The premise is one of classical exploration and the sacrifices made for it. Silverberg does a good job of showing how the enclosed environment and uncertain chances of success wear on the crew despite them being as stable and enlightened as one could hope to be. While this leads to a slow-moving narration, I can live with it. What really did annoy me was that in the last third of the novel, Silverberg conjures up a classical Deus-Ex-Machina that instantly negates all the character development and struggles that happened previously. It's a shame, because I liked the writig style.