A prelude to the better-realized Millennium (1976). Chet Kinsman, conflict-ridden product of a Quaker background and an aviator's education, is the brightest star in the fledgling Air Force space corps until the emergency reconnaissance mission in which he murders a Russian woman cosmonaut. Trying to pick up the pieces of his life and career, he hits on the idea of a permanent non-military "Moonbase," and manages to make the dream reality at the cost of horrific moral and political compromises. Despite occasional pretensions to moral complexity, the novel betrays its origin as a handful of shorter pieces; the episodes remain perfunctorily linked, and such recurrent motifs as the shifting NASA-Air Force rivalries are not really brought into focus. Competent but disappointing.