On their way to more important business

This is a book report of sorts.

In the beginning, there is the devastation caused by objects from the enormous and unpredictable universe, which brings our small planet together in defense, in science and technology, distributing its footprint into space to make a less concentrated target.

The planets and some moons of our solar system become inhabited, and Earth then is just another.

What prevails is the humanity…

Even a doomed man might reasonably be expected to take some slight interest in a few thousand square meters of gems.

… and the invention…

It had taken the scientist approximately five minutes of thought and one millisecond of computer time…

… and the science…

Yes, it made sense, and was so absurdly simple that it would take a genius to think of it. And, perhaps, someone who did not expect to do it himself.

… and occasional results…

It was a good plan – and it failed completely.

… as a mysterious new object comes in from afar – part planet, part robot, part spaceship, part mathematical formation, biological specimen, not unlike Earth, but inverted, cylindrical, and strange – inviting and yet hostile…

… empty and yet populated, a sign of distant life that may be more advanced, or possibly just on a different trajectory, with unknown aim and destination…

… a source of curiosity, conflict, romance, protectiveness, aggression, until, in the end…

[spoiler alert]

… the mystery is and isn’t solved.

… haunted by a sense of anticlimax, and the knowledge of opportunities missed…