Long ago in a childhood far far away (around 2004), I read half of a book. Before I could finish it, my mom returned it to the library. Here are some things I remember about the book:

  1. There was a race of robotic lifeforms that had their own planet.
  2. When they showed up on Earth, the Japanese called them Gaijin (visitors).
  3. They caused religious upheaval when they arrived.
  4. They took some humans off planet to show them important things about the rest of the universe.
  5. The universe they showed the humans was full of diverse and abundant lifeforms.
  6. There was a binary star system that hosted microbial lifeforms that were regularly wiped out by radiation from the host stars.
  7. It was not very long, probably no more than 350 pages or so.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? I'd LOVE to finish this book!!

  • 1
    Hello Josh, and welcome to the SF & Fantasy Stack. An important detail you can add is when you read this book, and how old it seemed at the time. Also, where it was, what the book looked like, and any other details you might remember, how trivial they may seem.
    – SQB
    Jun 15, 2015 at 21:06
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    The meaning of Gaijin is "foreigners and non-Japanese" (literally 'outside person' as opposed to 'visitor'). Jun 15, 2015 at 21:45
  • Thanks for the responses guys! It was probably 2004 when I read the book. Distant memories, but it couldn't have been more than 350 pages long. I don't remember the cover art, but I imagine that if it was in the library it was a paperback.
    – Josh Kuhn
    Jun 15, 2015 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


I would say that it is Manifold: Space by Stephen Baxter. It is from 2000, it has 450/500 pages and the von Neumann probes are called Gaijin, but I cannot be sure about the other points as I have not read the book.

  • 1
    Great answer, and welcome to the site!
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 16, 2015 at 0:37
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    The other points match my memory of "Manifold: Space". Jun 16, 2015 at 1:52
  • Awesome! That's definitely the book I was thinking of! Thank you Martin!
    – Josh Kuhn
    Jun 16, 2015 at 15:27

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