"He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things." — Halifax

watch the book trailer for Heart of the Comet

Watch the preview book trailer, featuring cover artwork by Patrick Farley, Bob Eggleton, and Fred Gambino, as well as fascinating NASA images.

DAVID BRIN's Heart of the Comet

Bantam, 1986

Read the first 5 chapters online, or scroll down to purchase HEART OF THE COMET.

the lone wanderer returns

"He had always been a problem-solver, a man who reflexively reacted to the unknown by breaking it into understandable pieces. Then Carl would carefully solve each small puzzle, confident that the sum of such microproblems would finally resolve the larger confusions." — Heart of the Comet

It is 2065, and a regular visitor makes its long-awaited dive toward the sun in a 75 year cycle. Only this time, Halley's Comet is met by an ambitious expedition, using the great fuming ball of gas, dust and ice as a natural spaceship to "hitch a ride" through the solar system. The scientific and commercial enterprise aims to herd the valuable object into a close orbit to Earth, for disassembly into resources to make the world rich again.

Only, nature and luck intervene. Soon a mysterious virus decimates the crew. Other life-forms, from a genetic heritage separated from ours by a billion years, begin a rough, sometimes deadly "negotiation" with the bodies of the human settlers, stoking stress between their already volatile factions. Conflicts explode as panicky orthos — unmodified humans — blame those expedition members who are genetically enhanced "Percells."

Against this background, the novel highlights a love triangle between ortho biologist Saul, who helped create the Percells, and Percell computer engineer Virginia (whose biologically-based computer just might possess genuine artificial intelligence)... and crewman Carl, whose steadfast courage might hold the key to survival.

And... perhaps... something far more than mere survival.

Heart of the Comet tells the story of an ambitious manned mission to visit the comet and alter its orbit in order to mine it for resources. The discoveries soon include a deadly viral lifeform that decimates the crew.

book sales

purchase Heart of the Comet


Amazon.com US: paperback and Kindle ebook and audiobook (unabridged)

Amazon.ca Canada: paperback and Kindle ebook

Amazon.co.uk UK: paperback and Kindle ebook


Apple iBooks

Apple iTunes US: iBook and audiobook (unabridged)

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble US: paperback and NOOK Book

indie bound

indiebound.org US: paperback and audiobook (unabridged)


Kobo.com US: ebook


Powell's US: paperback

Skyboat Media

Skyboat US: audiobook (unabridged)


Smashwords US: ebook

more about Heart of the Comet

the return of a classic

After many years out of print, co-authors Gregory Benford and David Brin have revised and re-issued their bold novel about our near-future in space, when we plant our boots — and stake our destiny — on becoming the people of the comet.

Prescient and scientifically-accurate, Heart of the Comet was known as one of the great "hard sf" novels of the 1980s. The novel, first published in 1986, coincided with the last return visit of Comet Halley to Earth.

foreign-language editions

Here are some of the covers of Heart of the Comet's foreign and foreign-language publications.

Heart of the Comet's foreign editions

Here are the covers of Heart of the Comet's Japanese edition.

Heart of the Comet's Japanese edition covers

Heart of the Comet on video

Heart of the Comet in the world

on the web

  • the Goodreads page
  • the LibraryThing page
  • the Wikipedia page
  • Brin's science fiction novels
  • his shorter fiction
  • articles, interviews and essays about space exploration and the seti search
  • articles, interviews and essays about science discoveries and developments
  • film & media queries

    Queries about film or media rights to any DAVID BRIN books or stories can be addressed to his film agent:
    Vince Gerardis
    Created-By Agency
    email: rightsqueries@gmail.com
    (with cc: to David Brin)

    Heart of the Comet reviews

    Los Angeles Times

    "A literary conjunction of two of the brightest stars in the science-fiction firmament. In Heart of the Comet, we have it all, the techno-props and accurate physics and biology of John W. Campbell, the heroic battles with outrageous monsters of Robert E. Howard, the insights into seething human perversity of J.G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, the characterizational depth of Theodore Sturgeon, all of it wrapped in a scientifically plausible and entertaining package that should not be missed. Heart of the Comet should be on everyone's award ballot."

    Chicago Tribune

    "Heart of the Comet may well be the masterpiece of the (hard science) movement ... this book is what science fiction is."

    San Diego Union

    "Better than Dune.... Tremendously imaginative ... a breathtaking effort from two of science fiction's brightest stars."

    The Atlanta Constitution

    "This is hard science fiction at its best."


    "A magnificent effort ... these two gifted authors have managed to tell a story that is as realistic, gritty, and profoundly moving as any within recent memory ... their story gets better, and better, and better."

    The Indianapolis News

    "Heart of the Comet soars into uncharted territory ... an exciting tale of man's ability to cope and adapt in the face of overwhelming odds."

    a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

    To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.

    DAVID BRIN author


    David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More

    shorter fiction

    Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More

    Contrary Brin blog

    Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More

    social media influencer

    Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

    DAVID BRIN scientist


    David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More

    transparency expert

    Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More

    speaker & consultant

    Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More

    future/tech advisor

    Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More

    other points of departure

    visit other pages on this website

    pages about DAVID BRIN

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  • Brin's presskit and complete biography
  • traditional media and social media
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  • pages about BRIN's science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's special-order books for sale
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • BRIN's nonfiction explorations

  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds
  • Contacting BRIN

    All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

    an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

    Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

    Questions? Concerns? Email DAVID BRIN


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    reviews and recommendations

    Vernor Vinge

    "More than any writer I know, David Brin can take scary, important problems and turn them sideways, revealing wonderful opportunities. This talent shows strongly in Kiln People, a novel which is deep and insightful and often hilarious, all at the same time."

    praise for Glory Season

    "Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about 'women's issues' as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth, the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries."
    — Library Journal

    Zimmer-Gunsel-Frasca Partnership

    "We very much appreciated your participation in our Partner/Principal Retreat in Tucson. Our group was very interested in what you had to say about both past and present, and as I observed our Principals downloading to our staff upon their return, it was apparent that your ideas about the future were both thought-provoking and stimulating."

    Science News

    "Brin expounds upon his belief that people need to keep watch on snooping governments, employers, insurance companies, and so on.... In assessing the current state of affairs, Brin divulges a barrage of ways and means of monitoring electronic transmissions."