By Allen Steele
Ace, $26.95, 332 pages

Aliens can be weird people. Humans are invited to apply for membership in Hex, a Dyson sphere that is still in the process of being built. They are told to obey a few simple rules, but due to a translation error part of he group is sent into a dangerous section. It just so happens that the party is led by Sean Carson, the son of Captain Andromeda Carson. The climax depends on some quick thinking by Captain Carson, who must decide between diplomacy, action, or some third route, with the lives of all humans on the planet at stake.

This is the kind of book that you read on a rainy day. It’s light reading, but brings home the point that everything is a matter of perspective. There are some interesting concepts regarding alienness all over the place, and how at the same time how two species, however otherwise disparate, will always have common ground somewhere. Although the characters are believable, and the plot is nicely solid, the main point that we all share something in common is an important message in an era where too many focus on differences rather than similarities.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim