Aaron Pardell is an illegal inhabitant of Thromberg Station, an overpopulated space station made even larger by the hundreds of unauthorized ships docked to it. The people living in these deteriorating ships are called Outsiders. But it's not where he lives that makes Aaron feel like an outsider, it's his strange ailment. Physical contact not only brings intense pain to Aaron and throws him into shock, but whoever touches him feels that pain as well.
When a ship from Earth docks at the station, the first in centuries, and strange "Earthers" start looking around for him, Aaron tries to hide with the help of his huge Outsider friend Malley. When the Earthers -- led by Dr. Gail Smith -- finally track Aaron down, the action explodes! It seems that Aaron's illness is directly tied to the secret behind how a strange alien race known as the Quill invaded and took control of dozens of terraformed planets almost ready for human colonization.
Another wonderfully wild science fiction blockbuster from Julie E. Czerneda, In the Company of Others is Grade A science fiction. (Paul Goat Allen)