Past master at serious science fiction that includes human relationships on personal as well as political levels, is Andre Norton whose latest book is a graphic picture of a hard won trial at new life in another planetary system. Part I of her story is set on an Earth ravaged by atomic weapons and under the tight rule of an Orwellian power that has stifled free thought. Under these conditions, the underground movement of Free Scientists has managed to construct a ship that takes a small party to another planet and we see the trip through the eyes of young Dard Nordis whose older brother has helped with the preparations. The new land has some fascinating aspects to watch as the author reveals them- red rivers, a blue-green vegetation- but the main task of the "terrans", that still remains a challenge at the end, is alliance with the "mer- people" against opposition in a terrifying new dimension. Thoughtful.