The supernatural and NASA in Madagascar: Peter, the son of a murdered civil rights leader, is transported to Africa by an ancestor goddess, the Princess of Vazimba, who whimsically aids the spell of an old sorcerer. Once he's there, she has to protect him, but her powers are somewhat fuzzy: she can slip money into his pocket but only by robbing a poor schoolmaster; she can """"give"" him French and Malgache to speak and understand but not to read; sometimes she can hold off the evil revolutionary Zatovo and sometimes not. Zatovo plans to use Peter to impersonate the ancient Malgache king: the Princess sends a peasant family to keep him safe and a furry pet to get him out of tight spots. But it is the spirit of the dead king himself which enters Peter and convinces the innocent victims of the sorcerer's lies to abandon an anti-NASA riot. The wealth of detail about African life in village and town is overbalanced by a poverty of descriptive power which makes Madagascar and its magic seem mundane. The ridiculous contrivances of the plot never become credible: an intentionally pointed fantasy falls flat.