Looking for a sci fi book with a young female protagonist and her indestructible robot Kilimanjaro (called Kili). She is forced to leave her planet (which I think is a moon) and eventually travels to a station orbiting Earth, where mankind awaits first contact with an alien species. I can remember some scenes:

The prologue is of a room full of students in an offworld university. The door is kicked down and several gunmen open fire on the students, killing them.

The protagonist gets incarcerated (on Mars?) and her robot - Kili - bashes down the doors of the prison to rescue her.

When the aliens first arrive on the space station near the end of the book, a member of an insurgency opens fire on the alien diplomat in an attempt to sow distrust. One of the aliens jumps in front of the diplomat and takes all of the bullets, killing it.

I hope this jogs somebody's memory... I've been looking for this book for like 20 years.

1 Answer 1


Possibly First Contact (1994) by Nigel Robinson.

From Amazon :

The year is 3243. A mysterious alien craft, which has been travelling for 2000 years, moves slowly through deep space, searching for only one planet - for contact.

This review talks about three "Point SF" books, including First Contact, for which it mentions the robot:

In First Contact, Shari and Kristas are teenagers in an inter-system authoritarian society. Assigned to mundane tasks on graduation, the two rebel and, with the help of Cruse, an escaped student rebel, and Kili, a two-hundred-year-old "faithful family retainer" robot, flee off planet in search of Shari's missing father, and Old Earth or the Home Planet, which no citizen of the System is supposedly allowed to set foot upon. The tyranny is controlled by Donovan Truehart, leader of the Earthlifers, a fanatically chauvinist organisation which maintains human supremacy over all other life forms; the Seti, intelligent aliens, are nearing the System and Earth. [...]

The youngsters' stolen space cruiser (not the one they intended to steal in the first place) is able to escape from the planet because it happens to be equipped with a brand new sub-tachyon drive. When Cruse, the pilot, is knocked out during a meteor storm, the robot Kili (short for Kilimanjaro, a name which is never explained) is mysteriously able to pilot the ship, despite not being programmed for the purpose.

No wonder you've been searching for 20 years. The above review seems to be the only Internet result of "first contact" "nigel robinson" "kili" (did no one else remember that robot?). I found said review by Googling book "kili" "kilimanjaro" robot -"mount kilimanjaro" (to avoid tourism sites). And as I don't have a Proquest account, I copy-pasted everything above from the Google results preview. Eh, whatever works.

  • 2
    YES! That's it! I knew it was called First Contact too but my internet searches never showed up with anything. Your skills in that area are amazing. Thank you so much. Now... to try and find a copy. Jan 13, 2019 at 7:54
  • @NickGellatly you're welcome, enjoy the re-read! :D
    – Jenayah
    Jan 13, 2019 at 7:55
  • 2
    Heh, I like the name Seti for an alien species. Cute.
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 13, 2019 at 13:02

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