Trying to find this novel I've read a few years back. The story revolves around humans exploring an object entering the solar system only to be stranded on it as it goes into FTL. They adapt and flourish only to later find out that they were brought into a sort of galactic zoo where all other alien races are kept. These humans later find out about their legacy and because of relativity, the home they left behind has evolved into a highly advanced society with nanotechnology only to find out that the human race was already extinct but not before they launched millions of probes that will unlock all of that advanced technology when it comes into contact with the genetic marker of the descendants of the protagonist in the story. Any ideas?

  • 6
    Certain aspects of that sound like the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke. It's been too long and I never read far enough to say how closely it tracks, though.
    – gowenfawr
    Nov 23, 2014 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


Sounds like "Pushing Ice" by Alastair Reynolds, except that the object did not suddenly enter the solar system - instead is was there all along in the disguise of Saturns moon Janus.

The book start with advanced humanities plan to send out the probes as anniversary celebration of the event that started civilization as they know it; they decide the best way to celebrate is to help the "benefactor" Bella Lind (the captain of the ship that was sent out to chase Janus) by sending their combined knowledge after her (Lind and her crew are supposedly still alive due to relativistic effect/time dilation).

  • No it's neither Pushing Ice nor one of the Rama books; I've read both books though, good ones too.
    – nOy
    Nov 24, 2014 at 18:54
  • @nOy Seriously? Are you sure? Every point of your description perfectly matches Pushing Ice, with the exception that the object only went close to light speed, it didn't hit FTL.
    – Harabeck
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:05
  • There is zero chance this is not Pushing Ice.
    – NullWaltz
    Apr 28, 2020 at 20:33

Eon by Greg Bear?

Giant asteroid appears around the Earth, has interesting physics inside.

  • Does it have something like a gâteaux zoo?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 3, 2019 at 11:00
  • Could you also expand on this a bit more for how it matches?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 3, 2019 at 11:01
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    The plot of Eon has almost nothing in common with the description in the question.
    – PM 2Ring
    Dec 3, 2019 at 11:42

Sorry to not positively nail the correct answer but this sounds like one of Frederik Pohl's Heechee novels.

Hopefully this will be the firefly that illuminates the light switch for you.

  • 1
    Out of the 5 novels and literally dozens of smaller stories, can you pin it down further?
    – Valorum
    Nov 27, 2014 at 17:48
  • Flagged as NaA (in the 'should rather be a comment' sense) since it appears to point towards a direction (by providing an author and a -wide- series), but does not specify a particular title which would fit the question.
    – Jenayah
    Aug 24, 2018 at 16:34

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