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Looking for some help, please, finding a novel I read in the '90s (I think mid-'90s). I have the vaguest memories of a hot pink border on the cover.

The plot involved a teenage female protagonist going out on a FTL flight (I think with family?), and after some disaster (very vague memories, but I think they discovered hostile aliens, or at least dangerous alien tech), she essentially supercharges the FTL to take her to the end of the universe. When the universe ends, it immediately big bangs again and history plays out exactly as before. Essentially because a cosmic-scale time loop of tragedy.

One of the first scenes (if this helps) is the protagonist as a teen being approached by a woman who looks like an older, sadder version of herself (FORESHADOWING!!) and having a feeling that the woman wanted to hurt her, but just wishing her well, then tearing up behind sunglasses and leaving.

Been trying to find it for years with no joy. Any help would be amazing, thanks.

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  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year or decade did you read this? Also, do you recall any details about the cover? May 10 at 11:15
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    Thanks for the welcome - I read it in the 90's, I think mid-90's (small country town library, so it was unlikely to be a new release though) and I have the vaguest memories of a hot pink border on the cover.
    – NOPE
    May 10 at 11:24
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    Thanks for clarifying. We'll see if we can ID this for you. There's a fair chance it'll be IDed within a day or so, but if it isn't, keep checking back from time to time. Correct answers can be submitted weeks, months, or even years after a question was first asked. May 10 at 11:30
  • Thanks, and thanks for the edit - much clearer now
    – NOPE
    May 10 at 11:31
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    @JeromeViveiros We only mark a story-id answer as duplicate if both answers are accepted; in this case neither is.
    – DavidW
    May 10 at 15:01

1 Answer 1

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I can't find a cover image that really matches your description, but the story of a teenager who goes on a trip that turns into a voyage past the end of the universe seems to match The Starlight Crystal (1996) by Christopher Pike.

Cover of "The Starlight Crystal" showing a young woman in a grey suit standing beside a giant hourglass full of bones, against a pink landscape and a yellow sky

Quoting from a fair in-depth synopsis on Tumblr:

Yes, Earth is attacked and destroyed just as they are starting to decelerate. These alien warships have the technology to keep up with Paige’s ship at its high speed, and they catch it and send a boarding party. Paige’s dad plans to blow up the ship so that they can take out the alien commander (like in Shari’s story), but she (the commander) kills him before he can trigger the explosion and takes Paige hostage.

However, the guard who is supposed to take Paige to their ship instead takes her to the engine room, where he says he has a power source that will accelerate their ship away from the attackers. He climbs down and inserts a green crystal into the power core, upon which he is killed by his captain. She levels her weapon at Paige, but the ship’s first officer cuts her down before she can fire. Then they check their instruments, and sure enough: the alien warships are gone, and their ship is infinitely approaching the speed of light, and their engine can’t produce the power required to slow them down, to the point where they will simply outlive the universe.

Paige is supposed to get back on the ship, empty it out, and take off with more green crystals, wait out a cycle of death and rebirth in the entire universe, and then come back to Earth the way she left it the first time.

Her first thought, upon returning to Earth, is to break the cycle, to say fuck you to destiny and keep herself from having to suffer. So she gets a gun and some sunglasses and finds herself outside the library. But she can’t pull the trigger. Instead, she directs herself to the pond, just as before

Note that the back cover of the book is hot pink:

Back cover of "The Starlight Crystal" showing a snippet of the protagonist from the front cover inset in on a plain pink background with the blurb.

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  • 7
    I guess after PIke got bored with Talos IV he took up writing sf novels. May 10 at 15:31
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    @OrganicMarble - but how did he manage to publish it before he was born?
    – Basya
    May 10 at 15:51
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    @Basya the lightspeed breakaway factor? May 10 at 16:15
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    @Basya: Perhaps this novel is loosely auto-biographical of his time-journey, with the character somewhat changed :P May 10 at 20:43
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    That is a color I would call purple and it doesn't look hot pink to me at all, although perhaps it could be considered a very purple shade of hot pink. May 10 at 23:24

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