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One for us introverts
on 25 May 2011
As a keen contributor to the SF community in the UK, Bob Shaw knew his audience; bright, introverted, awkward, scruffy beta-males. Hence the anti-hero of this book is a misanthropic smart-mouth who is discombobulated in the presence of the inevitable beautiful woman when she turns up. Shaw goes on to form a nice contrast between his lonely existence and the intimate manner in which he becomes mankind's ambassador to an invisible planet, rising out from the centre of the Earth. There's plenty of action and an appealing wit throughout, but the unreality of this world and the clunkiness of some of the character interactions put this book squarely in the "entertaining romp" category.
Recommended as a diversion, but let's not inflate it into some kind of classic, shall we?