One night, after years of more or less confirmed UFO activity, the stars vanish -- replaced by a mirror image of the Earth. (The explanation of this event is complicated and shaky.) Cornell Novak, whose lovably dotty father is an ardent UFO investigator, finally learns the truth about his mother: She was not snatched by a UFO, as Dad had allowed him to believe; she simply left. Devastated, Cornell rejects his father and leaves home. Years later, he joins a top-secret government project investigating space-time wormholes, which permit a human to enter another planet in an alien body. Cornell visits High Desert, where he's a multibodied creature that drags its brain around like a piece of hairy baggage. He becomes enamored of the freethinking Porsche Neal; together they have various adventures. Back on Earth, Cornell tracks down his viperous mother, is reconciled with Dad, and deduces that Porsche is actually an alien visiting Earth in human form. Together, they prepare to blow the whistle on the government's ruthless and destructive attempts to acquire alien technologies. Intriguing ideas with curious but not particularly credible extrapolations, in a narrative weighty with familial angst: a fairly typical outing for the author of Black Milk (1989), etc.