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


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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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A Case of Conscience
by James Blish (1958)


Jesuit priest who is also a scientist comes across the perfect Christian planet where inhabitants are completely devoid of sin of any kind. The only problem is that they ainít got no religion which really gnaws away at Father Ruiz-Sanchez who suspects that all this is the Devilís work. The stunning climax is sure to keep you thinking about humanity for many days afterward.





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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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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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Green Mars [S2]
by Kim Stanley Robinson (1993)


Hugo-winning follow-up to the previous yearís Red Mars. The philosophical split between the surviving scientists of the First Hundred colonists has one group appreciating Mars for what it is and the other advocating Earth-like terraforming. As the metanational corporations oversee the disintegration of Earth society, our heroes go on the lamb across the Martian landscape. Breathtaking.





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Foreigner [S1]
by C.J. Cherryh (1994)


The first book in C.J.Cherryh's eponymous series, Foreigner begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey... the masterwork of a truly remarkable author.





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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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Planetfall [S1]
by Emma Newman (2015)


Ren believed in Suh-Miís vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown. Newman received critical praise for her sensitive handling of mental illness issues.


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