Planets & Cultures
People build too many walls and not enough bridges


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Perelandra [S2]
by C.S. Lewis (1943)


Perelandra continues the adventures of the extraordinary Dr. Ransom. Pitted against the most destructive of human weaknesses, temptation, the great man must battle evil on Perelandra when it is invaded by a dark force. The outcome of Dr. Ransom's mighty struggle alone will determine the fate of this peace-loving planet. The second book in C.S. Lewis' highly acclaimed Space Trilogy.





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Mission of Gravity
by Hal Clement (1953)


It takes all the reckless cunning and desperate courage of Barlennan, the alien merchant captain, to brave the bizarre landscapes, the methane seas, and the wildly variable gravity of the weird and wonderful planet of Mesklin. The characterisation Barlennan as both cultured and capable was atypical for its day. Clement's knowledge of physical parameters made this a sci-fi classic.





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Dune [S1]
by Frank Herbert (1965)


Set in the far future amidst a feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, to survive on sandworld Arrakis water resources must be carefully preserved. A political power struggle over an immortality drug sees the hero lead desert dwellers and sandworms into battle and begin his rise to messiah status.





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The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)


The story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose - and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture he encounters. A landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.





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Dune Messiah [S2]
by Frank Herbert (1969)


This second installment explores new developments on the desert planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and its strange threatening environment. The book picks up the story of the man known as Muad'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale... the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men.





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The Snow Queen [S1]
by Joan D. Vinge (1980)


The imperious Winter colonists have ruled the planet Tiamat for 150 years, deriving wealth from the slaughter of the sea mers. But soon the galactic stargate will close, isolating Tiamat, and the 150-year reign of the Summer primitives will begin. Their only chance at surviving the change is if Arienrhod, the ageless, corrupt Snow Queen, can destroy destiny with an act of genocide.





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Nightfall
by Isaac Asimov (1990)


Scientists on the planet Kalgash discover that an eclipse - an event that occurs only every 2049 years - is imminent, and that a society unfamiliar with Darkness will be plunged into madness and chaos. They realize that their civilization will end, for the people of Kalgash have a proven fear of Darkness, but they are unable to predict the insanity and destruction that will accompany the Nightfall.





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Anathem
by Neal Stephenson (2008)


Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar - a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers - protected from the corrupting influences of the outside "saecular" world. Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life. Erasmas and others are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster.


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