I'm surprised at the glowing reviews this book has received. The plot is OK(ish), if a bit flimsy, but it's very poorly written, and it hasn't dated well compared to many other sf books of the era. A big part of the problem is with the dialogue, which is mostly self-consciously clever frat-boy humour, with a lot of gratuitous poetry chucked in, presumably to lend some gravitas to what is essentially a daft story. At times the overall effect is like being stuck in a bar with a bunch of drunken engineering students reciting Monty Python sketches at the top of their voices.
The boorish hero, Haldane, is obviously created to appeal to the single, male engineering student: he's a maths genius! he's a real hit with the ladies - a REAL hit! with his judo moves he nonchalantly defeats brutish thugs twice his size! At one point, after defending his girlfriend's honour he slings her over his shoulder and ostentatiously pats her backside as he carries her away. Needless to say, the room erupts into applause and the little lady is smitten.
As well as this sort of hairy-chested sexism, there is also a nasty (and incongruous) racist outburst towards the end of the book that really jars. Again, it's probably a reflection of the age in which this book was written, but it's another reason why this book hasn't aged well.