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 As a physicist and computer scientist, Edward M. Lerner gained access to such unsuspecting techie havens as Bell Labs and Hughes Aircraft—even onto NASA's space shuttle simulator. Probe, his first novel, was a techno-thriller that leveraged that experience. Moonstruck builds on that tradition. Lerner's appearances in leading science-fiction magazines include the cyberspace novel Survival Instinct (serialized in Analog) and the InterstellarNet novelettes (in Analog and Artemis) about the century-long evolution of a star-spanning, radio-based, trading community. 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 (sponsored by the UN's International Telecommunications Union). His website is www.sfwa.org/members/lerner/.
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