11

The novel is about cargo cult, a primitive civilizations conducting various acts in order to return with goods from an advanced civilization, like someone entering a blackhole and returning with a 4k tv in 1900s

  • Astronauts are sent to a space to this place to gain unknown knowledge/ technology, but the astronauts returning Earth are either dead or die in 24 hours. The astronauts won't speak of their experience or are too frightened of their experience

  • The protagonist is some sort of a social worker/psychologist/ therapist, his duty is to relieve the emotions of those astronauts returning Earth and try to get them to speak up about their experience.

  • Toward the end, the book mentions some astronauts returning to Earth with a cure for cancer. One astronaut dies in the space shuttle scrawling words around the wall of the shuttle.

The novel is related to lovecraftian horror/ cosmic horror.

  • Is this one novel or are you trying to ID multiple books? – Valorum May 27 at 19:47
  • @Valorum one novel – Quartz2 May 27 at 19:52
  • Some elements remind me of Pohl's Heechee series but I don't seem to remember the protagonist is a social worker. – Zab Zonk May 27 at 19:53
  • @ZabZonk i have a faint memory of the book, maybe some sort of a psychologist/ therapist that deals with the emotional elements of astronauts returning earth from the spot – Quartz2 May 27 at 19:56
14

This is very much like Hinterlands, a short story by William Gibson. The copy I have was published in Burning Chrome.

Astronauts are sent to a space to this place to gain unknown knowledge/ technology, but the astronauts returning Earth are either dead or die in 24 hours. The astronauts won't speak of their experience or are too frightened of their experience

There is a point between Earth and Mars where ships with solo astronauts – but only some of them – disappear. Those that disappear may reappear later, and often bearing something intimating contact with a more advanced race. Those that reappear are also insane and suicidal.

The protagonist is some sort of a social worker/psychologist/ therapist, his duty is to relieve the emotions of those astronauts returning Earth and try to get them to speak up about their experience.

The protagonist is one of those who failed to disappear, and who now meets the returnees and tries to nurture them to live.

Toward the end, the book mentions some astronauts returning to Earth with a cure for cancer. One astronaut dies in the space shuttle scrawling words around the wall of the shuttle.

I believe the first returnee, Olga Tovyevski, returned with a seashell of non-terrestrial origin. A later returnee, "returned with a twelve-centimeter ring of magnetically coded steel locked in his cold hand… that ring was the Rosetta stone for cancer."

The returnee that the protagonist greets has scrawled on her ship: "Then I saw the insane frieze of ballpoint scratchings, crabbed symbols, thousands of tiny crooked oblongs locking and overlapping. Thumb-smudged, pathetic, it covered most of the rear bulkhead."

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  • 1
    It is that novell – Quartz2 May 27 at 20:31
0

Not a novel, but a short story: Hinterlands by William Gibson.

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  • Thanks so much!!!! – Quartz2 May 27 at 20:20
  • 3
    Can you explain why you think this is the correct answer? – Valorum May 27 at 20:23
  • @Valorum: it matches all mentioned plot points perfectly. – Michael Borgwardt May 27 at 20:25
  • 2
    @MichaelBorgwardt You need to spell it out. We get why it fits, but does a passer by user? Does the OP? – Möoz May 28 at 3:11

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