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Signal to Noise by Eric S. NylundDescription: Jack Potter has clawed and cheated his way into the elite Academe of Pure and Applied Sciences. There, with access to the best "bubbles"-networked virtual reality environments tapped directly into the subconscious-Jack puts computer cryptography to work for the highest bidder. Sometimes he hacks for private multinational corporations, sometimes for the government and its ruthlessly efficient National Security Office. Sometimes the work is legal; otherwise., Jack simply raises his price. In a world of unrestrained capitalism, where everything and everyone is for sale, how else can an up-and-coming academic finance his research and compete for tenure? But up-and-coming can change to down-and-out in the blink of an eye. Jack's hopes for tenure are being sabotaged by an Academe rival. The NSO suspects him of shady, possibly treasonous, dealings with enemy China. And his research into signal encryption within apparently random noise is going nowhere fast. Series:
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Then cloaked in the hiss of background radiation streaming past the Earth from deep space, Jack discovers a message from the stars. A faster-than-light communications system links Jack to an alien civilization eager to do business with humanity and its representative. Before he knows it, Jack has entered into a partnership that will open a Pandora's Box of potential profit and loss.
The sharks are quick to circle. The governments, the multinationals, and mysterious players more powerful still, all want a piece of the action-and they're willing to kill, even wage war, to get it. Now Jack finds himself entangled in a shifting web of deceit and intrigue, both virtual and real, in which no one, not even his closest friends, can be trusted. For Earth's cloak-and -dagger business practices are writ la