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Threshold 2: Trust Territory

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The second volume of the projected military space adventure trilogy begun with Threshold is fast-paced but otherwise inept. Joe South, a 21st-century test pilot, has been transported into the future during an experimental excursion into ``spongespace,'' a sort of hyperspace. Rescued by the people of the 25th century (a la Buck Rogers), South is put to work on the huge space station Threshold with the hope that his unique perspective will help decipher the mysteries of the Ball, an alien artifact. Just as it seems that no one will solve the puzzle, three alien ships suddenly appear near the Ball, conveying an embassy from a vast confederation of alien races. Should they be welcomed? The issues are left hanging, presumably for the next installment. However, the plot elements and characters seem cut from older cloth, while the writing is pervaded by a superficial militarese (a wealth of clumsy acronyms; short, choppy sentences)--accordingly, many readers may disembark here. (Mar.)

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