Name that SciFi book: Fast and Slow
February 7, 2016 7:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a scifi book where two alien species live on the same planet, with different speeds of living (it is not Fire Upon the Deep).

A friend who is into "hard scifi" recommended a book, and I am trying to remember the name. It is not Fire Upon the Deep, but my mental connection may be screwing up my recollection.

In any case, can you name any SciFi books that have two species living on the same planet, having two different lifecycle speeds: fast and slow? Perhaps this planet is just a "moon". It may be a longish short story. It is probably by a brand name author.

I do remember looking up the book the day of, so, final criteria: it has a wiki page :)
posted by tintexas to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Algebraist by Iain Banks
posted by slide at 7:15 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A Deepness in the Sky. (Same author different book) it's the prequel.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:19 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Perhaps one of the Heechee stories by Frederik Pohl? There is a contrast between the "slow" living creatures and the "fast" ones whose physical bodies have died but whose brains have been uploaded to a computer.
posted by Jabberwocky at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2016

Best answer: in one of greg egan's earlyish books (permutation city maybe?) some people live much more slowly than others (i don't really want to explain why since it's an interesting part of the book). but as far as i remember they're all human (or at least human-based intelligences), so doesn't fit with the alien part, if that's certain. on the other hand, it's certainly the "hard" end of sci-fi.
posted by andrewcooke at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2016

Best answer: Could also be Dragon's Egg by Robert L Forward, but the difference is between aliens living on the surface of a neutron star and humans observing them. Not sure how the science holds today now but it made my head explode when I was 12. It's definitely in the grand tradition of hard sci-fi--much harder than Vinge's Zones of Thought series.
posted by pullayup at 8:11 AM on February 7, 2016

Best answer: Not what you were looking for, but get hold of a copy of "Traveller's Rest" by David I. Masson. Short story. In his collection (his only one--he died in 2007), The Caltraps of Time. As the Analog review of the book said when it was first published in 1968, it's about an utterly weird war on a planet where time and latitude are linked.
posted by Logophiliac at 8:25 AM on February 7, 2016

Best answer: I remember a story with a fast species that was birdlike, and faster than humans, and a slow species more like a sentient rock. I feel like it was a female author (LeGuin?). But the Googles, they do nothing.
posted by BrashTech at 8:38 AM on February 7, 2016

Response by poster: I really like the diversity here. My friend is a little older than me, so I imagine this is from the 80's or 90's (although of course I'm not sure). So, I particularly like the suggestion of Dragon's Egg and am now thinking their home might be a neutron star or white dwarf.

Any more ideas, especially situated on a neutron star?
posted by tintexas at 8:47 AM on February 7, 2016

Best answer: BrashTech, that's probably Up the walls of the world By James Tiptree Jr (pseudonym for Alice Sheldon). Fast flyers and super slow giant AI attempt to invade Earth, 1978.
posted by Jesse the K at 8:52 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok, ok. This is embarassing. The main clue may have been wrong.

The scifi in question is Larry Niven's "Neutron Star". Short story, neutron star justifies the different timescales [maybe?]. Perhaps two species (humans, aliens; I dunno, maybe one of them is faster). Wiki page. Simple name (that's a clue I didn't give y'all).

Thank you guys for indulging me in my favorite pastime of brainstorming. It has been a pleasure.
posted by tintexas at 8:54 AM on February 7, 2016

Since we're now just recommending things like this, I only recently got around to reading a 1970s example of this type of story, Asimov's The Gods Themselves - there's both a difference in the 'hard ones' and 'soft ones' in the adjacent universe as well as a time differential between their universe and ours.

A fun read, plus bonus angry scientists torpedoing each others careers!
posted by AaronRaphael at 12:16 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually, "Neutron Star" doesn't have species living in different time scales. The main issue in that story is tidal effects, not timescale.

It's an excellent story, like so many of Niven's Known Space stories, but it doesn't actually match what you were asking about :)
posted by hanov3r at 12:18 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can think of one novel that fits this basic mold, Karl Schroeder's Lockstep.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:58 PM on February 7, 2016

There's a novella by Marc Stiegler with that theme, Petals of Rose. In that story we are the aliens to another species, which lives and dies in a day.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:23 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

David Brin's short story "The River of Time" is a bit like this.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:15 PM on February 10, 2016

Also, probably not what OP was looking for, but Alan Moore's Brief Lives is a fit here.
posted by hanov3r at 8:32 AM on February 11, 2016

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