tip bcEnrico Fermi, an Italian physicist who pioneered nuclear fission, formulated what is now referred to as The Fermi Paradox. The gist of the paradox is this: If intelligent aliens exist in the universe, why haven’t they contacted us?

It seems evident that if there are billions of stars and billions of galaxies, some world must harbor intelligent life more advanced than our own. One would think such an intelligent species would be interested in reaching out to other intelligent species. Unfortunately, there is no official evidence that it has happened.

In The Infinity Program I broach the issue of the Fermi Paradox. I postulate a galaxy in which there are hundreds of intelligent species, much like our own. But they make no contact with us because they have been warned away by an alien signaling device that was planted on Earth sixty million years ago. Fans of Star Trek might recognize this as a twist on the ‘Prime Directive’.

The ‘Prime Directive’ is simple and straightforward: do not interfere with intelligent species when they are in their early phase of cultural development. This concept is actually a very old idea, going back to the beginnings of pulp science fiction in the 1920s and 1930s.   We think a ‘Prime Directive’ might apply because we imagine that highly intelligent aliens are benevolent beings who wish to protect the young and helpless species.

There are many other different takes on The Fermi Paradox. Perhaps intelligence carries the seeds of its own destruction. On Earth, for example, we face the dual threats of nuclear proliferation and environmental collapse. How many intelligent species have perished because they failed to solve these problems?

There are of course, other possibilities. Our sun is on an outer spiral arm of our galaxy. Perhaps it is just too remote. Maybe the center of our galaxy is where the action is. Perhaps the worst possibility of all is that the alien intelligences just don’t find us very interesting and we are simply beneath their notice.

In the 14th century vast regions of our own world were entirely unexplored. The age of exploration changed that. I believe a similar change will come about when we begin space exploration in earnest. But I do have one big concern regarding alien contact.   If we cannot get along with members of our own species because of religious differences, skin tone differences, or gender differences, how will we ever get along with an alien species?



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Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways–Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn’t know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office’s Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.



author photoAbout The Author:

Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.



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