First Contact Science Fiction Books

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Science Fiction that details the initial meeting between humans and an alien species. The meeting can be benign or hostile.
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1

Blindsight

by Peter Watts

4.18 avg rating
The Hugo Award–nominated novel by “a hard science fiction writer through and through and one of the very best alive.” —The Globe and Mail
 
Two months have past since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since—until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn’t want to meet?
 
Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can’t feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they’ve been sent to find—but you’d give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
John W. Campbell

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

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10

The Mote In God\'s Eye

by Larry Niven

4.46 avg rating
Writing separately, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are responsible for a number of science fiction classics, such as the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Ringworld, Debt of Honor, and The Integral Trees. Together they have written the critically acclaimed bestsellers Inferno, Footfall, and The Legacy of Heorot, among others.
The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre.
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8

Rendezvous With Rama

by Arthur Charles Clarke

3.79 avg rating
In the year 2130, a mysterious and apparently untenanted alien spaceship, Rama, enters our solar system. The first product of an alien civilisation to be encountered by man, it reveals a world of technological marvels and an unparalleled artificial ecology.

But what is its purpose in 2131?

Who is inside it?

And why?

Nebula
BSFA
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
John W. Campbell

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

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2

Solaris

by Stanislaw Lem

4 avg rating

A classic work of science fiction by renowned Polish novelist and satirist Stanislaw Lem

 

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wonder if they can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within their hearts.

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5

Contact

by Carl Sagan

3.56 avg rating
In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who -- or what -- is out there?

In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future -- and our own.

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2

2001: A Space Odyssey

by Arthur C. Clarke

4 avg rating
2001: A Space Odyssey is the classic science fiction novel that changed the way we looked at the stars and ourselves....

2001: A Space Odyssey inspired what is perhaps the greatest science fiction film ever made--brilliantly imagined by the late Stanley Kubrick....

2001 is finally here....

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

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14

Ender\'s Game

by

4.18 avg rating
8
21
6

Childhood\'s End

by

4.67 avg rating
9
17
3

Gateway

by Frederik Pohl

4.13 avg rating
Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe...and on reaches of unimaginable horror. When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!
THE HEECHEE SAGA
Book One:GATEWAY
Book Two:BEYOND THE BLUE EVENT HORIZON
Book Three: HEECHEE RENDEZVOUS
Book Four: THE ANNALS OF THE HEECHEE


From the Paperback edition.
Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
John W. Campbell
10
14
0

Commonwealth Saga

by Peter F. Hamilton

5 avg rating
Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such sf giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton’s bestselling fiction—powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills—has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction. Now, with Pandora’s Star, he begins a new multivolume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet.

The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport “tunnels” known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him.

Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer. Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship’s mission for its own ends,.

Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated. Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery whose unleashing will threaten to destroy the Commonwealth . . . and humanity itself.

Could it be that Johansson was right?



From the Hardcover edition.
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2

Spin

by Robert Charles Wilson

4 avg rating
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
John W. Campbell
12
14
3

War Of The Worlds

by H. G. Wells

4.6 avg rating
H. G. Wells' best-selling classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
13
10
0

Foreigner

by C. J. Cherryh

5 avg rating
Locus Science Fiction
14
14
5

The Sparrow

by Mary Doria Russell

3.71 avg rating
BSFA
Arthur C. Clarke
John W. Campbell
15
17
9

Speaker For The Dead

by Orson Scott Card

3.25 avg rating
Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
John W. Campbell
16
7
0

Blind Lake

by Robert Charles Wilson

4 avg rating
Robert Charles Wilson, says The New York Times, "writes superior science fiction thrillers." His Darwinia won Canada's Aurora Award; his most recent novel, The Chronoliths, won the prestigious John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Now he tells a gripping tale of alien contact and human love in a mysterious but hopeful universe.

At Blind Lake, a large federal research installation in northern Minnesota, scientists are using a technology they barely understand to watch everyday life in a city of lobster like aliens upon a distant planet. They can't contact the aliens in any way or understand their language. All they can do is watch.

Then, without warning, a military cordon is imposed on the Blind Lake site. All communication with the outside world is cut off. Food and other vital supplies are delivered by remote control. No one knows why.

The scientists, nevertheless, go on with their research. Among them are Nerissa Iverson and the man she recently divorced, Raymond Scutter. They continue to work together despite the difficult conditions and the bitterness between them. Ray believes their efforts are doomed; that culture is arbitrary, and the aliens will forever be an enigma.

Nerissa believes there is a commonality of sentient thought, and that our failure to understand is our own ignorance, not a fact of nature. The behavior of the alien she has been tracking seems to be developing an elusive narrative logic--and she comes to feel that the alien is somehow, impossibly, aware of the project's observers.

But her time is running out. Ray is turning hostile, stalking her. The military cordon is tightening. Understanding had better come soon....
 
Blind Lake is a 2004 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.
Hugo
19
7
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Footfall

by Larry Niven

4.5 avg rating
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
ITEMS 1 - 19 of 45

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Anonymous | 2018-10-11 11:02:56
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Anonymous | 2015-02-25 01:37:42
I don't think Invincible by Brian F. Martin is a science fiction about first contact. It's currently #39 on this list.
Anonymous | 2013-09-14 11:41:29
fantastic take on a first contract tale

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