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I read a novel about 10 years ago about a girl who somehow finds herself on the homeworld of aliens. I don't remember how or why she got there.

The aliens used I think sonar since they were blind, and I kinda think they communicated with telepathy too. The girl noted about their strange architecture, with a dull gray palette but very interesting shapes, as a result of their sonar perception.

Towards the end she I think enters either a black hole or a wormhole, to change the speed of time. I don't remember why she did that - all I remember is her watching time speed up faster and faster for the aliens in relation to her, and that she was going there for some sort of goal. There might've been some element of self-sacrifice involved with this - I recall it being done solemnly. I think a few of the aliens might've carried her there, though I'm not sure.

What was this story I read?

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  • This TVTropes page mentions a couple of stories where aliens use sonar/echolocation, but none of them fits the girl protagonist thing.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 25, 2021 at 20:40

2 Answers 2

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Pretty sure you're describing "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle. Towards the end of the book the main character gets sent to a planet with blind aliens with telepathy, one of whom she names Aunt Beast, before heading back to face the antagonist "IT". The girl's name is Meg Murray.

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    I'm not sure this is correct. Is there more than one telepathic alien in that book, or just Aunt Beast? The book I read had a small colony of aliens. Also, did the main character spend time in a black hole/wormhole, observing the colony pass time faster and faster than her as she got closer? My book had that I'm pretty sure. I think some aliens might've carried her to the black hole too, though I'm not sure.
    – Drake P
    Jul 25, 2021 at 22:57
  • There were a group of aliens yes, a Wrinkle in Time is part of a 5(?) book series, I've only read the first one so it may be one of the others. There isn't a wormhole so to speak, but rather what they call tessering which serves as a way to teleport Jul 26, 2021 at 5:08
  • Did tessering alter one's perception of time? I remember that being an important part of her going into this black hole/wormhole thing.
    – Drake P
    Jul 26, 2021 at 5:16
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    Ummm... Sort of? That's the best answer I can give... It's more of an altering off perception to tesser rather than tessering causing the alteration. I recommend (assuming you currently have access to them) you get the 5 books from your library or something and skim them to see if any of them are what you're looking for. Jul 26, 2021 at 8:53
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    Hmm, perhaps you have found the right book indeed. The sparknotes for chapter 11 (sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section11) seems pretty familiar in the way it described the aliens. I'm not certain though, so I'll give it a bit before accepting to see if a better match crops up. I'll have to read this book soon, apparently I remember less about it than I thought haha
    – Drake P
    Jul 26, 2021 at 8:59
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I know I'm late to this, but I had the same question so I thought I'd chime in now that I've figured it out! So I've read A Wrinkle in Time, great book but it's definitely not the one I think you're thinking of. The one you're thinking of probably sounds like this:

When Marco's shy and fragile little sister, Lilly, tells him about the strange lights in the basement, he thinks she's imagining things. But Marco is curious, and before long he investigates. He finds a passage into a strange world, where he meets insect-like creatures who seem to know all about Lilly. They believe she is special and beg Marco to bring her to them so that she can embark on a dangerous quest to save their world from ruin.

Can Marco help the creatures while protecting Lilly from harm?

That's the prequel book, called "Marco's Millions", and I remember reading that one.

Apparently the original (which is technically a sequel) has a female lead, and I honestly think I got parts of both books mixed up until I'd read the descriptions for both. I suddenly can't find a good description for it, so here's a brief one:

"Annie's Uncle Marco goes on one of his mysterious trips, leaving her in charge of two sealed boxes on one condition: she must not open either one while he is away. But she is tempted...and soon she has unleashed the unspeakable. The creatures inside the box are crab-like and grotesque. And they possess a power Annie could never have imagined: the power to transmute time. Sleator is the master of the creepy-crawly, and his inventiveness is at full power here."

For anyone interested, here's a longer description of Marco's Millions (which I think was the more popular of the two):

The book is about a boy named Marco who likes to travel. He often secretly rides buses far from home, though only his telepathic sister finds out. One day, his sister sees strange lights in the basement, and she and Marco investigate. They find a portal into another dimension, and thus the adventure begins. Marco finds strange insect-like creatures there, who are convinced that Marco/Lilly can save their dimension (and as a result save Earth) from their god, which is a naked singularity. None of their family members know about this portal, so Lily and Marco secretly need to save this dimension. Time is valued differently than on Earth in that universe, as 1 minute on the other dimension is roughly 21 minutes on Earth. Saving the other dimension would be being missing for several days on Earth. So, Marco tells his parents he going to his friend Nat's for vacation, while he'll actually be in the other dimension. The creatures (who communicate telepathically) tell Marco he must go on a giant swing and retrieve a small bag at the very top. This will be risking Marco's life. He retrieves the bag and brings it back to the ground. Next, he must go to the naked singularity and bribe it not to destroy the universe by giving it the contents in the bag. The singularity values the contents very much and says it will not destroy the universe, but with one cost.(continued in The Boxes)

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  • You mention A Wrinkle in Time and "prequel" early. Maybe mention what this is a prequel to BEFORE the last 2 words of 544? It seems, at first, like you're saying this is a prequel to A Wrinkle in Time. Needlessly confusing. Jun 20, 2022 at 5:54

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