by Alan Dean Foster


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The last known human searches the galaxy for companionship in a brilliant standalone novel from the legendary author of the Pip & Flinx series.

“A provocative read.”—The Washington Post

Once Homo sapiens reigned supreme, spreading from star system to star system in an empire that encountered no alien life and thus knew no enemy . . . save itself. As had happened many times before, the basest, most primal human instincts rose up, only this time armed with the advanced scientific knowledge to create a genetically engineered smart virus that quickly wiped out humanity to the last man.

That man is Ruslan, the sole known surviving human being in the universe. Rescued from the charnel house of his home planet by the Myssari—an intelligent alien race—Ruslan spends his days as something of a cross between a research subject and a zoo attraction. Though the Myssari are determined to resurrect the human race, using Ruslan’s genetic material, all he wants for himself and his species is oblivion. But then the Myssari make Ruslan an extraordinary offer: In exchange for his cooperation, they will do everything in their considerable power to find the lost home world of his species—an all-but-mythical place called Earth—and, perhaps, another living human.

Thus begins an epic journey of adventure, danger, heartbreak, and hope, as Ruslan sets out in search of a place that may no longer exist—drawn by the slimmest yet most enduring hope.

Praise for Relic

Relic is a thrilling and thoughtful epic. With Alan Dean Foster’s trademark invention in both the psychology and physiology of his aliens, he also enriches the narrative with their complex cultures. The plot spans galaxies!”—Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author Greg Bear

“The stunning plot of Foster’s stand-alone novel will intrigue readers for not only the ‘last man in the universe’ trope but also the well-developed alien species. A true first contact novel on many different levels.”Library Journal

“Foster’s sympathetic novel successfully surveys human frailty, the tendency not to learn from history, and an enduring capacity for adaptation and emotional attachment.”—Publishers Weekly

“Foster’s high-concept novel is a gripping tale of serenity amid sorrow.”—World Magazine 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101967638
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/14/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 473,938
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Alan Dean Foster has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers and the popular Pip & Flinx novels, as well as novelizations of numerous films, including Transformers, Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and the most recent one, Alien: Covenant. Foster and his wife, JoAnn Oxley, live in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick that was salvaged from an early-twentieth-century miners’ brothel. He is currently at work on several new novels and media projects.

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Excerpted from "Relic"
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Copyright © 2018 Alan Dean Foster.
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Relic 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
JCNash More than 1 year ago
In Relic, Alan Dean Foster tells the story of the last human being in the universe. Humans have expanded to multiple planets by the time they engineer a virus that is able to kill all humans across the galaxy save for Ruslan, a middle-management type who wanders his doomed planet alone before being discovered by another intelligent species from far off in the universe. The aliens are set on re-populating the worlds with a new generation of humans in the name of science and knowledge, but Ruslan is not so sure a species that managed to extinguish itself is worth reviving. This was such an interesting and fun story. Through strong plot lines and writing, Foster does a great job describing what it might be like to be the lone human survivor in the hands of a scientifically curious (and entirely too polite) race of aliens. There is some great commentary on the human condition that is only highlighted by the vastly different Myssari race. Using humor, cynicism, and a great deal of action, Foster weaves together a story that is ultimately hopeful at a time when the human condition in the U.S. is filled with anxiety and divisiveness. The reader is left believing that perhaps all is not lost, after all. I definitely enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who loves sci fi and needs a bit of a pick-me-up. Thank you Netgalley for my free review copy. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous 5 days ago
a different look at humanity.I thought it was an enjoyable way it was written. I give it good marks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy stories which explore societies and other possible cultures, this one's for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I still think I have read this, or something very similar before, it was rather good. An interesting twist on the post apocalyptic stories, though if it was the story I read previously, the end of mankind was a mistake by one of the alien races. Still it remains a worthwhile read.
theoriginalpurpledragon More than 1 year ago
Relic by Alan Dean Foster Foster postulates the end of mankind in this book. The Relic is the last human survivor of a genetically tailored virus that has wiped out mankind. The Relic is discovered by the Myssari, an alien race that informs him that there are many other races and that humans arose in a back water of the galaxy that was only recently being explored. The Myssari are polite and alien. Ruslan, the Relic, finds he is regarded as a specimen rather than an equal. Treated like a revered pet he becomes reasonably comfortable until he is introduced to another alien race and some genetic surprises. I recommend the book.
DeborahJRoss More than 1 year ago
In the far future, humanity has managed to wipe itself out not only on Earth but on every other colonized planet. So far as he knows, Ruslan is the last human in existence. He’s not alone, though. A race of benign (seeming?) aliens, the Myssari, have taken him under their care. Their goal is to use his cells to clone a new generation of humans, thereby extending their knowledge of sapient races. His price for participating: their help in rediscovering Earth, birthplace of humanity. Of course, things go wrong, among them the appearance of a rival alien race who also want to form an alliance with him. And various other things that fall under the “spoiler” category. This sounds like pure, classical Alan Dean Foster, full of action and imagination. Alas, that is not the experience I had reading this book. I’ve loved Foster’s work for decades, and I don’t know if he ran out of ideas, got sedate in his prose, or simply tried something more thoughtful, but the result was a soporific, meandering narrative punctuated here and there with a bit of suspense or action. (I highly recommend it for insomniacs.) It felt like a perfectly respectable piece of short fiction padded out to novel length with emotionally distant, almost Victorian prose. Here’s an example: He had no doubt that the dedicated if diffident Wol’daeen and her colleagues would try their utmost to successfully revive some of the other cold-stored humans. It would be a scientific triumph for them if they could do so. But having seen what he had seen and heard what he had heard, he was not sanguine. The ratio of prose to passage of time in the story varies from plodding and repetitious to the whiplash feeling that all the interesting parts got skimmed over and it’s months or years later. In the end, the story elements came together well. I would expect no less from an author as seasoned as Foster, but on the whole I found it neither absorbing nor satisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writing in terms of anthropological space fantasy and conversations, character development. But the plot goes nowhere.
cyndecat1 More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully constructed book that opens up all types of topics from space exploration to multiculturalism,from attempted annihilation to resurrection and all sorts of things in-between. The human race has colonized the galaxy but in the process not only nearly destroyed their race but lost their homeland. The Mysarri, an alien race has found one remaining human who has not succumbed to the plague that has wiped out his race. He becomes a cross between zoo exhibit and research animal in their society. Ruslan, which is the only name he can remember that might be his name, only wants to live out the rest of his life in peace (preferably swimming in the ocean daily.) His host, the Mysarri want to rebuild the human race using his genetic material. Ruslan doesn't really agree with this idea since he was no -one special and can't imagine an entire race being rebuilt from him. They make him a deal : if he will agree to their trying to resurrect his race, they will search for the homeland,Earth, of his race in hopes of finding other human life. The author's attention to detail in the world-building of the Mysari and their culture is exquisite. This is a beautiful story and a very enjoyable read.