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Your backpack to the intergalaxy journey 

Abandoned Stella by Neru & z’5 

Neru is an incredible and inconceivable (at the same time) vocaloid musician from Japan. He’s famous for his gloomy lyrics and energetic electric guitar. This time, he wrote about being alone in space: he uses his battered telescope to find a shiny star that he can follow. But meanwhile, he doubts that there are geocentric models and relativity to explain the space, but there aren't any theories explaining what are humans. Though, he still struggles to find the star because he finds being alone in space lonely… A short song in 3 minutes shows a deep and mesmerizing worldview that can be described by a full-length novel. This surely is his music’s charm point, and is a good chance to think about our existence in this world. 





Hands down my favourite film of all time! Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, follows the journey of a well-known linguist tasked with deciphering an alien species’s language. This was such a fresh take on the “alien encounter” genre as it deals less with violent confrontation, though the threat of it looms heavily in each scene, but more with the attempt by the linguist to make a connection with the aliens and teach them how to communicate with us. The ending blows my mind everytime I watch it, so please give it a watch!




Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1-5) by Douglas Adams

Confusing, absurd and at the same time expressing sci-fi ideas in a close and comedic way. The series of books follows Arthur Dent, a clueless englishman, through his journey across the galaxy. The sequels to the first book are often criticized for being too confusing and all over the place, but I find that to be their beauty. Not a book for everyone but for those that it is, it is certainly a must read.



This is probably one of the most famous films about exoplanets and interstellar travel, so I think it should definitely be included in this list. Interstellar is about a mission that sets out to find a new home for mankind on an exoplanet, as the Earth is starting to become uninhabitable. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway and has some great scenes on the exoplanet candidates and theories about interstellar travel. 



Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

If aliens came in contact with us, would we be of any interest to them? Would they even notice us on their way to their actual destination? The Strugatsky brothers imagine that, for an advanced civilisation capable of interstellar travel, Earth is nothing but a ‘roadside picnic’. Just as we pay no attention to bugs and animals that approach pieces of rubbish we leave behind in a roadside picnic (think apple cores, wrapping paper, or somebody’s swiss army knife), aliens arrived, and left, leaving behind discarded artifacts ordinary, mundane, and useless to them. In this world stalkers are those who venture into the alien picnic site, exploring transcendent phenomena and returning with pieces of technology beyond the human mind. This book can be read on so many levels, and each read reveals more; philosophical, anthropological, and religious themes are explored in its non-linear plot. It is a must-read for fans of the genre and a great introduction into Soviet science fiction.


Spadla z oblakov (She Fell from the Clouds)


Spadla z oblakov was a cult sci-fi TV series for children made in the 1980s Czechoslovakia. Though probably not as captivating and “science-y” as the other recommendations here, I still think it is interesting to look back on this series and see how people imagined sci-fi and contact with aliens in the socialist era. This 13-episode miniseries follows the story of a little girl Maika from the planet of Gurun who one day mysteriously appears in a small Slovakian town Čabovce where she is found by two local boys. They introduce Maika to the local way of life and try to help her blend in - but this is not easy because of her special powers which enable her to fly or replicate objects. No wonder they arouse the suspicion of the secret police…




The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

I think I read somewhere that Ursula K. Le Guin writes as an anthropologist, and I like that idea. She engages with the space of sci-fi to create worlds in which she can examine social constructions very much familiar to our reality, where starting from a concept she builds a speculative culture around it. Her work is particularly interesting in her approach to gender and the freedom of imagining and narrating gender differently she offers in her writing. To me The Left Hand of Darkness is one of the most beautiful books about love. There is an incredible depth of questioning the binaries and categories we often come to view as fixed, and through this questioning you feel liberated as you read. It also has absolutely stunning imagery I still can see if I close my eyes. 


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