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One pleasant day in the not-too-distant future, in a public garden north of New York City, Lester Ordway is enjoying the seasonal blossoms, butterflies, and buzzing bees. He notices a strange flying insect unlike any he's ever seen before. It stings him between the eyes, and he is overwhelmed by a tidal wave of memories crashing through his mind, a flood of simultaneous sensations and emotions. As he collapses, he manages to catch and hold onto his strange, small assailant.

At the hospital, medical technologist Pilar Ramirez see the creature being pried from Lester Ordway's hand. It releases a swarm of even smaller insects that attack her and several other people in the emergency room before vanishing. Frightened but fascinated, and frustrated by the hospital's attempt to explain away what happened, Pilar befriends Lester and joins his quest for an explanation. 

Pilar and Lester enlist the help of entomologist Maybelle Terwilliger.  The mounting evidence soon forces them to consider a seemingly impossible explanation:  a secret alien invasion of Earth. It seems as if they have accidentally uncovered a planetary incursion on a tiny scale but of global scope. The pervasive reconnaissance puts the legendary hundred eyes of Argus to shame: Someone is literally bugging the planet.  But why? All they know for sure is that, when the invading force realizes that it has been discovered, its response bears all the earmarks of hostile intent…

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 01, 2002 – Analog editor Schmidt takes to heart Peter Graham's adage that the Golden Age of SF is 12, in the best possible way, in his instructive tale of first contact. In a near-future New York, three humans set out to track down the origins of a plague of puzzling insects. Quickly realizing that the bugs are constructs that use nanotechnology beyond Earth's capability to produce, they face the unenviable task of convincing the authorities that We Are Not Alone. Worse, they find that the mysterious maker of the spy-creatures knows about their discovery and is taking steps (some merely annoying, others nearly fatal) to persuade them not to tell. Fortunately, the authorities aren't as clueless as often portrayed in such fiction, and the three amateur investigators are soon closely involved with the U.S. government's plans to chase off, peacefully or violently, the snooping aliens. The novel's straightforward expository style recalls classic-era SF. Per Chekhov's rule, all shotguns mentioned in act one are fired by act three. Schmidt fails to disguise his "info dumps" as well as he should, as when the U.S. president explains a secure facility's emergency floor lighting. He also repeats himself on occasion, as when the main protagonist, Pilar Ramirez, has two experiences "for the first time in her life" within two pages. Though the story climaxes in tragedy, the author ends on a hopeful note, rewarding Pilar's emotional maturity and empathy with the chance to travel to the stars. Schmidt may teach his readers a didactic lesson, but it's one well worth learning. FYI:Schmidt is also the author of a recent short story collection,Generation Gap (Forecasts, May 27).
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  • $3.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Published: Jul 01, 2015
  • Publisher: FoxAcre Press
  • Seller: Roger MacBride Allen
  • Print Length: 294 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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