The spiritual metamorphosis of a boy into a man is juxtaposed with the transformation of a pacific planet in this intergalactic thriller. Raised on Earth by a doting aunt, Walt is completely unprepared to join his father, famed terraformer Colonel Angus Elliott, on the planet Aqua. Wall's hero-worshipping fantasies fade beneath the barrage of beatings from classmates and his sadistic father's lack of interest. Wall's accidental fall into a hidden cave leads to a meeting with Aqua's telepathic amphibious lifeforms, nicknamed ""Greenies."" When Walt learns that tidal waves are about to sweep over the entire planet, he and his pal Solveig must convince the colony to evacuate. Looming disaster pushes the plot forward at a compelling pace, but Hughes (The CrystalDrop, 1993, etc.) drains excitement from such pivotal moments as Walt's departure from Earth and the initial meeting with the Greenies, both presented in a straightforward, anticlimactic manner. Some scientific methods used by the terraformers seem a bit questionable, yet readers can put their faith in the future of the men's movement. Although Angus is a one-dimensional tin soldier, the character of Walt is a realistic, sensitive portrait. A case of ""hysterical amnesia"" catapults the colonel from being all-bad to all-good, but fans will welcome Wall's forgiveness as genuine.