Spindrift, is a fast paced science fiction novel by Hugo Award winning author Allen Steele. He deftly addresses Fermi's paradox of why humans haven't found evidence of alien civilization by joining this to the question of rapid interstellar travel and by starting the action in 2288. Although independent of the Coyote trilogy, Spindrift is set in the same universe and has a timeline that interweaves with Coyote.
In 2288 A.D. Jared Ramirez is serving a life sentence on the moon for his role in an attempt to reduce the human population by one-third. A telescopic array that he designed and programmed has received a transmission that is clearly alien. John Shillinglaw, Associate Director of the European Space Agency arranges for him to be a member of the science team aboard the spaceship Galileo which will explore the source of the transmission, an object that has been dubbed "Spindrift".
Ted Harker is the efficient, respected first officer of the Galileo. He serves under Ian Lawrence, the arrogant but politically minded and well connected Captain. Ted discovers that the Captain has taken surreptitious measures that may poison a potential first contact with an alien species. After surviving the trip to Spindrift, the captain seems almost too anxious for Ted to lead a group of four to explore Spindrift while the rest of the crew visit what looks like a hyperspace gate that is orbiting nearby.
Harker's team makes amazing discoveries, witnesses the destruction of the Galileo, and meets an alien who makes a surprising suggestion for what humans could use for space trade.
- Ted Harker - First officer of exploration spaceship Galileo
- Emily Collins - Space shuttle pilot, lover of Ted Harker
- Ian Lawrence - Captain of the Galileo as the result of political connections
- Jared Ramirez - Astrobiologist, convict, created telescopic array that makes first contact
- John Shillinglaw - Associate Director of the European Space Agency
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