Michael Z. Williamson
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    • Contact with Chaos

      April 2009

      from
      Baen Books

       

      When an exploration ship from the Freehold discovered a planet with intelligent lifeforms-the first which humans had ever encountered-it should have been the most important event in history. And it might be-for all the wrong reasons.

      Freehold corporations were eager to sell high-tech toys to the Ishkul, as the inhabitants called themselves, which had the potential to disrupt their society. Then there was the U.N., which controlled the planet Earth. Earth and Freehold were not on good terms, to put it mildly, and the U.N. immediately sent its own ship to make contact with the Ishkul. If the authoritarians from Earth started throwing their weight around, the Freehold might have to push back, causing anything from a diplomatic incident to outright war. And then another ship arrived, full of idealistic do-gooders determined to keep the Ishkul in their unspoiled state of nature . . .

      The whole thing was turning into a cross between a Marx Brothers farce and a Kafkaesque nightmare, with a potential for Greek tragedy. Contact with a more advance civilization might pose a danger to the Ishkul, but it definitely was becoming more dangerous to the human factions, and the situation was a powder keg just waiting for a spark to cause a very deadly explosion, especially as the Ishkul are not quite as primitive as they might appear...



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