I have little recollection when I read this, but it started with people observing indications of some special engine use many lightyears away, and it led them to 'reverse-engineer' the traces to create their own drive. Had the usual tropes of international crew-selection for first-voyage.

Somewhere in the travel, they encounter a sentient star or quasar.

When they get back hundreds/thousands of years later, they arrive to an uncaring Earth that no longer pursues space-travel.

  • Correction: not a star, but a sentient collective of energy in the accretion disk of a black hole. – Foo Bar Jun 23 '18 at 12:54

I believe it is Starfarers, by Poul Anderson.

I might have to get this off the shelf and read it again tonight.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.