rodriguez retreats into his past in a labyrinthine search for answers. Yet the more he uncovers, the more he risks, for the secrets of the Southern Reach are more sinister than anyone could have known.

All the Colors of Darkness

Jan Darzek: Book 1

Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

Someone is sabotaging the Universal Transmitting Company's new technology--instantaneous transport of objects and people around the world. When Detective Jan Darzek investigates, the mystery seems inexplicable--out of this world.

Lagoon

Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria's most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself... from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together--and the things that make us human.

There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.

All Flesh Is Grass

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 38

Clifford D. Simak

The strange but beautiful purple blossoms now grew wild in his backyard. One day Brad Carter tripped and fell into an alternate world, a world peopled by these very flowers.

Sphere

Michael Crichton

In the middle of the South Pacific, a thousand feet below the surface of the water, a huge vessel is discovered resting on the ocean floor. It is a spaceship of phenomenal dimensions, apparently undamaged by its fall from the sky. And, most startling, it appears to be at least three hundred years old.

But even more fantastic—and frightening—is what waits inside . . .

Up the Walls of the World

James Tiptree, Jr.

A complex science fiction story of a secret military research project involving the investigative powers of the mind and their possible strategic applications and a distant planet which is being threatened by a monumental interstellar entity.

Humans who have shown indications of telepathic ability make mental contact with the Tyrenni, strange alien beings resembling winged squids who dwell in the upper atmosphere of their tempestuous world. But the Tyrenni are threatened by a huge being and forced into the decision to take over the bodies of their human contacts...

Armada: A Novel

Ernest Cline

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he's spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there's nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don't get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he's staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada--in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn't lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he's seeing is all too real. And his skills--as well as those of millions of gamers across the world--are going to be needed to save the earth from what's about to befall it.

It's Zack's chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can't help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn't something about this scenario seem a little... familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you've ever read before--one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Dreamcatcher

Stephen King

Once upon a time, in the haunted city of Derry (site of IT and INSOMNIA), four young boys did a brave thing; something that changed them in ways they hardly understand. A quarter-century later, the boys are men who still get together once a year, to go hunting in the north woods of Maine. But this time, a man comes stumbling into their camp, lost, disoriented and muttering about lights in the sky. Before long, these old friends will be plunged into the most remarkable events of their lives and a terrible struggle with a creature from another world. Their only chance of survival is locked in their past and in the boy they once rescued as a child.

Stinger

Robert R. McCammon

A UFO crash sends a small Texas town into uproar

The sun rises on Inferno and Bordertown: patches of civilization carved out of the tough Texas earth, watching each other and waiting to see which dies first. The copper mine is finished, and both towns-one for the whites and one for the Mexicans-are wasting away. Now a pair of mysterious visitors is about to make them shrink faster.

The black ball lands first. A small sphere, snapped off of an alien ship as it plummets through the atmosphere, it explodes onto Jessie Hammond's truck. When Jessie's daughter picks it up, the object possesses the young girl's body and begins trying to communicate. As Jessie tries to rescue her daughter, something far more deadly sets down in the desert. An interstellar war has come to Texas, and Inferno is going to burn.

The Tommyknockers

Stephen King

...Tommyknockers, tommyknockers, knocking at the door.

Something was happening in Bobbi Anderson's idyllic small town of Haven, Maine. Something that gave every man, woman, and child in town powers far beyond ordinary mortals. Something that turned the town into a death trap for all outsiders. Something that came from a metal object, buried for millennia, that Bobbi stumbled across.

It wasn't that Bobbi and the other good folks of Haven had sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of hell. It was more like a diabolical takeover... and invasion of body and soul--and mind.

White Queen

The Aleutian Trilogy: Book 1

Gwyneth Jones

Johnny Guglioli used to be a journalist, but his QV virus has rendered him an outcast. In exile from his native America, he encounters an enigmatic young woman. He is convinced she is an alien, and that she is part of a small force sent to reconnoitre Earth.

The Last Theorem

Arthur C. Clarke
Frederik Pohl

The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork.

30 light years away, a race known simply as the One Point Fives are plotting a dangerous invasion plan, one that will wipe humankind off the face of the Earth...

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young astronomy student, Ranjit Subramanian, becomes obsessed with a three-hundred-year-old theorem that promises to unlock the secrets of the universe. While Ranjit studies the problem, tensions grow between the nations of the world and a UN taskforce headed up by China, America and Russia code-named Silent Thunder begins bombing volatile regimes into submission.

On the eve of the invasion of Earth a space elevator is completed, helped in part by Ranjit, which will herald a new type of Olympics to be held on the Moon. But when alien forces arrive Ranjit is forced to question his own actions, in a bid to save the lives of not just his own family but of all of humankind.

Co-written with fellow grand master Frederik Pohl, The Last Theorem not only provides a fitting end to the career one of the most famous names in science fiction but also sets a new benchmark in contemporary prescient science fiction. It tackles with ease epic themes as diverse as third world poverty, the atrocities of modern warfare in a post-nuclear age, space elevators, pure mathematics and mankind's first contact with extra-terrestrials.