What are the best first contact novels


We love science fiction novels to us inspire with new, exciting or wacky ideas from strange worlds. Which books from 2016 do you have to read? Author Christian Endres has a list of his favorites for you!

Mainstream meets SF: Paolo Bacigalupi - Water. The fight begins

German by Wolfgang Müller • Blessing, hardcover, 464 pages • 19.99 euros

Paolo Bacigalupi's terrifyingly plausible visions of a broken world, which is running out of raw materials and whose climate is finally going crazy, have all been more than worth reading so far, regardless of whether z. B. Bio war or Ship thieves. All in all, this also applies to his latest novel Water. The fight begins, although the American is already throwing himself powerfully at the neck of the mainstream thriller audience while he talks about the criminal struggle for water in a dusty America of the near future.

Huge Debut: Giants - You Are Awakened of Sylvain Neuvel

German by Marcel Häußler • Heyne, Paperback, 416 pages • 14.99 euros

The debut novel of the Canadian robot hobbyist, linguist and software engineer Sylvain Neuvel describes in the form of minutes of conversations how a puller from the secret service world lets a team of experts search for the parts of a giant alien robot. At the same time, it is about deciphering the writing tablets belonging to the robot. Stylistically refreshing, despite the distant protocols close to the characters, and always exciting and rousing. You also ignore the few parallels Pacific Rim and is looking forward to the second part.

Classic first contact: Sea of ​​Darkness by James L. Cambias

German by Claudia Kern • Cross Cult, Paperback, 380 pages • 18.00 euros

With Sea of ​​darkness James L. Cambias excludes the first directive Star Trek under attack that forbids interaction as soon as it could harm foreign cultures. The exotic backdrop of the novel is the sea of ​​an ice moon, in which a society of intelligent giant lobsters thrives and communicates via sonar. Human scientists get too close to them, and a third species of sexually active otters doesn't find that amusing. In the end, the result is a pleasant, old-school first contact novel about morality and understanding, in whose chapters you can dive into.

Sympathetic Pageturner: The Lives of the Tao by Wesley Chu

German by Simone Heller • FISCHER Tor, paperback, 432 pages • 9.99 euros

For their ideological civil war on earth, the alien, gaseous quasings need human hosts, in whose heads they nestle as voices. This is how they have controlled the fate of humanity for thousands of years. In the first volume by Wesley Chus TaoTrilogy, a plump programmer becomes an alien host by chance and has to be whipped through the secret agent training in a fast passage. A crazy personable and captivating page turner, for which one willingly sacrifices a few hours of sleep.

Horror on the other hand: The crevice of Peter Clines

German by Marcel Häußler • Heyne, paperback, 528 pages • 9.99 euros

Mike Erikson has a perfect memory, and in Peter Clines' SF thriller he is supposed to use it to probe a research facility that is experimenting in the field of teleportation. In the end, however, the cracks open completely different gates, and even a little Lovecraft flows into the science thriller, the protagonists of which one quickly grows fond of. Spoiler: Not all of them will survive the difficult, entertaining SF horror novel that reads itself away in no time ...

Provocative dystopia: The 33rd wedding of Donia Nour by Hazem Ilmi

German by Matthias Frings • Blumenbar, hardcover, 272 pages • 18.00 euros

The most explosive and provocative dystopian novel of the year describes a strict Egyptian technocracy in the year 2048, which is shaken by a philosophical alien kidnapping victim and a rebellious young woman. Snappy, funny, evil, merciless, drastic, current, critical - it is not for nothing that the author, a vegetarian atheist from Egypt, publishes his work under a pseudonym.

Crunchy post-cyberpunk: Peripherals by William Gibson

German by Cornelia Holfelder-von der Tann • Tropics, hardcover, 616 pages • 14.95 euros

William "Neuromancer" Gibson makes it easy for you Periphery once again not easy when it comes to getting started with his novel. Those who persevere will be rewarded: The old master stages a crisp crime thriller story about two cool, plausible future timelines. You always have to work hard for it, but that ultimately increases the appeal. One thing is clear: the man who understands the future is not only the godfather of cyberpunk, but also still the measure of all things when it comes to post-cyberpunk.

Shooting and Flirting: Starship by Rachel Bach

German by Irene Holicki • Heyne, paperback, 448 pages • 9.99 euros

Who on the firing and stabbing in the multimedia cosmos of Warhammer 40,000 and always a weakness for the combat armor of the heroine from the classic game Great metroid had will be sure to Starship start an engine. Rachel Bach wrote the not perfect, but humorous novel about her die-hard heroine and convinced Bitch because she couldn't find a romantic action mix in space in the bookstore, in which there is just as much blasting as flirting.

Rare Long Distance: Up the Walls of the World by James Triptree Jr.

German by Bella Wohl • Seventh, hardcover, 504 pages • 24.90 euros

Your short stories, all of which are already available in German, are undoubtedly much better, but: What would a list of the best SF novels be without James Tiptree Jr. alias Alice B. Sheldon, if one of your only two novels was published in German in the calendar year? Ray aliens, human telepaths and a lone world destroyer are at the center of The walls of the world are high, which dates from 1978, 1980 as The firebreak first came out in German and in the course of the praiseworthy edition of the work by Septime has definitely earned this new translation.

African myths: Nnedi Okorafor lagoon

German by Claudia Kern • Cross Cult, Paperback, 370 pages • 18.00 euros

With lagoon The decorated US American Fantastic Author Nnedi Okorafor finally makes it onto the German-speaking market. Her first contact novel is set in today's Nigeria, where Okorafor's roots lie, which is why she captures the ambivalence, the bustle and problems of modern Africa as well as the mythical legends of her ancestors. The fact that their science fiction often slips into magical realism just makes the whole thing even more unusual and worth reading.

Feel-good space opera: The long way to a little angry planet by Becky Chambers

German by Karin Will • FISCHER Tor, paperback, 544 pages • 9.99 euros

Becky Chambers' debut is often referred to as an optimistic SF, and who wants to disagree? There is not a hint of dystopia when she accompanies her intergalactic crew of a wormhole drilling ship on an adventure trip, the characters and their worries and needs grow ever closer to your heart with each chapter. That's why the first excursion into Chambers' colorful universe never seems long or lengthy, despite the size. Feel-good SF to switch off when you can live without depth and innovation and in Firefly would have liked to see more aliens.

Subtle alternate world thriller: The Year of the Falcon by Jo Walton

German by Nora Lachmann • Golkonda, Paperback, 287 pages • 16.90 euros

Jo Walton's trilogy about Scotland Yard Inspector Carmichael takes you to a historic England that made its peace with Nazi Germany and has subsequently become more and more fascist and dangerous - and is one of the great, meaningful alternative world scenarios of our time. Walton writes masterfully and subtly about great dangers and important things and elegantly combines this in the final novel with the tradition of British crime fiction.

Contemporary Twilight Zone: Breakfast with the Borgias by DBC Pierre

German by Max Stadler • Structure of the flower bar, hardcover, 224 pages • 18.00 euros

By transporting his through and through logical and digital protagonist to an old English hotel on the coast and taking it off the network, DBC Pierre shows the smartphone company that is always available for a while. Finally, eccentric guests discuss quantum physics and alternative worlds offline, and in the end the bizarre, disturbing chamber play ends up in the middle of the Twilight Zone. A surprising, extraordinary book with an immense pull.

Made in China: The three suns by Cixin Liu

German by Martina Hasse • ​​Heyne, Paperback, 592 pages • 14.99 euros

It's great that the first novel that ever won the Hugo Award as a translation was still published in German at the end of the year. Cixin Liu is, so to speak, the spearhead of the successful modern science fiction from China, which deserves every attention internationally and is so much more than the criticism of the state in Orwell mode that one might expect. The first part of the popular trilogy oscillates between a conspiracy thriller and real hard SF.

Classic as a total work of art: The war with the newts by Karel Čapek

German by Eliška Glaserová • Edition Book Guild, hardcover, 331 pages • 24.95 euros

This wonderfully satirical science fiction classic, which the Czech Karel Čapek published for the first time in 1936, can be read over and over again, because its topics are just as topical as they were between the great world wars. who The war with the newts reads now for the first or repeated time, does it best in this splendid new edition with the trendy illustrations by Hans Ticha, which combines text, typesetting and images in a total work of art.