What on earth (or anywhere else) is this doing in a volume all to itself at $7.95? In no way could it ever be taken for a full-fledged novel. It is a clever and provocative little bit of invention about an astrophysicist and various of his pals puzzling over a series of strange interruptions to their work, and eventually stumbling over the nameless intelligence at the root of it. This rather slight plot is tricked out a bit by being split into a third-person and a first-person narrative--not altogether a happy idea. We are shunted too fast from a detached comic-opera perspective (maddening phone mix-ups, unexpected guests, visits from the CID) to all sorts of lofty cosmic suggestions. Of course the Strugatskys, as usual, write with a bite and concentration that comes through splendidly in Bouis' translation. But this should have appeared in tandem with a few other novellas or long stories.