Forced-landing on an earth-like planet mars a trip to another solar system, but provides young Max Jones with a set of adventures that see him become a full-fledged Astrogator. A poor mid-western farmboy, Max wants to follow in his spaceman uncle's footsteps. He gets himself a position about the Asgard, an outbound freighter-passenger rocket, and from then on, with the help of Mr. Heinlein's lively imagination, we are with Max and his new acquaintances both human and other worldly, all the way. Attempts to colonize after the forced landing are thwarted by a group of centaurs with their own ideas, but once back on Earth Max is ready for more. Clifford Geary's black and whites add to the Heinlein inventiveness.