Book picks similar to
The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke


science-fiction
fiction
science-fiction-fantasy
fantasy

Destination Void


Frank Herbert - 1966
    An emergency skeleton crew sees only one chance for survival: to create an artificial consciousness in the Earthling's primary computer, which could guide them to their destination . . . or could destroy the human race.Frank Herbert's classic novel that begins the epic Pandora Sequence (written with Bill Ransom), which also includes The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect, and The Ascension Factor.

Fiasco


Stanisław Lem - 1986
    It is a kingdom of phantoms and of a beauty afflicted by madness. In stark contrast, the crew of the spaceship Hermes represents a knowledge-seeking Earth. As they approach Quinta, a dark poetry takes over and leads them into a nightmare of misunderstanding. Translated by Michael Kandel.The novel was published in German translation (translated by H. Schumann) in 1986. The Polish text published in 1987, the English translation (by M. Kandel) the same year.

The Foundation Trilogy


Isaac Asimov - 1953
    As the Old Empire crumbles into barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists must create a new entity, the Foundation-dedicated to art, science, and technology-as the beginning of a new empire. FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE describes the mighty struggle for power amid the chaos of the stars in which man stands at the threshold of a new enlightened life which could easily be destroyed by the old forces of barbarism. SECOND FOUNDATION follows the Seldon Plan after the First Empire's defeat and describes its greatest threat-a dangerous mutant strain gone wild, which produces a mind capable of bending men's wills, directing their thoughts, reshaping their desires, and destroying the universe.

The Martians


Kim Stanley Robinson - 2000
    A modern-day classic of the genre, this epic saga deftly portrays the human stories behind Earth's most ambitious project yet: the terraforming of Mars.Now, following the publication of his acclaimed adventure novel, Antarctica, Robinson returns to the realm he has made his own, in a work that brilliantly weaves together a futuristic setting with a poetic vision of the human spirit engaged in a drama as ancient as mankind itself.From a training mission in Antarctica to blistering sandstorms sweeping through labyrinths of barren canyons, the interwoven stories of The Martians set in motion a sprawling cast of characters upon the surface of Mars. As the planet is transformed from an unexplored and forbidding terrain to a troubled image of a re-created Earth, we meet men and women who are bound together by their experiences on Mars and with each other.Among them are Michel, a French psychologist dazzled by the beauty around him; Maya, a woman whose ill-fated love affairs lead to her first voyage to Mars; and Roger, a tall Martian-born guide who lacks social skills but has the courage to survive on the planet's dangerous yet strangely compelling surface.Beginning with the First Hundred explorers, generations of friends, enemies, and lovers are swept up in the drama that is Earth's tenuous toehold on Mars. International exploration turns into world building; world building degenerates into political conflict, revolution, and war.Following the strands of these lives and events, in an age when human life has been extended for decades, The Martians becomes the story of generations lived on the edge of the ultimate frontier, in a landscape of constant man-made and natural transformation.This new masterpiece by Kim Stanley Robinson is a story of hope and disappointment, of fierce physical and psychological struggles. Both deeply human and scientifically cutting edge, The Martians is the epic chronicle of a planet that represents one of humanity's most glorious possibilities.A Letter from Kim Stanley Robinson: "When I finished Blue Mars, I realized I wasn't done with Mars yet. There were things I still wanted to say about the place, and about my characters from the trilogy, and there were a number of sidebar stories and characters that had found no place in the trilogy's structure. I also had a couple of precursor Mars stories that did not fit the trilogy's history--'Exploring Fossil Canyon' and 'Green Mars'--and I had held these out of my earlier story collections thinking they belonged with the Mars group."So all this material was there, and as I wrote Antarctica, I found myself drawn back into the matter of Mars repeatedly, by the discovery of possible life in meteorite AHL8004 and by the Pathfinder landing. I decided to make a collection of Martian tales, and as I put them in roughly chronological order, I saw that they seemed to be adding up to their own larger story, functioning as the trilogy's 'unconscious' or 'secret history'. Using all kinds of modes, from folk tales to scientific articles, from personal accounts to the full text of a constitution, I arranged things so that the book altogether tells the story of an underground and hard-to-see resistance to the terraforming described in the trilogy proper. I had a great time doing these stories, and hope they add up to my own version of a Martian Chronicles."

Ringworld


Larry Niven - 1970
    Pierson's puppeteers, the aliens who discovered it, are understandably wary of encountering the builders of such an immense structure and have assembled a team of two humans, a mad puppeteer and a kzin, a huge cat-like alien, to explore it. But a crash landing on the vast edifice forces the crew on a desperate and dangerous trek across the Ringworld.

The Forge of God


Greg Bear - 1987
    Not hiding, not turned black, but gone. On September 28th, Edward Shaw, a geologist working in Death valley, finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area As more unexplained phenomena spring up around the globeL: a granite mountain appearing in Australia, sounds emanating from the Earth's core, flashes of light among the asteroids, it becomes clear to some that the end is approaching, and there is nothing that can be done. In The Forge of God, award-winning author Greg Bear describes the final days of the world on both a massive, scientific scale and in the everyday, emotional context of individual human lives. Facing the destruction of all they know, some people turn to God, others to their families, and a few turn to saviors promising escape from a planet tearing itself apart. Will they make it in time? And who gets left behind to experience the last moments of beauty and chaos on Earth?

The Wanderer


Fritz Leiber - 2001
    Only a few scientists even suspected its presence, and then, suddenly and silently, it arrived, dwarfing and threatening the Moon and wreaking havoc on Earth's tides and weather. Though the Wanderer is stopping in the solar system only to refuel, its mere presence is catastrophic. A tense, thrilling, and towering achievement. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best SF Novel of the Year!

Foundation's Fear


Gregory Benford - 1997
    It is the monumental story of a Galactic Empire in decline, and the secret society of scientists who seek to shorten the inevitable Dark Age with the science of psychohistory. Now, with the permission -- and blessing -- of the Asimov estate, the epic saga continues.Fate -- and a cruel Emperor's arbitrary power -- have thrust Hari Seldon into the First Ministership of the Empire against his will. As the story opens, Hari is about to leave his quiet professorship and take on the all but impossible task of administering 25 million inhabited worlds from the all-steel planet of Trantor. With the help of his beautiful bio-engineered "wife" Dors and his alien companion Yugo, Seldon is still developing the science that will transform history, never dreaming that it will ultimately pit him against future history's most awesome threat.

Brain Wave


Poul Anderson - 1954
    It is also a novel about equality and what happens when the hierarchical structures by which we arrange our daily lives disappear.

Cyteen


C.J. Cherryh - 1988
    Murder, politics, and genetic manipulation provide the framework for the latest Union-Alliance novel by the author of Downbelow Station. Cherryh's talent for intense, literate storytelling maintains interest throughout this long, complex novel.

Star Maker


Olaf Stapledon - 1999
    The book describes a history of life in the universe, dwarfing in scale Stapledon's previous book, Last and First Men (1930), a history of the human species over two billion years. Star Maker tackles philosophical themes such as the essence of life, of birth, decay and death, and the relationship between creation and creator. A pervading theme is that of progressive unity within and between different civilizations. Some of the elements and themes briefly discussed prefigure later fiction concerning genetic engineering and alien life forms. Arthur C. Clarke considered Star Maker to be one of the finest works of science fiction ever written.

Non-Stop


Brian W. Aldiss - 2005
    Its members lived out their lives in cramped Quarters, hacking away at the encroaching ponics. As to where they were - that was forgotten. Roy Complain decides to find out. With the renegade priest Marapper, he moves into unmapped territory, where they make a series of discoveries which turn their universe upside-down... Non-Stop is the classic SF novel of discovery and exploration; a brilliant evocation of a familiar setting seen through the eyes of a primitive.

Terminal World


Alastair Reynolds - 2009
    Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains . . . Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels - and with the dying body comes bad news.If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality - and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability . . .TERMINAL WORLD is a snarling, drooling, crazy-eyed mongrel of a book: equal parts steampunk, western, planetary romance and far-future SF.

Babel-17


Samuel R. Delany - 1966
    Humanity, which has spread throughout the universe, is involved in a war with the Invaders, who have been covertly assassinating officials and sabotaging spaceships. The only clues humanity has to go on are strange alien messages that have been intercepted in space. Poet and linguist Rydra Wong is determined to understand the language and stop the alien threat. (Paul Goat Allen)

The Butlerian Jihad


Brian Herbert - 2002
    Anderson. Working from Frank Herbert's own notes, the acclaimed authors reveal the chapter of the Dune saga most eagerly anticipated by readers: the Butlerian Jihad.Throughout the Dune novels, Frank Herbert frequently referred to the war in which humans wrested their freedom from "thinking machines." In Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson bring to life the story of that war, a tale previously seen only in tantalizing hints and clues. Finally, we see how Serena Butler's passionate grief ignites the struggle that will liberate humans from their machine masters; here is the amazing tale of the Zensunni Wanderers, who escape bondage to flee to the desert world where they will declare themselves the Free Men of Dune. And here is the backward, nearly forgotten planet of Arrakis, where traders have discovered the remarkable properties of the spice melange....