Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and First Contact -- ran in Analog in 2000. Related stories appeared in Analog, Artemis, and Jim Baen's Universe. But magazine issues go out of print, and readers keep emailing to ask where they can find one story or another. I've had no good answer --
Expanded, updated, and merged, five related stories have become a novel, InterstellarNet: Origins. Opening on Earth in an era much like our own, the tale rapidly expands into an open-ended star-spanning future history.
We are not alone. Now what?
Life changed for physicist Dean Matthews -- and everyone else on Earth -- the day astronomers heard the radio signal from a neighboring star.
First Contact brought more questions than answers. What were the aliens saying, and what did they want? What could humanity hope to gain -- and what did we risk losing -- if we replied? Did we dare trust one another? Did we dare not to? And who had any say in the matter?
By sorting out all that, Dean changed lives again. This time across two worlds.
And in the process he set the stage for crises yet more daunting that would bedevil his family -- and an expanding number of interstellar civilizations -- for generations to come.
The early reviews have been great:
"One of the most original, believable, thoroughly thought-out, and utterly fascinating visions ever of what interstellar contact might really be like."
-- Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog
"Lerner mixes physics, computer science, and economics into a series of very intellectually satisfying puzzles. Some of the puzzles involve understanding the alien, and some depend on understanding ourselves ... A very satisfying read, especially for the intellectually inclined."
-- Mike Brotherton, author of Spider Star
"Edward Lerner takes us from a first SETI detection to full scale interstellar net economics, with thrills along the way. No one had thought through what a working interstellar net would be like. Lerner has the professional heft to make sense of it, tell a story, and make us care. Good stuff, told in clear, quick prose. A groundbreaking job!"
-- Gregory Benford, author of Timescape
"A wonderfully thought-provoking story ... Lerner's world-building and extrapolating are top notch."
On Amazon in paperback at InterstellarNet: Origins and here for the kindle edition.
(Updated December 2010) For further adventures, see InterstellarNet: New Order.