|Quartet paperback, 1975. Cover artist uncredited.|
"With undue smugness, civilized man continues his attempts to master inner and outer space. Psycholinguistic and space-travel projects extend, in different directions, the limits of our knowledge and understanding. But there are already others in touch with realities which scientists can barely comprehend: a tribe of Amazonian indians has evolved, under drugs, ways of seeing and expressing which shatter conventional ideas of the real world, and beings from a planet 1103 light years away arrive to offer the secrets of inter-stellar space travel - at a price. Can we face these challenges, offered by simple savages an ultra-sophisticated aliens? Or are these enormous strides forward too much for us to grasp? In a brilliant novel of staggering invention but powerful scientific authenticity Ian Watson portrays the dilemma of a civilization blinkered by its own outlook and recoiling from its own progress."