open
Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Search Worlds Without End

Advanced Search
Search Terms:
Award(s):
Hugo
Nebula
BSFA
Mythopoeic
Locus SF
Derleth
Campbell
WFA
Locus F
Prometheus
Locus FN
PKD
Clarke
Stoker
Aurealis SF
Aurealis F
Aurealis H
Locus YA
Norton
Jackson
Legend
Red Tentacle
Morningstar
Golden Tentacle
Holdstock
All Awards
Sub-Genre:
Date Range:  to 

Search Results Returned:  56


Explorer

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

It has been nearly ten years since the starship Phoenix retuned to the abandoned station orbiting the world of the alien atevi. This station, called Alpha, had been deserted for centuries following a rift between a faction of the station's inhabitants and the spacers' autocratic Pilot's Guild. For two hundred years this splinter faction had shared a fragile coexistence with the atevi, living in isolation on the island of Mospheira, communicating with the brilliant but volatile atevi by the use of a single highly trained diplomat, the paidhi, and trading technological information for continued peace and safety.

The unexpected return of the Phoenix has forever changed the lives of both atevi and Mospheirans, for over the ensuing decade, the captains of the Phoenix have brought both the atevi and their human counterparts into space. Their motivation seemed simple: Reunion Station, a human station in another sector of space, had been destroyed by aliens.

But on his deathbed, the senior captain of the Phoenix admits that he lied to the crew - that Reunion was merely damaged, not destroyed, and many people, including family and friends of the Phoenix crew may have survived. At this disclosure, the crew rebels and forces the Phoenix to undertake a rescue mission to Reunion.

But the crew and captains do not go alone, for on board are Bren Cameron, brilliant human paidhi, now representing Tabini-aiji, the atevi ruler, and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, a fearsome, wily, and ambitious atevi leader with an agenda of her own.

Trapped in a distant star system with very little fuel left, facing a potentially bellicose alien ship, how can Bren help to avoid interspecies war when the notoriously secretive Pilot's Guild aboard Reunion Station won't even cooperate with their own ship, and may have kept the inhabitants of their own station ignorant of their true situation?

Deliverer

Foreigner: Arc 3: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

In the aftermath of civil war, the world of the atevi is still perilously unstable. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with his son and heir, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to their seat of power. The usurper, Murini, has escaped to the lands of his supporters, but the danger these rebels pose is far from over. Ilisidi, Tabini's grandmother, the aiji-dowager, has returned to her ancient castle in the East, for though she supports the rule of her grandson, she also has powerful ties in the lands of the rebels, and she seeks to muster whatever support she can from among those enemy strongholds.

In his father's heavily armed and tightly guarded headquarters, eight-year-old Cajeiri is horribly bored. Two years on an interstellar starship surrounded by human children have left him craving excitement and the company of his peers. But unbeknownst to this dissatisfied youngster he has become a target for forces bent on destroying his father's rule and everything it stands for. Though still a child, Cajeiri embodies a unique threat to the venerable, tradition-defined lifestyle of his people. For this innocent young boy is the first ateva youth to have lived in a human environment, surrounded by human children. And after hundreds of years of fragile, tenuous atevi-human coexistence, Cajeiri may very well be the first ateva to ever truly understand the so similar yet so dangerously different aliens who share his home planet and threaten the hidebound customs of his race.

Destroyer

Foreigner: Arc 3: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

It has been two years since the starship Phoenix left Alpha Station on a rescue mission to a faraway sector of space where over four thousand human spacers were under attack by a hostile alien race.

Now, exhausted from their journey, with resources strained by four thousand extra mouths to feed, the crew of the Phoenix yearns for home. But when the ship makes the final jump into atevi space, things do not seem right. And when they make contact with Alpha, they learn the worst: that supplies to the station have been cut off; that civil war has broken out on the atevi mainland; that the powerful Western Association has been overthrown; and that Tabini-aiji, Bren Cameron's primary supporter and Ilisidi's grandson and ally, is missing and may be dead.

With no one left to lead the Western Association, Ilisidi and Bren know that the survival of their allies lies in their hands. And with the atevi world at war, the only safe landing strip lies on the human colony at Mospheira. Although there are many dangers inherent in bringing a powerful atevi leader such as Ilisidi onto human lands, Bren realizes they have no choice but to do so.

But even if they safely survive their landing, will Bren and Ilisidi together prove strong enough to muster the remaining shards of the Western Association and regain control of their planet?

Deceiver

Foreigner: Arc 4: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

The civil war among the alien atevi is over. Tabini-aiji, dynamic ruler of the Western Association, has reclaimed his former power, and once again resides in the capital. But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over.

Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat allied with Tabini, has graciously chosen to visit Najida, his country estate on the west coast. He feels that the political tensions in the capital might ease if he is not present, and after two years in space and his return to a planet still imperiled by revolution, he relishes the peace and tranquillity his lovely coastal home affords.

But peace and tranquillity are not in the cards for Bren.

Desperate for freedom and adventure, disregarding the obvious danger, Cajeiri, Tabini's young son, escapes the tightly guarded capital with his bodyguards and arrives to surprise Bren in the country. But he is not the only surprise guest, for Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, Tabini's wily and powerful grandmother, has been dispatched to secure her great-grandson's safety.

However, Najida, formerly a safe haven, is no longer the sanctuary it once was. For a neighbor's estate - the ancestral home of Lord Geigi, a close associate of Bren's - has been left without strong leadership. Lord Geigi now resides on and runs the atevi space station, and in his absence, rebel clans have infiltrated his home. When these rebels attack Bren, Cajeiri, and the dowager, they have no choice but to recall Geigi from space.

With Lord Geigi, Ilisidi, Bren, and Cajeiri all under one roof, they pose an irresistible target for the enemy. And Bren's pastoral retreat, now swarming with bodyguards, becomes a locked-down and armed fortress. These four individuals - three of the most powerful politicians on the planet, and the heir to the aiji - are not without their own resources. But can they overcome their adversaries and end this guerilla war that is the last vestige of revolution?

Betrayer

Foreigner: Arc 4: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

In the wake of civil war, Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat allied with Tabini-aiji, dynamic atevi leader of the Western Association, has left the capital and sought temporary refuge at his country estate, Najida. But Najida has proven to be the opposite of a safe haven. For though the rebel usurper has been killed by Tabini's forces, and the capital has been purged of his factions, insurgents still persist in other districts, and their center of power, the Marid, lies perilously close to Bren's western coastal estate.

Now, Bren, along with Ilisidi, Tabini's powerful grandmother, and Cajeiri, Tabini's young son and heir, is trapped inside Najida, which has been transformed into an armed fortress and is surrounded by enemies.

But ancient, wily Ilisidi is not inclined to be passive, and in a brazen and shockingly dangerous maneuver, she sends Bren and his bodyguards into enemy territory. He is to travel to the palace of the leader of the Marid, a young lord named Machigi, in a district virtually at war with the Western Association. Bren's mission is to attempt to negotiate with Machigi - an atevi lord who has never actually seen a human - and somehow persuade him to cease his hostile actions against the West.

Though Bren does gain admittance to Machigi's home, and even an audience with the young lord, Ilisidi has not given him any explicit directions about this negotiation, and Bren is unsure what he is sanctioned to offer. He knows that Machigi is a young autocrat who rules a fractious, faction-ridden clan, and that his continued hospitality is not guaranteed.

Bren's genius for negotiation and his extensive knowledge of atevi politics, history, and economics enable him to make a daring trade offer to Machigi - one that seems to interest the young warlord. But Machigi is understandably suspicious of Ilisidi's motives, and to Bren's utter shock, evokes an ancient law.

Bren wears the white ribbon that for the last two centuries has identified the single official human-atevi negotiator. But before humans landed, this white ribbon represented a specialized negotiator between atevi adversaries - a mediator who agreed to represent both sides with equal loyalty. These ancient mediators frequently ended up dead.

Can Bren stay alive, and not alienate Ilisidi or Tabini, while also representing the interests of their enemy?

Bloodchild

Octavia E. Butler

Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award winning novelette.

Years ago a group known as the Terrans left Earth in search of a life free of persecution. Now they live alongside the Tlic, an alien race who face extinction; their only chance of survival is to plant their larvae inside the bodies of the humans.

When Gan, a young, boy, is chosen as a carrier of Tlic eggs, he faces an impossible dilemma: can he really help the species he has grown up with, even if it means sacrificing his own life?

Bloodchild originally appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 1984. The story has been reprinted many times. It can be found in the anthologies:

The story is included in the collection Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995).

Read the full story for free at the Baen website.

A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction

This work is a selction from author Nisi Shawl's: A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction, an annotated list of 40+ black science fiction works that are important to your understanding of its history. Read more about this selection below.

Semiosis

Semiosis: Book 1

Sue Burke

Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they'll have to survive on the one they found. They don't realize another life form watches... and waits...

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.

Inheritor

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 3

C. J. Cherryh

Six months have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - six months during which the alien atevi have striven to reconfigure their fledling space program in a breakneck bid to take their place in the heavens alongside humans. But the return of the Phoenix has added a frighteningly powerful third party to an already volatile situation, polarizing political factions in both human and atevi societies, and making the possibility of all-out planetary war an ever more likely threat.

On the atevi mainland, human ambassador Bren Cameron, in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace, has arranged for one human representative from the Phoenix to take up residence with him in his apartments, while another is stationed on Mospheira, humanity's island enclave. Bren himself is unable to return home for fear of being arrested or assassinated by the powerful arch conservative element who wish to bar the atevi from space.

Responsible for a terrified, overwhelmed young man, and desperately trying to keep abreast of the political maneuverings of the atevi associations, how can Bren Cameron possibly find a way to save two species from a three-sided conflict that no one can win?

City of Pearl

The Wess'Har Series: Book 1

Karen Traviss

Three separate alien societies have claims on Cavanagh's Star. But the new arrivals -- the gethes from Earth -- now threaten the tenuous balance of a coveted world.

Environmental Hazard Enforcement officer Shan Frankland agreed to lead a mission to Cavanagh's Star, knowing that 150 years would elapse before she could finally return home. But her landing, with a small group of scientists and Marines, has not gone unnoticed by Aras, the planet's designated guardian. An eternally evolving world himself, this sad, powerful being has already obliterated millions of alien interlopers and their great cities to protect the fragile native population. Now Shan and her party -- plus the small colony of fundamentalist humans who preceded them -- could face a similar annihilation... or a fate far worse. Because Aras possesses a secret of the blood that would be disastrous if it fell into human hands -- if the gethes survive the impending war their coming has inadvertently hastened.

The Martian Chronicles

Ray Bradbury

Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars?and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars?the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury.

Conspirator

Foreigner: Arc 4: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

The civil war among the alien atevi has ended. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with Cajeiri, his son and heir, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the Bujavid, their seat of power. But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over. Since the rebellion, Bren Cameron's apartment in the capital has been occupied by an old noble family from the Southern district - the same district from which the coup was initiated. This family now claims loyalty to Tabini, but the aiji is dubious, and dealing with these possible rebel infiltrators will require finesse on Tabini's part. To avoid additional conflict, Bren has decided to absent himself from the Bujavid and visit Najida, his country estate on the west coast, for the month before the legislature resumes its session. It has been more than two years since Bren was last at his idyllic country retreat, and he relishes the thought of the peace and tranquillity his lovely coastal home affords.

Tabini-aiji has once again taken over the job of training his young son in the traditional ways of the atevi, and has Cajeiri under strict supervision. But after two years in space, surrounded by human children, with only his great-grandmother, the aiji-dowager Ilisidi, as guardian and teacher, Cajeiri bristles in this highly controlled and boring environment. He misses his human associates in space, he misses the company of his wily great-grandmother, who allowed him more liberty than his parents do, but most of all, he misses his close association with nand' Bren.

Desperate for freedom and adventure, disregarding the obvious danger, Cajeiri escapes the tightly guarded Bujavid with his young bodyguards and sets out secretly to join Bren on the coast.

Determined to insure his son's safety, Tabini recalls Ilisidi from her home in the East, asking her to find Cajeiri and secure him at Bren's estate.

But it has been a long time since Bren has been to Najida, and the war has shifted allegiances in many quarters. A district that once was considered a safe haven might now be a trap. And with Bren, Cajeiri, and Ilisidi all under one roof and separated from their allies, that trap is now baited.

Pretender

Foreigner: Arc 3: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

Exhausted from a two-year rescue mission in space, the crew of the starship Phoenix return home to find disaster: civil war has broken out, the powerful Western Association has been overthrown, and Tabini-aiji, its forceful leader, is missing and may be dead.

In a desperate move, Bren Cameron – brilliant human paidhi to Tabini-aiji – and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with Cajeiri, Tabini's eight-year-old heir, make planetfall and succeed in reaching the mainland.

Ancient, but still brilliant and forceful, Ilisidi seeks refuge at the estate of an old ally. As Ilisidi's and Bren's bodyguards struggle to update the manor's antiquated defense systems, Tabini-aiji arrives at the door.

As word of Tabini's whereabouts circulates, clans allied with Tabini descend upon the estate, providing a huge civilian presence that everyone involved hopes will deter impending attack by the usurpers.

But as more and more supporting clans arrive, Bren finds himself increasingly isolated, and it becomes clear that both his extremely important report of alien contact in space, and even his life, rest on the shoulders of only two allies: Ilisidi and Cajeiri.

Can one elderly ateva and an eight-year-old boy – himself a prime target for assassination – protect Bren, a lone human involved in a civil war that most atevi believe he caused?

Speaker for the Dead

Ender's Universe: Ender Wiggin: 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.

Precursor

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

Over three years have passed since the reappearance of the starship Phoenix - the same ship which two centuries left an isolated colony of humans to fend for themselves on the world of the volatile atevi.

Since that time, humans have lived in exile on the island of Mospheira, using a single diplomat, the paidhi, to trade advanced technology for the continued peace and safety of its people.

But the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered forever the fragile, carefully maintained political balance of these two nearly incompatible races. For the captains of the Phoenix offer the atevi something Mospheira never could - access to the stars.

For three breakneck years the atevi labor to build a space shuttle which will bear their representatives to the Phoenix, to strengthen connections with their new human and retain their bid for control of their world. But as soon as the shuttle proves spaceworthy, the captains of the Phoenix suddenly recall their planetary delegates, breaking diplomatic contact and initiating a vicious bid for political dominance.

But the powerful head of the atevi's Western Association is not to be outmaneuvered, and he sends his own paidhi, Bren Cameron, into space to negotiate.

Thrust into a political maelstrom with almost no preparation, Bren is empowered to use any means at his disposal to achieve the atevi's aim. But can Bren gain control of the station and political supremacy for the atevi without sparking a three-sided interspecies war?

Downward to the Earth

Robert Silverberg

Gundersen returned to Holman's World seeking atonement for his harsh years as colonial governer. But now this lush, exotic planet of mystery was called by its ancient name of Belzagor, and it belonged once again to its native alien races, the nildoror and the sulidoror. Drawn by its spell, Gundersen began a harrowing pilgrimage to its mist-shrouded north, to witness a strange ritual rebirth that would alter him forever.

The Big Front Yard

Clifford D. Simak

Despite the fact that The Big Front Yard is a novella, it won the 1959 Hugo Award for best novelette. It originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction, October 1958. The story can also be found in the anthologies The Hugo Winners, Volume 1 (1962), edited by Isaac Asimov, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B (1973), edited by Ben Bova, and The Great SF Stories 20 (1958) (1990), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. It is included in the collections The Worlds of Clifford Simak (1960), Skirmish: The Great Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak (1977), Over the River and Through the Woods (1996) and The Big Front Yard: And Other Stories (2015).

The Cloud Roads

Books of the Raksura: Book 1

Martha Wells

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is - a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself... someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn't tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power... that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony's survival... and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself... and his newfound kin.

The Word for World is Forest

Hainish Cycle: Book 6

Ursula K. Le Guin

The colonizing earthmen's persistent exploitation and abuse of the Athsheans' delicately balanced culture and ecology forebode extraterrestrial genocide or vengeful rebellion.

Defender

Foreigner: Arc 2: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

It has been over two centuries since the starship Phoenix disapeared into space, leaving a colony of humans to fend for themselves on the world of the alien atevi.

Since then humans have lived in exile using a single diplomat, the paidhi, to trade bits of advanced technology for continued peace and safety.

Now the unexpected return of the Phoenix has shattered the fragile political balance of these two nearly incompatible races. For the captains of the Phoenix offer the atevi something the planet-bound humans never could - access to the stars. In return the captains ask for atevi manpower and supplies to rebuild their long-derelict space station and refuel their aging starship.

Nearly ten years later, the atevi have three functioning space shuttles, and teams of atevi engineers labor in orbit to renovate the space station.

But these monumental advances not only add a dangerously powerful third party to an already precarious diplomatic situation, but rouse pro- and anti-space factions in atevi society to near-incendiary levels. To help negotiate these treacherous diplomatic waters, Tabini-aiji, the powerful head of the atevi's Western Association, has sent the only human he fully trusts into space: his own paidhi, Bren Cameron.

However the threat of possible invasion by hostile aliens who attacked Phoenix's station in a far-off sector of space hangs over them all. And when one of the senior captains of the Phoenix confesses that this distant station was not completely destroyed, as had been previously thought - that there may be friends and family who still survive - the crew mutinies.

How can Bren hope to mediate on a station overcome by a rebellious crew intent on taking the Phoenix on a rescue mission back into hostile territory?

Remnant Population

Elizabeth Moon

For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia's home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days--until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community... but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one.

With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over--for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others. But when a reconnaissance ship returns to her idyllic domain, and its crew is mysteriously slaughtered, Ofelia realizes she is not the sole inhabitant of her paradise after all. And, when the inevitable time of first contact finally arrives, she will find her life changed yet again–in ways she could never have imagined....

Invader

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

On the world of the atevi, humanity makes up one small enclave, on the island of Mospheira. After the disappearance of the starship Phoenix, only one human representative is allowed to interact with the atevi - the Paidhi, a mixture of ambassador, translator and salesman of advanced technology. In a society where assassination is a recognised form of negotiation, Bren Cameron had been performing his task as Paidhi well.

Then the Phoenix returns, almost two hundred years after its departure.

Recovering from surgery on Mospheira, Cameron must return immediately to the atevi, but he finds his government has already sent a successor, Deanna Hanks, without informing him. And she has managed to alienate major factions against humanity.

Battling against his strangely-silent masters, the deadly atevi and Hanks, Bren Cameron must take risks that could destroy the entire world - or save it for atevi and humanity alike.

The White Dragon

The Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy: Book 3

Anne McCaffrey

Never had there been as close a bonding as the one that existed betweenthe daring and adventurous young Lord Jaxom and his extraordinary whitedragon, Ruth. Pure white and incredibly agile, Ruth was a dragon of manytalents, though almost everyone on Pern thought he was a runt that wouldnever amount to anything.

But Jaxom knew better, knew he could teach his dragon to fly and todestroy the deadly silver Threads that fell from the sky. Disobeying allrules, Jaxom and Ruth trained in secret. Their illicit flights seemedbut a minor disobedience -- until they found themselves in the path ofdanger and in a position to prevent the biggest disaster of all!

Planetfall

Planetfall: Book 1

Emma Newman

From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity's future might be its undoing...

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi's vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart...

Alien Influences

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Bountiful is a sun-scorched, inhospitable planet, offering only one comfort to its small band of human colonists: the powerful intoxicant they create from native plants an export to other worlds. But an unspeakable disaster devastates the colony. Six of its children are found dead, their bodies marked in a bizarre parody of the puberty rites of the Dancers, Bountiful's enigmatic sentient race. Even more horrifying is the news that the murderers are not the Dancers -- but eight other children of the colony.

What happens when small children are changed by their environment, made into something other, not wholly human or alien? What will become of a society irrevocably torn by nightmarish acts carried out by its most innocent members? And how far will one young man go in his obsessive quest to bring healing to eight shattered children... even if he must cross the boundaries of death itself?

Little Fuzzy

Fuzzy Series: Book 1

H. Beam Piper

When the Zarathustra Company takes over a supposedly uninhabited planet, reaping it for all that it is worth, Jack Holloway, a sunstone prospector, and his family of Fuzzies are determined to save this world from utter destruction.

Embassytown

China Miéville

China Miéville doesn't follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer-and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field-with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.

In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties-to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.

War Dogs

War Dogs: Book 1

Greg Bear

The Gurus came in peace, bearing gifts.

They were a highly advanced, interstellar species who brought amazingly useful and sophisticated technology to the human race. There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who have hounded the Gurus from sun to sun, planet to planet, across the cosmos. Pundits have taken to calling them the Antagonists - or Antags - and they have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they've done for us, the Gurus would now like our help.

Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Skyrine (a Marine who is specially trained for off-world combat) who is dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.

But from the moment they're dropped through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. From a group of female special ops Skyrines with secret orders, to mysterious humans who've settled on Mars, to the overwhelming and highly-reinforced Antags themselves, Venn and his brothers will face impossible odds just to survive - let alone make it home alive.

The Space Merchants

Space Merchants: Book 1

Frederik Pohl
C. M. Kornbluth

It is the 20th Century, an advertisement-drenched world in which the big ad agencies dominate governments and everything else. Now Schoken Associates, one of the big players, has a new challenge for star copywriter Mitch Courtenay. Volunteers are needed to colonise Venus. It's a hellhole, and nobody who knew anything about it would dream of signing up. But by the time Mitch has finished, they will be queuing to get on board the spaceships.

Emissaries from the Dead

Andrea Cort: Book 1

Adam-Troy Castro

Two murders have occurred on One One One, an artificial ecosystem created by the universe's dominant AIs to house several engineered species, including a violent, sentient race of sloth-like creatures. Under order from the Diplomatic Corps, Counselor Andrea Cort has come to this cylinder world where an indentured human community hangs suspended high above a poisoned, acid atmosphere. Her assignment is to choose a suitable homicide suspect from among those who have sold their futures to escape existences even worse than this one. And no matter where the trail leads her she must do nothing to implicate the hosts, who hold the power to obliterate humankind in an instant.

But Andrea Cort is not about to hold back in her hunt for a killer. For she has nothing to lose and harbors no love for her masters or fellow indentures. And she herself has felt the terrible exhilaration of taking life....

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 148

Walter Tevis

T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.

Cold Welcome

Vatta's Peace: Book 1

Elizabeth Moon

Summoned to the home planet of her family's business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero's welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet -- a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group's survival but her entire home planet.

A Darkling Sea

James L. Cambias

On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don't disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they're free to conduct their missions in peace.

But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to war.

Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives--and the future of human exploration--is anything but certain.

Orbitsville

Orbitsville: Book 1

Bob Shaw

Fleeing Elizabeth Lindstrom's anger at the death of her son, Vance Garamond, a flickerwing commander, leaves the solar system far behind. Pursued by Earth's space fleet, Garamond finds a vast, alien-built spherical structure which might just change the destiny of the human race.

The Wrong Stars

The Axiom: Book 1

Tim Pratt

The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials... and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

Helliconia Winter

Helliconia: Book 3

Brian W. Aldiss

A planet orbiting binary suns, Helliconia has a Great Year spanning three millennia of Earth time: cultures are born in spring, flourish in summer, then die with the onset of the generations-long winter.

The centuries-long winter of the Great Year on Helliconia is upon us, and the Oligarch is taking harsh measures to ensure the survival of the people of the bleak Northern continent of Sibornal. Behind the battle with which the novel opens lies an act of unparalleled treachery. But the plague is coming on the wings of winter and the Oligarch's will is set against it-and against the phagors, humanity's ancient enemies, who carry the plague with them.

This is the concluding volume of the Helliconia Trilogy-a monumental saga that goes beyond anything yet created by this master among today's imaginative writers.

Learning the World

Ken MacLeod

Humanity has spread to every star within 500 light-years of its half-forgotten origin, coloring the sky with a haze of habitats. Societies rise and fall. Incautious experiments burn fast and fade. On the fringes, less modified humans get on with the job of settling a universe that has, so far, been empty of intelligent life.

The ancient starship But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is entering orbit around a promising new system after a four hundred year journey. For its long-lived inhabitants, the centuries have been busy. Now a younger generation is eager to settle the system. The ship is a seed-pod ready to burst.

Then they detect curious electromagnetic emissions from the system's Earth-like world. As the nature of the signals becomes clear, the choices facing the humans become stark.

On Ground, second world from the sun, a young astronomer searches for his system's outermost planet. A moving point of light thrills, then disappoints him. It's only a comet. His physicist colleague Orro takes time off from trying to invent a flying-machine to calculate the comet's trajectory. Something is very odd about that comet's path.

They are not the only ones for whom the world has changed.

"We are not living in the universe we thought we lived in yesterday. We have to start learning the world all over again."

A Mirror for Observers

SF Rediscovery: Book 12

Edgar Pangborn

In their attitude towards the Planet Earth, the Martians had long been divided into two camps: the Observers, benevolent 'meddlers' in human affairs; and the rebellious Abdicators, who sought the Earth's collapse.

But it wasn't until the extraordinary matter of the Earth-Boy, Angelo Pontevecchio, that the enmity between these two factions came to a definite head.

It started as a contest of wills, waged between two opposing Martians for the soul of a single human child.

And before the end, it threatened all life on both Earth and Mars.

Helliconia Summer

Helliconia: Book 2

Brian W. Aldiss

A planet orbiting binary suns, Helliconia has a Great Year spanning three millennia of Earth time: cultures are born in spring, flourish in summer, then die with the onset of the generations-long winter.

It is the summer of the Great Year on Helliconia. The humans are involved with their own affairs. Their old enemies, the phagors, are comparatively docile at this time of year, yet they can afford to wait, to take advantage of human weakness?and the king?s weakness. How they do so brings to a climax this powerfully compelling novel, in which the tortuous unwindings of circumstance enmesh royalty and commoners alike, and involve the Helliconia continents.

This is the second volume of the Helliconia Trilogy?a monumental saga that goes beyond anything yet created by this master among today?s imaginative writers.

Rite of Passage

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 27

Alexei Panshin

After the destruction of Earth, humanity has established itself precariously among a hundred planets. Between them roam the vast Ships, doling out scientific knowledge in exchange for raw materials. On one of the Ships lives Mia Havero. Belligerent soccer player, intrepid explorer of ventilation shafts, Mia tests all the boundaries of her insulated world. She will soon be tested in turn. At the age of fourteen all Ship children must endure a month unaided in the wilds of a colony world, and although Mia has learned much through formal study, about philosophy, economics, and the business of survival, she will find that her most vital lessons are the ones she must teach herself.

Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

Jem: The Making of a Utopia

Frederik Pohl

The discovery of another habitable world might spell salvation to the three bitterly competing power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but when their representatives arrive on Jem, with its multiple intelligent species, they discover instead the perfect situation into which to export their rivalries. Subtitled, with savage irony, 'The Making of a Utopia', Jem is one of Frederik Pohl's most powerful novels.

Forty Thousand in Gehenna

Alliance-Union: Unionside: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

When forty thousand human colonists are abandoned for political reasons on a planet called Gehenna, and re-supply ships fail to arrive, collapse seems imminent. Yet over the next two centuries, the descendants of the original colonists survive despite all odds by entering a partnership with the planet’s native intelligence – the lizard-like, burrowing calibans.

Marsbound

Marsbound Trilogy: Book 1

Joe Haldeman

Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime - they're going to Mars.

Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against. And when she ventures out into the bleak Mars landscape alone one night, a simple accident leads her to the edge of death until she is saved by an angel—an angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad, and a message for the newly arrived human inhabitants of Mars:

We were here first.

The Vital Abyss

The Expanse: Short Fiction: Book 5

James S. A. Corey

Somewhere in the vast expanse of space, a group of prisoners lives in permanent captivity.

The only company they have is each other and the Belters who guard them. The only stories they know are the triumphs and crimes that brought them there. The only future they see is an empty life in an enormous room.

And then the man from Mars came along...

Foreigner

Foreigner: Arc 1: Book 1

C. J. Cherryh

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.

Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? ... The interests of a particular faction? ... Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

Rollback

Robert J. Sawyer

Dr. Sarah Halifax decoded the first-ever radio transmission received from aliens. Thirty-eight years later, a second message is received and Sarah, now 87, may hold the key to deciphering this one, too... if she lives long enough.

A wealthy industrialist offers to pay for Sarah to have a rollback-a hugely expensive experimental rejuvenation procedure. She accepts on condition that Don, her husband of sixty years, gets a rollback, too. The process works for Don, making him physically twenty-five again. But in a tragic twist, the rollback fails for Sarah, leaving her in her eighties.

While Don tries to deal with his newfound youth and the suddenly vast age gap between him and his wife, Sarah struggles to do again what shed done once before: figure out what a signal from the stars contains.

The Dragon Masters / The Last Castle

Ace Double Numbered Series: Book 16641

Jack Vance

The Dragon Masters

Men have been at war for centuries with the reptilian race called "Basics." As conquerors always have, the winners of each bloody encounter have made slaves of the losers--but in this far-future war, each side has improved upon its slaves with genetic engineering.

And so at last there came to be two neighboring worlds: Aerlith, where men have raised a race of fearsome dragons to be their servants, and nearby Coralyne, where the descendants of those very dragons are served by strong, savage mutants who once were human. Inevitably, those two worlds would meet in one final contest...

The Last Castle

For 700 years the Meks served without complaint; they were indispensable, for no gentleman would demean himself with toil. But now they turn against the strongholds of civilization--Castle Halcyon, then Sea Island, Morninglight, and Maraval--one by one the proud castles of Earth fall; last standing is Castle Hagedorn.

Wave Without a Shore

Alliance-Union: Book 2

C. J. Cherryh

Freedom was an isolated planet, off the spaceways track and rarely visited by commercial spacers. It wasn't that Freedom was inhospitable as planets go. The problem was that outsiders – tourists and traders – claimed the streets were crowded with mysterious characters in blue robes and with members of an alien species.

Native-born humans, however, said that was not the case. There were no such blue-robes and no aliens. Such was the viewpoint of both Herrin the artist and Waden the autocrat – until a crisis of planetary identity forced a life-and-death confrontation between the question of reality and the reality of the question...

Nemesis

Isaac Asimov

In the twenty-third century pioneers have escaped the crowded earth for life in self-sustaining orbital colonies. One of the colonies, Rotor, has broken away from the solar system to create its own renegade utopia around an unknown red star two light-years from Earth: a star named Nemesis. Now a fifteen-year-old Rotorian girl has learned of the dire threat that nemesis poses to Earth's people--but she is prevented from warning them. Soon she will realize that Nemesis endangers Rotor as well. And so it will be up to her alone to save both Earth and Rotor as--drawn inexorably by Nemesis, the death star--they hurtle toward certain disaster.

The Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber

Peter - devoted pastor, dedicated missionary, and loving husband to his wife, Bea - has just accepted a demanding and perilous new job. He's to travel to a new planet, Oasis, to work for a mysterious corporation called USIC. He's tasked with reaching out to the indigenous race, to make sure they are as peaceful as they seem. Resolutely devout and strengthened by his letters from Bea at home, Peter undertakes his job with complete focus. The Oasans are shockingly open to his teachings, but things start to unravel when Bea's missives from Earth take a dark tone. Earth appears to be coming apart at the seams: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries and governments are crumbling. Even the hospital where she works has ceased to function. Their unearthly divide is testing Peter and Bea's relationship to a startlingly degree. Peter is thrown into crisis. USIC might be hiding its true motives in developing Oasis, and the Oasans themselves are frustratingly opaque. Bea's desperate letters are only fomenting his doubt. Peter is suddenly faced with an impossible-and dangerous-decision: to follow his faith, or follow his heart. His life depends on it.

The Star Beast

Heinlein Juveniles: Book 8

Robert A. Heinlein

Lummox had been the Stuart family pet for years. Though far from cuddly and rather large, it had always been obedient and docile. Except, that is, for the time it had eaten the secondhand Buick . . .

But now, all of a sudden and without explanation, Lummox had begun chomping down on a variety of things -- not least, a very mean dog and a cage of virtually indestructible steel. Incredible!

John Thomas and Lummox were soon in awfully hot water, and they didn't know how to get out. And neither one really understood just how bad things were -- or how bad the situation could get -- until some space voyagers appeared and turned a far-from-ordinary family problem into an extraordinary confrontation.

The Eye of the Heron

Ursula K. Le Guin

In Victoria on a former prison colony, two exiled groups--the farmers of Shantih and the City dwellers--live in apparent harmony. All is not as it seems, however. While the peace-loving farmers labor endlessly to provide food for the City, the City Bosses rule the Shantih with an iron fist. When a group of farmers decide to from a new settlement further away, the Bosses retaliate by threatening to crush the "rebellion."

Luz understands what it means to have no choices. Her father is a Boss and he has ruled over her life with the same iron fist. Luz wonders what it might be like to make her own choices. To be free to choose her own destiny.

When the crisis over the new settlement reaches a flash point, Luz will have her chance.

The Lovers

The Sturch: Book 1

Philip José Farmer

A linguist, studying languages on a previously unknown alien planet, begins to suspect that humans may have visited the planet at some time in the past.

The City in the Middle of the Night

Charlie Jane Anders

If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives.

January is a dying planet--divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.

But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.

Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.

But fate has other plans--and Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.

Trouble on Titan

Winston Science Fiction: Book 24

Alan E. Nourse

The tenacious Colonel Benedict and his son, Tuck, are sent to Titan, Saturn's fifth moon, to investigate reports of smuggling. Soon they discover that the less-than-friendly colony is hiding much more than just a smuggler. Together they dig up a scandalous case of interstellar sabotage and what the colonists reverently refer to as "THE BIG SECRET," which could destroy Earth's power supply - forever.

Can the Colonel and Tuck resolve an age-old dispute between the Titan colonists and Earthly authorities before the clock runs out? Mankinds fate depends on it...

Carnival

Elizabeth Bear

In Old Earths clandestine world of ambassador-spies, Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones and Vincent Katherinessen were once a starring team. But ever since a disastrous mission, they have been living separate lives in a universe dominated by a ruthless Coalition one that is about to reunite them.

The pair are dispatched to New Amazonia as diplomatic agents. Allegedly, they are to return priceless art. Covertly, they seek to tap its energy supply. But in reality, one has his mind set on treason. And among the extraordinary women of New Amazonia, in a season of festival, betrayal, and disguise, he will find a new ally and a force beyond any that humans have known.

Something Coming Through

Jackaroo: Book 1

Paul J. McAuley

The aliens are here. And they want to help. The extraordinary new project from one of the country's most acclaimed and consistently brilliant SF novelists of the last 30 years.

The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They're a chance to start over, but they're also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo's previous clients.

Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels. Nightmares that could for ever alter humanity - or even destroy it.

Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.

And on one of the Jackaroo's gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.

Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe's orphans, and Vic Gayle's murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo's benevolence...