Philosophy Of The Cosmos - Novels The Fun Way To Learn Cosmology
_Some novels that present ideas I think are relevant to the course. Feel free to add some more!
Martin Bolanca
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Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon
This traces the next thousand million years of human development through eleven different evolutions of human intelligence. Through all this time, humanity never breaks the light barrier and remains confined to the solar system. Ultimately, despite its intellectual triumphs, the human race suffers extinction because it fails to comprehend the true nature of gravity.
Our own species, First Men, suffers from an underdeveloped empathic sense, and our history culminates in a clash of American and Chinese culture, with the former triumphing, but succumbing to cults of youth and an obsession with motion over substance. And this was written in 1930!

Starmaker - Olaf Stapledon
A human joins a band of travellers as they experience the history of life in our galaxy, our universe and the universes of the multiverse. They witness the evolutionary process of universes, the culmination of life and come to understand its purpose, and then ultimately come into the presence of the Star Maker.

City - Clifford D. Simak
_These are the stories that the Dogs tell when the fires burn high and the wind is from the north. Then each family circle gathers at the hearthstone and the pups sit silently and listen and when they finish they ask many questions:
"What is Man?" they'll ask.
Or perhaps: "What is a city?".
Or: "What is a war?"
There is no positive answer to any of these questions. There are suppositions, and there are theories and there are many educated guesses, but there are no answers._
Apart from being great fun and full of increasingly fabulous ideas, this book is a good read for people interested in the philosophy of science aspect of the course, as the Dog scientists and thinkers provide rational explanations as to why the humans of myth could not have possibly existed, much less lived in "cities" or conducted "wars", and why the stars we see at night are lights hanging not too far from us. Jetta's favourite.

Space, Time, Phase, Manifold - Stephen Baxter
These books feature the same characters, but in different universes. Each explores many different aspects of modern cosmological theory. Baxter is science enthusiast and the characters and plots are mere backdrops to expositions on the evolution of universes, the nature of time and reality and theorises on questions such as why haven't we found any evidence of intelligent life?

The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter

This is the authorised sequel to HG Well's The Time Machine. The Time Traveller undertakes a second journey to the origin of the Universe in the hope of understanding the nature of reality.
This book provides a fascinating, earnest, and certainly detailed exposition on (what I understand to be) a current theory of acausal creation of the universe/multiverse. But I have to say that emotionally the book is rings hollow (unlike the richness of Stapledon's books) because, by making the book an exposition on modern physics he completely misses the point that the first book was a sociological exploration focused on people!

Eon, City at the End of Time - Greg Bear
In Eon, an asteroid appears in Earth orbit. Expeditions are dispatched, and after battling each other for control of the asteroid, discover a tunnel of infinite length, spanning to the end of the Universe.
City at the End of Time is set in the post heat death universe, which humans surmounted through technology. But finally, the substance of the universe has begun changing into something inimical, and the change is spreading across our cosmos to engulf the last city.

The Fall of Chronopolis - Barrington J Bayley
The Fleets of the Chronotic Empire travel under the Sea of Time, which consists of all the phantom possibilities that might have existed. What we experience in our waking state is but the surface of the sea, comprising the actual historical reality of the Universe. But its depths contain nightmarish possibilities which could only have existed under incredibly improbable condition, and yet which are so powerful even in non-existence, that they struggle to rise to the surface.

The Rod of Light - Barrington J Bayley
In the distant future robots of phenomenal machine intelligence make an incredible leap of reason, deducing that they lack souls, the presence of which, they theorise, would enable them experience reality in ways they currently cannot imagine.

Collision with Chronos - Barrington J Bayley
The Arrow of Time turns out to be a wave, with consciousness only existing at its crest. You can travel back in time, but life and causality have passed, leaving only rubber dolls going through the motions. In effect, life and consciousness are a by-product of the moving bubble of time. But it turns out that our universe contains two waves traveling in opposite directions - what will happen when they intersect?