For those who remember back that far to the drama played out in The Small Back Room, Nigel Balchin's earliest books had a strong substructure of ethical and human considerations, absent in many of his later ones. This is his best book in years, evidently based on his stay with our NASA--like his Cambridge, England, physiologist, Frank Lewis, who because of his work on Fatigue Deterioration is sent as a scientific observer to America, ready for her first manned lunar expeditions. He leaves behind Dr. Julian Parker, a young woman of hot allure along with considerable cool, and he goes there for the eighteen months work-up. The briefing and screening and training procedures are highly fascinating; so are the reactions of all around him (particularly the appealing Isa, astronaut Zenno's wife); so is his particular stress situation as he approaches his own commitment to go up, underlining the book's meaning and message that ""our technical skill has outrun our imagination"" and perhaps our possibilities to accommodate the unknown. . . . Balchin launches his entertainment with all the skills of a truly professional novelist; his story is played out close to the skin and has a high degree of attractiveness.