Looking for an old science fiction book about an energy mass which approaches the earth. The energy mass is intelligent and can't be destroyed by missiles. A number of scientists attempt to communicate with it before it moves on and end up dying because their brains don't have the capacity to handle the knowledge that is transmitted. Any idea which book this is and by who?

  • Do you remember when and where did you read it? Was it in English?
    – jo1storm
    Mar 8, 2020 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Could be The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle. It’s old (1957), it does concern an intelligent cloud approaching Earth, and two scientists do die attempting to communicate with it.

  • Yes, and idiot politicians fire missiles at it unsuccessfully. Mar 8, 2020 at 21:09
  • Wow, that takes me back. Haven't read it in ages... I should dig it out again. It was one of my favourite "old" sci-fi books. Some of the science bits probably don't hold up too well any more, but that really doesn't matter.
    – Spudley
    Mar 9, 2020 at 15:17
  • 1
    @Spudley The science that really doesn’t hold up is cosmology. Hoyle was a professional astrophysicist, and one of the last proponents of the steady-state theory rather than the Big Bang.
    – Mike Scott
    Mar 9, 2020 at 15:19

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