By Richard C.
Remember that huge cylinder hovering over Earth, desperately sucking up the ocean in search of long lost whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?
Well the “gigantic and probably dangerous object in the sky” theme makes great science fiction. No “take me to your leader” message here, folks, instead an unfathomable confrontation with an artifact that dwarfs your imagination. The best part is the mystery, knowing nothing about origins or destinations. But headlong into the dark unknown you go, reading below with these three works of something in the sky…
BOWL OF HEAVEN
By Larry Niven and Gregory Benford
Mysterious radio waves draw humanity’s first deep space mission, but mid-journey and thousands of light years from Earth crew members wake up to a surprise – through the view screen is a gigantic structure cupping an entire star. It’s as big as a million Earths, but does anybody live on this strange bowl-like structure? Or more importantly, will they like visitors? This is a fast moving, first installment of a series that’s sure to entertain. The sequel, Shipstar, just came out in 2014.
RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA
Arthur C. Clarke
Here’s the classic. Decades after an asteroid strikes Earth, humanity has mobilized to avert similar crises in the future. Gazing deep into the galaxy with new state-of-the-art telescopes, one quickly approaching object perplexes the astronomers. As it nears, astronomers see not an asteroid but a ten trillion ton cylinder spinning straight toward our sun (influence on Star Trek IV, anyone?). The mystery deepens when a team sent to investigate discovers that the object – christened Rama – is both hollow and artificial. Discovering who built Rama and wondering on any human connection to its purpose is the driving plot in this monumental classic. Next in series are Rama II, The Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed.
By David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt
Telescopes identify a strange object three years away headed for our solar system. National coalitions compete to land first and claim dominion over the visitor, but will the strange craft from afar rebuff them, or is a distant intelligence really sending a message for Earth? This is my latest read of the three posted and I read it in one of those long power sessions straight through you gotta love. Now I’m all set for the next in the series: Heaven’s War and Heaven’s Fall.