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Looking for sci fi novels or short stories that address the question, "If there are so many likely habitable planets out there, then where are all the aliens? Why haven't they visited us?" I know there must be many of them but can't think of them.

Of course there is the speed of light problem. But still...


Here's a related, recent new story:

There may be more Earth-like planets than grains of sand on all our beaches
New research contends that the Milky Way alone is flush with billions of potentially habitable planets -- and that's just one sliver of the universe.

If the estimates of 40 billion Earth-sized planets in habitable zones of sun-like or red dwarf stars in the Milky Way and the estimate of the 100 billion to 200 billion galaxies in the universe are accurate -- and if the average galaxy has roughly the same number of Earth cousins as the Milky Way, then the chances that we are the only planet with life are more like one in 6 sextillion.


http://www.cnet.com/news/the-milky-way-is-flush-with-habitab...
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Re: Looking for a specific kind of sci fi book...
More and more I think my greatest wish is a workable FTL drive... The thought of all that out there, and not being able to go take a look around in person... (sigh!)


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Re: Looking for a specific kind of sci fi book...
FTL travel still needs to address the dilation between sidereal time and relativistic time before we can trust it to travel great distances and not get disconnected from our "normal time stream". Then we can find those ETs.
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Re: Looking for a specific kind of sci fi book...
So, any sci fi authors who have addressed this question?
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Re: Looking for a specific kind of sci fi book...
May not be quite what you are looking for but I enjoyed the book Spin, which is about aliens, but more like "What happens when evidence of a vastly superior intelligence just shows up and alters the world, but we have no idea what they are doing or why?" The book doesn't even show the aliens and then completely different aliens show up... I don't want to spoil it... but the story of the political wranglings and the effect on the world is compelling.

Might be worth the thought provoking nature of how we view ourselves in this massive universe we call home.
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Re: Looking for a specific kind of sci fi book...
Stephen Baxter's Manifold trilogy.
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mister lunch wrote:
May not be quite what you are looking for but I enjoyed the book Spin, which is about aliens, but more like "What happens when evidence of a vastly superior intelligence just shows up and alters the world, but we have no idea what they are doing or why?" The book doesn't even show the aliens and then completely different aliens show up... I don't want to spoil it... but the story of the political wranglings and the effect on the world is compelling.

Might be worth the thought provoking nature of how we view ourselves in this massive universe we call home.

Excellent. I've actually read this one. One of my favorite sci books. I really need to read this one again... Thanks for the reminder
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http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/fermi_paradox

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/25801.Best_Books_About_t...
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MWChapel wrote:


In case you didn't click the link because you already know what the Fermi Paradox is, that first link has a ton of different books.

I would think the concept of a Singularity (as in some of Vernor Vinge's works) would be another answer.
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tesuji wrote:
Looking for sci fi novels or short stories that address the question, "If there are so many likely habitable planets out there, then where are all the aliens? Why haven't they visited us?" I know there must be many of them but can't think of them.


Contact, by Carl Segan.
It doesn't present a solution, but it addresses the question.
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Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky has an interesting take on that concept. It's not the most readable book, but it's very thoughtful.

Also, Gateway by Frederick Pohl, as I recall it, speaks somewhat to that point, but that's not really the focus of the book. It's a good read, though.
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It may not match exactly, but I finished Eiffelheim a few months back and it is definitely about ETs visiting us. And I thought it was a good read as well.
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The Crystal Spheres by David Brin addresses this.

It's a short story. It's really, really good, but always produces a profound, cosmic sadness.
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How about the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds?

That addresses the Fermi Paradox, it is the main point of the book. The main character is trying to find an answer to why humanity hasn't bumped into intelligent aliens.
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It's hard to write about the absence of something. Except in the rare cases where searching for an answer is the point, at most it's likely to be an aside. For example Dune mentions that the reason for the retention of atomic weapons is in case aliens are ever encountered. But that's it. Asimov wrote outside his science fiction about the absence of aliens in it (in Foundation) but put that down to avoiding conflict with Campbell. And so on.

Now if you want really hard, try science fiction (not fantasy) with no humans, just aliens. At novel length. Aliens as central characters not enough, not allowed even the concept of human (including evolved humans). I recall a novel by John Brunner that qualified (but not its name). I'm sure there are more, but they aren't common (for obvious reasons of lack of identification).

And technical answers like Star Wars (can't really be human because of the long time ago in a Galaxy far away) don't count either.
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Dearlove wrote:
It's hard to write about the absence of something. Except in the rare cases where searching for an answer is the point, at most it's likely to be an aside. For example Dune mentions that the reason for the retention of atomic weapons is in case aliens are ever encountered. But that's it. Asimov wrote outside his science fiction about the absence of aliens in it (in Foundation) but put that down to avoiding conflict with Campbell. And so on.

Now if you want really hard, try science fiction (not fantasy) with no humans, just aliens. At novel length. Aliens as central characters not enough, not allowed even the concept of human (including evolved humans). I recall a novel by John Brunner that qualified (but not its name). I'm sure there are more, but they aren't common (for obvious reasons of lack of identification).

And technical answers like Star Wars (can't really be human because of the long time ago in a Galaxy far away) don't count either.


The John Brunner one was The Crucible of Time I think.

Another no human SF novel would be Hello Summer, Goodbye (also called Pallahaxi Tide and also Rax) by Michael G. Coney. The sequel (which was written and published a long time after) has humans arriving on the world.
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Might I suggest Jack Glass: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13235961-jack-glass

This is really more of a series of three stories all sort of tying itself together with a central figure. The first is a pretty grizzly submarine story, the second a locked room murder mystery, and the third is a little harder to pin down. Most of the fun of the book is getting to the end where things tie themselves together (sort of) so I don't really want to talk more specifically about it.

That said, there are no ET's and it gets discussed, and I think you'd enjoy the speculation the characters engage in regarding that issue.
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Bearcat89 wrote:
FTL travel still needs to address the dilation between sidereal time and relativistic time before we can trust it to travel great distances and not get disconnected from our "normal time stream". Then we can find those ETs.


I read a book just a few summers back from the 60s.. it was about a ship that had headed out to some far off planet to populate it with earthlings.. it took several generations to get there and by then the dynamics of the ships hierarchy had all changed and anyway the new planet had already been populated but when they got there the planet had already been populated so they decided that they should head back to earth rather than being killed but on the way the ship had turned into a whole "Lord of the flies" meets cult of Joseph kind of thing and it was just a brutal social nightmare...

Long story short they couldn't turn off the FTL just right (due to thew engineering class in their society being murdered or some such) and the relative time between them and the Earth was all screwed up when they did get close enough.. not going to spoil the rest but wow.. I wish I remember the name of that book. Famous classic author.. anyone else remember this one? The whole book was dark and twisted and ahead of its time. Felt more like a horror.. space tragedy with a weird 60s vibe.
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