The first volume of a planned trilogy from Card (The Ships of Earth, 1994, etc.) and hardcover debutante Kidd is set on a huge starship, or Ark, soon to depart from Earth. Among those aboard will be leading planetologist Carol Jeanne Cocciolone, her family -- husband Red, daughters Lydia and Emmy, in-laws Mamie and Stef -- and narrator Lovelock, a mentally enhanced Capuchin monkey trained to "witness" all Carol Jeanne's doings and record them for posterity. Living quarters aboard the Ark are arranged in small villages whose populations share ethnic ties or religious beliefs. Assigned to the village Mayflower, Carol Jeanne and her family experience difficulties adapting to their new circumstances, problems that arise largely from defects in their own personalities. Lovelock, meanwhile, discovers that his worship of Carol Jeanne derives from deep conditioning -- worst of all, she regards him as nothing more than furniture. So-so at best. What really annoys is that, without even a token ending here, this isn't the beginning of a trilogy at all, but the arbitrary opening chunk of a bloated and flabby single yarn.