In 1928, at the young age of 20, science fiction grandmaster Williamson (The Humanoids, 1995, etc.) published his first story. Here, in his latest, Project Starseed uses quantum-wave technology to propel starships at the speed of light. Among those aboard the 99th and last starship to leave Earth are stowaway and computer whiz Carlos Mondragon, criminal Jonas Roak, and project director Herman Stecker, one step ahead of his angry creditors. Ship and crew end up thousands of light-years away near a dead sun; they land on the star's sole companion, a dark and frigid planet of rock, ice, and frozen gas that, from the monumental structures that litter the planet, may once have supported intelligent life. Stecker orders the ship readied for another flight, but this the engineers consider impossible; several crew members disappear mysteriously, while young Day Virili insists she's in communication with something alive on the planet. As civil war develops aboard the vessel, Carlos, Day, and a few others head out across the ice in a desperate attempt to contact whatever is trying to get their attention. Some pieces of the plot-puzzle clearly don't fit, yet this is still one of Williamson's all-time best efforts; for splendid characters, fascinating scenario, and sheer ``sense of wonder,'' it's hard to beat.