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Take Me To Your Leader
When the little green men make contact, we earthlings don’t always know how to respond. Do the spacemen come in war or in peace? Do we greet flying saucers with open arms or armed missiles? Do we conspire with them or do we believe the conspiracy theories? It all depends on what book you’re reading. Sometimes we love our new alien neighbors, sometimes we can’t wait to blow them out of the sky, and sometimes we just don’t know what the hell kind of weirdo space-age creatures we’re looking at. Humans. Aliens. Can’t we all just get along?    Print this list Print this list
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The sparrow
When radio telescopes on Earth first pick up the strange and beautiful alien singing, it is the Society of Jesus that puts together a mission to the extraterrestrial world. That’s right—Jesuits in space. It’s a startling notion, one that certainly captures a reader’s attention. But really, who better? Author Mary Doria Russell shows us that the Jesuits are a scholarly bunch, prepared to suffer greatly for what they believe is right and with a long history of making first contact with new cultures. And the group that Russell creates in The Sparrow is much more than a bunch of Bible-toting missionaries. Her story centers on Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest and a highly skilled linguist, who collects a charismatic group of friends (believers and non-believers) to accompany him on an interstellar mission that results in earth-shattering revelations. The twists of fate, triumphs, and tragedies of this group are revealed slowly and with great suspense as the story alternates between the year 2019 when the alien songs are detected and the mission is planned, and the year 2059 when Emilio Sandoz returns from the faraway planet to be questioned by his Jesuit superiors. The stories merge gracefully, and even as readers finally learn what happened to the humans and aliens on the planet of Rakhat, new questions of faith, science, fate, coincidence, family, and humanity are proposed. More literary fiction than science fiction, The Sparrow is intense, unsettling, gripping, and new. And it has a few more qualities that are sure to appeal to anyone who has ever searched the skies above—as strange as it is, The Sparrow is hard to resist and impossible to forget. Russell wrote a sequel in 1999, Children of God, which reunites Emilio Sandoz and the planet of Rakhat. (by Mary Doria Russell)
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Cover Art: The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy /
The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy
Adams, Douglas, 1952-2001.
“DON’T PANIC.” It is advice that villagers from The War of the Worlds might have disregarded as they ran from the attacking Martians, but it’s a reassuring message to readers of a very friendly, very helpful little book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This strange book is Arthur Dent’s only guide to the life he now finds himself leading. He woke up one morning, you see, to find his house being demolished by a local construction crew, his planet being demolished by a galactic construction crew, and his best friend Ford Prefect ready to yank him out of the way of both. Now Arthur is part of a space-traveling gang made up of Ford, who’s really an alien disguised as an out-of-work actor; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the dazed and confused two-headed President of the Galaxy; Veet Voojagig, an alien grad student obsessed with all the pens he’s lost; pretty Trillian, who was whisked away from Earth’s destruction by her boyfriend Zaphod just as Arthur was whisked away by Ford; and Marvin, a chronically-depressed robot. And what this motley crew seeks is no less than the answer to the ultimate question: What is the meaning of life? And where did all of Veet’s pens disappear to? Readers will be laugh along with Arthur as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy introduces him to creatures like the all-translating babelfish and the horrid poetry writing Vogons. Satirical, nonsensical, original and inventive, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the most delightful fusions of science fiction and humor to be read on any planet in the galaxy.
Adult Fiction ADAMS
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Cover Art: Deception point /
Deception point
Brown, Dan, 1964-
NASA, after several embarrassing incidents that have done absolutely nothing to advance the exploration of space, has finally struck it big. Deep in the arctic ice, scientists have found a meteor that contains fossils. And a big rock from outer space with fossils can mean only one thing: proof of ancient extraterrestrial life. Intelligence agent Rachel Sexton and oceanographer Michael Tolland are thrilled and eager members of the team sent by the President to validate the alien discovery. They’re taken on a whirlwind tour of the ice-cold site and presented with proof after proof by the equally excited NASA science team. And then, even as the President prepares to announce the news to a breathlessly-waiting public, doubts begin to set in. Soon Rachel and Tolland are running for their lives across the arctic landscape, desperate to separate fact from fiction. And the reverberations will shake the walls of NASA, the White House, and the top-secret National Reconnaissance Office. Talk about alien conspiracies! High tech thrills, military secrets, and cunning politics are just a few of the ingredients in this thriller from the author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.
Adult Fiction BROWN
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Cover Art: Ender's game /
Ender's game
Card, Orson Scott.
On the Earth of Ender’s Game, aliens have already made contact. They’ve already attacked, in fact, and nearly won not once, but twice. The government is determined that the third battle will finish the alien threat once and for all, and to that end the military has been training children in the desperate hopes of finding the one who will lead the armies of Earth to the ultimate victory. The highest contender for this position is Ender Wiggin, genius among geniuses at the tender age of six. Leaving behind his cruel brother Peter and his loving sister Valentine, Ender enters Battle School. Ender is, without any doubt, an extraordinary child. He’s clever, able to outwit and outsmart his fellow child-soldiers. He’s quick to learn, so quick that he catches on to every “game” his adult supervisors throw at him as they train him in the space-age battle techniques that he masters faster than anyone else. He’s conflicted about the role he’s expected to play and very aware that his training is responsible for the fierce man-like boy that he’s becoming. And overshadowing everything Ender discovers is the looming threat of battle, invasion, and war. It’s an engrossing story about what war does to children and what fear does to men. Ender’s struggle to make his own choices in an environment that has already pre-determined his existence will resonate with readers of every age. Ender’s Game won the two highest awards given to science fiction books, the Hugo and the Nebula Awards, and for very good reason. Orson Scott Card followed up this feat with his sequel, Speaker for the Dead, which goes deeper into the story of the alien race that so threatens Ender’s world.
Adult Fiction CARD
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Cover Art: The white mountains.
The white mountains.
Christopher, John, 1922-
The Tripods have landed, taken over earth, and re-established the feudal lifestyle of lords and ladies and serfs and servants. It is harder for people to rebel, after all, when they're either living lives of ease or distracted by the day-to-day grind to survive. That the Tripods are barely understood (are they intelligent machines or machines driven by intelligent life?) certainly helps them rule, as does their annual Capping ceremonies. When boys and girls reach a certain age they are fitted with a metal mesh cap that provides the Tripods with a convenient element of mind control over hapless humans. Young Will Parker, son of hard-working English peasant folk, is disturbed by the changes in a beloved older cousin who is Capped. Suddenly rethinking everything he's been taught, Will opts to run for it. With a couple of other rebellious boys in tow, Will heads for the White Mountains where, legend has it, a group of un-Capped stalwarts survive. The journey is long and filled with the unexpected, the Tripods are on their trail, and there just might be some benefits to being Capped after all... The White Mountains is the first book in the classic Tripod Trilogy, a series that has been read by generation after generation since their publication in the late 1960s. Will is a strong character, realistically flawed and tempted, with difficult decisions to make. The alternate past-like future that author John Christopher invents is highly original, and even if you read The White Mountains in your youth, it's never too late to go back and escape being Capped one more time.
Children's Fiction CHRISTOPH
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Cover Art: Childhood's end /
Childhood's end
Clarke, Arthur C. 1917-2008.
When a massively superior alien race arrives on Earth, things go much smoother than you would think. Because the Overlords aren’t here to conquer. Their one demand is world peace, and under their guidance (mysterious though it is), mankind is only too happy to oblige. But eventually the lack of any need to better the world starts to take its toll. There’s no creativity, no problem-solving—and the Overlords still won’t explain why they’re really here. Humanity is approaching a fork in the way, and no one knows what lies at the end of the roads, much less which path to take. Childhood’s End gives us the ultimate goal of peace on earth and dares to tell us that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Childhood’s End also pushes the boundaries of our expectations about ourselves, makes us think about what humans might really be capable of, and suggests that what we want might not be what the universe wants. It’s a risky premise, but the result is one of science fiction literature’s masterpieces.
Adult Fiction CLARKE
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Cover Art: The war of the worlds /
The war of the worlds
Wells, H. G. 1866-1946.
Way back in the nineteenth century there was an author—H.G. Wells—who was way ahead of his time. He envisioned time travel (The Time Machine), outrageous scientific advances (The Invisible Man), and of course, alien invasions. The War of the Worlds begins when a large, strange silver capsule lands in a field. Atmospheric disturbances are observed; a lot of weird noises are heard from inside the spaceship; curious crowds gather and wait. And when the capsule hisses open and alien arms bearing deathly heat-rays emerge, there’s no doubt that the war is on. Narrated in by an everyman with acute observation and astonishment, the story of how the nineteenth-century humans fair against an advanced enemy they never even knew existed is as riveting now as it was in 1898—or in 1938, when Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of his own adaptation convinced a few unsuspecting listeners that it was all too real. The War of the Worlds is the grandfather of alien stories, and as a certain Tom Cruise/ Steven Spielberg/ special effects-laden blockbuster recently proved, it’s not the kind of story that we outgrow and forget about. Despite the old-fashioned setting, The War of the Worlds is about something we understand all too well today: the fear that maybe we’re not really as strong and powerful as we think we are… It’s a lot of food for thought (especially when you find out what the Martians feed on) and it’s a lot of fun as well. The War of the Worlds is one of those great and rare discoveries—a stodgy old classic that turns out to be anything but.
Adult Fiction WELLS
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