The Andromeda Strain
I liked this sci-fi book, The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton (who also wrote Jurassic Park) as it’s a short book that explores a new idea in a novel way. The book is about an extraterrestrial virus/life-form that they have to study to know how to deal with it. There is enough tension in the book, enough good thinking, and some good science. The conversation/writing isn’t the best ever but still very decent. Here is some more from Wikipedia.
“The Andromeda Strain is a 1969 techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton documenting the efforts of a team of scientists investigating the outbreak of a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism in Arizona.
A military satellite returns to Earth. Aerial surveillance reveals that everyone in Piedmont, Arizona, the town closest to where the satellite landed, is apparently dead. The duty officer of the base tasked with retrieving the satellite suspects that it returned with extraterrestrial contamination and recommends activating Wildfire, a protocol for a government-sponsored team intended to contain threats of this nature.
The team of scientists believes the satellite, which was intentionally designed to capture upper-atmosphere microorganisms for bio-weapon exploitation, returned with a deadly microorganism that kills by nearly instantaneous disseminated intravascular coagulation (lethal blood clotting). Upon investigating the town, the Wildfire team discovers that the residents either died in mid-stride or went “quietly nuts” and committed bizarre suicides. Two Piedmont inhabitants—the sick, Sterno-addicted, geriatric Peter Jackson and the constantly bawling infant Jamie Ritter—are biological opposites who somehow survived the organism… etc”