Ed Stone, kidnapped by aliens in the 1930s, returns to Earth in 2002 to announce that the planet will soon be destroyed. Humanity can be saved, says Ed, only if everyone is packed into a giant box which the aliens will remove to another habitable planet. To boost his credibility, Ed wears a ring that charms everyone he shakes hands with into trusting him. Before long, he's shaking hands with world leaders and the human race is scrambling to get into the box. Knight avoids the mistake of trying to sound plausible. Despite the detailed discussion of the physical, political and geographical ramifications of packing the human race into a box, the basic premise remains absurd, which is precisely what gives this provocative tale by the author of The Observers its kick, from the hilariously deadpan beginning to its apocalyptic conclusion. Some readers might interpret the story as a satire of the New Age or an indictment of today's media-controlled culture, but why bother? A book this much fun to read doesn't need interpretations to justify its existence. (Dec.)
Ed Stone claims that aliens kidnapped him, held him in stasis for 70 years, and returned him to Earth with a grand plan to save the world from destruction. With this unlikely premise, sf veteran Knight ( The Observers , Tor, 1989; CV , Tor, 1986) begins a cautionary tall tale that is by turns a devastating look at human gullibility, a light-hearted spoof of world leaders and bureaucrats, and a poignant tale of love won and lost. Entertaining as well as disturbing, this sf parable belongs in most libraries.