Monday, March 29, 2010

InterstellarNet: Origins

Updated 12-04-2023

Hurrah! Now back in print and electrons

Updated 07-29-2023

Temporarily out of print and electrons, but under contract for reissue.

Some of my most popular novels are collaborations set in what colleague Larry Niven calls Known Space. KS brims with strange aliens and exotic locales, making it a great setting for storytelling.

Below the radar, I've been developing my own star-spanning series. The original InterstellarNet novelette, about the 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 --

Until now.

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."

-- SFScope

Historical links:

On Amazon in paperback at InterstellarNet: Origins and here for the kindle edition.

(Updated December 2010) For further adventures, see InterstellarNet: New Order.

(Updated January 2016) For even more adventure, see InterstellarNet: Enigma.


Anonymous said...
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Robbit said...

Ok, I have a problem. I love your InterstellarNet stuff, and read a couple of the stories when they hit magazines, and through other compilations. I stumbled across the InterstellarNet books when looking for something else on Amazon, and I want to buy them and read them on my ereader. But I don't have a Kindle, I have a Sony reader. After half an hour of digging, I can find no way to buy either InterstellerNet book in an ebook format other than the DRM locked Kindle format.

I want to pay you money for your books in a digital format. I can't use Kindle formatted ebooks. Does anyone else sell ebook versions of your InterstellarNet works? (Yes, Fictionwise has a couple of the stories. Not all of them.) If not, why not? And if so, how would I figure this out from your site (which only links to Amazon), or from Foxacre's site, which links to some mass market outlets, but only Amazon for ebook versions.

I would prefer something that is not DRM locked, but I will take what I can get. I just want something I can use.

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi Robbit,

I share your frustration. Naturally I'd like my writing to be available for sale in every format of interest to every prospective reader.

Of course if even one copy sells in a new format that's a net gain for me -- my costs are already (as the economists say) sunk. The calculation is different for the publisher. When the publisher makes the decision which formats to offer, it has to look at the expected payoff for the investment in time and labor. Kindle has the biggest (by far) share of ebooks -- I've seen estimates as high as 90%. So, of course, Kindle was the first (and, AFAIK only) ebook format for the two InterstellarNet novels.

I pass along to the publisher requests like yours to show interest in other formats. On the margin, that may have some effect on the decision to offer other formats.

Sorry I can't be more encouraging.

- Ed

Manjobe said...

Publishers need to realize that the e-reader format is simply another method through which to offer a book. Amazon's Kindle is just ONE OUTLET through which to offer e-books. Selling only through one outlet is like Smucker's selling their grape jelly only through Target. You miss a large portion of the market. (Sorry Target, but it's true).

Rabbit has a point regarding not being able to find several of your books for his Sony reader. I tried to find the InterstllarNet books on my iBook for my iPhone. No luck. Fortunately, my iPhone also has has a Kindle app and I was able to purchase it there.

Thank you Mr. Lerner for passing on these comments to your publisher. It is in their financial interest as well to offer your books through as many outlets as possible.

Edward M. Lerner said...


Thanks for adding your input. Dutifully noted (and passed along to the publisher).

- Ed

Edward M. Lerner said...

I'm happy to say that both InterstellarNet titles have been re-released in ebook formats for the Nook and various Apple gadgets.

- Ed

Filipe Freitas said...


I've just finished reading the two Interstellarnet books (in Kindle format, yes), and I desperately need a sequel. Are there any plans for one? And what other books of yours do you reccommend to someone who only read (and loved) these and the Known Space ones?

-Filipe Freitas
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi Filipe,

Thanks for your note, and I'm glad you've enjoyed my two fiction series.

At this point, there isn't another InterstellarNet book in the works. (There *is* a fifth and final Known Space book coming: Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld. That's due out on August 21.)

As for my non-series novels, you might check out this page:

All titles are available for the Kindle.

- Ed

xMark said...

Mr. Lerner,
I would like to send some words of encouragement: it is heartening to see you take the time to address the concerns of your readers about the availability of eBook formats. Your professionalism and openness is quite welcome; it takes a certain amount of humility to show the interest in the concerns of others that I see here in the comments section. Obviously, you stand to gain financially by making your books available across the market, but I get the impression that you actually care, which is nice. In addition, I surely appreciate the insight and intelligence conveyed in your writing. It makes it a joy to read and experience your books. Keep up the good work!

Edward M. Lerner said...


Thanks for your kind note. I'm certainly glad that my more recent books have been released simultaneously in all three major formats.

- Ed

idleprimate said...

Were print editions of this series published? I am in Canada, and on Chapters, it doesn't seem so. I am interested in reading them, but the format I invest in is exclusively paper.


Robert K.

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your note and your interest. Indeed, the InterstellarNet books are available in print. Amazon Canada offers them.

Other options: in my experience, most brick-and-mortar booksellers will special-order books from the publisher if you ask. I also see on the publisher's website ( that he will ship to Canada.

- Ed

idleprimate said...

Thanks for your speedy reply! I've bookmarked the publisher, and I will see if I can have a local store order for me.



Edward M. Lerner said...

My pleasure.