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The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
When humans make contact for the first time with an intelligent alien species, will we be able to understand their civilization in time to save it… and should we?
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Whether they win or lose, the soldiers sent to battle a far-off alien race will return home to an Earth thousands of years removed from the one they knew.
The Hugo-winning Remembrance of Earth’s Past series by Cixin Lui
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens…who begin planning an invasion.
The Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons
On the eve of galactic war, seven pilgrims set forth to the lawless planet Hyperion on a quest for answers that may determine the fate of all worlds.
Paperback & eBook:
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
A lone diplomat must navigate the political and cultural minefields of a planet where gender is meaningless and war is imminent.
The Sparrow series by Mary Doria Russell
When humanity discovers radio signals from an alien civilization, the Jesuits secretly send a missionary expedition to the mysterious planet while the U.N. is still debating what to do.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
A teenager living a quiet peasant’s life on a small moon is thrust into a dangerous life of political intrigue when she is forced to serve as a body double for the princess.
The Culture series by Iain M. Banks
A band of mercenaries make a discovery on the Planet of the Dead that will change the fate of a galaxy at war.
The Crystal series by Doug J. Cooper
A newly awakened AI warns his human creators of an alien threat, but is he telling the truth or does he have darker motives in his artificial mind?
Urth uber-series by Gene Wolfe
The grand saga begins in a thoroughly decadent world of the future, when Severian the torturer is cast out from the torturer’s guild when he falls in love with one of his victims and allows her to die.
Series #1: Book of the New Sun
Series #2: Book of the Long Sun
Series #3: Book of the Short Sun
The Asrian Skies series by Anne Wheeler
A fighter pilot returns to her home planet on the brink of war and finds herself caught in a web of espionage and betrayal.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber
Michael Faber explores long-distance love and short-sighted humanity when a missionary leaves his wife behind to spread the gospel to an alien civilization.