The Lexman Spacedrive gave man the stars--but at a fantastic price. Interstellar exploration, colonization, and trade became things of reality. The benefits to Earth were enormous. But because of the Fitzgerald Contraction, a man who shipped out to space could never live a normal life on Earth again.
akfast came rolling toward him on the plastic conveyor belt from the kitchen.
Alan laughed and reached avidly for the steaming tray of food. He poured a little of his synthorange juice into a tiny pan for Rat, and fell to.
Rat was a native of Bellatrix VII, an Earth-size windswept world that orbited the bright star in the Orion constellation. He was a member of one of the three intelligent races that shared the planet with a small colony of Earthmen.
The Valhalla had made the long trip to Bellatrix, 215 light-years from Earth, shortly before Alan's birth. Captain Donnell had won the friendship of the little creature and had brought him back to the ship when time came for the Valhalla to return to Earth for its next assignment.
Rat had been the Captain's pet, and he had given Alan the small animal on his tenth birthday. Rat had never gotten along well with Steve, and more than once he had been the cause of jealous conflicts between Alan and his twin.
An okay early novel by a good writer. Because of the Fitzgerald Time Contraction at near-light speeds, Spacers age very, very slowly compared to Earthlings. A 17 year old Spacer could be a thousand Earth years old.
Alan's twin brother jumped ship and stayed on Earth six weeks ago, and now would be 9 years older. As the Valhalla returns to Earth, Alan is determined to find his brother, if he can.
The main character is nicely obsessed, with one obsession following another. The veteran gambler is a good character--hard to pigeon-hole. Everyone else is pretty much sketched in enough to get them through the story. Theoretically, women exist in the book, but none are rude enough to intrude.
Well, I dunno. Certainly not a bad read but not loaded with excitement. More or less a space opera without BEMs and rayguns. Rather with time dilation and the problems this makes for a set of twins.