Award-winning veteran writer-editor Pohl (The Voices of Heaven, 1994, etc.) takes a hoary science fiction clichÇ--alien abduction--and turns it on its head. In the near future, two brief strange messages from space aliens arrive on Earth, while in a US racked by pollution, crime, nuclear terrorism, and hyperinflation, Dr. Pat Adcock suspects that aliens have landed on her abandoned orbiting Starlab. To go and investigate, she puts together a team that includes herself, pilots Jimmy Lin and Mart°n Delasquez, old astronomer Rosaleen Artzybachova, and bodyguard Dan Dannerman (secretly a spook, he's also Pat's cousin). Starlab, they discover, is infested with weird alien devices--and then, abruptly, they find themselves thousands of light-years away, prisoners of alien ``Dopeys'' and ``Docs'' who are experimenting on them! According to the aliens, their Beloved Leaders need Earth's help against outlaw terrorist Horch. Seems that the two sets of aliens are fighting over who controls the ``eschaton,'' a time in the remote future when everyone who ever lived will rise again and live forever! Pat, Dan, and company learn that they are copies, their originals having been sent back to Earth with altered memories; still other copies have been subjected to horrible vivisection experiments. And the Horch add to the confusion by claiming that the Beloved Leaders are actually ruthless, planet-destroying tyrants. An impeccably crafted, absorbing, and enjoyable reworking of mostly familiar material that, while satisfyingly self-contained, seems perfectly poised for sequels.