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"first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

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"first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Old 10-21-09, 05:03 PM
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"first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Hi,

Excuse my lack of better words but I really like "first contact" type of books. With this I mean where the protagonist is faced with a previously unknown situation, and as a reader, you are discovering together with the protagonist what is really happening, and how to deal with it.
A couple of examples that I really enjoyed:

"Speaker for the dead" (Orson Scott Card): What is really happening with the piggies, and why are they doing what they are doing (killing humans)

"Hyperion / fall of hyperion" (Dan Simmons): especially in Hyperion, the "shrike" is introduced, but you have no clue what it is or why it is important to the heroes in the book

"The stand" (S. King): the characters are faced with a massive disaster that wipes out x% of the human population, and the survivors have to figure out how to deal with it.

I know, this is quite vague, but I hope that these examples illustrate my preference in this kind of books.

Based on this, which other books would you recommend, and why. Reason why I ask is that I haven't read too much new in a long time, and I am looking for new material, hence recommendations. Thanks!
Old 10-21-09, 07:00 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Check out Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

http://www.amazon.com/Footfall-Larry...6169567&sr=8-1
Old 10-21-09, 08:05 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by mlemmond
Check out Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

http://www.amazon.com/Footfall-Larry...6169567&sr=8-1
...and "Lucifer's Hammer" by the same which fits more your "The Stand" mention... along with "Swan Song" by Robert R. McCammon.
Old 10-22-09, 09:18 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by mlemmond
Check out Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

http://www.amazon.com/Footfall-Larry...6169567&sr=8-1
That is a GREAT suggestion. I have read "the mote in gods eye" several times, and enjoyed every reading. I haven't read Footfall yet, so this one is on my list of things to read shortly. Thanks!
Old 10-22-09, 09:23 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by Kevin M. Dean
...and "Lucifer's Hammer" by the same which fits more your "The Stand" mention... along with "Swan Song" by Robert R. McCammon.
Haven't read that one either. Have you read it, and did you like it?

Thanks for the tips so far. Looking forward to some more.
Old 10-22-09, 09:52 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Yes I've read everything mentioned in this thread (albeit a long time ago). Footfall, Lucifer's Hammer and Swan Song are all excellent reads.
Old 10-22-09, 12:28 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by LolaRennt
That is a GREAT suggestion. I have read "the mote in gods eye" several times, and enjoyed every reading. I haven't read Footfall yet, so this one is on my list of things to read shortly. Thanks!
I love The Mote in God's Eye as well. But to me, Footfall just didn't stack up.

I think a perfect book for what you're describing would be The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. Ranks up there with Mote and Dune as one of the best SF books I've ever read, and it really works for what you're describing.
Old 10-25-09, 07:56 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Arthur C. Clarke's Rendevouz With Rama springs to mind.
Old 10-27-09, 10:25 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Kind of a stretch, but the Star Trek novel Strangers From the Sky is a great story of the first meeting between Earth and the Vulcans.
Old 10-27-09, 12:24 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by Kevin M. Dean
...and "Lucifer's Hammer" by the same which fits more your "The Stand" mention... along with "Swan Song" by Robert R. McCammon.
Lucifers Hammer is indeed an end of the world story vs a first contact..unless a giant comet coming to earth constitutes contact of some sort
Old 10-27-09, 03:20 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

David Brin's novels?
Old 10-31-09, 08:54 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by Kevin M. Dean
...and "Lucifer's Hammer" by the same which fits more your "The Stand" mention... along with "Swan Song" by Robert R. McCammon.
I'll second or third these suggestions. Lucifer's Hammer is a great hard sci-fi story. Swan Song is just like the Stand - and imo was even more interesting than the Stand.
Old 11-06-09, 09:45 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by TimeandTide
Arthur C. Clarke's Rendevouz With Rama springs to mind.
I just finished this one. I thought it was a fantastic book. I was disappointed to go on wikipedia and discover that Morgan Freeman was championing the making of the movie, that Fincher had signed on to direct, and that it has all been cancelled due to Freeman's health. The whole time I was reading, I was wondering why it hadn't been made into a movie yet. A lot of very cinematic scenes, action, etc.
Old 11-06-09, 12:53 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Roadside Picnic, by the Strugatsky brothers. What if aliens stopped on earth for a time, with no more consciousness of us than we have of ants at a picnic? What do we do with the garbage they left behind?
Old 12-05-09, 06:16 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

This definition of "first contact" is a bit "off" and does not quite jibe with the meaning accepted in the sf/fantasy sense, or in general everyday use, IMHO. I think most literate people would recognize it's specific SF meaning that "first contact" deals with... well... first contact with intelligent alien life, usually extraterrestrial.

Some recommendations by posters in this thread are "first contact" in the accepted sense. In fact, First Contact by Murray Leinster is a classic of SF literature and is where the term came from.

However, if I understand this particular and personal definition, you're actually talking about stories where characters find themselves in totally unique situations... that are outside their realm of experience, or anything they can relate to, or deal with.

Which would fit in with "first contact" in the sf/fantasy sense, but could also apply to really dramatic literature... be it sf/fantasy, general fiction or even non-fiction.
Old 12-06-09, 08:51 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

"The Coming" by Joe Haldeman is an interesting take on first contact stories.

Although not exactly a first contact book, "Ancient Shores" by Jack McDevitt deals with near future humanity finding alien technology. His series that starts with "The Engines of God" deals with similar themes.
Old 12-07-09, 10:01 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

I love Octavia E. Butler's Xenogensis trilogy.
Old 12-17-09, 04:20 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Another good one I just thought of is Chad Oliver's "The Shores of Another Sea." A nicely scary yarn of a first contact out in the African bush.
Old 12-17-09, 10:51 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Someone mentioned McDevitt, another of his which is a first contact book is Infinity Beach.
Old 12-18-09, 11:19 AM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by Jason
"The Coming" by Joe Haldeman is an interesting take on first contact stories.
Though clearly not what the OP was requesting.
Old 01-05-10, 05:44 PM
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Re: "first contact" type of books - usually scifi/fantasy

Originally Posted by mlemmond
Check out Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

http://www.amazon.com/Footfall-Larry...6169567&sr=8-1
A thanks to you sir!
I have just started reading this book, purchased per your recommendation, and so far, I quite like it. I'm at the very beginning still, but I like the way it's written and how the story is being set up.
After I'm done with FootFall, I'll move down to the next recommendation in this thread.

That's why I like dvdtalk...

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