In an odd, quasi-poetic mismatch of speculation and information, a boy who goes to bed wondering what it's like out there in space (among other things) is provided, abruptly, with a dossier on the planets: their distance, temperature, physical composition. Sam's scattershot, scatterbrain questions (""What color is rain?"" and ""Do people eat camels?"" are two others) are a quick tipoff to the book's lack of thought and direction; the sudden shift from the domestic ("" 'Good night, my boy,' ""says his mother, ""and softly shuts the door"") to the didactic is disconcerting, and the problem of whether or not the planets are inhabited--which, if anything, is central here--is fudged with the formula answer, ""No one like Sam could live there."" A graceless book, with no appeal to the imagination or the intellect.