Looking for the title of a great book I read wherein a high school teacher uses his broad knowledge of science to communicate with an alien artefact which has mysteriously appeared at the United Nations in NY (I believe this is the location).

Some aspects of the book I remember:

  • The communication begins when several chemical elements are given to the giant sphere until the elements are exhausted.
  • The triple alpha process is brought up at some point in the novel, in relation to the chemicals
  • The alien life forms are decided to have either 8 limbs or something like that (a base-8 system was discussed in the book)

It was a great read and quality sci fi can be tough to find!

  • I don't know why but the site's formatting seems to have broken on your post.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 7:00
  • 1
    Sounds a bit like "Arrival" and it's original short-story "Story of Your Life"
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


Anomaly (First Contact) by Peter Cawdron

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Anomaly examines the prospect of an alien intelligence discovering life on Earth. The technological gulf between humanity and the alien species is measured in terms of millions of years. The only way to communicate is using science, but not everyone is so patient.

Humanity's first contact with an alien intelligence is far more radical than anyone has ever dared imagine. With a technological gap of millions of years, mankind is barely able to recognize the arrival of an alien space craft outside the gates of the United Nations in New York.

"...David Teller taught physics and chemistry to all ages, which was unusual in New York. Normally, these topics weren't taught as separate subjects until high school..."

"...Then we started noticing a fine powder falling to the ground. It was carbon. The bloody thing was simulating the triple-alpha process required to produce carbon in the heart of a star! Bloody show off."

"...I think it's curious about us. We've exchanged chemical elements. Elements make up molecules"

book itself

  • There are a lot of first contact novels. What makes this one the one the OP is looking for? Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 17:38
  • Because plot fits ) Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 19:30
  • Yes, but how does it fit? What makes it better fit than any other first contact book? Is there a high school teacher? Triple alpha processes? These are things that would improve the answer. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 20:07
  • @ArcanistLupus googled a bit more and added link to the pdf ;) Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 20:21
  • The book link is unnecessary, but the quotes are excellent! Upvoted. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 0:57

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