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Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics: A Topical Index

 

Meteorites

Innes, Michael The Weight of the Evidence. 1943, Harper/Perennial. A somewhat ordinary murder mystery, but the murder was committed using a meteorite in a university setting.

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Moon, The

Hartmann, William "Handprints on the Moon" in Preiss, Byron, ed. The Planets. 1985, Bantam. A touching story by an astronomer about international cooperation as the Moon is colonized.

Landis, Geoffrey "Walk in the Sun" in his Impact Parameter. 2001, Golden Gryphon Press. An astronaut stranded on the Moon in a solar powered suit must keep walking to keep up with the Sun.

McAuley, Paul "How We Lost the Moon" in Crowther, Peter, ed. Moon Shots. 1999, Daw. A glitch in a fusion experiment on the Moon creates a mini black hole that ultimately consumes our satellite.

Weinberg, Gerald "The Moon is a Harsh Pig" in Brotherton, Mike, ed. Diamonds in the Sky. 2009, at http://www.mikebrotherton.com/diamonds/?page_id=47 On another planet, two students make a bet about the cause for the phases of the moon, which leads to a surprise.

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Neptune (and its Satellites)

Carver, Jeff Neptune Crossing. 1994, Tor. An intelligent life-form on Neptune's moon Triton helps humans prevent a comet from crashing into the Earth.

Eklund, Gordon A Thunder on Neptune. 1989, Morrow. Exploring Neptune and Triton and finding a life form.

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Neutrinos

Clayton, Donald The Joshua Factor. 1986, Texas Monthly Press. A novel by an astronomer involving intrigue and neutrinos from the Sun.

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Neutron Stars (Remnants of Exploded Stars)

Baxter, Stephen Flux. 1994, HarperCollins. Portrays life on a neutron star.

Benford, Gregory “Bow Shock” in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 24th Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (2007, St. Martin’s).  A radio astronomer studying fast-moving neutron stars finds one that is not what it seems.

Forward, Robert Dragon's Egg. 1981, Ballantine. Also proposes a life‑form that can live on the surface of a neutron star. Sequel is called Starquake (1985, Ballantine).

Niven, Larry "Neutron Star" in Neutron Star. 1986, Ballantine. A space traveler gets too close to a neutron star and experiences enormous tidal forces.

Niven, Larry The Integral Trees. 1984, Ballantine. Takes place in a thick ring of gas, stripped from a Jovian planet, in orbit around a neutron star. Sequel is called Smoke Ring (1988, Ballantine.)

Silverberg, Robert "The Iron Star" in Preiss, Byron & Fraknoi, Andrew, eds. The Universe. 1987, Bantam. Involves two supernova explosions, a neutron star, and a black hole.

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Physics, Particle

Baxter, Stephen “On the Orion Line” in Resplendent (2006, Gollancz). An alien species, with which humanity is at war, learns how to change the constants of nature in small regions of space and the author explores the consequences of changing, for example, the speed of light.

Preuss, Paul Broken Symmetries. 1983, Pocket Books. A novel of science, politics, and intrigue surrounding the building of a giant particle accelerator in Hawaii. (A 1997 sequel is entitled Secret Passages.)

Benford, Gregory "Matter's End" in Matter's End. 1994, Bantam. Physicists in India find that protons do decay as predicted by some Grand Unified Theories, with dire consequences for reality.

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Pluto

Baxter, Stephen "Gossamer" in Vacuum Diagrams. 1997, HarperCollins. Stranded astronauts discover a life form that can thrive on Pluto and Charon at perihelion.

Benford, Gregory & Carter, Paul Iceborn. 1989, Tor. Proposes a form of life that can survive on Pluto and in the Oort Cloud.

Niven, Larry "Wait it Out" in Tales of Known Space. 1975, Ballantine. Protagonist is marooned on Pluto and discovers a form of life that use superfluidity to survive.

Silverberg, Robert "Sunrise on Pluto" in Preiss, Byron, ed. The Planets. 1985, Bantam. A form of life that could exist on Pluto.

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Quantum Mechanics

Bear, Greg "Schrodinger's Plague" in Tangents. 1989, Warner. A scientist repeats the Schrodinger's Cat experiment in such a way that not just a cat but all of humanity is at risk.

Coover, Robert The Universal Baseball Association: J. Henry Waugh, Proprietor. 1968, Random House. Works out some of the philosophical consequences of Einstein's remark about "God playing dice" with the universe.

Egan, Greg Quarantine.1992, Harper Prism. A sophisticated detective mystery that addresses serious ideas in the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Hoyle, Fred October the First Is Too Late. 1966, Fawcett. Fascinating working-out of the many‑worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Lem, Stanislav The Investigation. 1959, Avon. A novel that considers the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics: what if a mystery is unsolvable in principle?

McCormach, Russell Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist.  1982, Harvard U. Press. A fictional physicist muses on the transformation of classical physics in the early years of the twentieth century; written by a historian of science.

Niven, Larry "All the Myriad Ways" in All the Myriad Ways. 1971, Ballantine. Works out some of the implications of the many-worlds interpretation for solving murder mysteries.

Niven, Larry "For a Foggy Night" in N-Space. 1990, TOR. Humorous story in which the fog in San Francisco turns out to be a blurring effect of meeting world lines in many-worlds quantum mechanics.

Pohl, Fred The Coming of the Quantum Cats. 1986, Bantam. A novel of parallel universes based on the many-worlds view.

Reynolds, Alastair "Angel of Ashes" in Zima Blue and Other Stories. 2006, Night Shade Press. A priest of a future religion loses faith when a miracle involving a supernova turns out to have a quantum mechanical explanation.

Schmidt, Stanley Newton and the Quasi‑Apple. 1975, Popular Library. In another star system, Earth visitors introduce notions from 20th-century physics to an alien civilization just as their Newton publishes his ideas.

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Quasars

Asimov, Isaac The Gods Themselves. 1972, Fawcett. Ambitious novel that "solves" the origin of the big bang and quasars.

Martin, Mark & Benford, Gregory A Darker Geometry. 1996, Baen. Complex novel, suggests quasars are points through which another (closed) universe dumps excess energy into ours before its Big Crunch.

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