I registered to ask for some help identifying a book. It was likely the very first space opera / science fiction novel I read, but I was a pre-teen/early teen exploring my older siblings' bookshelves so I have no memory about its name. I was 8-10, so it must have been older than 1996-98.

It was full of suspense and entire passages where I was trembling with fear. While I remember very little about the plot and the setting, I vividly recall my feelings and images while reading the about the first encounter with these strangest sentient beings.

The main characters of the novel were exploring a strange world of very vast emptiness between massive, miles-wide and complex fortresses/space-bases - one of which they try to infiltrate.

The villain aliens are very tall transparent perfect cylindrical column-like beings emitting some light; some parts of their insides can also be seen (the equivalent of a "heart") and maybe reflected the mood of these beings.

There were different types of aliens. Either they were the same species and not uniform or there were different "classes" - some were just servants (and may have been more "solid", silver-like orbs) whereas the most important rulers were more gaseous. Either way they were an advanced civilization and had to be infiltrated and defeated.

I wish I could find this novel again... I tried Googling the species but found nothing.

Any idea what this might have been, and what its name was?

UPDATES: Thanks for everyone's comments and answers so far. Appreciate that you looked into it... but none of them are the one I meant :( I never imagined this was such an obscure and unknown book!

There are many similarities with the books/novels you pointed out, but I am quite sure of one feature: it was space opera/futuristic science fiction and potentially also involved some space travel by the main characters. I vaguely remember some elements of a "Hobbits in Mordor" style ending, i.e. the main characters are a small party traveling to this world/planet and need to explore and infiltrate the world to destroy the extremely more technologically advanced enemy (If I correctly recall, they ultimately do).

  • How long ago was this? Can you remember any of the character names, any part of the title, the book cover, length of the book, etc?
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2014 at 20:45
  • I was around 8-10 years old, a young bookworm, so around 1996-1998; the book must have been much older. I remember absolutely nothing else - except that in the same period I had read "Integral Trees" by Larry Niven. I initially thought that was the title of the book but then found I was wrong :) Jun 9, 2014 at 21:23
  • My first thought is that it sounds either like "Shaper/Mechanist" or something by Iain M. Banks (like "Matter") but that's far too contemprary
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2014 at 21:27
  • Hmmm... I quickly read up a bit about it; not too sure from first impression. The beings I remember are advanced and military-like, but are definitely unknown to the humans / main characters. The main characters discover these beings for the first time while exploring their planet/base/megastructure. Not sure if they had any previous contact with humans. I remember that the "lower class aliens" serving under the transparent ones might have had the shape of silver/grey/mercury spheres or orbs. Jun 9, 2014 at 21:40
  • The whole "exploring a megastructure" theme puts me in mind of the Great Ship stories by Robert Reed; amazon.com/The-Greatship-Robert-Reed/dp/0786753668
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2014 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


I think Lords of the Psychon is the book you are looking for.

The novel is set 15 years after the devastation of earth. A band of holdout soldiers remain steadfast to their military/defensive duty, and are based in a deserted junior college in the shadow of a strange, towering, alien City of Force. Wherever the aliens have established themselves, they have raised up great walled cities comprising huge buildings shaped like cylinders, pyramids, cubes, rhombohedrons, semi-transparent prisms, and balls. Electric equipment all over the earth has been shut down by the aliens, and all of human civilization has been driven back to a coal and steam-based technology. The Cities of Force are the home of the “Spheres”. They are large floating aliens that generally ignore humans except when they decide to “select” someone. Then they hover and float through the air, crackling with static electricity and hunting the selected person apparently for sport. Spheres can travel right through walls and hillsides in their pursuit of the selected people. When they finally run down the prey, they throw lightning bolts to kill the human. The Spheres also get active around the time of Horror Day, an annual event when a grid of energy forms over the earth and somehow inflicts incredible physical and mental torture on the earthlings, which takes months for the populace to recover from.

  • Sounds pretty solid to me
    – Broklynite
    Feb 6, 2016 at 8:39
  • Could you take an extract from the link you shared, to back that up?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Feb 6, 2016 at 10:33
  • I edited in some of the setting text. But you could probably add in some quote from the plot to round it out.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 6, 2016 at 15:00

Could this be it?

The Xipehuz (in Three Science Fiction Novellas)

From the introduction:

“The Xipehuz” is a prehistoric tale in which the human species battles strange geometric alien life forms.

Quote from the first chapter:

A few clear stripes, a few dark circumvolutions, were scattered over their surface; each had near its base a dazzling star. ... There were also, here and there, Forms that were nearly cylindrical, varied in fact, some slender and tall, ...

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