The loosely linked adventures of Blacklantern, native of the blazing desert planet Nggongga, whose black denizens live in sullen friction between their own harsh folkways and the unwelcome attentions of more technologically advanced worlds. As ""Benefactors"" (members of an intergalactic troubleshooting organization), Blacklantern and the beauteous Snowfire probe a syndicate war, confront an inconceivable planetary strip-mining operation, try to prevent the imminent capture of Old Earth by a black hole. . . . A nice idea or two, a lot of labored and synthetic writing.