Modestly successful some while back (last Kirkus appearance: The Siege of Wonder, 1976), Geston returns with a heavy near-future alien-contact/alien-art yarn. When humanlike ""gods""--resembling idealized people but with ichor in their veins--appear in huge spaceships in the skies of Earth, reaction is muted and watchful. In Washington, the aliens set up an art gallery; the pictures combine supergenius technique with super-Rorschach impact and suggestiveness, and spark riots. Many are killed, but the gods bring diplomat Andrew Cavan's son back to life. A friendly god artist, Rane, whose painting ""The Death of Blake"" is one of the most powerful in the gallery, explains: A triptych painted by the god Blake predicts with utter certainty that within two centuries the gods will meet and be destroyed by another alien race. Since Blake, then, they've been searching the galaxy for their nemesis. Eventually the aliens leave, abandoning a number of dedicated workers and some political dissidents, taking with them a number of human volunteers, including Andrew Cavan. Surprisingly, one ship returns to Earth; it transpires that god dissidents stole the original triptych and hid it on Earth; the gods want it back. Meanwhile, government investigator Marinetti searches for gods abandoned on Earth, hoping to learn their secrets; Rane, one of the dissidents, paints another masterpiece instructing the humans aboard the gods' vessel how to win the inevitable struggle. The aliens fail to convince, either as aliens or as metaphor (if such was intended). Neither does the flimsy, incoherent plot or glum, juiceless narrative help. But it's the lack of a character--any character, let alone a sympathetic one--that finally does this one in.