Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fred Hoyle & John Elliot's "A For Andromeda" (novel, alien invasion)

Cover image of the novel A For Andromeda by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot
One of the most gripping alien invasion stories I've seen, though its tropes are now well hashed.

Story summary.

World's largest radio telescope, newly built at Bouldershaw Fell, England, started receiving digital radio signals almost as soon as it was switched on. Signals originating somewhere in Andromeda galaxy!

Signals turn out to be a very long message, repeated over & over again. Message describes how to build a certain computer with memory & speed way beyond contemporary machines, a program to run on it, & some data to feed this program.

Computer is built. Program is run. And what do we get? We get an alien inside the computer! Alien is querying about what kind of life form we are, details of our biology & environment, ... Alien will then handout a procedure to build a biological being out of ordinary elements in a lab. Researchers & government controlling them are fool enough to build it - after a false start, they end up building a fast growing & super-intelligent "girl" that's actually an extension of alien in the computer.

Dr John Fleming, hero of the story, the man who originally detected & decoded alien signals & built the computer, will have to fight against all establishment to destroy the alien.

Fact sheet.

First published: 1962. (as a novel adaptation of an earlier TV series).
Rating: A. 
Related: Stories of Fred Hoyle.


Larry said...

Sounds good, and written by an astronomer! I could see a big budget movie coming out of this!