The only thrill life offers is getting closer than everyone else to dying — and bragging about it.
Barton Kinsolving is captain aboard the ship, von Neumann, soaring through hyperspace.
With him are Lark Versalles and Rani duLong, two women vying for his love and attention.
Kinsolving knew of the Stellar Death Plan. He knew how men and women in IM plotted nothing less than the genocide of an entire planet of alien beings.
Humanity was a newcomer among the stars, hardly star-faring for two hundred years compared to the thousands of most other species of intelligent beings. Why accept as an equal a race that had yet to earn that privilege?
Kinsolving understood and accepted the Earth governments’ view that only by working slowly and diligently could humans be greeted as equals one day.
But the chairman of Interstellar Materials, Hamilton H. Fremont, had chosen a different, quicker, more vicious path. Why wait to be accepted by the aliens who would always hate humanity and consider them intruders on their domain? Kill the “Bizzies,” the bizarres.
Kinsolving was not certain that Fremont had authorized the genocide; he had been unable to contact the man directly. But other IM directors were intimately tied to the savage plan.
They had tried to kill Kinsolving at the company-run rare earth mines on Deepdig. They had seduced away his lover Ala Markken, they had sent their assassin to remove him permanently.
They had, however, been unsuccessful…
Meanwhile, Barton must do all he can to put an end to the Stella Death Plan, lest an intergalactic war break out…
Praise for Robert E. Vardeman:
“Fast action, unusual characters, and fun to read!” – Fred Saberhagen
“Without a doubt, Vardeman can write an exciting page-turner!” – MyShelf.com
Robert E. Vardeman has written over fifty science fiction, mystery, western and fantasy novels. As well as his main works he has written under eight pseudonyms, venturing into game tie-in works, Star Trek novels, and short fiction. After gaining a degree in physics, he began writing for fanzines, resulting in a nomination for the 1972 Hugo Award for the Best Fan Writer. On top of his writing, he is also one of the founders of Bubonicon, a New Mexico science fiction convention. His other Venture works include Cenotaph Road, A Symphony of Storms, and The Glass Warrior.