Kyle Gustafson had worked with the space programme until disaster struck and he was picked for the fall guy. Then, a few months later, aliens in a gigantic starship made contact with Earth and Kyle was in good favour again, selected to interface with the aliens. They said that they represented a vast federation of intelligent races and they hoped that Earth would prove eligible to join. But there were a few false notes in the utopian front the aliens presented. There were the small art objects the aliens handed out as tokens of friendship, but which turned out to be listening devices. Also, surveillance and other satellites were disappearing in a way that seemed designed to foment American-Russian suspicion. For all their talk of peaceful intentions, Kyle suspected that they were trying to get the Earth to wipe itself out - but why? Kyle would find an ally among the aliens, but one who was regarded as a freak by her own kind, and lacked influence. He had to find a way out of the crisis before either the world exploded in nuclear flames, or the aliens lost patience and decided to do the job themselves.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
A New Golden Age ... or the Apocalypse?
The moon has suddenly acquired its own satellite: a two-mile-across starship that represents a hitherto unsuspected Galactic Commonwealth. The F'thk, a vaguely centaur-like member species for whom Earth's ecology is hospitable, have been sent to evaluate humanity for prospective membership.
The F'thk are overtly friendly but very private -- "Information is a trade good." As Earth's scientists struggle to understand their secretive appraisers, odd inconsistencies emerge. As troubling as those anomalies is the re-emergence of a bit of insanity humanity thought it had outgrown: Cold War and nuclear saber-rattling.
The Galactics' arrival may signify the start of a glorious new era, or it may presage the cataclysmic end of human civilization. Which outcome do the aliens really desire ...
And what will they do if humanity refuses to play its assigned role?About the Author:
Edward M. Lerner has degrees in physics and computer science. That education gained him access to such unsuspecting techie havens as Bell Labs and Hughes Aircraft, and even onto the space shuttle simulator at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
"Probe," his first novel, is a space-oriented techno-thriller. His hard SF novel "Moonstruck" will be released in February 2005.
He’s made more than a dozen appearances in leading science fiction magazines. (A fan of Analog magazine's "Probability Zero" department, with three contributions of his own, he claims the distinction of the first-and-only "Probability One" story: "Unplanned-for Flying Object.")
His SF/mystery/telecom novelette "Creative Destruction" was anthologized in "Year's Best SF 7" and was the sole work of speculative fiction published in association with Telecom World 2003 (an event sponsored by the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency).
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