“Because it’s there”—that was why Earth men climbed Mt. Everest and why, in 2017, they set out for the distant star Wolf 359. In 1988 they had learned that intelligent inhabitants from a planet orbiting Wolf 359 had been signaling Earth. That fact was reason enough to dispatch a manned probe to explore and investigate. But perhaps there was another reason for the journey—a reason too incredible for Earth people ever to imagine, a reason they may never understand, even when they land on the planet they call Jennings’ World.
Author George Alec Effinger was a true master of satirical science fiction. Before his death in 2002 he gained the highest esteem among his peers for his pitch-perfect stylistic mimicry and his great insight into the human condition. Despite a life filled with chronic illness, Effinger was a prolific novelist and short story writer, earning multiple Nebula and Hugo Award nominations.