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Years ago, a friend recommended a book to me. (I followed up with him, recently, he can't recall it either). I bought the book used and started to read it. Then, my bag (book included) was stolen. I didn't follow up with the book for several reasons. Much later on, I decided to go back to that novel.

I can't recall the name. I went back to Powell's several times, in roughly the spot I found it before, but have had no success in locating it.

The first chapter or so involved the following: humanity had finally advanced enough to explore space. One ship on the fringes of known space encountered some ominously powerful alien that annihilated their ship without explanation. As a whole, humanity retreated and regrouped and then ventured out again with stronger, more advanced ships. This cycled happened repeatedly until humanity was all but eradicated. The chapter(s) wrapped with something like the last of humanity (I feel like either she was a genetically modified human or even an android) being left on a planet alone. The book ostensibly was going to be her journey, what she discovered about this force and how she carried humanity forward.

I have no idea if this book is even any good, but the fact that I can't find it and have been looking for it for years has made me intensely curious about the rest of the tale. I feel like it was only a few hundred pages. It was an older novel - late 20th century(?)

Does anyone know what this is?

  • The SF and fantasy section at Powell's has always been composed largely of whatever paperbacks they happened to have picked up unsystematically from the second hand market. – Buzz Feb 28 '18 at 23:42
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A possible answer here is 'Off Armageddon Reef' by David Weber. It was published in 2007. The length of the book is nearly 800 pages.

In that one, the woman is an android whose personality is based on the memories of one of the last surviving humans. In this book there are lots of additional human survivors, they colonize a new world away from the aliens that's deliberately technologically depressed, so that it will not attract the aliens' wrath. The new society is unaware of mankind's previous history or achievements, or the aliens, and the android (who does not age) - is there, unbeknownst to them, to watch over them and intervene if necessary.

I believe it is the first of a series but I never read past the first one. The series is up to nine books: Safehold.

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