Brian Stableford told this story through Alex’s eyes using his endless hope, his keen intellect, and his sometimes rash decision-making abilities to keep me very entertained. Watching Alex peel apart this mystery, exploring the odd native flora and fauna of Floria, was a treat for the biologist in me.
The Florians presented a nice quandary about a society kept intentionally ignorant of certain lines of science, such as those leading to firearms. Having the Daedalus, ignorant, unexpected strangers, set down in the midst of an ongoing power struggle between two components of that society provided an engaging background for Alex to do his thing: figure out if the Florian society is viable long-term. Imagine being surrounded by giants, in a situation where your physical resistance is futile, leaving you to rely on your wits. I am so glad it was Alex’s wits, and not my own, that uncovered the mystery of the Florians.
If you are conflicted about spending money on the Space Program, this book has great arguments on both sides, all wrapped in an engaging story.