Grab-bag of a yarn involving Native Americans, aliens, artificial intelligence, and covert corporate warfare, from Haldeman (Vector Analysis, 1978) and Dann (The Man Who Melted, 1984; More Wandering Stars, 1981, etc.). In the medium future, two corporations, Trans-United and Macro, now dominate the Earth and—somehow—have enslaved America's native peoples, forcing them to go into space as construction workers, or to disappear as Sleepers in illegal hibernation trials. John Stranger, on the verge of becoming a medicine man, is taken into space, where—thanks to his astonishing intuitive ability to make correct decisions—saves a Trans-United station from an attack by Macro. Back on Earth, meanwhile, Stranger's mentor, Leonard Broken-finger, has contacted some aliens via the spirit world; the same aliens have beamed a coded message to Earth carrying a secret of a faster-than-light space drive. Unknowingly, Stranger has helped build a ship with such a drive; it's commanded by Einstein, a computer-intelligence genius. Macro, by plotting, assassination, and subversion, seize Einstein—or so they think—with Stranger still on board. Hereafter, matters become steadily less intelligible and coherent. The mysterious aliens never show up. Lots of people die in untimely fashion. Dazzling ideas caught up in a hopelessly confused swirl of a plot—along with a curious backdrop that here gleams with polish, there crumbles at a touch. Many impressive and tantalizing parts, but no satisfying whole.
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