From the author of Dhalgren and Neveryona: another interminable exploration of the abstruse. On planet Rhyonon, scarred giant Rat Korga has been turned into a human robot; for years he exists as a will-less slave--until the planet is mysteriously destroyed by the alien Xlv, with Rat the only survivor. Meanwhile, ""industrial diplomat"" Marq Dyeth of planet Velm (humans share the world with the intelligent, reptilian ""evelm"") is entertaining some old friends, the ambitious ""Family""-linked Thants from planet Zetzor--who are rude to their ""Sygn""-affiliated hosts. (The galaxy's human-occupied planets owe their allegiance to either the ""Sygn"" or the ""Family,"" although the difference isn't clear: both prevent destructive ""cultural fugue."") Then Japril of the ""Web""--a sort of galactic information network--tells Marq that Rat is being sent to Velm: they are, it seems, ideal sexual partners. (Marq likes big men with pocked faces and bitten nails; Rat likes small, hairy men.) But, as Marq introduces Rat to Velm, various prejudices come to light; Rat disappears; Marq complains that he doesn't have a clue to what's going on (a bewilderment readers will share). Finally the Xlv show up but decline to blast Velm. . . and Japril provides some explanations that don't help. Inventive, perhaps--but amorphous, virtually plotless murk, set forth in overbearing description and feeble dialogue: strictly for Delany addicts.