56 votes
Accepted

Colonists kill local creature, only to discover they were killing off immature monsters

If the monsters live in water and use a short-term metabolism boot to power their rampages, then it would be the 1987 Niven, Pournelle, Barnes collaboration The Legacy of Heorot. There is a sequel ...
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46 votes
Accepted

Young man discovers his home "world" is a spaceship

It's not an uncommon concept, and there are many stories that may fit it, but the simplest possibility that leaps to mind (being one of the earliest depictions of a generation ship) is Heinlein's ...
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  • 56.8k
29 votes

Looking for a 70s movie with a generation ship that had farming modules

I think this might be Silent Running. It's not quite the same (i.e. no Simon and Garfunkel) In the future, all plant life on Earth has become extinct. A few specimens have been preserved in ...
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  • 47.2k
27 votes
Accepted

Why didn't humans try to settle other galaxies?

In Foundation and Earth, Golan Trevize states that there is an issue with attempting intergalactic travel. He mentions in particular that all attempts to travel even between the Milky Way and our ...
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  • 609k
25 votes

Colonization ship arrives to the planet to find it already colonized by a faster ship built after they departed

There are several such stories. The two I could trace (I vaguely remember two others, I think from the '70-'80s - one I'm almost sure was in a Gardner Dozois anthology): Far Centaurus by A. E. Van ...
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  • 8,872
21 votes

Colonists kill local creature, only to discover they were killing off immature monsters

I think this is the first book in the Herot series by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes, as mentioned in the comments by Seeds. Here is a link to the plot The Legacy of Herot
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  • 5,604
21 votes
Accepted

Short story about alien creatures fleeing their home planet to terraform another

This sounds very much like "The Keys to December", a short story by Roger Zelazny. The alien race are genetically engineered humans that resemble ocelots. The protagonist, Jarry (so, close ...
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20 votes

Short story about a generation ship designed to seed a planet with bacteria and kill the humans on board

"The Dirt On Our Shoes" "The Dirt On Our Shoes" by Neal Shusterman was first published in Guys Read: Other Worlds, an anthology of science fiction stories published with the aim of getting boys ...
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  • 111k
20 votes
Accepted

Story on a planet with very long seasons from the 80s or earlier

George RR Martin "Bitterblooms" It's part of his Thousand Worlds series. You have described it very well (after a re-read, noted that protagonist was female). I remember reading it in the short-...
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18 votes
Accepted

Story with a colonization ship that awakens embryos too early

I remembered wrong about the author and how old the story was. Sorry about that. I found it and it's "Half Way Home" by Hugh Howey. A summary here : The expense of sending generations of ...
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17 votes
Accepted

Sci-fi book where humanity is rebuilt on a new planet after being wiped out

While it is earlier than your described 2005-2008 timeframe, there is a book published in 1999 by Stephen Gould entitled "Helm" (It's entirely possible it could have just been mis-shelved by a patron)....
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  • 19.1k
17 votes

Young man discovers his home "world" is a spaceship

It could also be Phoenix Without Ashes by Harlan Ellison and Edward Bryant, the basis for the ill-fated TV show The Starlost. It was published in 1975. They had banished Devon from the world of ...
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  • 60.1k
17 votes
Accepted

Book: Crash landed Colony ship, when night falls something makes colonists feral

From the sparse details it sounds vaguely like Darkover Landfall by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A colony ship goes off course and crashes on an unknown planet. There is some sort of hallucinogenic pollen ...
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17 votes
Accepted

A novel where contract breach is worse than femicide, from the 70’s or earlier

Of course this is The Space Merchants by Pohl and Kornbluth: "Please, later ... I'm wanted for femicide and CB on Earth. Here I'm a suspicious character without clearance. Also I resisted arrest,...
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16 votes

Why didn't humans try to settle other galaxies?

There are certainly technological issues at work here. However, I suggest that those issues only exist because the robots have thus far suppressed any technology that would solve them. See Richard's ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Looking for title about a ship that seeds planets and then monitors them

This reminded me immediately of a book my son told me about, John Brunner's "A Maze of Stars". I haven't read it myself but online reviews do sound like it might be it: A slow but interesting book ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Science Fiction Book - lost colony from Earth where education and intelligence are a form of currency

You may be thinking of Voyage from Yesteryear, by James P. Hogan. Plot summary, per Wikipedia: The story opens early in the 21st century, as an automated space probe is being prepared for a mission ...
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  • 7,350
16 votes
Accepted

Book series with a double planet system and poisonous bubbles that float around

The Ragged Astronauts (1986) - part one of the Land and Overland trilogy by Bob Shaw. From Google Books: The first in a three-book series, The Ragged Astronauts introduces the twin worlds of Land ...
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  • 2,914
16 votes

Science fiction book about a generation ship sent to seed or colonize a planet

From your short description, it could be "Voyage from Yesteryear" by James P. Hogan. World War III is about to break out, so a planned automated probe to be sent to Alpha Centauri is modified to ...
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  • 13k
15 votes
Accepted

Where did the daylight come from in the interior of Babylon 5?

In a piece originally written on GEnie and archived on the excellent Lurker's Guide website, J. Michael Straczynski describes the station as being; "...patterned physically after the work of such ...
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  • 609k
15 votes
Accepted

Linked novellas where humans are engineered to adapt to a variety of environments

I'm pretty sure that the "core" story was Surface Tension by James Blish. I don't have the "expanded version" to refer to, but the core story was published in 1952. The story "Surface Tension" ...
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  • 8,090
15 votes

Trilogy in the 80’s about space travel to another world

This is presumably the Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, published over the years from 1992 to 1996. It fits the general description, with thick novels, mostly read in ...
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  • 85.4k
14 votes

Sci-fi book where humanity is rebuilt on a new planet after being wiped out

David Weber's Safehold Series sounds like a match: For centuries, the world of Safehold, last redoubt of the human race, lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting. The ...
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  • 5,058
14 votes
Accepted

Short story as a letter to original colonisers of earth

It's "Reunion", by Arthur C. Clarke. It's a message from the descendants of the original colonisers of planet Earth. People of Earth, do not be afraid. We come in peace — and why not? For we ...
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  • 36.7k
14 votes
Accepted

Seeking a pair of stories about an idealist who discovers that winning a revolution doesn't change the stark economic facts

Sounds like "The Right to Revolt" and "The Right to Resist", short stories by Keith Laumer; first published (together) in If, May-June 1971, which is available at the Internet Archive; reprinted in ...
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  • 143k
14 votes

Young man discovers his home "world" is a spaceship

While you've already accepted an answer, Damon Knight's The World and Thorinn also fits (and is an obscure favorite of mine). It follows a young boy named Thorinn, raised by what are essentially ...
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  • 186k
14 votes
Accepted

Book featuring a computer that used pantropy to colonize worlds, and a girl with a socket in her head

This is Rings of the Master by Jack Chalker, a series of four books; "Lords of the Middle Dark", "Pirates of the Thunder", "Warriors of the Storm", and "Masks of the ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Fantasy / Sci-Fi book featuring humans stranded on planet which degrades metal

I remember many years ago starting a book at my school library I believe you're thinking of "Beachhead", a short story by Clifford D. Simak; originally published as "'You'll Never Go Home Again!'" in ...
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  • 143k
13 votes
Accepted

Short sci-fi story about Earth blockaded by other human colonies

"Mother Earth" by Isaac Asimov, first published in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1949, available at the Internet Archive. Here is a plot summary from Wikipedia (emphasis added): Earth faces a ...
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  • 143k
13 votes

Colonization ship arrives to the planet to find it already colonized by a faster ship built after they departed

There is this short story, "The Long and Short of It" by JD Kennedy, on 365 Tomorrows, where the (recently awakened) captain of a sleeper ship is welcomed by his great grandson: “Yes, sir. ...
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