I am looking for a book I read as a young adult. It was from my dad's collection, and not a "young adult" book by any means. The story involves an attack on earth by a distant alien race who fire relativistic projectiles at earth. Earth then launches a ship with a small crew and a powerful AI system to retaliate. I don't remember much, but there was a power struggle between the captain and the AI. I also remember it got really, really weird about halfway through. Almost like a totally different book with lots of mystical stuff. I think there was something about a crow or raven. Like I said, really weird. I have no idea what it could be and it's driving me crazy.

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    Please post more details. Everything you can remember, no matter how unimportant it may seem; you can never tell what will jog someone else's memory. You read it as a young adult — was that 10 years, ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago? Why did the aliens attack the earth? Wasn't earth destroyed by the relativistic projectiles? The retaliatory ship was slower than light? There was a bird on the ship, or appearing to the crew in dreams, or flying outside in the vacuum? Was the crew composed of males or females or mixed? Did they reach the alien planet and destroy it?
    – user14111
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 19:53
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    Welcome to SFF.SE! We recommend you take the tour, and check out this link for ideas on what else you can tell us to help us identify your book. This is a good start, but the more info you can provide the better. Some suggestions: When exactly did you read the book? Do you have any idea how old the book was at that point? What makes you say it was not a "young adult" book? ("Sex" is the most obvious answer, but you may be thinking of plot complexity, language (cussing or use of unusual vocabulary), or something else)
    – RDFozz
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 20:02
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    I probably read it 25-30 years ago. \One part that stands out to me is a part where the ship detects some objects ahead. The captain and computer are arguing about what to do and the captain points out that the objects may be more of the alien projectiles heading their way, so the computer allows them to change course.
    – hlalakar
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:15
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    I'm not sure about the bird. At that point the story seemed to have become so surreal that it was unrecognizable from what it had once been about. When I say it was not a young adult book I mean the themes and complexity were very adult. There may have been sex, but I don't really remember. The aliens didn't invade. I believe they just launched the projectiles at earth from their own system, and them earth tracked the projectiles back to their origin.
    – hlalakar
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


Sounds like Catchworld by Chris Boyce

A fleet of bussard ramships is sent out from Earth to find the source of an attack. Early in their mission there is a power struggle between the captain and the ship's AI, just as described above. Unknown to the crew is that they are also part of an experiment where their nervous systems become integrated with the starship's AI. By the time they reach the enemy world they are all fully integrated within the AI with the exception of one crewmember who was immune to the drugs used on his crewmates.

At the enemy world it is found that the source of the attacks is a being called The Crow

  • It this is the answer, give credit to Martin Goldsack by selecting it as the accepted answer!
    – IconDaemon
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 16:37

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