Astronomers discover alien space probe heading towards Earth. Fanatical environmentalists who have already killed off most of the space programme decide they have to stop any attempt to make contact with the probe, lest the people be seduced into wasting time and money on space research and high technology, when they could be fixing the problems on Earth. Wealthy space entrepreneur Henson, owner of the only private enterprise in space, sees the opportunity the probe presents, and is determined to bring the benefits to mankind.
This one was a Did Not Finish for me within the first five pages, and the next five didn’t rescue it. I was just too irritated by the apparent attitude that all environmentalists are violent fanatics who are anti-technology. I can certainly find Green Puritans annoying, but this seemed to be presenting the extreme fringe as the norm. Now it’s more than possible that I’m grossly misjudging the book and will find that it does address this further on; and I say that mindful of a “bailed after the first chapter” review I read recently that demonstrated exactly that problem. In fact, a quick glance at the last couple of pages suggests that it’s a lot less black and white by the end. But I have a TBR mountain that’s going to take me a couple of years to get through, and no particular reason to give this book another 25 pages to get my attention (unlike a couple of other books with similar annoyances which I’ve read). This one’s going in the Oxfam box, unless the next book by this author in the TBR mountain gives me a reason to retrieve it.
[Later: checking on LibraryThing, I find that I liked the author’s short story in New Writings in SF 10, and the tone of that one suggests that the annoying tone of this one is an opening gambit. The book gets a reprieve, but I’ll read it some other time when I’m feeling more receptive.]